Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Welcome to Connvoyage's FIRST CONTEST EVER!

Everyone loves a little sweetness in their life, especially me! I want to share my love of good things with YOU so here's YOUR chance to WIN a BOX FULL OF HONG KONG SWEETS & TREATS, delivered STRAIGHT TO YOUR DOOR*!

Cheers to the sweet things in life!
To enter, simply "like" my Connvoyage page and post a comment on what little something adds a bit of sweetness into your life. Winner will be selected randomly on May 6th!

*The winner is kindly asked to take a photo of themselves enjoying the various sweets and treats I send them in order to capture their reaction. Photos will be featured on Connvoyage's new blog series, Foodie Fridays, where I will further highlight my love for all things delicious! Of course, if you prefer not to, then well, there's not a whole lot I can do about that. But I do hope that you will consider it!

So what are you waiting for??? "Like" and comment on what adds sweetness into your life NOW for a chance to WIN!

Good luck!

© Connie Hum 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

#TTOT Round-Up: Worst Travel Ever

Every Tuesday it's Travel Talk on Twitter! Follow the #TTOT tag to see what all the commotion and Tweets are about! There are two sessions to join, one at 9:30am GMT and the other at 9:30pm GMT.

Here's the round-up of this week's #TTOT: 

Q1: What's the worst you've ever felt ripped off? Were you able to rectify the situation? (submitted by )
  • : Thailand Taxi telling us that police plant things on you & you face the death penalty 
  • : Passport stolen in Cambodia & Police wanted $150 bribe to give it back
  • : Got to hotel room in French Quarter after 13-hour drive, it was the size of a postage stamp. We complained, ended up in a suite! 
  • : In San Diego, I booked into a hostel but didn't have bed - they thought I'd be ok on the floor! 
  • : Every time I fly with Ryanair or any other supposedly 'budget' airline 
  • : Every time I need to use wi-fi or internet from a 5-star hotel room
  • : Paying to bring you photocamera inside temples. I respect rules, but the bigger the room, the higher the pay....say what??
  • : Summarized: Cabbies are scum

    Not happy about the cab scam in Bangkok
Q2: What's the worst tourist trap you've been suckered into? (submitted by )
  • : Any time an 'authentic' tourist experience ends up in a gift shop
  • : Phuket as a whole. The 2nd u get there ur a cash cow 2 them & they know it. Only thing that stays the same price is a McDonalds 
  • : I almost got suckered in2 having "lunch" with an artist near Sacre Coeur who wanted to "draw" me. Damn those charming foreign men!
  • : Agra Agra Agra.. yes, the Taj Mahal is amazing and all, but it's so annoying to try to get through all the crazy touts 
  • :: The camel riders at pyramids of giza kept moving their camels into our video/photo then asking for $10
  • : La Ramblas in Barcelona. 1 Your lucky if you come home with your wallet. 2. Your charged to take photos
  • : Bangkok, told Grand Palace shut and ended up in Tuk Tuk drivers brothers tailor shop

    Is the Taj over-rated?
Q3: Enlighten us: What have you learned from a bad travel experience? (submitted by )
  • : Watch 'Midnight Express' before thinking of smuggling drugs 
  • : There are good people everywhere. Left my daypack on a bus to the airport in Budapest & got it back w/ nothing missing!
  • : Even the most carefully planned trip can go not quite as planned. The trick is to roll with the punches, and relax 
  • : Who takes a laxative in Mexico? My former brother-in-law. BIG mistake
  • A smile will get you out of some strange situations 
  • : Bed bug bites will scar if you scratch them too much
  • : What doesn't kill you will make you stronger (& a better traveler!)
  • : Be careful about advice from others - if I'd listened I would never have gone to Istanbul and it was fantastic! 

    Never underestimate the kindness of strangers
Q4: What travel destination was the biggest let down or disappointment and why? (submitted by )
  • : If I had to choose one Goa India springs to mind...very average beaches & bus loads of tourists with loads of rubbish
  • : White cliffs of Dover... They go to Eastbourne to make movies about Dover 'cause cliffs are brighter! 
  • theroamantics: Plymouth rock- moved there in 8th grade & discovered locals called it the pebble! 
  • : I was disappointed to discover that Sherlock Holmes didn't actually live in what is now the Sherlock Holmes Museum, but next door
  • : Pisa. My fault. Quick turnaround trip Climbed the tower then left town. Should have spent extra time in Florence instead
  • : MOSCOW. Unfriendly folk, dirty, stuck in a room with the social reject from my grade (schooltrip). Too many church tours didn't help 
  • : I'm with Cerys: "London never sleeps, it just sucks, the life out of me and the money from my pocket." Catatonia
  • The Trans-Mongolian was a huge disappointment for me

Q5: What is your most hilarious travel fail? (submitted by )
  • : I crashed my moped in Koh Pha Ngan right into a giant sign that said "Come and see the monkeys closer". Did it
  • : Makes me think time in Rosarita Beach, MX, when twisted ankle, BF almost thrown in jail
  • : Ending up in a bed bug flea ridden bed & breakfast in Bastille, Paris. I was red itchy like a lobster for few days
  • : I saw a tiger pee all over a teenage girl, in a nature reserve, during my trip to China
  • : Asking bus driver in Columbia to stop...desperate to pee...had entire bus of people walk past me because they had to go too!
  • : Going horse-riding in NZ, leaving my backpack open and losing my DSLR + wide-angle lens. Still trying to find the humour, though
  • : Sleep walking in Italy..jumping from top bunk into a wardrobe & waking up w/blood on my face & 6 randoms staring. Cringe!

