Back in my previous life as an oft-solo backpacker, I almost had packing down to a precise ritual. A typical packing list for a weekend getaway would look like this:
- At least 1 pair of denim shorts
- 2 tank tops
- A dress, if space permits
- Small notebook and pen
- Kindle (or a compact book)
- My handy-dandy wrist wallet
- A shoelace (just in case I need to tie anything)
- A pair of flip-flops
- Plastic bag for dirty clothes
- 2 pairs of swimsuits (the bikini tops are to be used as bras)
- Deodorant and travel-size bottle of shampoo (to be also used as body wash)
- Very light shawl (to double up as the flight blanket)
- Camera (optional)
- Phone and phone charger
- Small accessories (earrings, necklaces, or bracelets)
And that was it. Everything would fit in my impossibly narrow but somehow spacious carry-on backpack. My mantra was to pack as little as possible, and improvise for whatever I left behind.
Continue reading “It’s in the Bag” →
Three years ago, I wrote 25 Travel Goals to Set For the Year (for Those Who Can’t Wander Very Far), back when I just quit my job to move to Germany, and had to think of ways to satisfy my wanderlust without breaking the bank. I thought I’d update that list to keep up with what every travel-addicted kindred spirit is probably struggling with right now: how to feed that same wanderlust, when you’re not exactly allowed to travel as far as you’re used to.
Continue reading “20 Alternative Ways to Travel In The Time of Coronavirus” →
Drug Dealers and IT are the only people who call their customers “users”. – Daniel O’Leary
It is quite impossible to dodge all the foreboding articles lamenting that people nowadays spend too much time on their phones. All this time online is supposedly going to bring our society to ruin, melt our brains, turn us into slaves of evil robots — pick your Armageddon ending. While I do concede that having too much of anything can turn out badly, is all screen time bad though?
Continue reading “Digital Detox for the Girl Who Can’t Step Away From Her Phone” →
It’s every flyer’s dreaded sight: that parade of babies through the priority boarding queue, threatening to crush any dream of peaceful sleep during the flight. I confess, I used to cringe whenever I would see a family with a baby settling within a 10-row radius from my seat.
Now, I find myself on the other side, the bringer of the ominous boarding infant. I braced myself long and hard, and obsessed with every detail to prepare ourselves for Tobias’ first long-haul flight. I even dressed him up in an adorable tiger onesie, to make it at least a bit impossible to stay angry even if he makes a scene. Continue reading “Lessons Learned From Our Baby’s First Long-Haul Flight” →
In terms of tourism, Germany is much like its treasured National Mannschaft — you can’t pinpoint just one star football player, exactly because the greatness lies instead on each individually high-functioning member (or cities, in this case). Berlin has its Film Festival, Munich its Oktoberfest, Hamburg its Elbphilharmonie, and so on.
Dresden is probably one of the most-underrated European cities. I would boldly say its the prettiest German city I’ve ever seen so far. During my maiden visit to the East, Dresden’s elaborately-decked palace grounds, wistful Altstadt (Old Town) and ever-graceful Elbe did not fail to make the cross-country drive oh-so-worth it. Continue reading “Spotlight on Dresden” →
The words “Sapporo in Winter” evoke for me images of pristine powder snow, just the type to drive the biggest skiers to tears. For others, the very same words may as well mean burning your hard-earned money on a Japanese bonfire. At the top of my list was to waddle to my heart’s content in Hokkaido’s velvety snowfall, but I knew a trip to Niseko would be way beyond my means. Fortunately, we soon found out that a tight budget should not get in the way of enjoying a thrill-filled holiday in Sapporo. Continue reading “How to Enjoy a Winter Vacation in Sapporo Without Breaking the Bank” →
Of why I haven’t caught whiff of the free Asahi Brewery tour earlier, I might not forgive myself. My partner and I have always regarded Osaka as a magical place; it was there after all that we first met. We’ve gone back to “The Nation’s Kitchen” twice since then, and I guess among the blur of ramen bowls, okonomiyaki and endless plates of curries, we got a little bit preoccupied.
Continue reading “The Sweet Life in the Asahi Suita Brewery” →
This is not your usual travel bucket list, where Mt. Everest, Aurora Borealis, and Oktoberfest are sure to be in the line-up. Most of these, in fact, can be made right in your hometown, or at least would simply ask for just a bit of gas money and, of course, one’s own resourcefulness.
You see, goal-setting for this year poses a bit of a challenge for me. As I have recently made the leap from being a corporate bee back to a penny-pinching student, I needed to be more creative this year with quenching my wanderlust, without draining my savings.
The more I gave it thought, the more I realized that there is no reason why travel goals should be restricted to globetrotters. Continue reading “25 Travel Goals to Set for the Year (For Those Who Can’t Wander Very Far)” →
Love it or hate it, 2016 is definitely a year to remember. It was when I felt the wind getting knocked out of myself, as it seemed that one by one, the world seemed to veto the principles I thought were universal. It was the year when I realized, more than ever, that there is much to the world that I have yet to know, more perspectives that I have yet to comprehend, more life experiences that I have yet to open my heart to. Continue reading “What a year! Top 12 Highlights from the Rollercoaster Ride of 2016” →
Once upon a time, there was a young maiden who had very itchy feet (she suspects it’s a gift from a wise and adventurous fairy-godmother). She had trouble staying still, often daydreamed about far away places, and ogled longingly at maps. One day, she asked her prince, “Can we go away, to a place we’ve never been before?” The young man knew it was futile to discourage her. Luckily, he had easy access to an enchanting and very useful tool people called “Google Maps”.
“Hmm,” he pondered, “since we’re near anyway, do you want to go to — Montenegro? There’s a small city here called, hmm, Kotor. Maybe it’ll be nice. What do you think?” The young maiden had no idea what they would find there, but she could hardly keep her heart from bursting with excitement. Continue reading “A Fairy Tale Land Named Kotor” →
Me: So let’s take that bus to Girona, then hop on to the connecting bus to Andorra for an overnight —
Fate: Nope, stay put! No effing way you’re going to miss Girona. Continue reading “Oh My, Girona!” →
It takes a lot of adulting to prepare for a trip, from planning to booking, from packing to repacking. Once I’m out there on the road though, the big kid in me suddenly wakes up and takes over, gasping aloud at every marvel I come come across, and giddily rushing to see what’s in store on the next corner.
And certainly, the big kid in me broke free, frolicked and lost her mind in the vast purple playgrounds during lavender season in Provence. Continue reading “Lavender Fields Forever” →