Hey everyone, I drew sadness.

Trying something new to improve my skills.

I used to be good at art. Now, after years of letting go, holding a pen (and the fact that I’m using a pen, not pencil) to draw art makes me feel like a newbie.

I don’t really know why, but I felt very motivated to draw “Sadness” from the movie inside out.

And I don’t really know why I chose to draw something sad, which was what I searched up on Bing. I just started a new job, so it really should be a good thing going on for me.

Maybe it meant that I’m not doing all the I have the potential to do? Like, what is a hobby?

As a resolve to change my busy bee way of life, I’ve decided to take a picture of something I enjoy doing at least once a week (I’ll try for once a day, if it works out).

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By the way, sorry this picture is so bad. I thought about redrawing so that it looks better to put on my blog, but I wanted it to be authentic.

My family is pretty artistic, and by “pretty” I mean that my brother and sisters put my newbie drawing to shame. Seriously, they’re, like, 10 and they have a Youtube channel with animated videos. Feel free to follow them!


My sister, 12 years old, animated this one:

She is literally obsessed with art. She spends 10 hours a day in the summer, just drawing. And when we come home at night, she still wants to draw.


My brother, 10 years old, animated this one:

He has lots of talent, which I think is such a waste that he spends most his time watching Youtube videos.


My other sister, 15 years old at the age of drawing this, is super talented. It’s a pity she’s so ambitious and is boggled down with 6 college and high school classes in a semester. I’m really pushing for her to continue drawing, but we’ll see.


I wonder if it’s the commute that’s bringing me down. For the first time, I have to commute 30-45 minutes by CAR. New York doesn’t count because at least I got to sit down in the subway train, and read a book. /sigh/

Well, thanks for stopping in!! I really appreciate your reading my blog. 🙂

 

 

Three Day, Three Quotes Challenge: Day 2

Every birth year, I look back and reflect on what life lessons in that year resonated with me most. I have been 24 years old for 4 months now, and I have experienced by far the most internal struggle I’ve ever been through. I’ve met and dealt with situations beyond my comfort zones.

For my 2nd Day’s Quote Challenge Response, I am choosing another song that I have come to appreciate more and more over the years. This song outlines the goals in my life.

“My Way”

And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill, my share of losing
And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way
Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows and did it my way

Yes, it was my way


I am nominating:

Last Post: Travel Blogging Challenge Highlights and What I’ve Learned

I made it!!!!!!!

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For those who have never heard of this challenge, here is your opportunity to read it all the way ’til the end: 21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge (feel free to do a challenge of yourself!).

After over three months of blogging, there are a few posts that I’m quite proud of for writing myself. Here are some of the best:

Challenge Highlights

As I approached this last post, I feel nervous and excited. Nervous because I feel as if I have exhausted my writing topics. What else is there to share aside from all the experiences I’ve had?

With the end in sight, I’m excited because I’ve stuck to this challenge through the end. There were definitely weeks where I did not feel like writing, but this challenge had motivated me to get back into my blogging grind. Furthermore, this challenge was born from one of my monthly goals list, and I’m quite happy about being able to finish it.

I’ve learned a lot from this blogging challenge. I have practiced determination by pursuing a hobby and passion of mine through long, lazy days. I have learned to flow my writing better. Best of all, I’ve made great fun blogging friends along the way.

Again, do check out my 21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge, where you will find the rest of the challenge prompts!


What’s next?

Well, now that I’m out of a 3+ month long blogging commitment, I want to take a break from challenge prompts for a little bit.

I’m hoping to get an actual blog domain for myself in the next few months. This would be a great way to explore uncharted waters and take a dive in the deep blogging pool. Adventures ahead!

What are some of your goals and proud accomplishments?


Thanks for reading! This is a response to the 21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge!

Here are some other posts you might like:

Read more of my posts from the Travel Blogging Challenge:

Week 1:  A favorite travel photo of you and intro
Week 2: Little known tips
Week 3: Funny story
Week 4: Misadventures
Week 5: Top three cultural foods
Week 6: Unusual travel activities/photos
Week 7: Inspiration for traveling
Week 8: Five favorite travel blogs
Week 9: Gross/disgusting stories
Week 10: Best adventures while traveling
Week 11: What’s in your backpack?
Week 12: Happy and sad stories
Week 13: Unique cultures encountered
Week 14: Top three favorite destinations
Week 15: Travel regrets
Week 16: Scary and cool travel stories
Week 17: Things to purge
Week 18: Humbling things learned from traveling
Week 19: Confessions
Week 20: Travel bucket list (countries/activities)
Week 21: Your challenge post highlights and what you’ve learned during this challenge

These awesome people are also doing the challenge!!! Click to see their stories!

Interested in participating in the Weekly Travel Blogging Challenge? Feel free to make your own today!

