Well, I’m not just a travel blogger anymore. After spending a year a half trying to settle back into Seattle, I’ve realized that ‘settling’ isn’t for me. However permanent travel isn’t for me anymore either.
So…. what does that MEAN?
That mean’s I’m going to transition what I’ll be writing about on this blog, and also become more intentional about the way I’m utilizing this blog. It’s going to all come to light soon, but here’s an update… to my last update of almost a year ago.
A lifestyle blog is about….. life!
My life, to be specific. Why should you care? Well, it’s my goal to show you ways to find adventure, travel, fun and happiness in your daily life too. If I can do it, you can too.
If you want to see anything specific, just let me know. I’ll do my best to make this a place where you find content that you find amusing, helpful, and not a complete waste of your time.
Well, great flipping question. I’ve been asked by a few people when I’m going to put out my next actual blog and I’d been ‘delayed’ for about…. hmmmm….. 9 months now? Why is that? Well, life got crazy. Real life got crazy. What is real life? Well, I used to think it was work and family. Then I started traveling and real life was travel. Now I’m back in the Seattle area and it’s a hybrid between the two. I’ve been trying to figure out what life looks like now that I’m not a nomad and it’s been a struggle, to be honest. It’s a great struggle, between traveling and being home, and I’m excited to find a balance between the two.
This post serves as my commitment to you (my readers and Mom) that I’m going to jumpstart my blogging again. I’ve got a plethora of content that needs to be shared (3 months in Europe, graduating with my MBA, Oregon Coast, Arizona adventures, Vegas weddings, Mexico weekends and much, MUCH more) and now is the time to get it going. Beware, if you see a rush of posts over the next few weeks, that is why.
I’m slightly impatient (for those who don’t know me personally) so I’ve put a few of my favorite photos from the past few adventures below to wet your appetite. Please let me know if there are any pictures that you want to know more about.
While I could take the time to explain all of these beautiful photos, I’m not going to. Sometimes it’s my goal to simply bring you along in the journey of life. My time exploring the Arizona landscape was unforgettable and I can’t wait to get back and see it all again. Hopefully with a much better camera and much better weather (for the record, when I was told an Arizona Christmas, I was expecting 70 degree weather).
Keep an eye out for the picture of dinosaur tracks. Crazy sauce! If you want to know more about any of them, just email me and I’ll tell you all about it. info @ adrianstraveltales dot com.
What does it mean and why are you sharing it with all of us? Well, this coincides nicely with my 1 year blogaversary. A year ago, I was madly searching for the perfect name to put on a website that I would built to help me share my story. I had no idea what I was getting myself into or how it would all turn out. I had no one to ask questions to and no one to tell me I wasn’t crazy for giving up everything (again) to leave.
A year later, I still don’t know how it will turn out and I still have no idea what I got myself into. BUT….. I do have a great network of people to turn to when I need help. People who understand my drive to experience new things, who have the same incurable wanderlust and who encourage me to continue pushing towards my goals of being a digital nomad.
Map Maiden is one of those lovely people who supports me and also nominated me for this Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award. It’s an award given to women bloggers in recognition of their awesomeness and willingness to help. I suggest you pop over to her site to check out her responses, she’s got a great sense of humor and it shines in her writing.
Here are her questions to help you get to know me a bit better.
Did anyone influence your decision to travel, and if so, who?
No one specific. I kind of woke up one morning when I was 15 and decided I wanted to be an exchange student. It all spiraled out of control… I mean started…… from there.
What are some of your favorite things to do while traveling?
Favorite things while traveling? Well, since travel is pretty much my life, I’m going to say I enjoy finding new hikes, experiencing new food and trying to fit in at least one adventure per day. And wearing my tutu in as many situations as possible.
What’s one place you’ve visited that you didn’t like as much as you thought you would? Morocco. While I LOVED the country, I was a bit annoyed by how they treated women there. I would go back again in a heartbeat but it was slightly annoying.
What’s your favorite souvenir you brought back from traveling? Jams from all over the world. I don’t like picking up ‘things’ so I always grab a jar of locally made jam or honey. Yum!
What is one piece of advice you’d give to a new traveler? Pack less than you think you need. You can get whatever you need while you’re traveling for a fraction of the cost (normally).
What was the last place you traveled to? Internationally? Ponta Delgada, Portugal. Domestically? Snohomish, Washington
Where are you headed next? Hopefully S. America and Antarctica
What’s your ideal length of a trip? Forever…. Is that a length?
Did you ever get to a new destination and just feel totally lost? How did you make it work? I usually feel totally lost when I get to new places. That’s part of the thrill I get from travel. I enjoy not knowing where I am or how to get to where I think I’m going. Sometimes I love not even having a destination. I just enjoy the constant change I experience in my life.
