The first night I met David, I remember thinking he was sooo cool for being from Hawaii. Now I’m married to him and can honestly say that, even after years of being together, I still gush over the fact that he grew up somewhere so magical (I particularly love when he speaks a little pidgin, haha). Makes me feel like I somehow snagged an exotic prince!
The summer after I graduated college, I moved out to Hawaii’s Big Island to be with David while he finished his last semester. If you haven’t been before, I can vouch for the fact that the Big Island has a little something for everybody: hiking through lush jungles, white sand beaches with swaying palm trees, decent surfing spots, stunning mountain views, and sometimes even snow to play in!
The photo above was taken at one of the beautiful sandy beaches on the dry, Kona side of the island. Since we lived in Hilo (on the wet side of the island known for it’s black sand beaches) we’d often make the hour long trip over to the Kona side and spend the day lounging on the soft sand, waiting for sunset views like this.
I really can’t imagine a place more heavenly.
Our Monthly Country itinerary is set! We’ve mentioned this a few times over the past couple months, but now we’ve made the adventure official: We have paid for our monthly homes for the rest of 2015!
Just for fun, here’s a little visual tour of where we’ll be traveling, displayed in weather…
One month from today we’ll be in Japan! I don’t know if you’ve ever planned a family trip where everyone is spread throughout the world before, but let me tell you — it’s not easy. But we finally have the cities and dates set.
It will be a bit of a whirlwind tour as we’ll be stopping in 5 cities over the course of 15 days. Those 5 cities are: Sendai, Hirosaki, Tokyo, Nagasaki, and Kumamoto.
Back in October, we rented an apartment in Bali for a few days through Airbnb. Like all of our Airbnb experiences, the host was nice, everything went smoothly, and we had a great time. Something interesting happened after we checked out though.
After we checked out, I left this review:
I thought I was really fair. I didn’t want to be mean, just honest. I made it very clear that despite the downsides of the apartment, I’m glad we stayed there and we had a good time. But a few hours later, this was the response I got from the host: Continue reading
Since we’re getting ready head out on another adventure in a little over a month, I figured it was time to finally finish this post I started back in October (you are correct, I’m the worst).
When we got back to Chiang Mai after our Borneo, Bali, and Ko Lanta trip, we said we would post about the latest travel lessons we learned. Obviously, that never happened. But now, as we’re gearing up to leave Thailand and become even more nomadic, moving from one country to another every month, it’s the perfect time to go back and remember what we learned and apply them to this next adventure.
So here we go, the 5 travel lessons learned from our SE Asia trip and how they can be applied to where we’re heading next:
1. AirAsia, while cheap, has really stupid rules.
I feel validated. One of my favorite bloggers, Lucky from One Mile At A Time, published the post “The 2 Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards” yesterday. The two cards he points out:
My first Southeast Asia experience came in 2010, only a couple months after I met Alexis. I remember this night very clearly — I was hanging out with Alexis in her dorm room when my cousin texted me and said, “Do you want to go to Cambodia?”
“Uhhh… yes?” I responded.
“I’m going with a volunteer group but my mom will only let me go if you come too. She’ll pay for you to come.”
That was all I needed. I was in.
A few weeks later, I had my bag packed and was set to head out on my first real international experience. Up until that point, I had only been to Mexico (Tijuana with my uncle who lives in San Diego) and The Bahamas on a cruise.
So by “my bag” I mean Alexis’ backpack. She was a seasoned traveler, having explored much of Europe during her study abroad year. I had nothing, but I was excited to start my journey as well.
I spent 10 days in Cambodia with the group forPEACE. We built 10 homes in a rural village outside Battambang in western Cambodia. The houses were modest, built on stilts with corrugated metal siding and wood plank floors. We worked side by side with the locals who would live in them. I had never done anything like that before, but the experience was truly enriching.
After the houses were built, we had a few days left in the country to explore the many temples of Siem Reap, Angkor Wat being the most famous. The beauty of the temple was awe-inspiring. The sheer size of it, the intricate details, the endless corridors… it was all incredible.
This particular shot of a female monk surrounded by the golden-clad Buddha and prayer flags is one of my favorites. Her smile was uplifting, if a little deranged as well. She seemed happy to the point of crazy. Perhaps it was enlightenment.
Regardless, it was a smile and experience I will never forget. You can see more pictures of Cambodia here.
P.S. I promise this will be my last Photo Friday guest post 🙂 The star of the show will return next week.
- We both entered Thailand on triple-entry tourist visas.
- Alexis switched to a non-immigrant B visa once she started teaching.
- I extended two of my three entries at the Chiang Mai immigration office before my tourist visa finally expired on January 17th, 2015.
- We tried, unsuccessfully, to get me on a non-immigrant O visa.
- I did a border run to Mae Sai to get a 30 day visa exempt stamp. This granted me until February 15, but we don’t leave for Japan until March 31st. So… what to do? Continue reading
There are three key changes that devalue the pass though:
1. The 30-day travel pass is now $160 instead of previously reported $150.
2. $160 is good for 10 “credits,” NOT 10 flights.
3. Not all AirAsia routes within the Asean zone are available on this pass.
Numbers 2 and 3 are the big ones.
The Asean Pass Credit System
Each Asean pass-qualified route has been designated with a “credit value.” Routes are either 1 credit or 3 credits (no routes are valued at 2 credits). So theoretically, you could still get 10 flights in the 30-day period if you flew only 1 credit routes.
Here is an example of the credit system provided by AirAsia: Continue reading