Travel Planning and Stress

Ask anybody, I’m one of those people who enjoys travel planning, and end up packing each day with things to do.

I would want to sight-see, eat lunch at a place I checked out on Yelp, then go see a live music performances in a consecutive four hours of activity. I would constantly check my watch to see what’s next on my itinerary.

If this sounds familiar, raise your hand.

I mean, I try not to plan every single second of the trip, but I just get so excited that I want to do everything with every second of travel.

But if you’re anything like me, then doing activity one day after another can get overwhelming very quickly. This is especially true in the case of me planning several outings in the same day.

You do things up to the point where it doesn’t feel like vacation any more.

… Not only that…

When you travel with other people (like my boyfriend), things are not going to be on schedule all the time.

The bus is late. There is traffic. The event is longer than expected. Someone has a sudden emergency. The weather is doing its own thing. It goes on.

I’ve planned and planned trips around the world, and we have missed so many of those heavily planned days because it simply doesn’t always work out

How to Save Yourself

In situations like these, it is important to realize that everything will be okay. There’s nothing that needs to be done while your on vacation.

First. Don’t be like me. Don’t pack everything you want to do in all seven days of vacation. Leave a day or two free to just do anything that catches your fancy, spontaneity is half the fun. If you’re not a spontaneous person, then at least leave several of your mornings or nights free to kick back and relax.

Second. Realize that you stressing out makes it less enjoyable for everyone else. Nobody likes being rushed. Plan with plenty of time to spare in between to get ready. If you can’t relax and chill, group travel probably not for you.

Third. Always be ready for your plan to fail. Have one or two thing that you have to do (like going to a Queen + Adam Lambert concert), and plan for that.

Fourth. Wander around. You’ll definitely find something worthy of spending time to do.

Isn’t it the plan to spend time relaxing and pampering yourself anyway?


Thanks for reading, here are some posts from the Travel Blogging Challenge you might like!

Interested in participating in the Weekly Travel Blogging Challenge? Feel free to make your own today!

Week 1:  A favorite travel photo of you and intro
Week 2: Little known tips
Week 3: Funny story
Week 4: Misadventures
Week 5: Top three cultural foods
Week 6: Unusual travel activities/photos
Week 7: Inspiration for traveling
Week 8: Five favorite travel blogs
Week 9: Gross/disgusting stories
Week 10: Best adventures while traveling
Week 11: What’s in your backpack?
Week 12: Happy and sad stories
Week 13: Unique cultures encountered
Week 14: Top three favorite destinations
Week 15: Travel regrets
Week 16: Scary and cool travel stories
Week 17: Things to purge
Week 18: Humbling things learned from traveling
Week 19: Confessions
Week 20: Travel bucket list (countries/activities)
Week 21: Your challenge post highlights and what you’ve learned during this challenge

3-Month Backpacking Trip: What’s in my bag?

Welcome back, my travel enthusiast fellows!

Packing for a backpacking trip overseas can be a gruesome task. In my experience, my biggest problem has always been over-packing. I remember, because when I studied abroad in Singapore, I brought two large suitcases full of things with me. I didn’t use most of them. When I decided to travel in Japan, I had to lug around my two giant suitcases, which became a huge pain.

Nowadays, over-packing would be detrimental in the long run as I carry all my possessions on my back. Over time, I’ve cut down the stuff I take from 2 luggages to 1 backpacking bag and 1 day bag. Like so: IMG_0454Without further ado….

What’s in my bag?

Previously in my post on Ways to Budget Travel, I’ve mentioned my love for my Osprey 48 liter bag + waterproof cover. Here, I just want to emphasize how important proper gear is to traveling.

I specifically chose this size because it easily fits into all airline carry on cabins. Especially with budget flights, I can just pack it up and just bring it in as a carry on without having to pay for a luggage. The state-of-the-art suspension system made all my material possessions in my bag feel weightless, and is a lot easier on my back.

Best price of $130 at Amazon!

I am a minimalist in the things I pack when traveling. I also like to under pack to buy some clothes in the country I’m traveling as souvenir. 😉 Because I carry everything in my bags, I like to keep all my clothes and accessories as lightweight as possible.

  • 1x stuff sack
  • 5x shirts (3 tank tops for comfort/going out, 2 formal)
  • 1x water resistant jacket
  • 1x stuffable dawn jacket (I highly recommend getting these for ultra lightweight and warmth)
  • 2x pants (1 comfort, 1 going out) 
  • 3x shorts
  • 3x dresses
  • 4x socks (sporty and comfortable)
  • 1x scarf/shawl
  • Underwear (lots)
  • 1x shoes
  • 1x flip flops
  • Waterproof bag set (for water activities)
  • Safety pins/needle and thread
  • Multi-tool knife
  • Duct tape
  • Ropes
  • Headlamp
  • Ao dai – since I’m planning on celebrating Vietnamese New Year, Tet, in Vietnam, I’m bringing my custom made ao dai. I don’t typically bring this on my trips! Here’s a picture for reference!