What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you while traveling?
Well, I have many funny stories, I’m going to stick to one random one though. It has to be my Khmer Ant Soup story. You have to read it!
And now for my nominees for Sisterhood of the World Bloggers:
Like almost have an unhealthy obsession with food. I’m not a snob, I’ll eat pretty much anything someone puts in front of me good, bad or weird (Crunchy soup in Cambodia)
The bad part about my food obsession is that when I’m around a lot of delicious food, I eat a plethora of it. Such as that one time in Sicily I ate my way to an extra 10 pounds…. (Ok, you caught me… 11 pounds). This just means I need to keep up on my crazy active adventures to keep me healthy but it still can be annoying when your clothes don’t fit. And not food baby, need to unbutton my pants, fit but I have to wear my stretchy yoga pants all the time because my jeans don’t fit, fit. Ha!
I thought Sicily was bad, and then I was introduced to Costa Brava. Oh Costa Brava. How I love you. While this won’t turn into another love letter to a country, this is a warning to all who dare to visit this region of Spain and try their food. YOU’LL NEVER WANT TO LEAVE! It’s dangerous. I was planning on spending about 2 weeks total in Costa Brava. Next thing I knew, it had been four weeks and I had to run away to Andorra to escape the highly addictive food.
We won’t get into the numbers and how much I gained because it makes me slightly sad to think about it. I guess I’ll just have to run up a few more mountains and bike around a few more cities. Oh darn, the life of a Travel Blogger.
To help you escape from this unhealthy addiction when you visit Costa Brava, I have compiled a photo essay of the foods you must STAY AWAY FROM.
And, if for some reason, you find yourself near these horrible foods…. I’ll take them off your hands. I’m just that good of a friend……Chocolate Cake. This was especially dangerous due to the fruit sauce. Stay away! Pate with berries. You weren’t able to just have one, they tempted you to have multiple. No bueno!So dangerous I started eating anchovies. Anchovies! Addicting enough I would eat whole animals….. Octopus so amazing you’d finish the plate and then lick it clean. NOT GOOD! Even the ‘healthy’ stuff made you want to eat until your stomach exploded. Eggplant….. mmmmmm……
Beef, it’s what’s for dinner. Apparently every night….. A whole huge steak…. All to myself….. ‘sigh’ And the best cheese in the world? What did you do to me, Costa Brava? I now crave goat cheese all day long. I won’t even talk about their Iberian ham. It makes me cry it’s so delicious…… That’s a bad thing, right? Maybe…The cured meats still dance in my dreams.I tried blood sausage. Seriously? That’s how good the food is. Blood sausages. They’ve managed to turn sardines in to beautiful works of edible art. This might be a form of witchcraft. Enough commentary. Take note of the following dishes and call the authorities (Aka Me) and I’ll take them to a safe location and consume…. I mean…. dispose of them in the a safe manner. Which dish looked the most dangerous to you? Have you ever encountered other dangerous food while traveling?
Well, let’s be honest. I fell out of an airplane. Or, I was pushed out of an airplane. No matter the semantics, I was in a plane and then I wasn’t. I was falling, face first, towards the ground at terminal velocity. And it was EPIC!
My skydiving adventure in Costa Brava was an amazing one, to be sure. It’s hard to describe how it felt to be in a plane one moment and out of the plane the next, falling with some random guy (who was very nice but still a stranger) attached to the back of me. Talk about having to trust someone with your life. I could try to spend hours putting down the words to describe my experience but I think it’s best done in a video.
Check it out and let me know if you’d give it a try. Empuriabrava, Costa Brava is one of the best adventure travel, skydiving places in the world. It was a great place to try this sport out for the first time. Wait, is it considered a sport?!
Nomad: ˈnəʊmad/: a member of a people that travels from place to place to find fresh pasture for its animals and has no permanent home.
Well, I don’t have animals which need fresh pasture but I do travel from place to place to find new experiences for my soul and I have no permanent home. So I’ve made an executive decision and changed the definition of nomad to my definition. Someone call Mr. Webster please.
But now that we’ve gotten that figured out, today marks 1 year I’ve been a nomad. I have not had a permanent home to call my own since June 1st, 2014. And what a year it has been. My life has changed dramatically since then. On June 1st, I was moving out of my apartment in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and finishing up my contract as a 2nd grade teacher. I was planning on moving to South Korea to continue teaching and exploring Asia. That day I was super excited to start the next step in my travel life.
