Our Big Adventure: Start to Finish

1 Journey + 2 Backpacks + 6 Months
zooming way out blog

a good story from far far away.

we’ve stayed in touch with the fellow travelers we met during our two day cruise down the mekong river in laos. lisa and eric are on…

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six months of saturdays. game over.

you know that feeling when you wake up on a saturday… “so what do you want to do today?” that’s how i’ve felt every…

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my mother in law for the laundry win.

after my brother’s wedding in san diego, we flew to tucson for some QT with danny’s family. it was our final stop before arriving…

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the world’s universal language.

early on during our travels we realized this and never will forget it. no matter where you are in the world or how different…

backpacking vietnam

a video // 1 month in vietnam.

while i soak up the last bit of this sabbatical, my goal is to organize/back up our trip’s photos, finalize videos and create a…

travel chiang mai, thailand

our most frequently asked question.

“what was your favorite place?” we’re both getting asked this multiple times a day. and it’s a fair question. probably one that i’d ask…

random acts of karma

a little kindness goes a long way.

probably due to the continent’s key religious based principle of karma, throughout our travels in asia we never felt unsafe, scammed or threatened (well,…

cessna in vancouver

flying high our last night abroad.

remember the canadian friends we made in uluwatu, bali? steve & emily — our surf crew? well, they’re from vancouver and we just so happened…

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losing roshambo in cambodia.

unpacking this week, i stumbled upon a bunch of friendship bracelets shoved in the bottom of a bag. it made me laugh when i…

TING'S TRAVEL ROUTE

detailed flashpacking asia route.

planning a backpacking trip through asia? not sure where to start? the best advice i can give you is to book a ticket and…

cute french bulldog family

reunited & it feels so good.

…now in my dreams… we’d see each other for the first time in almost six months and his eyes would get wide, his ears…

best online travel resources

top 12 favorite travel resources.

THE TING’S TOP TRAVEL RESOURCES Throughout our travels, we didn’t have cell phone service and never once got a SIM card. There were those…

japan travel route

our jam-packed japanese travel route.

{click to enlarge} we flew from denpasar, indonesia to osaka, japan on AirAsia X route: denpasar –> kuala lumpur –> osaka 10+ hours in…

japanese toilets

japanese toilets for the win.

and i’m not just talking about the bidet feature (water that splashes your rear). i’m talking about japanese smart toilets : heated seats :…

best place to stay in tokyo

where to stay in tokyo :: shibuya.

the streets of shibuya are always alive. hip cafes & restaurants everywhere the famous shibuya crossing {via} our last stop in japan (and asia)…

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all good things must come to an end.

or so we’re being forced to accept. how is it june? june! weren’t we just packing for this adventure? and now we’re back. not…

where to get ramen in kyoto

burnt miso ramen at gogya kyoto.

after plenty of fast casual, vending machine style ramen meals, we were happy to find gogya in kyoto for a proper sit-down, long dinner…

nine hours hotel kyoto japan

sleeping in a japanese capsule.

after we added japan to our route, one of danny’s “must do” items was to stay at a japanese capsule hotel. the capsule concept…

what to do in kyoto japan

traditional temples of kyoto, japan.

kyoto is to japan what hoi an is to vietnam. the city has maintained its traditional Japanese architecture and culture which is a striking juxtaposition…

where to get okonomiyaki in osaka

japanese comfort food: okonomiyaki

 okonomiyaki is called “japanese pizza” or “japanese pancakes” and it’s officially one of my new favorite hearty meals. (“yaki” means “what you like/want” –…

travel guide osaka japan

first stop in japan: the city of osaka

fifteen years ago, i spent a summer on an exchange program in southern japan (fukuoka with exploration in nagasaki and hiroshima). a high school…

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Instructions: How To Feel Super Un-Hip

Step 1. Roll into Tokyo strapped into double-sided backpacks holding a map Step 2. Attempt to make your backpack full of practical, worn-out clothes…

where to go in bali

where to go in bali.

our route: DPS Airport –> Seminyak –> Uluwatu –> Seminyak –> Ubud our complete bali travel guide can be found here.