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First Aid Kit – whatever brand or name you use, here is the gist of medications you want to take with you.

  • Anti-diarrhea
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Band-aid
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Allergy
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Pain reliever
  • Anti-mosquito/anti-itch cream (tropical countries)

Paperwork – I like to keep all of my paperwork in zip lock bag to protect them from water damage

  • Printout/screenshots of plane tickets 
  • Passport book/card (+2 photocopies to bring on day/night trips)
  • Vaccination records (depending on country)
  • Visas (Vietnam, for example)
  • Copy of TEFL certificate (If I plan to teach while abroad)

Travel cards

  • Capital One Quicksilver – 1.5% cashback on all purchases, no foreign transaction fees, no annual fees
  • Charles Schwab – no ATM fees, no foreign transaction fees worldwide. With this card, you can withdraw from anywhere at any ATM!

Day Bag

ADDITIONAL GEAR: IF YOU PLAN ON HARDCORE BACKPACKING + CAMPING

  • Camping tent and poles (poles can go on side straps, tent can go on bottom straps); I loved our Marmot tent because of lightweight and the air flow system. We had taken it on our trip to the freezing top of a volcano and survived thanks to it. The high price is worth the durability. 
Best Price at Amazon for $189.90

Final thoughts

Whether you’re traveling short term or long term, I hope that my list has helped you. Thanks so much for reading! I’d also like to know what you have in your bag. Let me know in comments below- Cheers!

Thanks for reading! This is a response to the 21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge!

Interested in participating in the Weekly Travel Blogging Challenge? Feel free to make your own today!

Week 1:  A favorite travel photo of you and intro
Week 2: Little known tips
Week 3: Funny story
Week 4: Misadventures
Week 5: Top three cultural foods
Week 6: Unusual travel activities/photos
Week 7: Inspiration for traveling
Week 8: Five favorite travel blogs
Week 9: Gross/disgusting stories
Week 10: Best adventures while traveling
Week 11: What’s in your backpack?
Week 12: Happy and sad stories
Week 13: Unique cultures encountered
Week 14: Top three favorite destinations
Week 15: Travel regrets
Week 16: Scary and cool travel stories
Week 17: Things to purge
Week 18: Humbling things learned from traveling
Week 19: Confessions
Week 20: Travel bucket list (countries/activities)
Week 21: Your challenge post highlights and what you’ve learned during this challenge

These awesome people are also doing the challenge!!! Click to see their stories!

 

Travel Blogging Challenge – Week  6 (Unusual Travel Activities/Photos)

Welcome back to Travel Blogging Challenge Week 6!

So many unusual travel photos and stories, where do I start?

I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to share some random pictures that I couldn’t put in any of my other posts!

When people ask me what I like to do, I would be at a lost to explain. I like to do a variety of things, especially while traveling. It’s hard because each country has it’s own personality. The activities I like to do vary from place to place. I guess that’s why I like to blog to show the different aspects that I enjoy out of my travels. I hope you enjoy it!

Number 1: Born in a refugee camp and raised in a foreign country all my life, I was not able to explore my mother land until I was 21. For the first time, I celebrated Vietnamese New Year, Tet, in the traditional dress, ao dai, and holding my red packet (of money) li xi.

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Number 2: One of my proudest travel accomplishment is the time I hiked up a 13,000 ft volcano in Guatemala, and seeing it erupt, feeling  the rumble, and being able watch the lava flow through the night.

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Beautiful views above the clouds with Acatenango

Number 3: Have you ever seen giant robots fighting as you have dinner? Only Japan would have it. Check out the time I ate at Robot Restaurant in Japan!

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Number 4: Here is me, chilling with Buddy the Bison at Yellowstone National Park.

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Number 5: Had to take this photo with these gorgeous lady-boys in Thailand! Would you have guessed that they’re men? You go, girls!

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Number 7: Scuba diving was definitely one of the scariest thing I’ve ever done. Considering it was a sketchy establishment in a developing country, and with 5 minutes of training. Much crazier than that is trying not to freak out with a giant whale shark floating just 6 feet from me. After getting a hang of not drowning, I was amazed with the coral reef below as well as the whale sharks swimming in the background!

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What are your unusual experiences? Any on your wish list?


Thanks for reading! This is a response to the 21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge!

Interested in participating in the Weekly Travel Blogging Challenge? Feel free to make your own today!

