China is a vast country. It’s the most populous in the world. It can feel overwhelming to think about trying to visit or travel through this incredibly enormous country. But it’s worth it. Here’s some photos to hopefully help inspire your travels through China.
As a child, I wanted to be an astronaut when I “grew up” exploring the unknown of outer space or finding new lifeforms on an alien planet. But now I have found a reality that is so much better. Instead of the cold void of a black vacuum, I have learned to immerse myself in the most fundamental of elements: water. I don’t remember learning to swim, as I was only an infant my first time in a pool. But trading the boring tile of a sterile pool for the open ocean has provided the key to the hidden world created on our planet, and inspiration to live my life to the fullest.
Green sea turtles are a pleasant surprise when they surface next to me. In only a few seconds, the old air is exchanged for a new lung full and I follow my friend into the subsurface world. The the rush and noise of land disappear. My heartbeat slows. I rediscover peace by fully focusing on my most immediate surroundings. Seconds feel like days. I can only imagine the sweet dreams sea turtles have while submerged asleep for several hours before surfacing for more oxygen.
Street food in Indonesia is not merely a novelty, but a way of life. Once the sun begins to set, the food carts roll out, grills are fired up and the oil begins to sizzle. Motorbikes appear from all directions, and makeshift plastic tables fill the parking lots. As the final rays of sunlight disappear, Indonesia’s street food night life is in full swing. Missing out on this cultural tradition is to miss Indonesian culture altogether. Not sure which street food to try? Here’s my list of six must try street food items, and one to skip!
When it comes to travel, I’m a big dreamer. I love reading travel blogs, following travel photographers, and Pinterest browsing destinations. Three months into this new year, I’ve finally put together my travel plans, hopes & dreams for 2017. I thought I’d share my list and why I hope to visit these places this year, and perhaps inspire others to dream towards the horizon.
This tiny island of Indonesia is home to the largest lizard on Earth, the Komodo dragon. The island of Komodo is only 150 square miles, and is entirely a national park. To get to the island, we’d have to fly to neighboring Flores, and take a four hour boat to the park island. In addition to the deadly and fascinating dragons, Komodo has beautiful beaches and some great diving/snorkeling sites. As we currently call Indonesia home, I’m hoping to branch further out this year in my Indonesia travels, and Komodo looks like an amazing place to start.
Are you still looking for a reason to visit Bali? From the beautiful beaches, to the rich culture, to the rolling rice fields, any type of tourist can find something they enjoy about this beautiful island.
For me, it began in January 2016. I had seen a few Facebook posts and Internet articles about this Broadway show called Hamilton: An American Musical. I can’t say I remembered much about Alexander Hamilton from history class past the $10 bill and the milk commercial. But the cast album had reached #1 on Billboard’s RAP CHART. And I was curious. So I opened Spotify and began to listen to an album that would impact my entire year.
I was immediately captivated by the album. I’ve been a HUGE Broadway fan for years, but less of a rap & hip-hop fan. Still, I was hooked. However, I admit I had to open the Wikipedia page for the show to fully follow what was happening. But soon after my first listen, I went back for more. And more. And more. Until it was all I was listening to. Each time I listened, I heard new lyrics and understood new levels of creativity and significance in the words. Then, came the podcasts.
Amed, a sleepy town on the far east coast of Bali, is a diamond in the rough. Decades ago, Amed was probably nothing more than a typical mountainside Balinese village. But as tourism crept in, and the depths of Amed’s Jemeluk Bay were first explored by adventurers, so came the restaurants, guest houses & dive shops. Today, Amed still feels like a Balinese village…with a high percentage of foreigners. Only one road runs through the heart of Amed, and in the midst of tourist expansion, the Balinese heart & culture remain evident. Amed continues to be a favorite getaway spot of ours on Bali, so here’s your guide to what to eat, drink, see & do while in Amed.
Three… I lay flat on the surface of the ocean, one arm holding on to diving buoy and the other flowing with the waves and mild current. Air rushes down my snorkel drawn by the the first of my warmup breaths… strong in, slow out. I drop one of my three fingers, physically reminding myself where I am in my habitual process.
Two… I check that every muscle is relaxed to achieve a near resting heart rate. Although I am pumped up to make this dive, every extra beat is wasted movement and will rob me of precious bottom time oxygen. Exhale….This time I empty every last bit of air, even doing an abdominal crunch to remove the last bits of stale carbon dioxide.
“Relax… Relax every muscle in your body…” These were the comforting words of my dive coach. I was laying face down in a pool holding my breath. My first 30 seconds without the normal rhythm of oxygen in… and carbon dioxide out… is all about breaking the lifelong habit.
“Release any tension in your neck, shoulders, back…” I could feel a gentle touch helping me identify the slightest unproductive strain on my body. This is when I start to struggle with boredom. Itches appear from nowhere or I am tempted to adjust the fitting of my mask, but I know that any movement now can cost me seconds in the end.
I love reading while traveling. Nothing passes the time on a long flight or an unending train ride like a good book. I put together a list of books that I’ve enjoyed while traveling this year, and hope you will too! For more book recommendations, check out my book review blog, Around the World in 80+ Books!
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (contemporary fiction)
Meet Ove, a grumpy elderly man living in Sweden. Ove is used to doing things his own way and getting his own way. But when a young family moves in next door, Ove’s orderly world is turned upside and he’s not happy about it. Ove is a tough fellow to understand and even to like. He’s grumpy, exacting, difficult, stubborn, obstinate, and many other synonyms of those words. But as the chapters unfolded, my heart warmed to Ove. And I let him in. And I’m so glad I did. I also loved how the author told Ove’s story, with a jumping timeline narrative. The more understood about Ove in the past, the more I understand about Ove in the present. A wonderful character narrative set in dreamy winter wonderland Sweden. Continue reading