Where am I now? I’m in Porto, Portugal at a Wine Hostel, getting ready to go taste a bunch of local wine. I’m 29 years old, a travel blogger, freelance writer and have recently finished my MBA. My life is much more fluid and flexible and I’ve never been happier. I have no set destination in my head of where my life is going. It’s been an interesting journey. What have I learned, you ask? Well, see for yourself.
It’s been an interesting journey. What have I learned, you ask? Well, see for yourself.
52 Lessons from 52 Weeks as a Nomad
Nothing is permanent – almost every decision you make can be unmade so don’t be afraid to take a step forward. You can take a step backwards if you really need to.
Say yes – Some of my best travel experiences have happened because I said yes, even when I didn’t feel like it. Say yes to a dinner with a bunch of Greek locals, it may turn out to be your favorite day ever.
Carry toilet paper – You never know when you’ll be stuck on a 12 hour bus ride (which turns into 24 hours) and the only toilet is a bush on the side of a Cambodian road.
Learn local phrases – A few well-placed words in the local language will make all the difference. Locals will respect you and show you what real hospitality is.
Travel isn’t expensive – I’ve spent less money traveling for a year than I did living in Seattle for a year.
Less expensive doesn’t equal cheap – I may travel in a budget manner but that doesn’t mean that I eat pasta and peanut butter all the time. I spend money where it makes sense and have had some of the best experiences of my life, all while spending less than $20,000 in one year.
Travelers are a special breed of people – I love my family and friends back in Seattle but I feel like ‘my people’ are those that I meet on the road. There isn’t jealousy when I speak about where I’ve been or where I’m going. They have a zest for life and have been bitten by the wanderlust bug, just as I have.
Outward beauty is relative – I was called fat in Cambodia which was one of the highest compliments that I could be given by a local. My pale skin and curves were the epitome of Asia beauty while I was seen as average in the US.
Inward beauty is forever – Your inner light will cross every language boundary. Be a true and genuine person and you’ll never have any major problems.
Smile all the time – It doesn’t matter what country I’ve been in, a smile makes everything better and people much more willing to help you.
Sunscreen is your friend – A burned back, face, shoulders or feet make for a grumpy travel experience.
You can buy what you need – There is nothing you’ll need while traveling you won’t be able to find on the road. Pack less and pick up your necessities as you travel.
Siestas are a necessity – Taking a daily nap will increase your happiness level tenfold and make you much more productive in your life.
Only have one local drink – Most countries have a local spirit they are extremely proud of and you should definitely try it. But only have one. It will knock you on your ass and you’ll regret having more.
Don’t look too closely at your food – I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the amount of amazing food I’ve had around the world. I’ve also found myself eating ant soup, tarantulas and a variety of other non-traditional food. Sometimes it’s better not knowing.
Call home regularly – While you don’t have to check in every day like I do (Love you Mom), you need to keep yourself grounded while traveling. Take the time to call home and keep in touch with those you love. You never know when something might happen and you won’t have the option anymore.
Sing karaoke – Have a go to song you know all the words to and you’ll be the star of the show, every time. Or at least you’ll make a lot of friends. Either way, it’s a good thing.
Be open to short term romances – There is nothing wrong with finding love on the road. Even if it’s only for a night, a few days, weeks or a few months. You’ll never regret it. Just be safe!
Ask for food recommendations – When you can’t read a single word on the menu, just ask the server what they like to eat. More times than not, you’ll end up with a nice spread of local food. Or you’ll end up with fish eyes. The 50/50 chance is what makes it an adventure.
Leave something for your next visit – If you see everything there is to see in one city, you’ll never have an excuse to come back. Leave something important out so you’ll be able to come back and still experience the wonder of something new.
Use up all your local money – Exchanging money is the best way to lose it. I’ve lost hundreds of dollars due to bad exchange rates and getting scammed. Try to only take out what you need for the next few days.
Plan for no plans – Sometimes it’s nice to just go with the flow. If you plan out every day or city, you’ll miss out on some spontaneous fun.
Have a good pair of walking shoes – This is one thing you cannot skimp out on. Make sure your shoes are very comfortable and replace them as soon as they start wearing out. You’ll save your back and your feet.
Be excellent at charades – When you have to explain the rash you have on your arm to a backwater Cambodian pharmacists, you’ll appreciate this skill.
Laugh often – Be happy! You are alive and experiencing the world. Don’t be afraid to laugh when you’re happy, cry when you’re sad and feel the emotions you have. Just make sure you’re living in a way that makes you laugh more often than cry.
Actively check off your bucket list – From skydiving to wine tasting to earning my MBA, I am always working towards another bucket list item and it keeps the thrill and excitement of achievement alive.
