Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Guest Post: Stranger in a Strange Land

One year living and working in Japan, that was my task. I thought to myself, I can do anything for a year, “It’s easy!” However, as I wandered around Tokyo not understanding a single thing I felt like an infant. Everything was new to me, the sounds, the language, the people, even the smells. My eyes grew wider in amazement as I attempted to take it all in. Flashing lights, random bits of conversation as people brushed past me, it was all new and strange to me. I was in a fog and kind of stumbled around looking for something, anything that was familiar to me and finally it hit me…a familiar green and white sign. It spoke to me like a beacon in the night, it spoke a language I understood, and it said “S-T-A-R-B-U-C-K-S.” Yes, I know, did I really come all the way to Japan just to sit in a Starbucks, the most American coffee shop in America, and the answer at this very moment was a resounding YES! A smile quickly took over as I rushed inside only to be met with more strange symbols and less English than I had hoped for. I gathered myself together and tried to make sense of the menu. I looked for a picture to guide me, but only found strange symbols that I didn’t recognize. After a moment of confusion; I suppose the bewildered look on my face gave me away, the girl behind the counter slid me a menu with pictures.

She smiled and said, “Yookoso!” Er, um… I panicked as I tried to understand what she had said to me. I felt my temperature rise and my face turn red. I could feel droplets of sweat beading on my forehead. I looked to her again with a pleading look and another girl said, “Welcome!” Ahh, a word I understood. They both stood back and smiled with their hands neatly clasped as they waited for me to respond. I ran my finger up and down the menu trying to decide. The question wasn’t difficult, I was at Starbucks, what did I want to drink? Why was this so difficult suddenly? Umm, I quickly scrolled through the rolodex in my mind searching for a word, any word that would make sense. Suddenly, it came to me, and I smiled weakly as I sta
mmered out, “Konichiwa.” I spoke this lonely word, the sound of it escaping my lips sounded strange even to me. I wondered how it sounded to them. Again, the girls smiled with their hands still clasped and bowed politely to me. They responded with “Konichiwa” and again it was my turn. “Oh no, not again!” This time I scrolled quickly through my rolodex much quicker until something popped out at me, “A- HA got it!” My confidence grew as I proudly announced, “Yo quiero café por favor.” The puzzled looks told me I had chosen the wrong language, wrong country. My rolodex had failed me this time. “Oh boy, my default language was Spanish!” Where was the reset button? I’d like to return to the factory settings and choose a new language. Unfortunately, at Starbucks, as in life, things are not always so simple.

All in all, this Starbucks scenario only took about 3 minutes to play out, but in reality it felt like an eternity. I was eventually able to get my iced coffee. The irony of the situation is that in Japanese iced coffee is simply “aisu kohii.” Hmmmph! All of that for a Starbucks, was it worth it? Absolutely! The experience alone of the struggle to communicate imm
ediately gave me the empathy of my students’ struggles. This would be my challenge, could I teach my students to communicate effectively in English? I hope so! The bits of knowledge and the humorous anecdotes I create along the way will be my motivation. I will use this foundation to become a better teacher, because no matter where we find ourselves in the world, when learning a new language we are all strangers in a strange land.

Audrey Morelli is a California native currently living and working in Kobe Japan. She travels in search of culture and adventure and has found it this time in hanayamahigashi. Prior to her adventures in Japan she was a primary school teacher in the Los Angeles area. Aside from traveling she enjoys spending time with her family of 9 and collecting Elvis memorabilia. Please help me to convince her to start a blog!

© Connie Hum 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Montage Monday: Costa Rica

Take a walk down memory lane with me on this three-photo montage highlighting my best memories from past travels!

Waking up early to enjoy the amazing sunrise in Puerto Jimenez. The changing colors in the sky were breathtaking and it was the best possible way to start off the day!

Renting a jeep, driving for hours, getting lost a number of times before finally arriving at our destination of Volcan Poas. It was an adventure getting there but a great experience nonetheless. At one stop, Christoph and I asked a store clerk what the best way to Volcan Poas was. His response: "Take the bus." We explained that we had a jeep and were driving ourselves. "What's the best way to Volcan Poas?" Again, "Take the bus!"

Costa Rican food blows my mind! It's absolutely delicious and in most cases, extremely affordable too! Eating out in the local sodas was one of my favorite things to do in Costa Rica. I can't wait to go back and enjoy the food and beaches again!

