Month: January 2017

Travel amnesia

Less than two weeks into our Thailand adventure, I’m starting to recuperate from my latest case of travel amnesia.

Besides a mean dose of Montezuma’s revenge that has knocked me down a few pegs this week, what’s worse is the familiar realization that travel is uncomfortable.

Stomach problems related to foreign food is nothing new — though Thailand is vying for the worst travel bug of my life just behind an excruciating 3-day bus ride from Mexico to Oklahoma in high school. I learned in my early travel days that my body prefers routine and will retaliate when I detour from my normal habits. As it turns out, a year of traveling doesn’t exactly lend itself to routine.

I’m sunburnt, not sleeping well on thin springy mattresses, slightly grossed out by constantly wet bathroom floors, limping slightly from blisters on my feet and weak from the latest attack on my digestive system. So why do I keep doing this? Travel amnesia.

All it takes is one daydream of an exotic location, jagged mountains, a foreign culture, a perfect sunset, historical sites that send chills up my spine or white-sand beaches with crystal clear water to send me into a deep spiral that ends with me dragging my overloaded luggage into the unknown.

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The pain, discomfort and exhaustion quickly fades at the thought of new adventures.

This is definitely not the year of least resistance so far, but there must be something to this if I keep drawing the same conclusion — it’s worth it.

What is your least favorite part of traveling? Leave your comment below. 

Thailand or bust

We have recently taken our first adventure to Asia and decided to come to Thailand. This was a last minute, spur of the moment decision and so far has not been a disappointment.

After our 55-hour adventure getting to the island of Ko Samui we have been welcomed with mostly gloomy weather. However, that hasn’t stopped us from exploring the island and all that it has to offer.

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One of our favorite things to do is checking out the different night markets around the island. Think of this as a cross between the state fair and a flea market. Trinkets are cheap and food is cheaper.

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If you are wanting to visit somewhere out of your comfort zone and on a budget, I highly recommend checking out Thailand. We are currently posted up in an Airbnb on the beach for $20/night. We are living like kings eating and drinking our way around the island, renting motorbikes and indulging in all the ice cream and desserts we could want and on our worst day we have spent $53 USD and that included buying sunglasses and getting stuck in a restaurant all afternoon in the rain. Most days we are spending in the mid $20s. If you really tried, I think it would be possible to live on $20-$30/day (including hotel) and be pretty comfortable with a full belly.

Have you been to Thailand and if so what are your favorite hot spots?

First impressions

It took us about 55 hours via plane, train, bus, taxi and ferry but we finally arrived at our first destination in Thailand, Koh Samui.

We’ve been on the island for about three days now and from the moment I stepped foot off the boat everything has been dripping with vivid color.

It’s like Disneyland for the senses.

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Temples, food, people, the sea… everything is colorful.

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The texture of the sand changes from one beach to the next, from rough brown sugar littered with chunks of broken shells to smooth tiny particles massaging your toes. The scent of freshly made Thai food wafts through the air at the Chaweng night market. And the tastes may be my favorite so far.

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We’re living well on about $45 U.S. dollars a day (Go Thailand!) and have eaten four pad thais, two spring rolls, two fried rice dishes and bananas soaked in coconut milk, which I’ll be having again soon. Yum.

Most of our days are spent moseying around on foot gawking at delicious foods, scenic views and people watching.

Yesterday, we rented a moped so we could explore some of the beaches and markets across the island. Stay tuned for more on that.

For now, I’ll let the colorful island speak for itself. Here are a few of my favorites from our first few days. Enjoy.

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One way ticket

This week I will cross off two more items on my bucket list and add another continent to the notches on my travel belt.

We are about to board a plane to Thailand with two carryons and two one-way tickets. We don’t know when we’ll be back or even where we’re going while we’re gone.

Why? Why not.

This impromptu trip definitely tops the list of the craziest things I’ve done.

I’ve been to so many places already and had countless life-changing experiences, but preparing for a new continent has given me a fresh perspective on travel. Nearly nine years ago I took my first trip overseas and today as we drive to the airport — where 21 hours of flying, a 10-hour train ride and a ferry boat await us — the butterflies returned. I’m anxious and excited and nervous and invigorated. In some ways I feel like I’m leaving the country for the first time even though Thailand will be my 11th country outside of the U.S.  I have no idea what to expect, but I’m certain this experience will be life-altering.

Have you been to Asia? We’d love some recommendations. Comment below with your favorite spots. 

 

 

Our vintage camper journey comes to an end

In October, we told you about our new camper and why we had to let go of the Tin Can, despite my completely irrational love for that aluminum headache.

This week we said goodbye to the Silver Streak forever. Stefan and Wendy from New York are giving her a new home and new life, which is what we hoped would happen to the camper when we sold it.

In honor of the Tin Can, here is a look back at our 6 months together, courtesy a piece I wrote for Rvwest.com.

Beaming with pride, I smiled and gestured to the couple waving at us as they drove by on Highway 288 outside of Richmond, Virginia.

Obviously, they were admiring the vintage camper my husband and I had been toting across the United States for the past two weeks.

It wasn’t until a second car approached honking and filled with flailing passengers that I glanced in the side mirror to see smoke billowing from our aluminum beauty.

Read the rest here.

And stay tuned for a big announcement on our next adventure. We’ve had a slight change in plans…

2017: The year of least resistance

We spent New Years weekend snowshoeing in Colorado’s Never Summer mountain range, and as I trudged through the snow I couldn’t help but feel like this adventure was a metaphor for 2016.

As I tightened the straps on my snowshoes in the parking lot, I was excited about trying something new. But once we hit the trail things quickly changed. Snowshoeing is hard — harder than I expected. My backpack was heavy and uncomfortable. Snowshoes are clunky. There was a huge learning curve. As I willed myself uphill at 9,400 feet (possibly the toughest mile I’ve ever hiked), my boots started rubbing against my feet and the chilly air caused my cold, which I’ve now been fighting for over three weeks, to flare up again. In other words, reality set in.

I eventually made it to the yurt where we spent the next two nights taking in the incredible views of snowy peaks and night skies, soaking up the sun, eating, drinking and playing games with new and old friends.

The hike out was easier. I made it back to the car in one piece with a few tight muscles, three blisters, a handful of photographs and another incredible story to tell.

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Like snowshoeing, our yearlong travel adventure was much harder than expected. We ran into new struggles around every corner from a leaky camper to lost loved ones. Some of my biggest struggles on the road include: working out, cooking, finding campgrounds, finding freelance work, making money, tracking money, relaxing and deciding where to go next.

In the end, I have no regrets about 2016, or snowshoeing, but I am looking forward to a new year and a fresh start.

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This year, I’m going to be easier on myself, enjoy life more, worry less, tell the people I love how much I appreciate them and soak up the sunshine (both the literal and metaphorical sunshine).

Last year my resolution was to be better, to push myself a little harder than the year before. I lost 25 pounds, learned to ski, learned to cook healthier food, paid off my student loans, decluttered, moved into a camper and traveled like crazy. I’d call that a success. This year my goal is to find the path of least resistance. This isn’t meant to be lazy or to avoid challenges, lessons or personal growth, but sometimes I make things harder than they need to be. Last year, I said several times that I needed to earn our year of travel. But why? Were the years we spent budgeting, paying off debt, saving, planning, being responsible and working hard not enough?

I was blessed with the opportunity to live out another dream of mine, but for some reason, I felt guilty and found doubt in the struggles instead of embracing the journey.

Not this year. In 2017, I have been given a second chance. A second chance to travel. A second chance to soak up every minute and I’m all in.

What is your New Year’s resolution? Comment below. I’d love to hear from you.