Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Leaving On A Jet Plane

First of all, thank you to everyone for all of your well wishes and support. This is a huge and intimidating transition for Tanner and I but we can’t wait to experience it.

I will be using this blog as a way to track my experiences, thoughts, and photos while traveling to and throughout Southeast Asia. I cannot promise I will keep it up or even have internet while I am away. I promise to do my best though.

For some background information to those newcomers:

I am 28 and just dropped everything - left my job and moved out of our apartment in California - to backpack in Southeast Asia for 3 months with my husband, Tanner.

Our plan? Well, it's quite simple. Volunteer and work on an island and travel through Cambodia, Thailand, and the Philippines. A loose itinerary we put together will guide us through our travels. We may stick to it or we may change course. Who knows. Wherever the wind takes us we will go, I suppose.

For those of you who are interested in how we planned for our trip or how you can plan one yourself, I've included some links below with more information and some additional resources. If you are interested in our journey, please do it! You can do it if you commit to it and really want it. Feel free to email me with any questions. I would love to help!

Here is where we applied for our visa (only necessary in Cambodia):

The organization we're volunteering with:

The insurance company we signed up with (to also cover our extreme adventures):

And some other resources we used to plan our trip:
http://www.kayak.com to find cheap flights.
http://www.tripadvisor.com and
http://www.hostelworld.com to scope out or accommodation options.
http://www.couchsurfing.org to find people to stay with while abroad.
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/ and
http://www.virtualtourist.com to seek travel advice.
http://www.budgetyourtrip.com to calculate our budget.
http://www.onebag.com for packing checklists.

We used Lonely Planet guides for travel information and purchased most of our gear at REI and Amazon.com.

Know that this was not a whim or a quick endeavor. We have been slowly paying off debt, saving and planning for this for almost a year. It was challenging at times but it is real now. We did it!

Our flight to Phnom Penh, Cambodia departs in 2 hours. I'll write again when we arrive on the other side of the world.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The most important rule of backpacking is to...

PACK LIGHT! Case in point...

All of our belongings for 3 months of traveling
My belongings
Underwater camera cases and accessories
My clothes neatly rolled into packing cubes
For when I'm feeling crafty...
Big bag of medicine
My money belt and bra money pouch
Sir Darwinius The Gray, Prince of Westlake
All packed and my bag weighs no more than 20 lbs!
Tanner's belongings 
Tanner's clothes 
Some of the essentials 
3oz bottles of sunblock and insect repellant to pass TSA carry-on requirements
Tanner carrying more of the weight at 25 lbs
Yay! All packed and our adventure begins in 24 hours! :D

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Southeast Asia Itinerary: At A Glance

Just a few of our destinations for our upcoming 11 week trip through Southeast Asia.

Unspoiled island of Koh Rong, Cambodia
Temples of Angkor, Cambodia
Trang, Thailand
Koh Lanta National Park, Thailand
Diving Hin Daeng/Hin Muang, Thailand
Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
Banaue Rice Terraces, Philippines
Big Falls in Sagada, Philippines
Chocolate Hills of Bohol, Philippines
Salagdoong Beach, Siquijor, Philippines
Diving Apo Island, Philippines
White Island, Camiguin, Philippines

Just a week and a half away. Yikes. Better get back to packing!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Looking back...

On Wednesday, March 26, 2008, at the peak of my quarter life crisis, I blogged on my current state of affairs:

  • My week-long solo adventure in Costa Rica begins on Saturday.
  • My lovebirds, Misty and Smoothie, birthed a new lovebird on March 12 whom I call Anastasia.
  • I haven’t been in a serious relationship in 2+ years and I’m ok with that.
  • The last few men I’ve expressed interest in have subsequently fled and traveled thousands of miles away.
  • I still live with my parents and I still don’t have a car let alone a driver’s license.
  • I’m on an ongoing search to discover my life’s passion and purpose.
  • I’m moderately bored.
  • I think I may have ADD.


  • My life is constantly in flux.
  • I moved to California less than 2 years ago, met the love of my life, and married him earlier this year.
  • In one month my husband and I are embarking on a 2.5 month long journey through Southeast Asia including Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines.
  • I’m the proud mama of a very handsome kitty we named Sir Darwinius the Gray, Prince of Westlake. 
  • I have a California driver’s license but I still don’t drive. Instead, I ride my bike.
  • I am funemployed and looking for an exciting career change away from a desk. During our travels, we will be volunteering in marine conservation and I’m hoping this experience will lead me to new career paths in conservation or ecotourism/travel.
  • Wanderlust has completely taken over. My insatiable desire to meet the world’s people, visit their countries, embrace their culture, art, antiquities, spirituality, and beliefs has taken me on many unforgettable adventures and I don’t intend to stop anytime soon.
  • I anticipate that I will discover my life’s passion and purpose as I travel.
  • I may have ADD but I’ve learned the secret to my peace of mind lies in my husband’s embrace.

Some things never change.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Marine Conservation Cambodia

Here's a great video shot by some of the volunteers of Marine Conservation Cambodia, a project that is devoted to protecting and conserving Cambodia's marine environment and the livelihoods of the island communities that rely on its resources. Tanner and I will be participating in marine research, conservation and teaching in Cambodia starting January 2012 and we couldn't be more excited!

And some images of the island of Koh Rong where we will be residing for a few weeks through the duration of our involvement with the project:

Learn more about the project:

Monday, September 12, 2011

The beginning stages of our travel planning…

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Destination: Southeast Asia

As some of you may know, my husband, Tanner, and I have been working hard and saving money to travel and volunteer abroad for quite some time. Over the last few days, we’ve made tremendous strides in our plans.

We’ve decided to focus our first trip in Southeast Asia to suit our smaller budget, our love for natural settings, tropical weather and diving, and to take a much needed break from the western lifestyle and go off the beaten path to observe new cultures. I’ve wanted to revisit the coral reefs in the Philippines and to share the unforgettable diving experience with Tanner. Also, I have extended family in the Philippines who I can't wait to visit and introduce to my new husband. :)  And I’ve always wanted to volunteer in marine conservation, see the stone temples of Angkor Wat, experience a Full Moon party on the beach in Thailand, and to get back into travel photography. And Tanner simply can’t wait to learn and travel overseas.

So we took all of this into account and put together a rough itinerary according to our budget. We will be on the road starting January 2012 for at least 3 months. We plan to volunteer and participate in marine research and conservation for at least 4 weeks on the island of Koh Rong, Cambodia with Marine Conservation Cambodia; then continue our adventures through Southeast Asia; spending up to 4 weeks in Thailand, and 4 weeks in the Philippines.

There are many things to consider when planning a trip so every few days or so I will post updates and share what we’ve learned along the way. So expect to see more travel oriented posts in weeks to come!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I can fly!!!

Working towards my dreams of becoming a Cirque Du Soleil peacock performer…

Friday, July 29, 2011

You Are An Explorer

You are an explorer.

Your mission is to document and observe the world around you as if you’ve never seen it before. Take notes. Collect things you find on your travels. Document your findings. Notice patterns. Copy. Trace. Focus on one thing at a time. Record what you are drawn to. Take photos.

We are all visitors to this time, this place – we are just passing through. Our purpose is to observe, learn, grow and love. And then, we return home.