© Connie Hum 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bad Tourist!

This is a personal gripe of mine regarding tourists.

I understand that many people love to take photographs to commemorate and remember their travels. Hey, I'm one of those people too! I've waited in line amongst hoards of people to get a photo of myself kissing the Sphinx at Giza (too many people in the way even after all that wait). I've taken dozens of photos of myself in front of Angkor Wat, trying to get the best angle possible without my arm showing up in the shot (never happened, my monkey arms are just too long).

I even got into an argument with my boyfriend at the Taj Mahal because I insisted on retaking (and retaking) photos in order to get the perfect photo of us in front of love's greatest monument (it ended up being a pretty long wait given the sheer number of people swarming the Taj, the flash didn't go off and we never got that shot I was waiting for as Matt had already impatiently stomped off ahead).

I get it. Photos of us in our travels are great tokens to help us remember our own experiences and to share it with loved ones back home. There's nothing wrong with that.

What I don't get is taking photos of ourselves in really inappropriate places or situations. Not inappropriate like pretending the Leaning Tower of Pisa is an obtrusive body part (come on, that's funny) but inappropriate like
having your husband snap a photo of you pretending to be a tortured captive of the Khmer Rouge inside one of the cells at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh. Inappropriate like posing with the guns on display in Ho Chi Minh City's War Remnants Museum. Inappropriate like standing inside a crematorium at Auschwitz and taking a group photo smiling and holding up peace signs.

I find this sort of behavior completely disrespectful and insensitive. These places are pieces of human history that serve to remind us of the pain and suffering that we humans are capable of inflicting on one another. It's important to visit these sites and remember our past in order to understand and make progress toward a better future but what purpose does it serve to have a smiling photo of you next to a gun that was used to kill innocent people? Is that really something that you want to share with loved ones back home?

The experience of visiting these types of places is harrowing and moving enough, so much so that you will have trouble forgetting some of what you see. I personally don't need photographs of myself in these places to remind me of what dark history hides in our past, much less one of me smiling and posing.

And out of respect for those who lost their lives needlessly because of it, I don't think you should either.

© Connie Hum 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Couch Surfing Round-Up

I've been a member of CouchSurfing for over 5 years now and it has literally changed my life. I have made so many close friends through CouchSurfing, whether from hosting in my hometown or being hosted abroad, or from simply meeting people around the world for a cup of coffee, an animated conversation over a shared meal or a day out exploring new places.

The most important aspect of CouchSurfing that I identify with is the community aspect. It's NOT about finding a free place to sleep and saving money. Couc
hSurfing is so much more than that! It's about making connections, sharing life experiences and having another perspective on life.

Here are stories from people who have made the global connection through CouchSurfing.

Attending a Harry Potter book release party with CouchSurfers in New York City.

On a motorcycle trip I took a few years ago, I stayed in New York City for a while and hung out with Couchsurfers every day and night. One of the city bookstores was hosting a free book-release party for
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Since many of the friends I had met in New York were going, I went along, despite my general lack of interest in Harry Potter. The street had been closed off and was full of people dressed as wizards, monsters, and fantastic creatures (and of course, some normally-dressed "muggles" such as myself). The street was set up to be "Diagone Alley" with a giant tree and some other things from this magical place. We got our faces painted, enjoyed magic-potion drinks, and talked with other fans. The anticipation in the air and the heat from the crowd made it feel like a rock concert in summer. Midnight struck and books were passed out. One-by-one, people headed home, most having started to read before they left Diagone Alley. My friends and I took some pictures and ate some cupcakes, then went our separate ways. The next day as I walked about the city, I saw these bright-yellow books everywhere and wondered who had been at Diagone Alley the night before. Submitted by Parker Whiteway.

Enjoying the view from behind Marco and Polo's house in Akureyri, Iceland.

One of my best memories from Couchsurfing was when I traveled around Iceland. I was hosted by two best friends (nicknamed Marco and Polo) in the town of Akureyri who wanted to make sure I loved my time in Iceland. They took me on a hike through the mountains behind their house to show me the stunning views, drove me to Lake Mývatn and then Dimmuborgir for a moonlit walk through snow and caves, followed by swimming in a natural geothermal pool in the crack of the ground! It was surely a local spot as there was nothing for miles around. We had to climb down through the crack until we reached the hot pool. It was amazing to be sitting in that pool, surrounded by snow, looking at the stars above us. While I was having these amazing experiences, I had such a great time chatting and laughing with these two guys! Submitted by Connie Hum.