Week 1:  A favorite travel photo of you and intro
Week 2: Little known tips
Week 3: Funny story
Week 4: Misadventures
Week 5: Top three cultural foods
Week 6: Unusual travel activities/photos
Week 7: Inspiration for traveling
Week 8: Five favorite travel blogs
Week 9: Gross/disgusting stories
Week 10: Best adventures while traveling
Week 11: What’s in your backpack?
Week 12: Happy and sad stories
Week 13: Unique cultures encountered
Week 14: Top three favorite destinations
Week 15: Travel regrets
Week 16: Scary and cool travel stories
Week 17: Things to purge
Week 18: Humbling things learned from traveling
Week 19: Confessions
Week 20: Travel bucket list (countries/activities)
Week 21: Your challenge post highlights and what you’ve learned during this challenge

Who else is doing the challenge?

 

 

Travel Blogging Challenge – Week 5 (Top Three Cultural Foods) The Time I Ate Too Much

Food, food, food, food, food! Is what most people hear when they travel with me. In all of my travels, food plays a crucial role to my enjoyment.

As a vegetarian since birth, I’m always wary of eating out at restaurants. Luckily, I am blessed with a wonderful mother, who is the best chef in the world. However, when I hit the road, I am always excited to try other cultural foods!

As you can imagine, being a vegetarian abroad can be quite complicated. Some countries think fish and chicken are not meat, therefore, it is okay for it to be in a vegetarian meal. I have to learn some key phrases with every foreign country I visit, to convey the entirety of my vegetarian-ess. With every mistake I make, I learn a lot to have a better experience the next time.

Because of my continuously adventurous vegetarian taste buds, I have gotten to try amazing vegetarian dishes from around the world. Here are top three favorite countries’ dishes, in collage form.

  1. Korea for its crazy food inventions. I am in love with korean-style ramen. I love their desserts, bibimbap (rice and vegetable mixture with excellent presentation and sauce), and japchae (clear noodles). Ever heard of cold noodles in ice? Not my cup of noodles, but I tried it anyway! Thanks Korea. 🙂
  2. Nicaragua – Choosing a country from the many favorite foods I had in Central America was quite difficult. I chose Nicaragua purely because I had an amazing street food experience there. Shave ice desserts called granizado were all over the streets. Central American foods sometimes overlapped each other, so I was happy to find some of my favorite foods in neighboring countries. Some of my favorites are elotes (corn), traditional rice and beans con queso (with cheese) dishes, platanos (plantains), and pan (bread).
  3. Thailand – How do you beat $1 phad thai? Love the diversity of street foods in Bangkok. Also a great place for noodles and spicy food, which is right down my alley.

Note: I left out some of my favorite foods (because I think I am biased towards them). For your interest, I will list them below:

Vietnamese foods. Being Vietnamese by blood, I’m always partial to my native country’s cuisines. I am immensely proud of the variety of Vietnamese foods. It’s colorful, tasty, and full of culture.

Japanese foods. As one of the most amazing cultures out there, they have so many creative dishes. 🙂 Home to sushi, green tea Kit Kat, soba noodles, and tempura, it’s possibly some of my favorite foods. Unfortunately, most their foods are not vegetarian friendly.

 

Filipino foods. Raised in the Philippines, I came to love eating mangoes, bananacues (caramelized, roasted plantains), and various different vegetarian snack options.2174887938_28dc5b40d0_z

Thanks for reading!! What are your favorite foods???


Thanks for reading! This is a response to the 21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge!

Read more of my posts from the Travel Blogging Challenge:

Week 1:  A favorite travel photo of you and intro
Week 2: Little known tips
Week 3: Funny story
Week 4: Misadventures
Week 5: Top three cultural foods
Week 6: Unusual travel activities/photos
Week 7: Inspiration for traveling
Week 8: Five favorite travel blogs
Week 9: Gross/disgusting stories
Week 10: Best adventures while traveling
Week 11: What’s in your backpack?
Week 12: Happy and sad stories
Week 13: Unique cultures encountered
Week 14: Top three favorite destinations
Week 15: Travel regrets
Week 16: Scary and cool travel stories
Week 17: Things to purge
Week 18: Humbling things learned from traveling
Week 19: Confessions
Week 20: Travel bucket list (countries/activities)
Week 21: Your challenge post highlights and what you’ve learned during this challenge

Who else is doing the challenge?

Interested in participating in the Weekly Travel Blogging Challenge? Feel free to make your own today!

 

Travel Blogging Challenge – Week  4 (Travel Misadventures) The Time I Almost Died on a Motorbike

Getting into a motor accident in Asia is no joke. I’ve heard so many horror stories of the ugly traffic, terrible drivers, no road etiquette, no care for street signs. Countless of accidents result in deaths. If the local government happens to be corrupt, the guilty party can even get away unscathed.

This week’s travel blogging theme is travel misadventures.  I want to write this post to tell my story, in hopes of showing future travelers ways to avoid the same misfortune.