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the law of attraction at work.

i wrote this post about wishing for a personal travel concierge while we were in seminyak, bali. with japan just days away and no…

bali religious ceremony

beachside sacrifice.

that time we showed up at Padang Padang Beach extra early for a surf session and stumbled upon a traditional religious/cultural ceremony. there were…

Villa Yasmee Pool Villa Bali

la villa vida in bali.

{click to enlarge}   suns out, buns out. That was pretty much our mantra for our time at the pool villa. Our Uluwatu reservation…

travel uluwatu, bali

Surf Life in Uluwatu // Bali

After Seminyak, we headed to Uluwatu to explore a much more laid back part of the island and to give Danny some time in…

Seminyak // Bali

Our first five nights in Bali were spent in Seminyak (our overview here). We took the advice of some Aussie friends we met in Cambodia…

bali travel guide

we’re pineapple people.

  always has been and always will be my favorite fruit. and after this trip it’s at the top of danny’s list, too.

riding a scooter in bali

bali five-o.

a few friends warned us it was likely… and they were right. apparently bali is infamous for its corrupt police force. they’ll find any excuse…

travel to hong kong

a modern meltdown.

I didn’t really know what was wrong with me. Our first day in Hong Kong I was kind of quiet. I couldn’t shake the…

HONG KONG MAP

so, wait. is hong kong in china?

{click map to enlarge} I’ll admit – I was still kind of confused until we got there. And the answer: well, not technically. Even…

dim dim sum specialty store hong kong

hong kong // our neighborhood dim sum.

dim sum :: a style of eating chinese/cantonese food that’s all small, bite-size portions and usually served in bamboo steamer baskets. in some cases,…

Sa Pa, Vietnam

riding to the border of china.

(that blue dot is us) “what’s that purple line?” “i think that’s china.” “wanna go check it out?” “yeah, let’s cruise.”   and what…

things to do in hanoi, vietnam

vietnam’s northern hub: hanoi.

it’s the capital of vietnam, but we didn’t find a real compelling reason to visit hanoi besides it being a hub for travel to…

book collage

our latest reading round up.

01. Four Hour Workweek – fantastic read for those looking to balance career with a leisurely lifestyle. everyone at my office has read it….

Sa Pa, Vietnam

exploring Sa Pa, Vietnam.

Sitting up against the border of mainland china, Sa Pa is about as far north as you can get in Vietnam (see on map…

koh tao thailand

koh tao, koh tao, koh tao!

{found this lurking in my draft folder. now that we’re back on an island, it’s getting posted} — while we were in thailand, it…

HONG KONG

a video: hong kong in 180 seconds.

we loved our week in hong kong. and if we hadn’t already been committed to onward flights, we probably would have stuck around for…

hong kong skyline

mom & dad, we’re moving to hong kong.

kidding. but for reals. but we’re not. however we totally would. {huntie, you’d love it} hong kong is rad. we’ve been moving around this…

hoi an, vietnam

vietnam’s most picture perfect city.

if you’ve ever closed your eyes and pictured what romanticized asia would look like, it’s probably hoi an, smack dab in the central coast…

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reservation for two stools, please.

one of the very first things you’ll notice in vietnam is that everyone dines on the sidewalk on miniature stools. tiny little plastic or wooden stools…

forget me not tailor hoi an vietnam

shopping spree in hoi an.

besides being romantic, historic and situated on both a river and a the ocean, hoi an (more here) is known for custom tailoring. there…

things to do in dalat, vietnam

doing & seeing in dalat, vietnam.

click to enlarge. for visuals: we took a bus from Phnom Penh, Cambodia —> Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam —> Dalat, Vietnam the “town…

futa bus ride vietnam

the effing futa bus.

when leaving the pine tree covered mountain town of dalat, vietnam we had three choices of transportation to our next destination: a. 1.5 hour…

elephant selfie

elephant selfies.

in light of the recent pop culture / tabloid news about kim kardashian’s attempt at a “selfie” with an elephant (more here if you’re…

gondola in dalat, vietnam

flying through the trees in dalat.

knowing we only had the morning time to explore dalat (before the rain would come), our second day there we were up bright and…

escape bar dalat vietnam

live music in dalat, vietnam.

our first night in dalat we grabbed an umbrella and set off for a comfort food meal. we found V’s Cafe and sat down…

dalat, vietnam

dalat’s afternoon downpours.

