• Winter in Romania | A Photo Journal

    Some people like to claim that the world has already been discovered; that there’s nowhere left for the rogue adventurer. Personally, I have so many places left to see and so while I can’t validate or discredit this statement, I can say that it surely doesn’t feel that way in Romania.

    Romania has long been an off-the-map destination: try telling someone that you’re taking a trip there and they’ll likely cock their head and ask, “That’s a real place?” I recently looked into the numbers: the country actually ranks #37 for annual number of tourists, which is no France, but certainly far from unknown. Then I dug deeper into the source for those visitors and it turns out that 6.5 out of the 10 million people who visited in 2016 came from bordering countries, and 2 million of them from Moldova, which also happens to be the 4th least visited country on […]

  • Monthly Round-Up: December Travel Diary

    December officially marks the halfway point of one year around the world!

    The last leg of 2017 was a little more relaxed than the previous five months. With the holidays rolling around and finally entering Europe, we’ve been taking it slow. We started off in Bulgaria, spent two weeks trailing around Romania (including Dracula’s castle!), saw our first (and last) snow of the year, gaped at the regal architecture of Budapest, and then lazed around Vienna while businesses shuttered up for Christmas.

    I’ve been reflecting not only on this trip, but on my time as a mid-twentier (I’m already 25, please make it stop) and how this stage is panning out. So far, my life doesn’t look anything like my friends lives or what I thought I’d be doing by this age when I was younger, and that’s terrifying. But it’s also really exciting, because I know that I’m at least chasing […]

  • New Year, New Blog

    Notice anything different? 🤔
    When I first started this blog back in June, I felt like I was caught in the middle of a tornado of tasks and obligations. I was wrapping up my projects at Tobi, saying goodbye to all my friends and family, and squaring away any last minute details for our RTW trip. I was really excited to get a blog going, yet I found myself at the end of the month without much more than a fresh WordPress install. So I did the best I could, squeezing in as much design and branding as I could in such a short period of time.
    As a recovering perfectionist, this was tough.
    I let go of all that pretty quickly once I was bombarded with the kind of sensory overload that is Japan, and just generally getting my feet wet in the new and exciting world of long-term travel. I was scrambling […]

  • Getting from Istanbul to Sofia via Overnight Bus: A Practical Guide

    After spending two weeks in Turkey, it was time to head to Sofia. The problem? Bulgaria is still a bit off the beaten track for most travelers. This is great for discovery, but not so great when it comes to logistical foresight.

    We were planning on taking a bus directly from Istanbul to Sofia. While some thorough Googling brought up an old blog post and a few Tripadvisor forum threads, there wasn’t a lot of helpful information out there about this particular journey. Where do you buy tickets? What station do you leave from? What are the buses like? I had a lot of questions and few answers.

    With the help of our hostel reception and the limited online resources mentioned above, we did eventually make it to Sofia. But a lot of it was patchwork, and I wanted to write out a more detailed review of the process for anyone looking […]

  • Secrets Abroad: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Thailand

    Secrets Abroad is an ongoing series that explores the hidden sides of cultures from around the world. Check out previous editions here.

    I recently spent two weeks traveling around Thailand, talking with the locals and learning bits here and there about the local culture. Here are the top 10 interesting things I discovered.

    1. Hapas are all-the-rage in print media here. Of course, the “whitening” of Asian culture has become an increasing problem through the entire continent, but nowhere did I find this more apparent than in Thailand. Within our first few steps into the airport, I was presented with multiple ads displaying light-skinned models that looked like they were of mixed heritage. This phenomenon persisted through every Thai city we visited during our two weeks in the country. I wasn’t sure if this was all in my head (Joel even mentioned that “they all look Thai” to him) until I came […]

  • Monthly Round-Up: November Travel Diary

    After spending five months baking in the intense heat and humidity that is Asia in summer (and SE Asia during any season), our wish for colder weather finally came to fruition: it’s 40 degrees outside, there’s snow on the ground, and I’m officially shivering in my new boots.

    Jumping from Yangon to Istanbul in a 24-hour period was shocking to say the least, and it wasn’t the only time we were hit with vast differences when traveling this month. November was a time for ongoing culture shock, as we navigated our way from the beaches of southern Thailand, to the dusty temples of Bagan, to the futuristic skylines of Singapore, to the historical crossroads of Istanbul, and finally, to the snowy, post-communist city of Sofia. My head is spinning.

    Landing in Turkey was the most jarring experience of the lot. After months of noodle soups and plastic stools, we finally arrived in […]

  • 7 Times when the People of Myanmar Stole My Heart

    Myanmar is known for having some of Asia’s kindest, most welcoming people. As a country that only recently ventured opened its doors to international attention, its people are infinitely curious about the growing number of visitors it increasingly receives every year. You never have to look far for a smile or a genuine interaction. Here are seven times where the hospitality of the locals stood out most during our trip:

    1. Upon landing at Yangon International Airport, we were promptly assigned to a taxi driver who could bring us to our hostel. He chatted with us the entire way, sharing his favorite local dishes and talking about how he was learning Korean so that he could one day travel to Seoul. Having just come from Thailand, it was a welcome change to have a local who was curious and friendly, rather than reserved and indifferent.

    2. During our first day out in […]

  • Parts Unknown: Finding Anthony Bourdain’s Bun Bo Hue Lady in Hue, Vietnam

    Anthony Bourdain once called bun bo hue one of the greatest soups in the world.
    What he failed to mention, however, was that finding a great bowl of it even in Hue could prove challenging.
    Bourdain’s popular “Parts Unknown” series travels to various destinations throughout the world, exploring culture and food through the eyes of local residents. Hue, Vietnam, was one such topic for an episode a few years ago.
    Hue was Vietnam’s capital until WWII. And as the home of the imperial government at the time, many of the local chefs were called to create different dishes and treats in a rotation diverse enough to keep the royal family pleased. And thus, the diverse, snack-driven, and delightful culinary scene of Hue was born.
    We visited the city back in October, during our month in Vietnam. Hue’s most famous dish, bun bo hue, can be found in street stalls all around the city. But […]

  • Monthly Round-Up: October Travel Diary

    Four months have come and gone and we’re officially a third of the way through our trip! (*insert gasping emoji*) Shit’s crazy.

    We landed in Vietnam square on the 1st of October and stayed in the country for nearly the entire month. To be honest, I was a little hesitant of visiting at first. Vietnam was one of the only countries that continuously raised a few eyebrows back home when I was telling friends about our upcoming trip. They all suggested that I skip it, that the people were rude and pushy and the food wasn’t that great. And then I came across tons of research pointing to all the scams that tourists commonly encounter, and read over Nomadic Matt’s notorious article that seems to have swept the net over the last couple years.

    If my expectations hadn’t been so low, maybe things would have been different. I can’t tell you for […]

  • Secrets Abroad: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Vietnam

    Secrets Abroad is an ongoing series that explores the hidden sides of cultures from around the world. Check out previous editions here.

    After spending a month in Vietnam, it’s quickly become one of my favorite countries in the world. There’s a certain uniqueness in the culture that makes it stand out from the rest of its Asian neighbors as well as other destinations around the globe. Vietnam surprised me in a lot of ways. These are just a few points that come to mind:

    1. There are water buffalo everywhere. Our first sighting was on the way to downtown Hanoi from the airport (they were just hanging out in the middle of the highway), and we continued to spot them in every town we visited over the month. On the streets, on mountain slopes, in people’s homes–they’re about as ubiquitous in Vietnam as a bowl of pho. You can even ride one […]