I was traveling through Thailand during my trip around Southeast Asia when I decided to take a trip from Chiang Mai to Pai (about 6 hours drive) by motorbike. The way up the mountain was curvy and narrow. As I was going up the blind curve, a car sped down the mountain in the middle of the road. Seeing that it was on my lane, I swerved out of its way.

The sequence of events that followed felt like a dream.

With not enough time or room to move out of the car’s way, I fell hard. My bike scraping all the way to the other side, closing the cliff side. The car that caused my fall stopped.. then kept driving on. Several cars passed by, and kept driving.

I saw everything happen in slow motion. I didn’t quite register what happened. I started to panic. I was too surprised to cry. I just started to scream, “Help!” Even though I didn’t know exactly what I wanted help for. A guy with a truck stopped and asked if I needed help. With several people’s help, I was able to be carried to a local hospital on a back of a truck.

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Today, looking back, this event had affect my life in several ways. Several thoughts come to mind as my motorbike spiraled out of control, and I rolled several feet, scarring my knees and hand for life.

Death. Is traveling the world worth dying for? Flashes of regret as I hit the ground. I think of my family. I think of my partner. How if I had died that moment, that some things are still left undone. Picking my life back up, I remind myself everyday that I have to live it to the fullest!

Scars. I typically never regret any adventures I take. With this one, I have two giant scars on my knees to remind me of that moment. I have learned a lot of things, and experienced a lot of things. I have become smarter from it. And hopefully, so will have you.

Determined to not let my accident destroy my trip. I continued to hike, bike, climb, swim. Which had caused it to infect for a week, but no regrets!

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That’s all folks!

Thanks for reading! This is a response to the 21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge!

Read more of my posts from the Travel Blogging Challenge:

Week 1:  A favorite travel photo of you and intro
Week 2: Little known tips
Week 3: Funny story
Week 4: Misadventures
Week 5: Top three cultural foods
Week 6: Unusual travel activities/photos
Week 7: Inspiration for traveling
Week 8: Five favorite travel blogs
Week 9: Gross/disgusting stories
Week 10: Best adventures while traveling
Week 11: What’s in your backpack?
Week 12: Happy and sad stories
Week 13: Unique cultures encountered
Week 14: Top three favorite destinations
Week 15: Travel regrets
Week 16: Scary and cool travel stories
Week 17: Things to purge
Week 18: Humbling things learned from traveling
Week 19: Confessions
Week 20: Travel bucket list (countries/activities)
Week 21: Your challenge post highlights and what you’ve learned during this challenge

This challenge showcases your experience through travel stories, cultures, foods, advise, lessons, and more. You don’t need to be a world traveler to join. I encourage everyone to write and share your cool experiences, near and far! You can check out the entire challenge in the original post here! Please also visit JulieVikkilawman, and Kailin as they will be with me in this blogging journey!

Travel Blogging Challenge – Week 3 (Funny Travel Story) Pandas!

How do I beat the story where I almost fell off a coconut tree? Or the time I saw a buffalo trip three feet in front of me?

I guess I will have to tell you the panda story.

Panda?

How often in my life do I get to see a panda? Only once. And it was awesome. 

I was studying abroad in Singapore for a semester. There, I met my awesome Irish friend Doireann. Among so many other awesome and unique things, she is a zoologist. The first one I’ve ever met in my life. We quickly became good friends and even traveled, motorbiked, and scuba-dived together!

One of my top places to visit was the Singapore Zoo, which features  a 26-hectare wildlife park. Who better to go with than a to-be zoologist? We planned a date, and made it happen. We also had a few other friends joining our little group.

Anyway, she had a long-term obsession with pandas. Dozens of things she owns have panda-related themes to them. She has interned and worked with baby pandas (cubs?), actually getting to hold and cuddle with them, which is awesome!

After about 2 hours of walking though the zoo, we finally reached the exhibit that Doireann was waiting for: the pandas.

Unfortunately…

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They really don’t do much…

We watched and waited.

For over two hours…

I mean, they’re pretty cool. Black and white, you know? But how long can it possibly lay there?

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A long time apparently.

After watching it for so long, we decided to walk around past the panda exhibit. When we came back, the panda had sat up into a furball!

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And then something truly amazing happened!

Are you ready for this?

 

Whoaaaa! I was so impressed. After hours of watching the panda do nothing, in just a few minutes, it sat up, and stood up. For food! Nom nom nom. Like Po in Kung Fu Panda, haha!

Just when I thought we have seen it all….

It started scaling the tree! Watching the magnificent 200+ pound fluff ball body climb up the tree was so amazing, yet hilarious. Lazy panda turns productive and athletic for food. Such is the life.