From Ho Chi Minh City we took a 7-hour bus ride to the mountain town of Dalat (“7″ seems to be our lucky number…

cambodia travel route

two-week cambodia travel route.

  our two-week itinerary in cambodia siem reap —> battambang —> phnom penh other cambodian places to consider visiting: sihanoukville, kampot, kep & koh…

custom tailoring ho chi minh city vietnam

custom threads in vietnam.

Since we started this adventure, Danny hadn’t purchased anything that wasn’t a major necessity (toiletry refills & a pair of knock-off CK underwear to…

pub crawl phnom penh

tuk tuk pub crawl in cambodia

the spontaneous nights are always the best. and that’s what this was. while having beers at a bar in phnom penh, a guy walked…

dalat, vietnam

back on solid ground.

hello! we’re alive and well, just been on the mooooove a lot lately. still working our way through the big ‘ole country of vietnam! we…

travel in ho chi minh city, vietnam

taking on HCMC, vietnam.

ho chi minh city or saigon? depends on who you’re talking to, but both are totally acceptable ways to refer to vietnam’s hectic southern…

motorbike ride vietnam

The Back of the Bike.

I’d love to know the total number of hours I’ve spent on the back of a motorbike since starting this adventure. It’s a lot….

flicks movie phnom penh cambodia

catching a flick in phnom penh

one balmy night in the capital of cambodia we were craving dinner and movie. so after a bowl of noodle soup, we got two…

cambodia

understanding cambodia’s history.

i’m not going to pretend we knew anything about cambodia’s politics or history before it was added to our travel itinerary. but once our…

HCMC vietnam

sin-chow from vietnam!

  we’re just about a week into our voyage through vietnam. we’re making our way from the south to the north, and anticipate spending…

another day, another island.

^our three week itinerary // southern thailand march 2014^ if you’re planning a trip to southern thailand and have any specific questions, don’t hesitate to ask….

angkor wat siem reap cambodia

pedaling through angkor wat.

arguably the heart of cambodia is angkor archaeological park, 400 square-kilometers (250 sq. miles) of forested area featuring hundreds of remaining hindu and buddhist…

cambodia food & drink

cambodian food + drink.

at home our mouth’s water for this cambodian restaurant, so we were super pumped to get our fill of authentic cambodian fare. sadly, the only thing…

whats a flashpacker

finally, we have an identity.

definition / flashpacker: someone who travels like a backpacker but with a bigger budget. we aren’t talking wall-street bonuses here, but flashpackers have enough…

koh lanta thailand

finding a friend on koh lanta.

When our friend Wes from college emailed a couple of months ago to tell us he’d bought a one-way ticket to Thailand to start…

cambodia travel

thailand, you’ve got competition.

from the minute mr. bean the tuk tuk driver picked us up at the airport, we’ve been continually blown away by cambodia. for starters,…

koh lanta, thailand

koh lanta: we’re moving in.

That’s probably what the lovely Muslim owners at Khum Laanta Resort thought when each morning we’d arrive for iced coffee and ask if we…

shell jewelery

koh jum jewels

on this trip, we find ourselves watching a lot of things we’d typically miss — a spider weaving his web, schools of fish moving…

koh jum island, thailand

oh what an adventure koh jum was!

it all started when we made the decision to explore one of the lesser traveled thai islands. there are so many islands and we have the…

deep water solo climbing tonsai

deep water solo climbing.

while waiting in line for a kebab & fruit shake right in railay, a fellow american spotted our Osprey packs and struck up a…

funny signs in asia

only because you asked.

