A Shameless Letter to My Father

Oh hey Dad! It’s me, your eldest daughter. You know, the one you often call Stinkasaurus. Note to readers: Think that’s weird? Trust me. That’s only the beginning.

So, let me start this off by saying that, generally speaking, you’ve been a pretty great dad. I’m sure I could make a long list of all the wonderful things you have done as my father, and how you’ve shaped me into the overly talkative, annoyingly optimistic, sassy human I am today. But for the purposes of this post, we’re going to set all of that aside. After all, the point of persuasive writing is to convince the reader to adopt my point of view. You should know, you were on the Debate Team in high school. Such a cool kid.

In the spirit of convincing you, I’ve compiled a list of the biggest infractions you’ve committed against me as my father. Yes, this would be what the scientific community refers to as a guilt trip:

  • When I was an infant, you left me crying in the middle of the bed and went to take a shower so I would fall asleep and be quiet.
  • When I was a little girl, you used to come home from your basketball games and tell me your socks smelled like cherry berry muffins so I would smell them. You lied! I checked.
  • When I was six or seven, you were supposed to tell me stories before bed (real ones!), but at least half the time you would fall asleep while you were “thinking of a story”.
  • My friends growing up, who actually did all have real names, lost their true identities and came to be known as: The Squaker, Figlet, the Fish, PLC, the Medalist, and Heavens, among others.
  • On Halloween, you informed me that November 1st was National Potato Day, during which I should go knock on people’s doors and instead of saying “Trick or treat?”, I should shout, “GIVE ME A POTATO.”
  • When I was in third grade, you started calling me The New Dork, since the dorkiest boy at school had left town and you said someone had to take his place.
  • One time when my best friend Courtney was over, you convinced us that zucchini pizza tasted just like regular pizza and forced us to eat it. Again with the lies!
  • When I was eleven, you tricked me into going to little league tryouts, even though I was terrified and didn’t want to play. Oh softball. The most traumatic part of my childhood, thanks to YOU!
  • When Olivia was little, she couldn’t pronounce Stephanie correctly. So what do you do? You get her (and everyone else we know) to call me STINK instead.
  • When I was in middle school, you left me in the hardest math class, even though I was the only kid my age and came home crying on the first day of school.
  • When I was 13, I came home from school and you were in the kitchen, casually cooking a steak. You asked me if I wanted some, so obviously I had a few bites. As I’m chewing, you lean over and say, “Hey Stink! That steak is older than you are!”. You fed your daughter a piece of cow that had been in the freezer for fourteen years.
  • When I was a senior in high school, I ran the Whidbey Island Marathon after training for 6 months with your best friend Paul. My whole family showed up to cheer me on. Everyone except you! What did you want me to do!? Turn around and run another 26 miles?!
  • After college, I lived in Spain for two years teaching English, remember? The land of good Spanish wines, delicious seafood and tapas, and beautiful scenery. You would’ve loved it there! Except you were too busy at home to come and visit!
  • Since I’ve been an adult (wait, have I been an adult yet?), I think you’ve made me cry with your Christmas Eve toast every single year. Twenty eight years later, and you’re still making me cry. Sheesh.
  • Even now, when you answer the phone, your typical greetings include: “Helloooo, Snortin’ Norton” or your personal favorite, “Hello girl with face like dog that chased parked car.” These are VERBATIM. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.


Moral of the story: I think most any reasonable human would agree that you owe me one. And I’m ready to cash in! Here’s my demand, plain and simple:

Come on an epic Asia adventure with me!


Obviously this is an amazing proposition, and I’m sure you’re ready to buy your ticket this very instant. But just in case you aren’t totally convinced yet, never fear. I’ve also come up with a bullet-proof list of reasons why you are going to LOVE Asia.

Reason #1: The food.

Okay Dad, get this. Are you sitting down? Because this is pretty revolutionary… There is basically no cheese in Asia. Gasp. Like, you won’t have to tell every waiter at every restaurant ever to hold the cheese. You can safely assume that pretty much everything you order at a Taiwanese, Chinese, Thai, Malay, etc. restaurant will be cheese-free! Note to readers: My father has been telling everyone for years that cheese is made out of milk and boogers.

And, you know what’s even better?! You can basically have Dragonfish (only way better) for every meal! In Taipei, you can get an amazing bento box for like $2.00. Or how about the 24-hour sushi we had near Tsukiji Market in Tokyo? Malay curries, Indian food served on banana leafs, delicious Japanese Kobe beef, dumplings, shabu shabu, OH MY! You’ll be in Asian food heaven every meal of every day!


Cooking demonstration in Penang


Even panda-shaped pork buns!


Oh my, Kobe beef plus a cute grandma!

Reason #2: The weather.

