Archive for Travel
Um, my bad. It’s been almost 2 months since I posted. I don’t even know where the time has gone or why I didn’t post. No excuses, so let’s just get back on track and do a little rewind of the past 2 months while I’m enjoying a snow day here in Virginia. You know I love a countdown!
4 Must-Know Updates
4. BUCKET LIST CONCERT
Just this week, I went to see Bush in concert. A band I’ve wanted to see since 1996. Only took 19 years! I missed them when they toured in 2010 and I told myself if they ever came around again, I’d be there.
They didn’t disappoint, but like a lot of older bands, I wanted them nix the new stuff and play my classic favorites.
That fat puss is alive and well and still makes me smile every single day. Seriously, why did I wait so long to have a furry friend?
2. LOCAL CELEBRITIES
No bigs or anything, but I met Sarah Fraser from 107.3. I’ve been a fan of hers since she was on that other radio station. She also told me she loved my outfit. It was a jumpsuit, so of course she did!
1. AUSTIN, TX
I knocked off one of four travel destinations in February when I visited Austin, TX. While I had originally planned to go by myself, true to form, friends came out of the woodwork – 1 old travel buddy and 1 colleague. I had an OK time – 6 out of 10. I give it that rating mostly because I was pretty sick and just didn’t have the energy to do all I wanted. I was also surprised by the lack of activities you could do without a car. But here were some of my favorite snaps from the trip. I think I’d definitely go back, but I’d like to go for ACL or SXSW – obvs.
I know I’m a little late on this one, but I wanted to share my Christmas adventures with everyone. Long story short, we decided to do a mini-getaway with the family. While I’d been to Charleston – who am I to say no to fun and travel?
My sister, her kids, and my mom went for the entire week, but I went down Christmas Eve and stayed through the weekend. My sister is notorious for planning every possible second of every day, so I got to see lots of fun things!
On our first day, we visited Magnolia Plantation. I carried Gabe around like he was mine. My ovaries were shouting, GIMME GIMME! But also – isn’t he adorable?
Magnolia Plantation is basically a old Civil War Plantation that has been converted into gardens and a tourist mecca. In fairness, it is beautiful. Below – parts of the garden and the plantation house.
The second day I was there, we spent the day walking around Charleston and finding fun items at the markets. My mom loved those sweet grass baskets. I found an awesome vintage tin for my gallery wall in my apartment. But here’s a cute pic of my 2 nephews:
On my last day there, we went to a tea plantation and then to the Angel Oak Tree. The tea plantation was clearly my idea, I picked up their peach infused loose leaf tea 🙂
And then we stopped in at the Angel Oak Tree which wasn’t very far away. It is estimated to be about 400 years old and it’s actually 4 trees that have grown together.
I desperately wanted to climb it, but you can’t even sit on it. That’s me fake leaning, by the way!
All in all – it was a great Christmas break. The kids tried my patience (and truth be told, so did my sister), but it was great to be with family. The older I get, the more important I realize how much I crave time with my family and these special moments together.
After publishing my goals stating that I’d blog every Monday, I’ve already missed 2! However, it was for good reason – I was away in Ireland, England, and Belgium!
I was only gone for 11 days, but managed to travel to 3 different countries in that short time frame. Somewhere in the last few days, I did a rundown and I won’t lie to you – I was really exhausted.
Here’s pretty much my trip in a nutshell: 11 days, 8 planes, 4 buses, 3 countries, 2 trains, and an undetermined amount of drinks.
It’s crazy to think I fit all that into one trip, but it was absolutely worth it. It also helped me achieve my 2014 goal of traveling to 3 international destinations. Boom! So what exactly was I doing? Well, I’ll tell ya 🙂
Ireland: I was invited to long-time friends, Edel and John’s, wedding. I first met Edel and John in Australia when I went back after I graduated from college. It’s crazy to think we stayed friends all this time, but how could I not? They are, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful couples I’ve know from the start. I was even there when they first got together. I remember the days when Edel and I would gossip over coffee and she’d gush that she had a crush on John! Teehee.
I also got to catch up with long-time friend, Emer, who I also met during my Aussie days. We hadn’t seen each other in 7 years. We decided we won’t let it go that long again!
England: I certainly couldn’t go all that way without hopping over to visit my sister and her munchkins. I realized this summer that they were just growing up too fast and I didn’t want to miss a single moment. A quick flight to Manchester and a train out to her and I was snuggled up with my 2 little English muffins, Lewis and Georgina.
And I couldn’t forget a selfie with my sis, Izzy. I’d say we haven’t changed all that much since our days in the Netherlands.
Belgium: And as promised to myself, anytime I went to see my sister, I’d stop in to see the Manchester girls. It was a promise I made when Allison passed away – a reminder that the days are long, but the years are short. The Manchester girls and I always try to do something a little bit different. Even if we can’t afford much, we like adventure. If you can believe it, Brussels is actually pretty cheap – to both get to and to get around. We went for fun. You can read that as lots of drinking, little bit of sightseeing. Definitely a great holiday!
The only thing I wish I’d had more of (other than sleep!) would have been time. I would have loved to be able to make it Glasgow to see my old work friends and down to London to catch up with a few more travel buddies. It’s just been too long. Maybe next year 🙂
So – has anyone ever geocached before? I know I’ve heard about it, but never really thought about giving it a try or investigating it.
It’s actually come up in quite a few conversations since I started my new job as apparently, my boss is a fairly avid geocacher (is that correct terminology?). So last night, after quite a few drinks, a few of us decided that we were going to geocache around SF. At 2 AM. No big deal.
