Showing posts from 2015

Ubud Adventures

I still can't believe how quickly my five days in Ubud flew by. Ubud had quite the reputation to live up to, and not only did it exceed my expectations, but I was genuinely sad to leave! My days there were so jam packed with exploring and feasting and adventuring that I never even had time to take a yoga class, or sit in a coffee shop and fill out postcards, or see a Balinese dance performance, or check out any temples. There is just way too much to do in this incredible city.

A perfect Bali afternoon starts with a coffee at Seniman Coffee  and ends with dinner across the street  at Fair Warung Bale, a non-profit restaurant
Alchemy- a raw/vegan cafe and shop
I'd say this is a city to check out when you want to reboot and get your health in check. If you've considered a raw diet, or experimenting with yoga, or been wanting to try reiki or a colonic or buy a bunch of hippie pants, if you love organic locally-sourced coffee, or you just want to stare out at the rice-paddy fields …

Bonkers for Bali

My American teacher counterparts are missing out on a little secret called October break. In Hong Kong, not only do we get TWO spring breaks (February and April), yes, we also get a week off in October for fall break. In the past I have gone to Thailand and Taiwan for this vacation, and this year I chose to go to the infamous island of Bali. I was expecting beautiful temples, serene landscapes, lazy beaches, flavorful food, and Bali did not disappoint!

The front door of a typical Balinese family compound
For the first part of my trip, I stayed in Sanur, a smaller resort town on the east coast of Bali. Four million people live in Bali and there are some bigger cities, but I wanted a more laid back approach so I avoided Seminyak, Kuta, and Denpasar. Sanur was more family friendly, but also more budget friendly. I had a private villa right next to the beach for about $25 USD a night at the Kesumasari Beach Hotel.
My patio where breakfast was served every morning
I used Sanur as my base to …

My Yoga Studio

I began a regular yoga practice about a year and a half ago with a life-changing yoga retreat in the Philippines. This was a part of my healing process after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress after leaving Ecuador. Yoga remains a therapeutic part of my routine. After developing a home practice as part of the Yoga With Adriene online community, I decided to branch out and join a yoga studio in Hong Kong.

Isn't she just the coolest?!
Mostly for logistical reasons, I chose Pure Yoga. There is a branch 15 minutes from my house that I can walk to, they gave me a corporate discount, and the space actually has 5 studios, so that there are constantly classes running that work with my schedule. What became a practical decision far exceeded my expectations, and I now go to my yoga studio 3 or 4 times a week. It’s a big part of my life here in Hong Kong.

Some downsides? Yes, it seems expensive, but at $100 USD a month for unlimited classes, I definitely get my money’s worth. Classes …

Happy Birthday to my Mom!

My mom has always been supportive of my decision to leave the United States. Not only does she not ask me when I am coming home, she comes to visit me once a year no matter where I am. This has included a trip to Guatemala, two trips to Ecuador, and two trips to Hong Kong. I know this is not normal and I so appreciate her willingness to hop on a plane to see her kid.

Portuguese eats in Macau with my mom a few months ago
The pool at our resort in Macau
September 27 is my mom's birthday. It's hard to celebrate these special moments when you are on the other side of the planet. Sending flowers AGAIN felt stale so I've decided to do something a little different this year. My mom has always had a thing for Bruce Springsteen, so I put together a special medley just for her on her birthday.


Peter Pan Syndrome

It is a modern tragedy that so many people in the expat bubble suffer from this chronic disorder. Symptoms include refusing to grow up, putting off further education, blowing a large disposable income on sins, abstaining from investing in a house or car, rejecting a walk down the aisle or familial prospects.

Hong Kong's adult playground, Lan Kwai Fong
That being said, Peter Pan Syndrome has its benefits. These include embracing spontaneous travel, choosing a new adventure each day, having time to catch up on all those back episodes of Walking Dead you’ve been putting off, indulging yourself and buying that new Kate Spade wallet you’ve had your eye on because it’s not like you have to spend your salary on your kids.

Friends from every corner of the Earth  living in an expat bubble
I am in a bubble where time stands still. My friend group varies in age by about 15 years because age doesn’t matter when we are all really at the same point in life. Single, energetic, detached, motivated p…

Refugee Solidarity March

Saturday, September 12, was the International Day of Refugee Solidarity. Here in Hong Kong the Refugee Union held a rally/march to show support not only for Syrian refugees, but also the thousands of refugees living in Hong Kong struggling to meet their basic needs. I attended with a few friends, handmade posters in tow.

Lots of community support at the rally
To be a refugee in Hong Kong is to live a hard life. While Hong Kong permits asylum to around 10,000 refugees from all over the globe, it doesn’t actually provide for them once they are here. These asylum seekers fleeing dangerous conditions do not have the right to work and can remain in limbo, fighting to get by on an unjustifiably small stipend. Many of them resort to begging and live in makeshift shelters.

This picture of my friend and I ended up in a local news source
So what can we do about it? Support rallies organized by the Refugee Union, of course. I have volunteered with an organization called Vision First on Saturdays i…

Being 26 Is Weird

I’m too old to wear a crochet croptop and neon plastic sunglasses and sit on a guy’s shoulders at a music festival. I have actually looked around at a club and realized I was one of the oldest people there. At 26, I’m in between. I’m not a university student and I’m not inclined to do body shots and getting chased by the police doesn’t sound exciting anymore. I’m not fresh out of university, looking for a job and crashing with friends and living with shitty roommates. But I’m also not quite at that point where my friends are starting to pop out babies left and right and buy houses.