Dad, remember your life philosophy? The one about never driving to a place where there is snow on purpose? Never fear! We can totally keep you snow-free in the vast majority of this continent. In fact, stay in Southeast Asia with me and you’ll never actually be cold for a single moment! You will literally turn off the cold water faucet after your shower and instantly be sweaty again! It’s like your dream come true!


Beautiful sunset #1


Beautiful sunset #2

And guess what?! The crazy heat here means that you can wear your favorite outfit every day: muscle tank, short shorts, and flip-flops! And the best part is that people won’t even look at you like you’re a crazy person because your clothing will actually be weather appropriate. Disclaimer: you will still be a crazy person, people just might not know it right away.

Reason #3: The animals! 

Alright, back up a minute because I have to tell the readers an adorable story. My dad really loves owls and for years has hoped to see an owl in the wild. A couple years ago, he got an owl box as a gift. Hoping to convince Mr. Owl to use his box as its home, he asked Moisés to climb a really tall tree and install it in the branches. And there the owl box has sat, empty, but ever ready for a kind and willing owl to set up residence.

DAD! You don’t have to just sit and wait for an owl to arrive! Come to Asia, where I saw an owl in REAL LIFE. It was just chilling in a tree at the Botanic Gardens in Singapore! Or if you’re really impatient, we can hop over to Tokyo and visit the Owl Cafe there! As a last resort, I even found an Owl Shop in Malaysia, where you can buy all things owl.


Whooooo aaaaaare youuuu!?


This store sells owl EVERYTHING!

Not enough for you? In addition to owls, you love interesting creatures of all shapes and sizes, and Asia is full of them! I think this point is best demonstrated by a series of photos, taken by yours truly. Feel free to be impressed by my photo taking skillz, if you want:


Taroko Gorge, Taiwan


Botanic Gardens, Singapore


Kowloon Park, Hong Kong


Arashiyama, Kyoto


Kerama Islands, Okinawa

Reason #4: The experiences!

Dad! Haven’t you always wanted to breathe underwater and swim through a school of goldband fusiliers? Or maybe you’d like to climb to the top of a tall mountain and see the lush green mountains covered in a silent fog? Wouldn’t you love to go bird watching together in a tropical rainforest, stopping to listen to the bird calls? I promise it’ll be way better than that time we froze our asses off looking for eagles in Rockport… 

We can do all that and MORE on our amazing adventure! Oh the places you’ll go! 


And if you’re worried about your daily workouts being interrupted, I have a solution for that one too. How about we hike to the Mango Bay viewpoint first thing in the morning and have a mango smoothie for breakfast? Or we’ll just walk all over town exploring all day long, averaging 20k steps per day (ask Tammy, she knows from experience). Hey, that reminds me of how you’d rather park 17 miles away from your destination and walk rather than ever have to parallel park.


As you can see, I’ve thought of everything already. That’s because I’m young and clever. Which reminds me of one of the most important reasons why you should travel with me:

You didn’t do it when you were young.

But don’t worry, you’re young at heart! You still laugh at jokes about farts and giggle when you watch Beavis and Butthead. And you’re in better shape than most twentysomethings! Don’t wait until you become old and feeble. The time has COME, the walrus said!

Reason #5: The price.

Okay, you’re a data-driven decision maker, right? Let’s look at some numbers.

  • Cost of a 2-tank scuba dive trip in Koh Tao, Thailand: $40
  • Average amount spent on food and drinks per day in Kuala Lumpur: $10
  • Total cost of a week’s accommodation in Penang, Malaysia: $60
  • Experience of traveling abroad with your darling daughter: priceless.

See, Dad? You don’t have to worry about this trip costing you all your hard-earned pennies. Traveling in Southeast Asia is a bargain! You love those! As a reminder to readers, we’re talking about the guy who distinguishes between his “fancy” tank tops and his normal tank tops based on the number of holes they have.

And if you’re not convinced by the numbers above, the stock broker in you will surely appreciate the beauty of investing in a sure thing. You invest money in stocks and bonds every day, hoping the companies will perform well and your investments will rise in value. But the beauty of investing money in travel is that you are guaranteed to come home with loads of new experiences and unforgettable moments. Just remember: when you’re lying on your death bed (when you’re 152 years old), I promise you will not regret that trip you took with your daughter in 2016.


So now that I’ve presented the most compelling argument of all time, please head on down to your neighborhood Skyscanner or Kayak at your earliest convenience, pick up your golden ticket, and blow that corporate popsicle stand! I’ll be waiting for you at the airport with open arms and a potato in hand.


Love you, Dad.

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Una respuesta a A Shameless Letter to My Father

  1. Karol Pulliam dijo:

    Stephanie, Great blog post! Scott, just do it!


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