  we will not stand on the toilet seat. we will not shave our legs with a machete. we will not use a broom/light…

ao nang krabi thailand

being tourists in ao nang, thailand.

with very little research, we booked our one-way ticket from india to krabi, thailand. it was that or puhket, which we haven’t heard anything…

oysters thailand

taking on asia’s giant oysters.

danny really wanted a good seafood dinner while we were in the thai islands. so once he discovered a place of his liking, we…

vacation books

reading on the road.

in addition to fun stuff, we’re reading notable novels that take place in the countries we’re visiting. it’s a great way to learn about…

thailand polaroid

thailand, we heart you.

{freedom beach on koh tao island} after three weeks of R&R on the beaches of thailand and a total of six weeks in this…

northern india travel itinerary

northern india travel route & itinerary

india is huge. And there’s not a whole lot between each city except really rural villages. it’s kind of like constantly driving from Phoenix…

tonsai thailand

going thai-dye in tonsai.

after a week at dawn of happiness, our next beach stop was tonsai, and it was one of our favorite stops in southern thailand. tonsai…

post office in india

To India With Love (+ video).

{above: video highlights from our incredible india adventure. can’t view? click here.} Dear, India: You’re colorful. You’re intense. You’re frustrating. You’re home to some…

travel in india

this is india… incredible india.

we find ourselves thinking and talking a lot about india. the individual experiences themselves, our observances, how our time in the country has impacted…

french bulldog

missing our mr. munch.

we miss hunter so much. if you’ve ever hung out with us, you know that we have a distinct voice for huntie and talk…

jaisalmer india

jaisalmer… it’s a fort, of course!

forts and temples are to india what cathedrals are to europe. they’re beautiful, but after you’ve seen one or two – you’ve seen them…

train ride in india

getting rocked to sleep in india.

{this was a day-trip train ride} For the journey from Khajuaro to Varanasi, we opted for the  12 hour overnight train – a common…

bikaner, india

bikaner, india

one of Rajesthan’s smaller cities, Bikaner is home to Rat Temple (seen here) and the Camel Breeding Farm & Research Center (seen here). After…

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Road Tripping Through India.

a video compilation to give you a taste of the sights & especially the sounds of driving through india. can’t view the video? click…

indian food

The Art of Eating in India.

Hands down, India wins the best food award. We couldn’t enough. Unlike everywhere else we’ve been, we didn’t crave diversity once. Every day was…

dawn of happiness resort krabi, thailand

kicking off month #3 in paradise.

after 6 airports in 26 hours and no sleep, we made it from varanasi, india to krabi, thailand. it’s paradise. if you need us,…

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Monkeying Around in India

Like camels (seen here), it never gets old to see monkeys roaming freely. We could sit and watch monkeys for hours. They’re hilarious with…

travel in udaipur, india

Udaipur: India’s Most Romantic City

India’s desert state of Rajesthan is known for it’s picturesque monuments and authentic Indian beauty. The queen of them all is Udaipur, City of…

mandawa, india

mandawa: land of havelis.

Our first stop after Delhi was the town of Mandawa, population 30,000, in the Shekhavati region of India known for its old havelis. A…

delhi, india

bear down, india. bear down.

Hard to believe that in a city of 20+ million, we flagged down a tuk tuk driver who we later realized was wearing an…

luang prabang laos

losing track of time in luang prabang.

doing some backtrack blog posting. we’re still in india, but here’s some more from our time in luang prabang, laos. As mentioned here, Luang…

taj mahal agra india

the taj mahal: an unexpected moment.

Today we went to the Taj Mahal and something happened that I wasn’t expecting. I got really emotional. As we approached the east gate…

camels in india

happy hump day!

It’s funny. You’d assume that after seeing about 30 camels a day, the novelty would wear off, but it doesn’t. I still smile each…

India

India: Holy Cow!