The way I spend my money is slowly evolving as well. Instead of torrenting like a bandit I am starting to shell out cash for media consumption(tv shows, music, ebooks), because I understand the feeling of really working for your money now. Sometimes when I travel, I even stay in hotels (gasp!) rather than hostels.

I hear 27 is a big year? That it’s a year when a lot of people begin to feel like a sophistica…

A Travel Poem; Or, Romance is Dead

Dorothy Parker is a damn inspiration. Her wit and charisma and astute observations withstand the passage of time, and I think young women today are still benefiting from her legacy. 

Of course, she was also a raging alcoholic with a pair of failed marriages and suicide attempts under her belt, but that's best swept under the rug of history along with the last Matrix movie. I used to write poetry when I was younger, and after reading the Dorothy Parker biography, 'What Fresh Hell Is This?' I came up with this little ditty.

On the road I am the best version of me
Smart, energetic, charming and free
This occasionally means finding people who agree
To every boy on the road; every fling that could be

A dash of giggles and a whole lotta glee
These flings have a lightness you seldom see
No repeatedly checking my caller id
The future matters to a much lesser degree

Remind me once more, is your name Lee?
Oh darling just forget it, dance with me
A hostel romance or a disco floor spree
For one ev…

Potential Lives

My mind is wandering as I sit on this bus driving through rural Washington state. I see a woman jogging, cute homes hidden by trees, a man riding a horse down the street, snow capped peaks in the distance, and I wonder what my life might be like here. More wholesome, perhaps. 
What sort of life might I have in this house in Astoria, Oregon?
I was wondering the same thing in Chiang Mai a few weeks ago when I realized it had a plethora of charm, bicycles, and tasty bites. Maybe it's the nature of my job; I could feasibly live and work in most places. 
Last week I visited a vegan restaurant on Sihanoukville called 'Dao of Life.' Except, it was so much more than a restaurant. It was an old house with high, grand ceilings. The rooftop had a yoga studio/movie screening room with bean bags chairs and hammocks. Kittens roamed freely, art covered each wall, and the book exchange was overflowing. I could own a place like this, I thought. 
But here in Washington, I think of this potentia…

An Evolving Traveler

I recently finished a two week tour of Thailand and Cambodia with some friends, of which I was the youngest. We are all between the ages of 26 and 30 and I couldn't help but notice small changes in the way I now travel. 
My travel style is a lot slower, and I will choose to spend five days in a place rather than whipping through cities. We added an extra day in Chiang Mai when we weren't ready to move on after two nights only, which gave us the chance to dig deeper and discover both a riverfront live music bar and try khao soi- two special experiences we would have missed out on if we were rushing on to the next spot. 
Why not take two days to explore Angkor Wat? 
Slowing down means making more authentic connections with communities as well, I think. That may mean hearing first hand stories of the survival under the Khmer Rouge from a hired driver, or researching local charities to support. I am more aware of local customs and culture when I go to a place now, and more respectfu…

Summer Fashion Is Upon Us!

Spring is melting into summer here in Hong Kong, and that called for a deep cleaning of my wardrobe as well as a transition to some fun new summer clothes!

If you live in Hong Kong, you’ve got to check out ZALORA, an online store with free delivery for any order over 150 HKD. I’ve talked about them before, and just love perusing all their funky tanks and quirky little flats. The boutique Sugarpop has a line of cute, feminine dresses on ZALORA right now that I would love to get my hands on!

Out for birthday drinks with some girlfriends  wearing my favorite sheer ZALORA top

Of course, Hong Kongers also have to take advantage of our tropical setting. When I was back in the US for spring break I picked up some new bathing suits for those impending junk trips and beach days.

My favorite one piece from ModCloth- Looks great with jean shorts and works  as a Minnie Mouse costume in a pinch!
Fun new ASOS bikini
Another option is to throw a frock swap. I got together with some girlfriends a few weeke…

Spring Break in the States

I try to make it back to the States once a year, and last year I chose summertime for my return to Florida. Huge mistake! Summertime is the wooorrrssstt when your hometown is basically a swampland on the Gulf of Mexico. To avoid the oppressive summer heat, this year I headed back for spring break. April in Florida is ideal- hot enough for beach days, but not so hot that you burn your feet on the sand.

Some Florida thunder clouds rolling in
My Dad and I grabbing lunch in a marina
My trip took me to Georgia as well to spend time with some family. Everything looks picture perfect and Southern hospitality sure does sound as sweet as iced tea in Georgia. We took a back road to get to my uncle's house that made us drive for an hour through rural neighborhoods and historic downtown districts and it was like stepping back in time.
My brother and I in front of a Cracker Barrell
Typical Georgia home
After a weekend in Georgia, I ended up in Chicago with my girlfriends from college and we decid…

Camping on Grass Island

In Hong Kong, there are loads of islands and remote beaches where you can go camping, and a few weeks ago, I went with some friends to explore one island in particular- Grass Island. Our initial plan was to rent kayaks to get out there, but when we realized a kayak tournament meant they were all rented, we caught a ferry out to Tap Mun (Grass Island) from Sai Kung. 
Our camping crew for the weekend
The docks at Tap Mun
Riding on the ferry boat and arrival at the campsite
I was a bit worried, seeing as my idea of camping is to pass out drunkenly on the beach only to be woken a few hours later by the Coast Guard shining a light in my face. That counts, right? Lucky for me, camping in even the most remote locations in Hong Kong comes with some basic amenities. There were a couple seafood shacks on the island so we never even needed to use the gas cooker we brought out. 

There are a couple little seafood restaurants  right near the water on Tap Mun
It was really refreshing to escape the city f…