Monday, May 2, 2016

There's a great big tomorrow, just a dream away

I don't really remember the exact time I wrote this post, a year ago in Bangkok ?! A personal little note to express my gratitude after been through the craziest journey for the past 12 months. It all started from dreams, imaginations and curiosity. Never thought those days I spent some time writing, drawing, thinking, trying to make a little progress no matter how slow - would actually bring me far into a year where dreams came true,  exploring 17 countries and more than 60 cities. It was a life-changing experience where I learnt to love myself better, be brave to do the hard things and get comfortable being uncomfortable. Take a stand and fight for what makes sense to you. Even when the road seems too rough, there's absolutely nothing about your present circumstances that prevents you from making progress. And always remember, the difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.

I am thankful
for another beautiful year 
I am thankful for life's surprises, the tough times and challenges. For the strength and courage to continue, my bravery and the chance to grow, failures that only lead me to a better place, and love that heals all the pain. 

There's a great big tomorrow, just a dream away. 

Flashing back to my first week in Bangkok couple of months ago to visit my special people, continue to Chiang Mai then South East Asia trip. I was once dreaming to explore Asia from Bangkok, never thought that day would happen right after I finished my USA' West Coast and Euro trip. Those were the days I found myself staring at the sunset from my friend's apartment balcony, thinking there's huge opportunities waiting out there for me, only for me. Somewhere behind those skyscrapers or maybe back to New York City one day. It's not about the question how to get there, how am I gonna make it... but simply just have a little faith in the beauty of dreams. One step at a time. And funny, from the moment I left home to work in Florida ( even long time before that actually.. ) I knew the long road will eventually take me to live my dreams, over and over again.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

When in Rome

One of the highlights of 2015 was definitely my first Euro trip I did with my best friend for 3 months. We've been through the good and bad times together, hop on and off the plane only to find ourselves got lost and completely in love with a new place. And that's including Italy !!! We left Munich and flew to Rome, dreaming about clear blue skies, a lot of pasta and pizza, cups of coffees and gelatto, in awe and inspired by Italian architecture, fashion and lifestyle, and many more. But unfortunately when we arrived in Rome it was raining non-stop, the road was wet and we didn't have any umbrella, it was just gloomy, crowded and dirty near Tiburtina station. We didn't want the first impression ruined our Italian dream so we decided to keep exploring and heyy guess what, even a bad weather couldn't make Italy less pretty. Walking under the rain through the little streets without actually knowing where to go was one of my favorite things about Rome. While coffee break at cafes always sound like a great idea to me, seriously I never imagined myself would wandering around Rome that day and if only I knew I would spent my entire 26 year old traveling..well thats how we call life is an adventure. And as I am turning 27 this summer, couldn't think of a better birthday present but returning to Europe. You never know how life will surprise you

Monday, April 18, 2016

Luang Prabang, Laos

It seems only yesterday I arrived in Laos, but it was last August when me and my travel buddies arrived early morning in Luang Prabang after a long bus ride from Chiang Rai. We were really tired but then there was just so much of excitement to explore Luang Prabang...

One thing that I'm always grateful about ; whenever I travel, I always run into the good people. Can't even count how many strangers I met on the road became family, people who continuously inspired and motivated me. I've done variety of traveling solo in Asia, USA, Europe and Australia and pretty proud of how far I've come happy. While few years ago I was in a huge mission of finding new home away from home, I found traveling solo is a great way to find answers I've been seeking about myself and what exactly I want in my life. Especially last year when I took a year off and all I wanted to do just writing, taking photos, celebrating life even things weren't always easy and fun as it seems on social media - but I grew, a lot ! Who knew walking into the unknown could lead you to amazing places.

Previously I spent about 3 days in Chiang Rai, then I took a public bus from Chiang Rai central bus station to Chiang Khong ( about 65 Baht/one way ). Try to leave early about 9am-ish so you have enough time to book your bus ticket and chillax in Chiang Khong before departing to Luang Prabang at 5pm. Tell the bus driver that you want to go to the border, so once he stops near the border - you can take tuk-tuk to continue your journey til the gate of the border. Walk ? Nah, a little too far on foot. Tuk-tuk around Chiang Khong border has fix rate so unfortunately you can't really bargain but of course you can always try. Unlike Cambodia/Vietnam border that always packed with people and seems unorganized, I would say the border at Chiang Khong was less crowded, cleaner, and well-organized. They even have shuttle bus to drop you to the Laos border, so overall it was pretty easy and smooth process at the immigration. The fact that there's nothing much to do in Chiang Khong ( but they have free wifi - pheww ), only few local restaurants and.. that's it, it could be quite boring but me and my friends managed to have power nap on the floor. One thing we learned from booking a bus ticket here to Luang Prabang, at the beginning the staff told us that there's no seat left for 5 pm bus but they have a van leaving at 9 pm, slightly more expensive but if the worst case we didn't get bus ticket, of course we have to take the van. My friend suggested us to have lunch first across the street then let's see after, so we came back and guess what... the same lady told us there are FEW seats available. Oh btw, we also heard she said the same thing to other tourists.

Gotta love travel sickness pill when you have to travel for hours and hours through the bumpy road of Laos. We arrived early morning, after negotiating price with the tuk tuk driver, he took us to the main street near the market where we had to walk for another 10 minutes to the hostel. To avoid more arguement or unnecessary headache, we got off and enjoyed the quiet morning of Luang Prabang instead. Watching the monks passed by and the sun rose slowly.

Obviously there are many things to do at Luang Prabang. From night market to Kwang Si waterfall, cooking class, museums, temples to hiking or walking tours - Luang Prabang always has something for everyone. Renting motorcycle isn't as easy as you may find in Thailand or Bali, so the other option travelers always use is sharing tuk-tuk to visit waterfall or other destinations. My favorite thing to do was definitely taking a long walk exploring little streets, talking to little kids or local people on the street or by the river, sitting at one of the bench while watching the local people open the night market and chatting with Australian designer who recently just opened her boutique in the main street of Luang Prabang. Coming to a new place where I had no expectations, I found myself falling in love again with the new food I tried, people I met, all the little things I saw and touched, that somehow I thought it's a bad idea to stay longer so the very first thing I should do was leave as soon as possible, even tho it was hard.. but I can always bring the memory with me.