It was so much fun that we did 2 last night. I don’t know if they were “hard” but it did take us awhile to find them (we were also drunk). I’m sure we looked like loons rubbing our hands over the walls, trash cans, etc trying to find the cache. Here’s a pic of one of the caches we found:
We were so excited, but since we didn’t have a pen, we just marked it in red lip gloss. Ha – so if you’re caching in SF and find that one. It was me.
So, if you are like me, a total newb to the scene, allow me to briefly explain how you even get started. You geocache using the official app and it’s pretty much a treasure hunt. Not actual treasure, per se (though apparently sometimes!), but it’s about finding hidden items that are left for other cachers in plain sight. Here’s a screenshot of the app – so many around me…only 24 hours left in the city.
Once you find the cache, you log it and submit that you’ve found it, earning a sweet smiley face on the map! And then you put it back so other people can find it. What’s amazing is that the 2nd cache we found had already been found 3 times earlier that day. How cool is that to think that somewhere out there, 3 other geocachers made the same discovery I did on August 5, but on the whole…most people are entirely clueless.
I don’t know if I’ll turn into a fanatical geocacher, but for now, I love the new adventure and plan on doing it wherever I go. I even looked up quite a few around my apartment. Can’t wait!
Welp, this will be the last installment of selfies from my grand Asia adventure. I’ve already admitted to being restless this week and I regret not holding on to that feeling of freedom and zen I had when I came back, but maybe with a little bit of inner focus I can get back there. Enjoy and let’s cross our fingers for an even bigger adventure in the coming months!
Day 41 – when conducting your own walking tour around Ho Chi Minh City, it is customary to stop and act like reindeer outside of the shops in the fancy part of town.
Day 42 – hello world, this is mags reporting in from Hoi An, Vietnam
Day 43 – I think when people fall in love with cities, they really just fall in love with who they are in that city. At least, that’s how I feel about Hoi An. I know it’s not my widest/brightest smile, but I’m just in a happy haze/daze.
Day 44 – Last night I randomly had dinner with a man from Hong Kong who lives in Paris and sells books. Then I met some Germans and drank snake wine and whisky until 4 AM. I love the adventures you find when you travel by yourself.
Day 45 – motorbike adventure to My Son and Marble Mountain.
Day 46 – Merry Christmas from Vietnam
Day 47 – it’s been a while since I showed you my tiger face. This is my tiger face.
Day 48 – oh ya know, just your standard lion dog guardian.
Day 49 – well, this was awkward at the Ethnology Museum in Hanoi
Day 50 – In Vietnam, motorbike is the only way to travel.
Day 51 – back to life, back to reality. Hanoi > Bangkok > Seoul > DC. See ya on the flip side.
Day 52 – that’s me back in DC after nearly 2 months of being away on the most amazing adventure. Last selfie of 2013 and to complete my journey. It’s definitely bittersweet, but I’m ready for 2014 and to figure out the other pieces of my life puzzle.
And if you wondered what I did with all those selfies, well – I made myself a little Flipagram because travel really is about discovering your selfie! You can watch it over here (because I’m too impatient to try and figure out how to embed it here!).
Special edition of my travel selfies coming at you with 10 featured below. It’s a funny old thing being back here in DC – there are days I miss being out there and on my own and other days I love the normality that the city gives me. For now, I think I’ll just live happily in the in between.
Day 31 – last night out in Bangkok with the crew and this crazy gal, Janie.
Day 32 – Andrea arrived in Bangkok! Off to Cambodia the next day.
Day 33 – Finally left Thailand after a month and made it to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Sorry for the weird smile, children were asking me for milk.
Day 34 – exploring Angkor Wat
Day 35 – what happens at the silk farm, stays at the silk farm. unless of course, you buy something…which you should, to support Angkor Artisans & Cambodian culture.
Day 36 – crazy day warrants crazy hair and Dammit Doll. Left Siem Reap at 9 AM. Made it to Phnom Penh 12 hours later (it’s only meant to be a 6 hour journey).
Day 37 – everyday at dawn and dusk, people gather around the city and do aerobics for all the world to see; shakin’ their groove thang to Katy Perry. Phnom Penh is currently in the lead with zero fucks to give.
Day 38 – went to the killing fields and S-21. It took me a few hours to digest everything I read and saw, but I’m really sharing this photo so more people can learn about Cambodia’s recent horrific history. Just as shocking as the genocide is that it never made it into a single US history lesson. So why should you care? Here’s why: “Keeping the memory of the atrocities committed on Cambodia soil alive is the key to build a new strong and just state…and preventing a new Pol Pot from emerging in the lands of Angkor or anywhere on Earth.” So go on, educate yourself, and be good to one another.
Day 39 – 20 million bikes and it feels like we’re playing a twisted game of Frogger every time we cross the street. Must be Vietnam.
Day 40 – right before Andrea and I crawled 100 meters through the Cu Chi Tunnels.
You know the drill, enjoy the ride.
Day 26 – Got caught up in the curse of Railay. It wasn’t pleasant, I was 1 of 25 that was violently ill. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone!
Day 27 – 36 hours later and I finally felt a bit better, but the curse of Railay is not to be taken lightly. Just a bit more hammock relaxation on Koh Phi Phi to get a bit more strength.
Day 28 – Koh Phi Phi boat party!
Day 29 – Sweaty Betty does the viewpoint hike over Koh Phi Phi
Day 30 – Ferry, bus, and a night train back to Bangkok. Long old travel day…
That last photo still makes me yawn every time I see it!