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What an epic end of a day at the zoo. This panda deserves a trophy! I doubt most visitors at the zoo were able to see this miracle. Maybe it reveals itself to those with patience?


That’s all folks!

Thanks for reading! This is a response to the 21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge!

Read more of my posts from the Travel Blogging Challenge:

Week 1:  A favorite travel photo of you and intro
Week 2: Little known tips
Week 3: Funny story
Week 4: Misadventures
Week 5: Top three cultural foods
Week 6: Unusual travel activities/photos
Week 7: Inspiration for traveling
Week 8: Five favorite travel blogs
Week 9: Gross/disgusting stories
Week 10: Best adventures while traveling
Week 11: What’s in your backpack?
Week 12: Happy and sad stories
Week 13: Unique cultures encountered
Week 14: Top three favorite destinations
Week 15: Travel regrets
Week 16: Scary and cool travel stories
Week 17: Things to purge
Week 18: Humbling things learned from traveling
Week 19: Confessions
Week 20: Travel bucket list (countries/activities)
Week 21: Your challenge post highlights and what you’ve learned during this challenge

This challenge showcases your experience through travel stories, cultures, foods, advise, lessons, and more. You don’t need to be a world traveler to join. I encourage everyone to write and share your cool experiences, near and far! You can check out the entire challenge in the original post here! Please also visit Julie, Vikkilawman, and Kailin as they will be with me in this blogging journey!

Backpacker Life

Whoa! This week’s photo challenge is Transient, which is right up my (and any other travel bloggers’) alley! Here are some of my favorite snapshots throughout my backpacking trip in various countries around the world.

Are you a travel enthusiast too? I’ve recently launched a Travel Blogging Challenge, that anyone can join! It’s a great opportunity for me to consolidate my travel photos and showcase your experience through travel stories, cultures, foods, advise, lessons, and more!

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New York City, the center of transience!
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Hiking up and down Grand Canyon in a day!
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Strolling through the ancient ruins of Tikal, Guatemala
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Hostel living
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Siem Riem, Cambodia
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So true, thanks Beatles!
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Colonial town, Antigua

Thanks for visiting! Cheers!! <3

Photo Challenge: Transient

Everything Else is a Distraction

There’s only one thing I need in life… everything else is a distraction. 

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(I’ve picked up bracelet weaving lately. I’ve always loved crafting, and I’ve been told to try selling online. Do you, or any young kids in your house, like nerdy plush toys? Please, please, please check out my recently opened Etsy store!)

Photo Challenge: Focus

Travel Blogging Challenge – Week 2 (Little Known Travel Tips)

Over the years, I’ve learned so many things from trial and error. I’ve slept on the border, I’ve fallen from a motorbike, I’ve almost drowned while scuba diving, I’ve lost some of my most prized possessions, I’ve almost fallen from a coconut tree, and many more which I can tell you about in Travel Challenge Week 4 (Misadventures). This week, I want to tell you what mistakes I’ve seen people make (including myself).


Little Known Travel Tips, by order of importance

For an authentic experience, skip the tourist destinations, do what the locals do. … I know right? Easier said than done. But from my experience, touristy landmarks are always crowded, commercialized, and expensive. They are almost always full of street sellers, all up in your face.

On the other hand, I’ve done some really cool things and met awesome locals through Couchsurfing, an excellent resource for meeting locals and have a free place to stay. Talking to other travelers also help in my decision for the next destination! Here are some awesome experiences I’ve had, off the beaten track.

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Semana Santa (Easter) floral carpet on the streets

To get the most authentic things to do, I turn on my creep mode, and start watching the locals. I steer clear of tourists, and follow the locals to the best spots in town. For example…

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Found this wonderful indoor market while wandering around the village.

Food is a big part of my travels. I always seek local foods while walking about. Here are some platos tipicos from Couchsurf hosts and local markets! Delicious~~ <3

Don’t plan everything. I know it’s really hard to do when you only have a week of vacation. I’ve met people who visit New York City with their every hour scheduled out. It becomes more of a chore than a vacation. You’ll start stressing out when things don’t work out as planned… and altogether unpleasant.

I like to put in an extra free day or week so that I can just wander around serendipitously. My partner and I always travel slower than we planned out. When we moved to New York, we had only intended to stay for 3 months. We ended up staying for almost a year!

Don’t be too stingy. I am so guilty of this. Spending, especially in a foreign country where the money value is lower than the United States, can be tricky sometimes. I have once slept in a tent outside someone’s house (with permission) in the rain instead of paying $15 to get a motel room. Yeah, I know. It’s crazy that I didn’t do it. But $15 was considered a lot of money in Honduras!! Another time, I rode on a rickety bus for $1 instead of paying $20 for a shared private van. There, I got my brand new cellphone stolen.

