Well, I have been here for a week and what a week it has been. Fantastic!!! 10 steps above Cambodia. Don’t get me wrong, Cambodia is good but Vietnam is really good. I think it also matters where you are staying and we are staying in the best area of the city. It’s so beautiful with tree lined streets and not much much trash really. We are only a couple blocks from the school, Language Corps, which is also nice. I like walking to school in the morning. We also have tons of restaurants and stores all around us. We didn’t have that in Phenom Pehn. Plus, we were so far from everything that a tuk tuk ride was $4 to get anywhere. Here, we can pretty much walk everywhere. We also have an amazing park only a couple of blocks away. I love the park because 1. It is beautiful and 2. It is alive with people. People playing badminton, exercising, jogging, zumba, working out on the permanent equipment, playing Chinese Chess, walking around, and just hanging out.
Our hotel is lovely too. I have a bathtub, a balcony, actual decorations, cable tv and wifi in my room. They even do free laundry service and clean my room when I give them the key. They don’t really know English but it’s amazingly easy to communicate when you really want to. It’s a lot like charades. They are very nice and always smile when we come in.
Continue reading 'Good Morning Vietnam (again)'»
Holy smokes!! I’m on a bus heading OUT of Cambodia! How did this happen considering it feels like I just arrived? My intention was to write many posts and update Facebook frequently. In reality… I’m still getting used to writing on a tablet, having unreliable internet, and being in classes all day. This has been challenging at times, especially for a gal that hasn’t been in school for 14 years. So, with that, let me tell you the story of Cambodia as I lived it.
Well, it took two days to get here. I stayed in a lovely hotel in Taiwan on the way. Once in Cambodia, I was greeted by a guy (I call him Bob Marley because he was wearing a B.M. t-shirt and didn’t speak English). The first thing he did was walk me through the airport parking lot and across the street to his tuk-tuk. The street was very busy so we weaved through and the vehicles went around us like a school of fish. Welcome to Cambodia! We hopped into the tuk-tuk and were ourselves weaving around the crowded streets to make our way to my new home, the Marady Hotel. For those of you who do not know, I am taking an intensive TESOL course that starts in Phnom Penh and ends in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Our hotel was a bit far out and honestly did not look too inviting to explore the streets. I did not see any tourist shops, restaurants or even a mall. I kept thinking, ‘what did I get myself into?’ I was also feeling quite lost without my better half, Paul a/k/a Patty.
Continue reading 'Teaching English in Asia'»
We were @ The Emmys!! . . . well, sort of!
I haven’t even made it to my final destination, Phnom Penh, and so much has happened. I don’t mean just travelwise but also Christinewise. First, there was saying “goodbye” to my sweet baby. I know, I’m the one who planned this little getaway but man, I sure didn’t think it would be so hard. I kind of think at the time of the ticket purchase, I was under the influence of hormones and thank goodness I can’t just cancel everything because I think I might have now that the ol hormones are under control. Anyways, all that to say, I have an amazing husband who is the biggest supporter of this adventure. I wish he was by my side experiencing all this with me. At any rate, I’m trying to tap into that adventurous solo traveller Christine that I knew 10 years ago.
Continue reading 'Welcome to Asia'»
The Sea-Tac Southwest Airlines gate side cattle call and subsequent scramble for a seat was an adventure in itself and once that hurdle was overcome the rest of the flight to California was uneventful. Within minutes of exiting the airport, we were picked up in our Uber car and whisked away to the next leg of our journey. We arrived to the Beverly Hilton to paparazzi flashbulbs and an elevated frenzy . . . how did they know we were coming?? Well, they didn’t . . . There was really only one tidbit of trivia we knew about this hotel is that it hosted the television Emmy awards every year, and our Uber black town car just happened to arrive in the middle of “celebrity drop off” – nothing like a red carpet and disappointed photographers to welcome a pair of backpackers!
Continue reading 'Beverly Hills 9021 . . . oh!'»
The 6:30am alarm didn’t stand a chance in being helpful this morning . . . we were up already and eager to go. Though our flight wasn’t to leave until after 11am, we were already making coffee, shuffling around the house, and making last minute adjustments to our bags and electronics inventory. Bag . . . check, passports . . . check, music/movies on the tablet . . . check, local currencies and flight info . . . you bet!
The bus arrived at the stop right as we did, which was good because we’d have to wait 35 minutes for the next one, and our transfer to the Light Rail was met with an equally efficient flow – although eight minutes to the next train would’ve been quite easy to accept. We’re not in a hurry anyways . . .
Continue reading 'Let the Adventures Begin!!'»