Making friends in Buenos Aires.

For my first solo trip, which I took to Buenos Aires, I knew that I wanted to meet up with locals. Couchsurfing seemed like a natural way to do that, since the organization gives you the option of meeting people for "coffee or a drink." I contacted a few individuals who seemed cool, then posted a message on the board -- and suddenly I was swept up into the Couchsurfing community!

I joined the Couchsurfers for a Southern Hemisphere Thanksgiving dinner, attended by Argentines, Colombians, Ecuadorians, Swedes, French and Americans. After bonding at dinner, I was soon running all over the city with them: devouring steaks in San Telmo, dancing in the Centro, and toasting our bonhomie in Palermo Viejo. I was shocked at not only how many Couchsurfing activities were constantly taking place, but also how close all the Couchsurfers were. Now, I can't imagine traveling to another city without joining the Couchsurfers! Submitted by Adventurous Kate.

Enjoying a beach day in Brunei with CouchSurfing host, Sue and her dog, Esky.

I knew Brunei would be expensive, so I thought I'd give couch surfing a try to cut down on accommodation fees. I got in touch with a host after making a few requests after arriving in Brunei's capital – Bander Seri Bangawan. The woman's name was Sue, she was an Australian expat teaching English. Sue took us to her local leisure club, where we swam a bit, ate the cheapest but nicest food in Brunei and she mentioned going to a party this evening. “By the way, the party is illegal and there will be Filipino dancers there for you guys!”

We went to the party, there was around 10 people in the house, it was not a rave, not loud, just a friendly group of people catching up with each others life's. What was illegal? Well in Brunei to prevent terrorism people are not allowed to gather in a house with more than 6 people in without the correct authority. It is allowed but a special permit must be required first! As for the Filipino dancers? They were 2 men who refused to dance out of embarrassment of the attention they got from being dancers! Submitted by Adventure Rob.

Hosts and surfer meeting after hours of worry in Berlin.

It is 4:00am and I just arrived by train to Berlin's central station. I have coordinated with my hosts to meet them today, though for some reason, we missed to inform each-other of the arrival time and address. So, I have a place to crash, but I don't know where it is.

I decide to wait till 8:00am to call my hosts to get the address. I take out my phone and as I start dialing I notice it's not working. I quickly look for the first wifi spot so I can message them through Facebook and CouchSurfing. Now I wait patiently for a response. Hour after hour I check the inbox. No response, so I continue my day. At 5:00pm, after some frustration and the fear of having no place to stay, I start looking for a hostel. But before, one last look. Alas! They responded. Turns out they were trying to contact me all day through text messages and calls. They almost thought I was MIA.

Phew... A facebook response never felt so good. In the end, the wait was worth it. My Berlin hosts had the most insane place I have ever couchsurfed, plus they made my visit the most memorable experience of Berlin.
Submitted by GloboTreks.

As you can see, CouchSurfing is so much more than just a free place to stay! It's about the experiences and new perspectives you gain from meeting new people. Give it a try, see how the world can open up for you!

Do you have any exceptional CouchSurfing memories you'd like to share?

© Connie Hum 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Montage Monday: London

Take a walk down memory lane with me on this three-photo montage highlighting my best memories from past travels!

The London Eye. I didn't actually go up in it, but the scene around the Thames was incredible. Street buskers, break-dancers and just crowds of people enjoying the afternoon along the river. It was a beautiful day spent wandering and taking in the whole of London.

I stayed with my friend Joana in Barons Court and each day, in order to get to the Tube, I had to walk past this cemetery. All morbid thoughts aside, I did find something very peaceful and beautiful about this cemetery and quite enjoyed taking my autumn morning strolls through it.

I took a lot of experimental photos with my Diana F+ camera while in London and this is my favorite picture. I can't remember where this was taken, but I really like the dreamy quality. It really encapsulates my London experience!