Invite people to hang out – Always invite others to join you. You’ll meet some great people this way and you’ll appreciate it when others reciprocate the gesture.
Drink water – Keep your body hydrated. You’ll appreciate it. With so many new internal bugs in each country, water will help keep you feeling healthy and refreshed. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, drink your damn water!
Document your travels – Whether it’s a journal, a travel blog, napkins from each restaurant you eat in, video or whatever. You’ll appreciate having a reminder of the amazing things you’ve done, especially since you’ll have great things happening to you every day.
Don’t count countries – If you get into checking off the number of places you’ve been, you’ll be more focused on the goal and forget to actually experience the place you’re in. That being said, in the last year I managed to touch ground in 18 countries and that feels like too many.
Not all Parisians are rude – There is a perception that the French, particularly Parisians, are really rude. Some are, but so are some Americans, Germans, Cambodians, Moroccans and Australians. It’s the individual people, not the country. Except Canadians. They are always nice.
Embrace your mistakes – When you miss your train, forget to check in for a flight and have to pay $60 to do it at the airport, leave money in your hotel and it gets stolen, book a bus to the wrong destination or ask for bull balls instead of a steak, just use it as a learning experience. Getting angry at someone or even yourself will kill your experience.
Don’t be afraid of not speaking the language – I’ve talked to people who refuse to travel to places they don’t speak the local language and I think they’re missing out on so much! Even if you have to play charades the whole time, you’ll be experiencing a whole new way of life and gain respect for those who speak multiple languages.
Gain weight – You’ll be trying some great food as you travel. Don’t be afraid to over indulge on that French cheese, Moroccan couscous or Thai noodles. It will make up for the times you can’t keep anything down because you’ve caught a stomach bug.
Turn your electronics off – When you are surrounded by ruins of places thousands of years old, turn your damn cell phone off. Put your camera away. Just experience all there is to see and do around you.
Get a local haircut or color – Sometimes it’s nice to end up with neon yellow hair, right? At least it makes for a great story.
Go hiking in new countries – There is something magical about connecting with nature. Make sure you are actively seeking out that magic in each new place you explore.
Physical things don’t matter much – Most of what I own fits into my two travel backpacks. I spent years gathering things, when living in Seattle, to make a home and make me ‘happy.’ I have no idea where those things are anymore but I do know that now I have much less, I’m a million times happier.
For Ladies: Learn how to squat – Believe me, you’ll need it when you have to use bushes as bathrooms. There’s a very specific technique and I suggest practicing.
Solo travel is amazing – Being by yourself is the best way to learn about who you are and what you want. You’ll be surprised at how rarely you are solo though, I meet many more people when I’m on my own than when I’m traveling with someone.
Everyone should go skydiving – It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, make sure you try it at least one. Just try not to pee your pants.
Travel doesn’t have to be international– Exploring your home city, the surrounding areas or even the next state or providence over can be just as exciting as a new country. It’s all in your frame of mind.
Dancing is the international language – You don’t need to speak a common language to communicate through dance. Don’t be afraid to shake your booty and make some new friends.
There is no one way to do things – Just as no two people have the same fingerprints, no two people have the same path in life. Don’t let others expectations dictate how your live your life.
Learn to drive a moto and stick shift – Most of the world uses manual cars and moto’s. Learn to drive both. You never know when they’ll come in handy.
Travel can be a way of life – Travel doesn’t have to be something you do once a year for 2 weeks at a time. If you want to make travel your main priority in life, it’s a possibility. You just have to figure out how to make it work for you.
Stay away from Cambodian dogs – From random rashes to potential rabies, you never know what you might encounter. Just stay away from them. Consider yourself warned.
Fear is in your mind – The fear of the unknown is what stops many people from doing what they truly wish. You’ll never know how far you can go if you don’t push the limits. Step outside your comfort zone and reach for what you really want.
Don’t get drunk in new places – Having a few drinks is fine but make sure you’re being smart, especially if you’re traveling by yourself.
Get lost – Purposely get lost in a new city and see what you can find. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised.
Go skinny dipping – It’s a liberating experience and everyone should try it. At least once. Just make sure it’s warm water. Getting hypothermia isn’t the goal of this lesson.
People are the same – Mom’s will be moms, kids all act the same and Grandpa’s always think they know what’s best, regardless of what country they are from. Remember that you’re all part of the human race and treat each other accordingly.
Well, that’s a smidgen of what I’ve learned during the last year. What about you? What are some travel lessons you care to share?
Well, I found out that a “Liebster” is an award, not an STD (Thank Goodness….). And I was given one. So I’m going to give a shout out to Michael and Shannon of Camera & Carry On for the nomination.
