First Day in Bangkok

My very good friend Nicole picked me up at 3am and drove me to Dulles for my 6am flight.  I am very lucky to have a friend willing to do that for me!  So I just wanted to give her a quick shout out!  Love you Nicole!

As the plane took off it started to snow and I felt very lucky to be leaving town at that exact moment.  It was the day after Christmas and I was sad to leave my loved ones so quickly but at the same time I was super excited about my first trip to Asia.

Flying Away from the Sunrise

Flying Away from the Sunrise

After 24 hours of traveling, sleeping, eating airplane TV dinners, sleeping, get off the plane, get on another plane… I arrived in Bangkok at midnight.  Cleared customs quickly and found a very nice cab driver who couldn’t read so I had to read him the streets around my hostel on my little map, but we made it.  He walked me to the door which was also very nice.

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Cool rooftop patio of the hostel

I wandered around the common areas of the hostel till 3 am chatting with my boyfriend online and wondering when I would feel sleepy.  But I finally crashed and woke up around 9am ready to go see some historic stuff.

I got directions and a map from my front desk and immediately lost the map he gave me as I was walking down the main drag, but luckily I found the river on my own and hopped a boat to the royal palace.  I met a nice couple from NYC on the boat and we sat together and laughed every time water would splash in our mouths!  Icky!

Boat Friends

I think our boat driver was trying to show us all a good time by driving super fast and splashing us but we were all super scared of getting that water in our mouths.  We were dropped off at the pier by the palace and there was a very busy market with yummy thai food being cooked right there in front of us.

We were staring down a garlicy squid and decided to share one.  The guy put it in a plastic bag and sliced it for us.  We were pleasantly surprised to see the squid was stuffed with pork sausage!  It was very yummy and I noted that I felt like I was on the Travel channel with that bald guy. Haha

Garlic Sausage Stuffed Squid - Delicious!

Garlic Sausage Stuffed Squid – Delicious!

They walked me to the royal palace entrance and we split up because they were going to some other temple.  I pulled on my long sleeve shirt and went inside.  In order to enter the temple you have to cover up out of respect.

Sad Temple Dude

Sad Temple Dude

Me and a Statue

Me and a Statue

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I wandered around baking in the sun staring up at the shiny gold and mirror mosaic temples.  It was very ornate and impressive, but by the end I was all toured out.  I had considered walking to another temple nearby, but decided it was time for rest and I was beginning to get a headache from the sun.

I kept buying lychee water and water and trying to hydrate but the heat was getting to me.  So I hired a boat to take me back towards my hostel.  I had a nice private ride down the river again… this time less scary.  Maybe I was just getting used to it.  I would say, so far my favorite part of Bangkok is speeding up and down the river.

Me a little burnt out on my private boat ride back to my hostel

Me a little burnt out on my private boat ride back to my hostel

Tomorrow I fly to Chiang Mai to visit Diana and go to the Elephant Nature Park!

Visiting the Low-Country of South Carolina

When my cousin suggested we check out Charleston, South Carolina for a few days, I said “Sure. Why not?”

I had never really thought about going there before and didn’t know much about it.  I searched online and found a hostel and got an idea of things to do.  Turns out the only hostel in South Carolina is located in Charleston.  So I booked us a private room and we set off from Atlanta where my cousin lives.

Upon arrival in Charleston, I immediately picked up on the similarities to Savannah.  In fact, on several occasions I would think I was in Savannah and my cousin would politely correct me.  🙂  It had a historic small town feel, with tilted old houses and narrow streets.  Our hostel was cute, with several houses on one lot and a small gravel parking lot in the middle.  Our room was on the second level of a house, accessed by the double decker outside porch.  We had a cute bench swing outside our door and it had the perfect feel for the Southern experience.

After settling in, we immediately hopped back in the car and drove down to the scenic battery at the southern most point of historic Charleston on the water.  We parked the car and walked around the park facing the large stone barrier walls along the waters edge.  All around the park are historic cannons and statues demonstrating the historical significance of this waterfront corner of town.

As you walk into town from the battery area, you pass by historic southern mansions squeezed together on a tight row, sharing the waterfront views.  If it weren’t for the cars, you would really feel like you were in a different time.  We zig-zagged through town, cutting down cute brick alleys between historic homes, peeking into gardens and church yards, and taking pictures of everything!

I was immediately enchanted by Charleston.  I couldn’t wait to see everything.  We hopped on the free trolley that circles around the historic downtown area so we could see where we wanted to go next.

We got off the bus at the Market Hall, which is a historic market with a series of buildings stretching four blocks.  This market has been here since the 1790’s and there are still vendors there today selling local foods, produce, and various souvenirs.  The market leads you to the wharf and the waterfront. We walked along the park with fountains along the water and headed back into town to get food.

We grabbed some seafood at a restaurant with a rooftop deck.  I asked the waitress what seafood on the menu was local and she said probably only the shrimp.  So I ordered a shrimp sandwich and my cousin got a steam pot.  Both were great!  But while we were eating our table’s umbrella got picked up by the wind and rose up out of the table.  In mid bite I grabbed the pole and a guy at the next table helped me!  Haha it was quite the meal.

We planned out the rest of our trip and headed back to the hostel to relax with a six pack of beers on our porch swing at the hostel.

My Tortuga Backpack – Love it!

Originally submitted at Tortuga Backpacks

The Tortuga Travel Backpack 45 is a secure, carry-on bag designed exclusively for travelers, by travelers. Backpackers, international travelers, vagabonds, and study abroad students will find it perfectly suited to their needs. Carry everything you need for a one week vacation to Rome or a year-lon…

Perfect bag for a couple weeks in Europe

By Meggerroo from Washington, DC on 12/30/2011
5out of 5

Pros: Good Padding, Easy to Pack, Durable
Best Uses: Airline Travel, Backpacking, Extended Travel
Describe Yourself: Casual Adventurer
What Is Your Gear Style: Minimalist
Was this a gift?: No

I used this bag for a recent 4 week trip through Europe. I was hopping on and off planes, trains, and automobiles and this bag worked great in all situations. I was able to stow the backpack straps away and check the bag on airplanes, which was awesome! It also fits on all overhead compartments on the trains and planes.

I had absolutely no issues with the bag the entire trip!

In addition, the bag really does hold a lot of stuff. As I picked up additional items on my trip, I was able to smoosh my things around and get the bag zipped up every time, no problem!

My tortuga bag in Venice:

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Tags: Picture of Product

Bucket List

1. Hike up to Machu Picchu on the Inca trail.
2. Galapagos Islands
3. Antarctica
4. Hike to the base camp of Mt Everest, Nepal.
5. Backpack along the coast of Ireland.
6. Stay in one of those huts on the water in Bora Bora.
7. Take the Orient Express and get off in a small town in the middle of Russia.

Can you recommend some more travel bucket list items?

The Plan

Just found out this morning as my dad and I were leaving for the airport that my Mom had no idea where I was going. So I thought it might be appropriate to list it out. Mom, please see below, LOL:

Milan 1 night
Venice 2 nights
Rome 2 nights
Monte Carlo 1 night
Montpellier 1 night
Madrid 10+ days

And then I’m never coming back! Ciao!