© Connie Hum 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Empire State of Mind: New York New York

Right now, I just really want to go home! The years I spent living in New York City were, without a doubt in my mind, one of the best experience of my life. Moving to New York City was a dream come true and I loved getting to know such an incredible city inside and out. Of all the places I have lived and explored , I can honestly say that only New York City has ever, truly felt like home to me. Living in NYC inspired and offered me a chance to explore myself, my interests, my goals, my dreams and gave me ample opportunity to accomplish every single one of my dreams.

in no particular order, are some of my favorite places and things to do in New York City, which I'm longing to do this instant.
  1. Central Park. Massive and green and smack in the center of NYC! Talk about dramatic contrast and a much needed green oasis. Home to The Metropolitan Museum on Art and the Guggenheim, Central Park also hosts music concerts and theatre productions, my favorites being the Summer Stage concert series and the annual Shakespeare in the Park Festival.

  2. MUD Coffee. More specifically, the chai latte at MUD Coffee. I loved my nights out at MUD Coffee in the East Village, chatting away with my girlfriends in the back garden. MUD Coffee has seen me and my friends through a lot. So many future plans were laid out, so many stories and laughter, so many tears and broken hearts and through it all, the chai lattes never let me down. And with a couple of MUD trucks cruising the street of NYC, I never had to go without my daily caffeine fix!

  3. Buttercup Bakeshop, Sugar Sweet Sunshine and Billy's Bakery. I love baked sweets and it became my mission in NYC to discover the best bakeries around. My favorites were Buttercup Bakeshop for banana pudding (which inspired me to create a delicious version that my friends can't get enough of), Sugar Sweet Sunshine for moist red velvet cupcakes and Billy's Bakery for rich banana cream pie.

  4. Alice's Tea Cup. Where does a proper lady go for afternoon tea? Why, Alice's Tea Cup of course! With a menu overflowing with tea from all over the world from the simple to the exotic, delicious sandwiches and salads, tasty scones complete with whipped butter and raspberry cream and several locations throughout the island, a proper lady won't have to go far at all! The whimsical Alice in Wonderland theme adds to the charm as well.

  5. Monday nights at Banjo Jim's. Every Monday night I'm blown away by the live performance of the Cangelosi Cards inside the small, cramped space of Banjo Jim's. The Cangelosi Cards' swing jazz throws you back into the Prohibition Era and you'll be tapping your foot along with the rhythm in no time. It's a night of incredible music that you have to see and hear in order to believe.

  6. Annual Halloween Parade. Halloween is my favorite time of the year. I love the costumes and the dressing up. Being in NYC during Halloween is a reflection of the City's creativity, vibrance and capacity for fun. Taking part in the wild Halloween Parade itself is an unforgettable experience and I've even made special arrangements to fly back to NYC from international locations just to make it to the Parade!

  7. Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. Nothing completes a visit to NYC's sprawling Chinatown like a trip to the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. Freshly made on the premises and with flavors such as green tea, litchi, almond cookie (my personal favorite), pumpkin, egg custard and sesame seed, along with the standards of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate, there's a scoop waiting for all ice cream lovers.

  8. Ippudo. In Japan, slurping is a sign that you have enjoyed your meal. With the famed Akamaru Modern ramen bowl (among the other noodle dishes) at Ippudo, you'll be slurping in no time! The broth is rich, flavorful and a delight for your taste buds. Be ready to wait, Ippudo doesn't take reservations and there's always a long line of eager diners waiting to get their ramen fix.

  9. Jalopy. I may have to credit my new found love for bluegrass and old time jazz to this cute live music venue in Red Hook. Jalopy has a fun and eclectic schedule of performers on most nights, many of which never seem to disappoint. A trek to get to, but worth it every time!

  10. Sunday brunch at Calle Ocho. With Cuban-inspired decor and lively Spanish music, Sunday brunch at Calle Ocho is a slow, leisurely time to enjoy with friends. The brunch menu is reasonably priced, especially considering the all-you-can-drink array of sangria that's included with each meal. Leave your afternoon free because you'll have a hard time pulling yourself away from the appetizing bread basket and endless glasses of sangria. Reservations are highly advised. Once you've had your fill, head to Central Park for the perfect way to end your lazy Sunday. If you can still stand up, that is!
Why are last minute flights so darn expensive!?!?

© Connie Hum 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Montage Monday: Jordan

Take a walk down memory lane with me on this three-photo montage highlighting my best memories from past travels!

A day trip to the Dead Sea with friends, complete with self-applied Dead Sea mud. It was smelly and extremely hard to get off, but it certainly did leave my skin feeling firm and smooth! A word of caution, do NOT get any of the Dead Sea water in your eyes! It stings like nothing else.