What is a Libster Award? It’s a virtual award given to bloggers by bloggers. Accompanying the award is a few questions that you have to answer from those that nominated you and the requirement that you forward the award on to unsuspecting worthy bloggers.
Answer the questions given to you by your nominator
Create new questions for those you are going to nominate
Pass it on and see what happens!
If you didn’t catch it from my interview with Camera & Carry On, they are a special couple, whom I LOVE but also are a bit quirky, as seen in the awesomely random questions they have asked me.
Here’s what I’ve got for you…
If your plane crashed in the middle of nowhere and your only way to survive is to (A) have a pack of apes accept you as there own, (B) live high up in the trees completely alone forever, or (C) get rescued but only after succumbing to cannibalism… What would you do and why? Hmm… I’d have to go with Option A. I’d love to live with apes, they seem pretty damn civilized. Especially when compared to cannibalism.
What is your absolute favorite place to go for a short visit, say 4 days? Favorite place to visit for a short amount of time. I’ll go with Rabbit Island in Cambodia. I used to go there every month when I was living in the country. It was a great island paradise/weekend getaway spot you could spend just a few hours in or a whole week.
Describe the worst thing you’ve ever eaten in a foreign country. Stinky Tofu. Without a doubt the NASTIEST thing that has ever been concocted. I’ve had intestine, tarantulas, all manner of bugs and other random things. But this intentionally prepared tofu dish reminds me of a mix between stinky feet and old man diaper smell. The Taiwanese are the culprits behind this foul smelling/tasting dish. If you’re a local, you’ll love it. If not, you’ll be able to smell it from blocks away. BLEH!
You’re going on a one month long trip, but you can only bring a laptop, camera, iPod, or cellphone (but an old one that can only do talk and text, ‘cuz no cheating), what would you bring?
I’d say camera. I would still be able to access the internet on communal computers I’d find around but I wouldn’t be able to document it without my camera. I honestly don’t have the best memory so photographic evidence is what I need to remind me of what I did.
Where are you most afraid to travel to? Honestly, that’s a hard one. I’d have to say Syria since they’ve got a lot of issues right now but I’m pretty open to most other places. North Korea is pretty high on my list, as are many of the Middle Eastern countries.
What’s your favorite mode of transportation? Motobike! I just LOVE zipping around on a moto. I rented many while I was living in Southeast Asia and I fell in love with them. I recently went skydiving and that seemed a convenient way to get from point A (the plane) to point B (the ground). But I’m not sure that counts as a mode of transportation….. right?
Describe your travel philosophy; jet setter, backpacker, city buzz, the middle of nowhere, etc. Hmm….. A foodie, backpacking solo adventuress who loves being in the middle of nowhere while seeking culture and history. Does that answer your question?
You blog. You travel. You blog about travel. What else might we find you doing? Uh…. Eating. Dancing. Skydiving. Knitting. Wearing Costumes. Getting my Masters Degree. Cooking. Reading trashy romance novels. Attending Star Trek conventions. You know, the usual.
If no one ever read your blog, would you still do it?
I’m not sure people read my blog… currently…. so yes. Ha! But seriously, absolutely. It’s been the best way I’ve found for me to document my own travels, especially since I have the memory of a goldfish.
And here are the questions you must answer…. Muahahaha!
What was your childhood dream career? If you could pick only one more country to travel to, what would it be? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? Which country has the most beautiful looking people, as a whole? As a blogger, what keeps you motivated to keep going? What is the most dreaded travel topic you’d never want to blog about? What is one thing most of your readers don’t know about you?
Well, that’s all I’ve got for you right now. What about you? Any questions you wish I would answer? Leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’ve ever wanted to visit Morocco, here are 45 travel pictures to encourage you to book that ticket.
This beautiful country filled with surprising landscapes, especially for me who thought that taking a vacation in Morocco meant I’d be traipsing through the Sahara the whole time.
My Morocco itinerary was a bit short, only 2 weeks total were spent in the country. But these photos are from Marrakech, Essaouria, Ait Benhaddou, Dades Valley, Merzouga Erg Chebbi, Errachidia, Erfoud, the high and middle Atlas mountains, Fez and Tangier. While they aren’t National Geographic images, I still think they are pretty good….. right?
I found a lot of things to do in Morocco while I was touring around. From participating in adventure photo tours with Sahara Magic, to getting harassed by Medina vendors to trying to find camels in the Sahara desert to taking cooking classes in Essaouria, it was definitely a trip of a lifetime.
Have you been to this beautiful North African nation? Send me some of your favorite travel photos from your trip. What are your favorite places to visit in Morocco?