Bertie and her little backpack
I’m happy to report that our website Bert and Patty is coming alive with some travel action. That’s right but most of the travel action is going to be solo–Bert only. Sad but true. I will be leaving my sweetie for two months for SE Asia. Honestly, I’ve had some serious mixed emotions about this but in the end, I’m ‘just doing it’ like our friends at Nike would say. Dusting off the ol solo travel skills and taking the plunge. Sure beats a summer in Seattle trying to find stuff to do all day until Paul gets home. That’s the beauty of working for the public school system. I think Paul aka Patty will be just fine without me. He will be busy at work by day and studying by night. He, will, however come to Beverly Hills with me for 4 amazing days to stay in a posh hotel to include luxurious spa treatments on my birthday (thank you Ellen Degeneres!) before heading to Ontario to visit his family. Still pinching ourselves about that one.
Continue reading 'I’m Leaving! Well, almost.'»
Christine and I went to see a friend give a talk last night @ Wide World Books and Maps in Wallingford. His name is Mike Lewis, and he used to be Christine’s chiropractor. He had worked hard and built up his practice, his abilities and ultimately his desire to escape his daily life.
Mike had earned his life and didn’t want to waste it, so he felt it was time to cash in on some freedom. The plan was to travel the world solo on his motorcycle with goals of reaching the top and the bottom of our major land masses as he made his around the world west to east, hoping to experience culture and people in a way he never thought possible. The route he took between these “end points” was dictated by among other things, the advice he got on the road, and the weather.
His faithful companion for this adventure was his 2002 BMW R1150 GS Adventure motorcycle that had been adjusted and modified for the years of exposure and abuse in the form of unmaintained roads, washouts and rainy season mud that lay ahead. Mike left Seattle in March 2009 and systematically logged over 60,000 miles, six continents and over 40 countries in his epic journey.
Continue reading 'Write Around The World'»
It’s that time of year again and Meet Plan Go is coming back to town. Last year, we were fortunate enough to have been the Meet Plan Go Seattle 2011 hosts and had a great time in the process. It allowed us to reflect on our journey (physical/emotional), meet new people and among other things, share our experiences with those with a passion for travel.
This year the torch has been passed to Lori Stone and it will be a great time. We’ll be there as the evenings keynote speakers, and are looking forward to sharing the evening with so many wonderful panelists, travelers and numerous travel stories of inspiration, curiosity and desire.
On October 16th, we’ll be meeting @ “HasOffers” in Seattle neighborhood of Belltown and it will be an inspirational evening for all involved. Find all the details on the MeetPlanGoSeattle page, and tickets are available on EventBrite.
The panellists represent a wide range of travelers and experiences and it’s worth grabbing a drink, sitting on the couch with your laptop/tablet, and exploring their fascinating worlds.
We’re hoping you’ll check out Meet Plan Go in your city (it’s happening in 9 cities in the US, and in Toronto as well) – it’s gonna be a great time!
As travellers, we want a deal. We want to travel cheaply, eat cheaply, and sleep cheaply. We intentionally seek out and freely move through third world countries with often oppressed cultures and tend not fully understand the lives of those who pass us in a blur. We are restricted only by our visa dates and transport schedules. As we look out the window while on a bus or train, we see disheveled farmers tending to sparse fields and malnourished animals. We wave away relentless street vendors eeking out a substandard living, while we eat breakfast and sip organic coffee in a cafe, often times the meal will cost more than they’ll make in a 12 hour day.
We “put up with them” for the sake of our own travels. But who are they? How bad does their life have to be to sell books on the street, to beg for change . . . to watch their families go without a meal. How bad does it have to be to gather your family, pack a bag (or no bag, just the clothes on your back) and leave your home, your community, your country; and set out on a pilgrimage to find a better life. To run away from the destruction of your current life.
Close your eyes for a moment. The government has taken away your business or run you off your land. Members of your family have been killed by violence. You’ve been chased away from all that you’re familiar with and after years of running, potentially living in a refugee camp for 10-15 years, you are able to make it to a safe country and start over. You don’t speak the language, you cannot communicate, you may not even have services or support to help navigate your new world . . . what do you do?
Continue reading 'National Refugee Week 2011'»
Long term travel is an amazing experience. It’s captivating, educational, challenging, and inspirational. Those who have done it have laptops and smartphones full of photos of far away places and email addresses from those whom they’ve spent a few days with; sharing taxis, hostels, hikes, museums, beach side bars and overnight trains.
Let’s face it though. Most of us aren’t witty travel writers and we’re not glamorous TV stars. We’re not going to spend the rest of our lives traveling the world, submitting creative blog posts or poignant documentaries from exotic distant lands. Of course there are those doing it, but they’re the minority in the global travel community. The travel community is made up of people like you and me. Most who mark the calendars, strap on a backpack and look forward to scuba diving, mountain trekking and passport stamps are the temporary traveller. We’re able to take 3-12 months and head out into the world – seeking to learn about the unknown in other countries, and deep within ourselves. Sooner or later, the trip will come to a conclusion and you’ll be back in the job market, nervously anticipating sitting across the table from a prospective employer in an interview.
Was your trip a waste of time?
Was it a job killer?
Honestly . . . no.
Continue reading 'Long term travel, The perfect job for a job interview'»