Tag Archives: travel

Bakery Walk: Lower Manhattan

My colleague and I were only in NYC for 24 hours after a training in upstate, so I reached out to my women’s travel Facebook groups (feel free to ask me and I’ll invite you to the groups) and requested suggestions for bakeries, cafes, and restaurants. These ladies showed up! With so many awesome suggestions, we decided to do a Bakery Walk – Lower Manhattan style.

Once Upon a Tart

The streets of New York City are lined with restaurants and cafes that I think you could go to a new place every day for the rest of your life and never repeat. I was happy to have received so many suggestions so our choices could be narrowed, though I’m sure that if we’d just seen Once Upon a Tart while walking past, we would’ve stopped in no matter what. As you can see by the pictures, this place is adorable. Our barista was lovely and that chocolate chip cookie was snarfed in 2.5 seconds.

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Pai, Thailand

Known for its laid-back, hippy vibe, Pai is a 3-hour drive from Chiang Mai, Thailand. Most hostels in Chiang Mai can get you set up with a ticket for a mini-bus; some travelers brave the many, many hills, twists, and turns by renting a scooter as well. I was in Pai for 3 days which proved the perfect amount to fit in everything I wanted to see, but there are a lot of people who fall in love with Pai and never leave. I can’t say I was that enamored, though I did enjoy the relaxed feel and yummy street food.

Carrot on the Moon

While I did have a nightmare hostel for one night, I moved accommodation and can fully endorse Carrot on the Moon hostel. The service was great and the free breakfast was amazing.

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The Downsides of Solo Travel

In December, I traveled solo for one week to northern Thailand. It wasn’t my first time taking a trip by myself, and I’ve written multiple posts about how much I’ve enjoyed being alone.

And while I met some really lovely people on the trip and enjoyed myself overall, I felt pretty lonely most of the time. When my carefully laid out plans got cancelled (on multiple occasions), I had no one else to turn to and say, “What’s next?” When the first hostel I stayed at in Pai was a nightmare, I texted friends at home and said, “What do I do?!” instead of hashing it out with someone else IRL. When I was tired and couldn’t muster up the strength to leave my bed, I needed someone to shove me out and say, “You’re only here for one Sunday! Don’t miss the Sunday market!!”

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Accommodation Nightmare

I have stayed in hostels a handful of times and have always had pleasant experiences. The people I met were nice. The accommodations, while sometimes sparse, were doable. The facilities were clean. Until…December 14, 2016.

On this day, I was faced with the worst hostel I could imagine (well, minus the horror movie type), at Common Grounds, in Pai, Thailand. I knew from the second I walked in that I was not going to be happy there. Reluctantly, I paid $18 for the three nights I’d signed up for (hey, it had good reviews online!).

Walking past the many stoners hanging out on beanbags in the outdoor verandah, the staff led me to my room: a 4-bed room with an in-room bathroom. The room was shabby, and I had flashes of bedbugs in my mind. As I was unpacking, I heard many other patrons being led to their rooms and one piece of instruction was a little different than what I’d gotten:

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Chiang Mai, Thailand

With five days in Chiang Mai, there’s plenty to do to keep you happy, full, and having fun.

Markets

As most Asian cities promise, there are all sorts of markets in Chiang Mai. The Saturday market and Sunday market offer delicious and inexpensive street food, as well as cheap souvenir shopping. Both can get super packed, so go early!

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Sunday Market

A hidden giant gem is the Wararot Market. While there are markets all over Chiang Mai on Google maps, choose this one for every single item you could ever want. From scarves and backpacks to spices and kitchenware, you can find it all at super cheap prices. This market runs during the day; at night you can catch the food stall vendors. There’s no need to buy an expensive dinner at a restaurant when there’s a market around.

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Checklist: Carry-On Items for Long Flights

On Monday, I leave for my next trip to Asia! I have been on an innumerable amount of 16+ hour flights, so I’ve made myself a checklist of what to put in my carry-on. The list looks long, but trust me, I need all of these things!

  1. Compression socks & tie shoes – At the end of my first flight to Hong Kong when I’d moved there, I couldn’t stick my feet back in my shoes (thank goodness I’d also packed flip flops!). Even on short flights, I pack compression socks; they keep my feet from swelling, plus they help keep me warm. I prefer shoes you tie also just in case there is any swelling and I can still fit my feet in shoes with laces.
  2. Chapstick & moisturizer – Airplanes are super dry, so moisturizing methods are a must.
  3. Deodorant – Pretty basic!
  4. Entertainment – Magazines, books, a fully-charged phone with podcasts, music, and headphones are a must. I also always pack my phone charger because most long-haul flights now have plug-ins at your seat.
  5. Neck pillow – I choose window seats every time if I can so that I can lean against the airplane wall and nap away. I don’t typically need the neck pillow for my neck, but it’s extra cushion that I enjoy!
  6. Eye mask & melatonin – With 15-hours on a cramped plane, there isn’t much to do besides read, watch movies, and sleep, so I choose the latter as much as possible. Packed to aid me in this are my eye mask and melatonin.
  7. Water bottle – Instead of waiting for the tiny cup of water every time the flight attendant trundles past, I fill my own water bottle up right before boarding time.
  8. Snacks – As most of my friends and family can attest, I eat every 2 hours or thereabouts. Airplane peanuts can only last so long.
  9. Pen – Whether for the People magazine crossword or for immigration papers, I keep a pen with me at all times on plane rides.
  10. Gum – Good for take-off, landing, and breath-freshening.
  11. Toothpaste/brush – And when #10 doesn’t work, I brush my teeth in the small bathroom aboard.
  12. Sweater/long sleeve – I’m typically cold on flights, so I pack a comfy long-sleeve without a hood.
  13. Passport/visas – Most importantly, my passport! You can’t get on the plane or into another country without it, so I make sure it’s stowed in a safe place (I’ve had more than 1 friend leave it on the plane).

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