Phew! So be it whether I missed out on experience or end up losing things, I have made it a goal to learn when to spend and when to save. Being too thrifty can hurt.

It’s okay to travel alone. I’ve felt the most freedom and met some of the coolest people while traveling solo. I loved it because I was free to do anything I wanted. I traveled on my own on some days, but more than often, I met dozens of people at random hostels and traveled together.  Spontaneity is 80% of the fun. After I met my partner, I experienced the joy of sharing my experiences with a significant other. I appreciate and love both travel styles. Don’t be the one who is scared of traveling alone!

Working while traveling is a wonderful substitution for a 9-5 job. In today’s digital age, people can now work with flexibility. I teach English as a Second Language, earning $22+ an hour. Learn more about my post on it here!

Invest a little bit in the right gear. For a year, I lived out of my backpack. That means a few things. All the clothes I wear needs to be hand picked carefully. I’ll admit, most my clothes are cheap, mostly from thrift stores. However, I want to stress the importance of travel gear.

Because I carry so much stuff on my back, I decided to buy a backpack with a suspension system. This was my best decision ever. I chose a 40L bag to easily fit the bag as a carry on on a plane. It fit everything, including my tent, tent poles, and clothes. On my back, with straps on correctly, I hardly felt any weight!

Check out prices on Amazon!

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Hiked 13,000 feet up a volcano with my awesome backpack!

I would say my backpack was the most expensive thing I owned. I would also invest in down feather jackets for its warmth and light weight, a lightweight backpacker tent, and an ultra light inflatable sleeping pad. Clothes were cheap where we traveled, and I knew I would be shopping, so I didn’t bring that many. My shoes were just from Walmart. So take my advice with a grain of salt. 😉

Immerse in the travels, get off your phone. When I lost my phone (pick-pocketed in Guatemala), I thought my world had ended. Then I began to realize how much my phone had controlled me. I began to see independently, outside of my selfies. The freedom was eye-opening. I suggest everyone try it. Instagram can wait!


That’s all folks!

Thanks for reading! This is a response to the 21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge!

Read more of my posts from the Travel Blogging Challenge:

Week 1:  A favorite travel photo of you and intro
Week 2: Little known tips
Week 3: Funny story
Week 4: Misadventures
Week 5: Top three cultural foods
Week 6: Unusual travel activities/photos
Week 7: Inspiration for traveling
Week 8: Five favorite travel blogs
Week 9: Gross/disgusting stories
Week 10: Best adventures while traveling
Week 11: What’s in your backpack?
Week 12: Happy and sad stories
Week 13: Unique cultures encountered
Week 14: Top three favorite destinations
Week 15: Travel regrets
Week 16: Scary and cool travel stories
Week 17: Things to purge
Week 18: Humbling things learned from traveling
Week 19: Confessions
Week 20: Travel bucket list (countries/activities)
Week 21: Your challenge post highlights and what you’ve learned during this challenge

This challenge showcases your experience through travel stories, cultures, foods, advise, lessons, and more. You don’t need to be a world traveler to join. I encourage everyone to write and share your cool experiences, near and far! You can check out the entire challenge in the original post here! Please also visit Julie and Vikkilawman as they will be with me in this blogging journey!

 

Travel Blogging Challenge- Week 1 (Favorite Travel Photo and Intro)

I’m so excited to start off my 21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge (you don’t have to be a world traveler to join this challenge)! This challenge showcases your experience through travel stories, cultures, foods, advise, lessons, and more. I encourage everyone to join and share your cool experiences, near and far! You can check out the entire challenge in the original post here! Please also visit Julie and Vikkilawman as they will be with me in this blogging journey!


Week 1: Your favorite travel photo of you and intro

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Yellowstone National Park

This is a photo of Buddy the Bison as he was about to walk across the bridge (about 3 feet from me) like a boss. This moment was phenomenal for me, because I had a fear that he was going to attack us (you never know, those horns are menacing). He ended up just walking right onto the bridge! It was the coolest thing in the world. Then, as all three of his hooves were on the bridge, he slipped! The poor thing! I was in between laughing and feeling sorry for him. It was so bizzare because the bison looked super cool and composed, with big, all-knowing wisdom eyes, I never expected that to happen. It took him about 30 seconds to regain composure and then crossed to the other side. We hung out with him for another hour, then moved on to view the geysers.


Intro

I’m one of those people people who never really knows what their doing. In life, I let my heart and impulses guide me, and trust that my wandering will lead me to happiness. One thing I never regret, is traveling.

I started my first trip by myself to Europe when I graduated high school, visiting my uncle in Norway. I’ve dreamt of traveling the world ever since.

Travel motto: Don’t count the countries that you’ve been to, but rather the experiences you’ve had in that country. 

