A Traveler’s Terrene

You only live once. What are you going to remember the most?

50 Reasons to Take a Mini-Retirement Now: #47 February 24, 2010

Save money by taking a mini-retirement.

If you choose your destination wisely, you can live in luxury while saving money in the process.  Traveling in Southeast Asia, for example, one can enjoy a beautiful lifestyle for less than $1000 a month.  imagine $6 a night bungalows a few hundred feet away from a white sandy beach or a $13 hotel room equipped with air conditioning and a pool. And, although I didn’t do it, I did hear of people renting nice apartments for around $500 a month if you prefer to base yourself in one location.

What can $1000 a month get you in Seattle where I was living before I left on my world tour?  Of course it depends on what kind of housing you live in, but on average $1000 would probably cover rent for one person, utilities and a night or two out on the town.  However, it probably wouldn’t be enough to cover cell phone bills, groceries, car payment, gas etc.

There is often times a misconception that one needs to be rich in order to travel, but trust me you don’t!  If you have the opportunity of going to a low-cost country you can actually save money as the cost of living is probably higher in your place of origin.  Think of that…you should go live a abroad in order to SAVE money! See the world, experience culture  and save money for retirement, by taking a mini-retirement now.


Star Jumping and Toyota Kicking the world! November 14, 2008

Yesterday marked my 9 month anniversary of leaving Seattle to travel around the world!  It was an experience of a lifetime, an epic adventure. I freed the explorer inside me that has been restless since my childhood days when I explored the world in my backyard. I finally had the courage to say to that little voice…go on…PLAY! IMAGINE! CREATE! The world is your playground I told myself, it is a Traveler’s Terrene.

So here I am nine months later with some 50 gigs of photos, unforgettable memories, and a global network of new friends.  I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. From the people I travelled with on different legs of the trip: my older brother “Mohawk Mark” (2 months in New Zealand), college friend and dance extraordinaire Brian (3 weeks in Thailand), my childhood next door neighbor and “Sister Zesma” Suzanne (5 months throughout Southeast Asia, Turkey, Croatia and Italy), my adorable Italian former roommate Ilaria (2 weeks in Milan and a long weekend in England) and the countless backpackers I met along the way where we travelled together for a few days before parting ways (you know who you are…I HEART you…and there are too many too name!)  

At some point I’ll upload a wide selection of photos to Picasa and send a link, but for now, here is a snapshot of my trip as I Star Jumped and Toyota Kicked across the world!


Recap: Thailand June 23, 2008

Filed under: Round The World Trip,Thailand — italicana kitchen @ 6:30 pm
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Thailand: Highlights and Memories

1. Meeting my friends Brian and Suzanne at the Bangkok airport. Brian came out for 3 weeks and Suzanne met up with me for the remainder of the trip (and then is continuing on for 3 weeks in Africa after we split up in Italy…speaking of which I still haven’t bought a plane ticket home…!).

2. Staying with my good friend’s Aunt and Uncle in Bangkok. We were spoiled and treated like kings and queens. Thank you Scott, Cynthia, A.J., Abi and Austin for your amazing hospitality, a real bed and great home cooked food!

3. Thai massages. $6/for 1 hour. Need I say more? Absolutely heaven.

4. Thai food: Phad Thai, pumpkin curry, banana pancakes, mangos & sticky rice and fruit shakes, just to name a few of my top favorites.

5. Eating barbecued grasshopper. The grasshopper was surprisingly somewhat palatable, the maggots on the other hand, were a completely different story. No joke…they tasted like Jack and The Box tacos. I wonder, is this a coincidence or possibly the same recipe?

6. Tropical fruit: Mangos, pineapple, mango steams, dragon fruit all being sold for cheap by street vendors on every corner.

7. Riding an elephant. The act of sitting atop such a massive beast was absolutely thrilling; the cruelty of the teenage boys who used long wooden sticks capped with sharp steel hooks to prod the elephant to move, ruined the experience.

8. Koh Phangan Island. We spent over a week at Hat Khom and Hat Yuan beach where we met a handful of amazing new friends, I finally got rid of my Seattle-pasty skin, sea-kayaked around the bays and swam with tiny stinging jellyfish in the sparkling turquoise clear water.

9. Railey Island. Besides the picquresque pinnacles, I wasn’t too impressed with the island-life itself as one half was a honey-mooned packed resort area and the other a backpacker strip on muddy beach lined with sunken trees and taxi boats. Brian, Suzanne and I did, however, go on quite a hiking adventure to a secluded lagoon (although Brian was the only person to make it down the trecherous mud lined verticle walls) where we met a Brazilan named Caio and all four of us became friendly with the mud, painting our faces like warriors before jumping into the water to body surf the thrashing waves.

10. Getting food poisening. Definitely not a highlight, but it was quite the experience to come down with food poisoning on a travel day and spend over 24 hours holed up in a room once we reached our destination.