For my blog on the Dead Sea experience, click here.

Chance and luck gave me the opportunity to spend the night in a Bedouin cave within the mountains of Petra, I hiked through the unbelievable landscape the following morning into Petra. Petra was everything I expected and more, but the time spent with the Bedouin family was the best part of my days there.

For my blog on Petra and my time with the Bedouins, click here.

Muslims dutifully responding to the call to prayer in Amman. I don't know why, but hearing the call to prayer is very soothing to me and there's just something absolutely beautiful about it. I miss hearing the call to prayer.

© Connie Hum 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Off the Beaten Track in Ban Lung, Cambodia

My three travel companions and I had been sitting in a cramped and dirty bus for 6 hours now. We were bumping along to the remote Northeast of Cambodia to Ban Lung from Kratie, a small town along the Mekong River where just that morning Matt and I had taken a boat trip up the Mekong to view the endangered and rare Irrawaddy dolphins. 

The bus we were in was literally filled top to bottom. Along with passengers, the bus held luggage, crates of over 4000 eggs, bags of rice, and four motorbikes. Yes, four motorbikes! Ah, another adventure on the Cambodian bus system!

It was getting dark and the bus continued to bump down the muddy path, further into the jungle and darkness. Hmm, should I start to panic now? No, not yet. An hour later, I again contemplated having a panic attack when we finally spotted lights. Ah, civilization!


The town of Ban Lung itself has little in the way of sights to see but the surrounding area has a number of beautiful natural sights to behold, in addition to its wide expanse of jungles. Our first full day of exploring the Ratanakiri Province brought us to Crater Lake, a gorgeous crystal clear blue lake forming a perfect round circle, just a few minutes outside of Ban Lung's city center. It is believed that the lake was formed over 700,000 years ago! We spent the afternoon basking in the sunshine and the short bouts of misty rain, swimming and jumping off the pier into the refreshing lake water. It was incredibly relaxing, just the thing we needed after a long, hard journey to Ban Lung.

The next day the four of us rented two motorbikes and set off the for waterfalls. We were forewarned that the road in the wet season was treacherous but we didn't realize just how dangerous they were. Muddy tracks and deep puddles hindered our journey from town to the falls. Matt and I managed to avoid any serious slips in the mud, though Judith and Sam took a messy fall into a mud pit. We all came out covered in red mud that was near impossible to wash off.

We finally made it to Kachang Waterfall and quickly went in for a swim to cool down and clean off the mud. I tried to climb up the rocks behind the waterfall but slipped and cut my foot. It wasn't until I made it back to the other side that I saw just how much blood I was losing. I, ever horrified by the sight of blood, screamed and put pressure on it immediately. I tried to make my way to my towel and with the first step, I looked down to see blood bubbled out of my Crocs, causing me to emit another blood-curdling scream. Matt and Sam had a roll-licking laugh over my absurdity but I couldn't help it. I was in pain and blood was literally pouring out of my shoes and oozing on the rocks, as shown in the photo that is still making me queasy.

After all the injuries sustained from the first foray to a waterfall, we decided it best to skip the next mud-filled road and headed back to Crater Lake where the opportunity for harming ourselves was minimal. Enjoying the afternoon at the lake, our group decided that we couldn't tear ourselves away just yet and decided to push our onward journey to Phnom Pehn back another day.

Our long bus ride to Ban Lung was not the most comfortable of rides but we all agreed that the natural setting around the town was well worth the discomfort. Sometimes taking a less traveled road, whether muddy or bloody, can pay off in ways you could never imagine.

Photos courtesy of Matt Burchell.

© Connie Hum 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Crossing the Thai/Cambodian Border

Crossing the Thai/Cambodian border is an ordeal. After staying up all night to wait for a 5:55 am train from Bangkok's Hualampong train station to Aranyaprathet, sleeping restlessly for a few hours on the rattling train, then arriving at the border town to be accosted by tuk tuk drivers, we groggily packed our backpacks into tuk tuks and were driven to the border patrol to get our on-arrival Cambodian visas.

Once there, the border officials informed us that they no longer accepted $20 USD for the visas and the cost was now 1200 baht, about double the price for the Cambodian tourist visa. Feeling a scam coming on, but really, what can you do when you've had almost no sleep and these are "border officials" telling you the "new" policy? The four of us reluctantly paid the 1200 baht each for the Cambodian visa and continued to Poipet, Cambodia, a little too exhausted to be disgruntled and put up a fight.