For reals. The Hindu religion recognizes cows as holy animals and it’s illegal to eat or sell beef in the country of India. Cows…

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push & pull.

spending every waking moment with someone requires a certain level of patience, love and flexibility. and what comes with a 24/7 schedule is becoming…

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man vs. mosquito.

It’s a daily battle. Because it’s not rainy season, there aren’t swarms of mosquitos, but the ones that are around don’t have a fighting…

india travel

holy india.

i’m quite certain we’ll never be able to accurately describe day one in delhi, a city of 22 million. the contradicting emotions we felt,…

pai thailand

life (and love) in pai, thailand.

Not originally on our radar, Pai’s been a highlight so far (especially for D) despite the chilly temperatures (it was so cold mornings and nights!)….

scooters in southeast asia

learning to scoot around southeast asia.

here’s a little footage from right after i received my first lesson. the stop-go-freak-out wasn’t caught on camera. my teacher was more focused on…

luang prabang, laos

we’re in luang prabang, laos.

after a couple of days on buses & vans, and a two-day boat ride down the mighty mekong river, we officially departed thailand and…

street dogs in thailand

our thai soi dogs.

Street dogs aka “soi dogs” are everywhere. They’re a part of the culture and the community takes care of them – in fact, they’re…

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day sixteen. learning to balance.

if you’re super lucky, that’s the end of a traditional two-week vacation getaway. you’ve had a relaxing time, packed in some adventure, but your…

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the thai language :: all about tones.

i’m a little embarrassed to admit that i really couldn’t have picked out the thai language before i landed here. the thai language is…

street pizza chiang mai thailand

dating in thailand.

that friday night when your husband plans a surprise date in the middle of thailand. and it’s pizza perfect. street pizza in chiang mai…

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cruising solo in chiang mai.

today’s our last day in chiang mai and the first “solo” day of the trip. danny’s off on a full-day mountain biking adventure and…

spicy villa chiang mai

bye bye jungle bungalow.

we’re back. and after four nights of camping in the jungle of northern thailand (for real), we’re so very happy to be back in…

chiang mai thailand

stop number two // chiang mai

in case your world geography is a little foggy, here’s a purple star to show you where we’re currently located: chiang mai in northern…

7-11 in bangkok

observations // bangkok, thailand

our week in thailand’s capital and most populated city (8+ million people) has come to an end. in many ways, bangkok is very similar…

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bangkok street food tour.

after day number five in bangkok, we were looking for fresh things to do, so i researched some activities and stumbled upon the highly…

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a look into “our life” in bangkok.

it’s amazing how quickly you can establish a routine and become part of a neighborhood in just a week. airbnb home: private room rental…

lumpini park bangkok

a day like a local in bangkok.

danny and i are pretty bad tourists. the “top 10 things to do in bangkok” are probably not where you’ll find us spending much…

traditional thai massage

first traditional thai massage.

for massage #2, we decided to get more than just a foot rub and go for a traditional thai massage. after having our feet…

backpacker packing list

packing for a six-month backpacking trip.

what are you packing? this is the #1 question we’re asked – especially me. packing for this trip has been time consuming, mentally exhausting…

the tings

are you nervous?

 another common question. and i promise i’m not trying to be a badass when i say, “no, not really.” here’s the deal. we want to…

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how are you feeling? are you excited?

it’s like being engaged all over again. people are so excited for our big adventure and have tons of questions. yes, we’re super excited. but…

chinese food

take out sunday with a twist.

despite trying to avoid all asian-related food items leading up to our trip (per the tip of multiple friends), we indulged a craving for…

travel vaccinations arcadia travel physicians

shots! shots! shots! shots!

not the vodka kind. yesterday we finished our series of travel immunizations! i absolutely hate shots & needles. not like how most people do, i really…

there are 7 days in a week and someday isn't one of them

true words.

  don’t you just love this quote? when i said this new mantra to my dad, he quickly reminded his favorite dweller that neither…

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The Tings Have Some Exciting News!

We’re fulfilling a dream & going to explore the world!  We. Are. So. Excited. You know those reoccurring conversations that happen after a few cocktails? When…