Speaking of travel experiences, I was lucky enough to study abroad in Singapore, trek through jungles, climb volcanoes, explore colonial towns, climb a coconut tree, go back in time in a Medieval Festival, danced though the night at a full moon party, had dinner at a Robot Restaurant, motorbiked through Thailand, watch Broadway shows in NYC, and more! I’m so excited to share these stories with you.

I searched for remote work and now teach ESL online for $21+/hour. To save money, meet locals, and stay with them for free, I couchsurfed through 5+ countries.

When I graduated college, I met my partner, whom I now travel with. I’m so happy to be able to share all these beautiful moments with him. We’re both vegetarians, so you can imagine the struggle.

I think that’s it about me for now. I hope you find my posts interesting enough to follow my journey. Thanks for reading!! Welcome to my blog, and until next time! <3

 


Know any travel bloggers? Tag them here and join me!!! Let me know when you’re in, so that I can read your responses!

Thanks for reading! This is a response to the 21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge!

Read more of my posts from the Travel Blogging Challenge:

Week 1:  A favorite travel photo of you and intro
Week 2: Little known tips
Week 3: Funny story
Week 4: Misadventures
Week 5: Top three cultural foods
Week 6: Unusual travel activities/photos
Week 7: Inspiration for traveling
Week 8: Five favorite travel blogs
Week 9: Gross/disgusting stories
Week 10: Best adventures while traveling
Week 11: What’s in your backpack?
Week 12: Happy and sad stories
Week 13: Unique cultures encountered
Week 14: Top three favorite destinations
Week 15: Travel regrets
Week 16: Scary and cool travel stories
Week 17: Things to purge
Week 18: Humbling things learned from traveling
Week 19: Confessions
Week 20: Travel bucket list (countries/activities)
Week 21: Your challenge post highlights and what you’ve learned during this challenge

 

21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge

Travel Heals the Mind and Body

Fulfilling one of my first goals of this month, I have created my very own weekly blogging challenge. This challenge showcases your experience through travel stories, cultures, foods, advise, lessons, and more. You don’t have to be a world traveler to join this challenge, I encourage everyone to join and share your cool experiences, near and far!

I’ve been on the road since I was born, but in a different sense. My parents were refugees and frequently move from place to place. Growing up, I want to take every opportunity to see the world, instead of sitting at a desk.  This challenge explores all my tips and tricks as well as things I’ve learned.

Week 1:  A favorite travel photo of you and intro
Week 2: Little known tips
Week 3: Funny story
Week 4: Misadventures
Week 5: Top three cultural foods
Week 6: Unusual travel activities/photos
Week 7: Inspiration for traveling
Week 8: Five favorite travel blogs
Week 9: Gross/disgusting stories
Week 10: Best adventures while traveling
Week 11: What’s in your backpack?
Week 12: Happy and sad stories
Week 13: Unique cultures encountered
Week 14: Top three favorite destinations
Week 15: Travel regrets
Week 16: Scary and cool travel stories
Week 17: Things to purge
Week 18: Humbling things learned from traveling
Week 19: Confessions
Week 20: Travel bucket list (countries/activities)
Week 21: Your challenge post highlights and what you’ve learned during this challenge

This post is meant to be fun and explores a wide range of your history and story-telling. Of course, I don’t plan to follow it to exactly every week. I’m so happy to have my blogging friends, as they made my journey through my first few months of blogging very fun and fulfilling!


Please also visit these amazing folks as they will be joining me on this blogging journey!

Know any travel bloggers? Tag them here and join me!!! Let me know when you’re in, so that I can read your responses!


Excuse Me, Life Passing Through

2017 has been a year of revelations for me. The year where I finally understand all the things my parents tell me when they say, “I’ll tell you when you’re older.” Things that had once been so clear to me aren’t what I had expected them to be. People have changed. My perspectives have changed. My desires and interests evolved. I don’t understand the world as much as I used to think, and now that I have scraped off the tip of the ice berg, there is still so much to learn. 

Because of these discoveries, my path in life has changed. It’s not a bad thing, because I am wiser. The light may be fading, but what I do see shines brighter with intensity. 

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Statue of Liberty

Photo Challenge: Evanescent

Vietnamese Heritage

Celebrating my first Vietnamese New Year Tet in my motherland and experiencing traditions passed on for thousands of years. Wearing the traditional Ao Dai, holding red packets (with money inside), red and gold peace and prosperity decorations, and vibrant flowers of all colors for the best luck of the year.

A Blog Response to Photo Challenge

Sunrise at the Wat

The sunrise view of Angkor Wat and it’s reflection on the water is an experience of a lifetime. 

But I was not told of the thousands of other people who were also trying to see that view every morning. Although the loud chattering and cramped standing space had destroyed the serene picture that I had expected, the history and architecture were impressive and made it worthwhile.

A response to Photo Challenge: Reflecting