Frolicking — from A to Z
I’ve been seeing this list around on other travel bloggers site’s for a while now. I figured it would be a good way to look back on this last year and all my earlier travels as a way to welcome in 2012!
A: Age you went on your first international trip:
The first time I was bit by the traveling bug I was 19 and the trip was to Bangkok and Phuket with my father. This was a spur of the moment trip that only lasted for a little over a week. So spur of the moment in fact that my passport expired a few days after out return flight home and the authorities at the Bangkok airport didn’t want to let me leave the country. Lots of flying for not that much exploring time. Regardless, the images from that first trip are burned in my memory. The food was amazing, even if I was scared of street food than. The chaos and filth of Bangkok that I remember has either mellowed down since than or I just have become a more acclimated traveler.
B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where:
Antarctica Beer in Rio. Okay so maybe this beer isn’t the most tasty, it is just a light easy drinking beer. The can though has a cute little penguin on it and I just found it hysterically ironic to be drinking it on the beach in Brazil.
C: Cuisine (favorite):
Way to hard of a question.. I love me some Green Papaya Salad as you all know but there is also Indian Food. To be honest though the food I miss the most and am constantly craving and trying out ever restaurant that I stumble across that serves it is….. MEXICAN! I am simply a sucker for some taco!
D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why:
Each destination is special in its own way but if I had to go with one place that I dream of returning to it is Rio de Janiero. I would love to go back and explore more of the country. The people are fantastic the zest of life is great and I am a sucker for the language.
Vang Vieng, Laos. I know I might get some serious sneers from the traveling community on this one but I really didn’t like this place. True, I did meet some very special people here who I traveled with for months on end and I am beyond thankful for the experiences we had. So for that Vang Vieng treated me very well but as a town itself it lacked any type of soul. It is just a bunch of drunk and filthy backpackers swarming a little town with no personality of its own. The restaurant only serve western food and play “Friends” on repeat. My advice is rent a motorbike go to the Blue Lagoon than enjoy the scenery and then get out-of-town ASAP.
E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”:
The Ngaben, Royal Cremation Ceremony, I watched in Bali.
Boat. One day I hope to take a trip sailing around some islands for a few weeks or maybe do an ocean crossing.
G: Greatest feeling while traveling:
Knowing that I have made my dream come true of long-term travel. Each day that I am still on the road is a gift. Each new passport stamp still excites me. Also the feeling you get when you can randomly decide to book a flight, bus, train or boat to somewhere new the next day is a fantastic feeling!
H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to:
The southeastern parts of Turkey in July! It was so hot I wasn’t even hungry I swear I survived on fresh squeezed OJ and water alone!
I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where:
Working for The St. Regis and Starwood for the last 5 years in San Francisco before I left spoiled me. The free nights we got at St. Regis as a perk were a total treat. It is far from how I travel now but there was something about checking into a nice 5 Star hotel anywhere in the world and knowing you were going to be taken care of like family.
J: Journey that took the longest:
My flight from Istanbul to Bali this August. I don’t remember the exact total time but I know it was over 45 hrs. There was the train travel time from Istanbul to the airport. A flight to Qatar. A 7 hour layover in what might be the most boring airport on earth. Another flight to Singapore. A 21 hour layover in what might be the best airport on earth. I couldn’t leave the airport unfortunately due to some customs issue that I still don’t understand. Than finally another flight to Bali. Once I arrived and passed customs it was about an hour drive to my hotel. Where I took a cold shower, should have noticed they didn’t have hot water when I booked it, and passed out.
K: Keepsake from your travels:
I really don’t buy much at all. I limit myself to 1 souvenir from each place I go. This often will be a piece of jewelery. Something small that won’t weigh down my bag and something I can use while traveling. Win Win!
My most treasured keepsakes though would be my photos! If I lost these I would be beyond heartbroken!
L: Let-down sight, why and where:
The Parthenon in Athens, Greece. I think sometimes you see something on television or in so many pictures that the actual experience of seeing it is diluted by your own imagination. Also they are in the process of totally restoring this structure so there is construction equipment everywhere.
M: Moment where you fell in love with travel:
It would have to be my first trip to Europe. Like most traveling girls of 20 I met a boy and fell in quick holiday love. Going to giant parties in Amsterdam and making a whole new set of friends was the best thing that had ever happened to me! I spent 6 weeks in total in Amsterdam that trip and then returned a half a year later for a few more weeks. It was these trips that made me realize that maybe my future wasn’t in America but somewhere else out there in this amazing world of ours!
N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in:
Maybe not the nicest but the coolest was The W Hotel in Mexico City.
O: Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?:
Anything with bright colors… Market goods, sunsets, ect
P: Passport stamps, how many and from where?
I have visited or lived in 22 Countries and counting: USA, Mexico, Bahamas, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, England, France, Spain, Monaco, Holland *2 times, Belgium, Greece, Turkey, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand *4 times, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan
Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where:
The Musee Mechanique in San Francisco. This is a privately owned museum of old coin operated games. One of the best ways to spend a rainy SF afternoon in my opinion.
R: Recommended sight, event or experience:
Go see the sunrise on the top of Haleakala Crater on Maui. It is one of my favorite things to do at home and something I tell all visitors to do. You are above the clouds at 1o,ooo ft and the sun comes up from under them. The colors are amazing! One tip though: Bring a jacket and a blanket it is really cold up there!
S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling:
Adventures or activities. Sometimes that $100 white water rafting trip, two-day island cruise, or Hot Air Balloon ride seems like it will kill your budget but it is these activities that you will remember most about your trips. I also love to catch a concert in a big city when I have the chance.
T: Touristy thing you’ve done:
Ha Long Bay 3 day 2 night cruise in Vietnam. It was one of those places that seemed easiest to visit on a tour.
U: Unforgettable travel memory:
Motorcycle ride from Hue to Hoi An, Vietnam over the Hai Van Pass. One of the best days I spent in Vietnam!
V: Visas, how many and for where?
Six: Brazil, Turkey, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia.
W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where?
Argentina. You can’t go Buenos Aires and not drink Malbec. Maybe not the best quality glass of wine I have ever had but the place where the memory of drinking wine is the strongest.
X: eXcellent view and from where?:
Sunset at Koh Rong, Cambodia! I would give anything to be able to rewind back to that day.
Y: Years spent traveling?: Almost 32 years of age and I would say I have been traveling since birth. So far the longest I have spent on the road is 10 months.
Z: Zealous sports fans and where?:
My first trip to Holland was during the European Football Cup in 200o when the games were held there. Amsterdam was packed with fans from all across Europe. There would be singing, crying, drinking and chanting like I had never seen before or since.