What lesson did we learn? Even though guidebooks say that it's easy and fast to get a Cambodian visa upon arrival overland, it's probably best to get the visa from the Cambodian embassy in advance if possible in order to avoid being overcharged and scammed at the border. And to take the name and even the picture of the scamming officials in order to file an official complaint with the embassy.

Thankfully, the beauty of Cambodia more than makes up for the hardship of traveling overland.

© Connie Hum 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Montage Monday: Diving Egypt's Red Sea

A new feature on Connvoyage, a 3 photo montage highlighting the best memories from my past travels! Enjoy!

The gorgeous Egyptian Sinai. Even if diving isn't your thing, with a setting like this, the Red Sea is still an unforgettable place to visit. Warm temperatures, stunning mountains provide ample hiking opportunities and the clearest and calmest of waters leave every visitor to Dahab wanting more. No wonder so many end up over-staying their time here!

Surrounded by the bluest water, diving in the Red Sea has been my most rewarding dive destination thus far. The amount of sea life there was unbelievable! I even spotted an octopus and watched it morph colors to match its surroundings! Simply incredible.

Apart from all the colorful fish, vibrant coral, morphing octopus, sea turtles and barracudas I saw in the Red Sea, I also got to see a spotted ray! Wow! It was literally floating in the water before stopping for a rest not to far from me. I was practically breathless until I remembered that you need to keep breathing underwater. What a highlight to an already amazing time in Egypt's Red Sea!

© Connie Hum 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Guest Post: The Elusive Balance Between Work and Travel

Recently there has been quite a stir in the online travel community regarding Nomadic Matt's Huffington Post article "Why We Travel.” In all honesty, before this controversy even began, I was having my own concerns, which I kept to myself. My concerns lied with long term travelers who made it seem that 1) long term travel was the only way to really travel and 2) that people who worked rather than traveled led miserable, unfilled lives. Well, I work AND travel, and I could not be more in love with my life!

The art to “my way of traveling” is mastering the perfect balanced lifestyle. I think the most difficult thing about it is finding a job that you feel passionate about. I was lucky enough to know since the age of 14 that I wanted to be a Chinese Medicine Doctor. Through traveling, everyday experiences, and furthering your education I think it is definitely possible to discover what job excites you and would bring you personal satisfaction on a daily basis. It might take trying several professions before finding the right one, but you will find it eventually! The most significant consideration in choosing your dream job, besides whether or not it makes you happy, is to make sure that it allows for enough vacation days, so that you can have the ability to travel.

Now that I own my own business, it is easier for me to travel as much and for as long as I want. Of course I lose money when I do that, but that compromise is part of the balance for me. However, there was a period of my life where I did not have the luxury of time. This is probably the case for the majority of people. So, this is how I personally found balance then and I hope it inspires people to think of similar ways to find balance.

When I was in Graduate School I was only able to miss a certain number of classes per semester, otherwise I would fail. Thus, I structured my classes in a way where I would get 4 or 5 days off in a row. In 1 year I left the country 15 times! Some trips were as short as 2 days, but each trip I felt was special and that I was able to get to know a place even in that short amount of time, because when I was there I fully immersed myself in the culture. On my way to and from a destination I would study for my classes. Some of my fellow classmates thought I was crazy, I on the other hand, was blissfully happy as I had found my balance (and graduated at the top of my class).

My concern for those who only live to work, is that they are losing out on all of the life changing experiences and the growth of the soul that comes with travel. My concern for those who only live to travel, is that they are not giving back to society in any way. It can be a very selfish lifestyle, unless of course they are volunteering along the way (like our dear Connie).

There is no reason why a person should have to choose between their job and traveling. I believe with every ounce of my being that where there is a will, there is a way and if you desire to find the balance between the two it can be achieved. Yes, there will be compromises and it will take time to perfect, but at the end of the day if you have found a way to follow both passions in life you will feel like you have won the lottery.

Andi Perullo is a Chinese Medicine Doctor by day, travel addict by night. When she's not treating patients, she's traveling or dreaming of the next place to visit. To learn more about her travels, visit My Beautiful Adventures.

© Connie Hum 2010

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