And there you have it, "Worst Travel Ever"!

Next weeks #TTOT topic is: "Round The World Travel" submitted by LifeOutofaSuitc. Submit your questions HERE! And don't forget to tune follow the #TTOT every Tuesday at 9:30am and 9:30pm GMT!

As always, a HUGE travel community thank you to our #TTOT hosts and organizers: traveldudes, , , , , , and !

Have you got anything to add? 

© Connie Hum 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

#TTOT Round-Up: Problem Solving

Every Tuesday it's Travel Talk on Twitter! Follow the #TTOT tag to see what all the commotion and Tweets are about! There are two sessions to join, one at 9:30am GMT and the other at 9:30pm GMT.

Here's the round-up of this week's #TTOT: 

Q1: What would you call a "problem" when traveling? Why? How would you solve it? (submitted by )
  • : I would say anything that derails or prevents you from following through on any "plan." I just keep calm and ride the wave
  • : Packing too much stuff is a problem. My sol'n? Pack only what I can carry by myself for 2 hrs on rough terrain
  • : Loosing your passport! Scanned copies help though and a list with the nearest embassies for your country to apply for temporary docs
  • : A closed and narrow mind - open it up, embrace!!
  • : Having to go home...
  • : I'd say pesky earthquakes, volcanoes & other natural unpleasantness
  • : HOSTEL JERKS. Solution? Wind them up by telling them u've gone one better than whatever their brag is even if it's a blatant lie ;)

Q2: What's the hardest problem you've had to solve as a traveler? (submitted by )
  • : Leaving and saying goodbye. No other problems whatsoever..
  • : Finding a decent toilet in Tibet
  • : Missing the night train from Cairo to Luxor. Solution? Take the next one.. and stand up for 10 hours
  • : Travelling in a country with no road signs and very basic map (Cuba)
  • : Explaining a tampon to airport security that didn't speak English  
  • : Being in Damascus with no more money, not even the 200 liras to pay at the airport to leave the country!!! 
  • : Getting out of jail in BC 'couse they thougth my Italian passport badly renewed in Mexico was fake!!!

Q3: How have you helped someone else solve a problem when you have been traveling? (submitted by )
  • : "Hey do you realise that chick is actually a dude?"
  • : Found a camera in Malta,looked at the pictures and gave it back to the guy when I randomly saw him on the street
  • : I've bought them a beer!
  • : Accompanied someone for pregnancy test in Greece
  • : In Indonesia, I convinced someone she shouldn't get married if she didn't want to 
  • : Multi-outlet power strip or USB chargers at an airport or conference can make you everyone's best friend
  • : Living in Prague, we always helped the tourists fine the best bars ;) Can be a problem if you're new in town! 

Q4: If you could travel with only three items, what would they be? Why? (submitted by )
  • : A sense of purpose, a sense of direction, and a sense of humour: all intangible, but all irreplaceable!
  • : 1. Camera 2. Bag 3. Motorcycle
  • : Do kids count as items? Should I pick youngest 3 or oldest 3?
  • : Rehydrations sachets, map and a good friend! 
  • : Camera, Credit Card, Passport. Those are the only essentials. I'll get what I need when I land
  • : Nutella, Nutella, Nutella!
  • : Credit card, Thomas Hardy novel - any and my Rayban Aviators
  • : Flint. Knife. Garlic. Why? Fire, food & delicious food
  • : Passport, cash and a towel

Q5: Is there a specific travel problem that you'd do anything to avoid in the future? Why? (submitted by )
  • : Being kidnapped and sold into slavery in exchange for camels
  • : Falling in a squat toilet
  • : Traveling without my wife. She's the best part of traveling anywhere
  • : Worst fear is being kidnapped or raped or getting arrested.. random acts of violence.. My life turning into 'locked up abroad'
  • : Losing my credit card!!!! That was awful!! 
  • : NO Wi-Fi 
  • : Also, having a rolling suitcase where one wheel has ground to the metal, making a "SCCRREEEE" sound when dragged
  • : Looking at a map of the world & thinking that there's nowhere else I'd like to see...
  • : I would hate to be in a position to actually need to use travel insurance. Especially for blindness or lost limbs

And there you have it, "Problem Solving"!

Next weeks #TTOT topic is: "Worst Travel Ever" submitted by JustTravelous. Submit your questions HERE! And don't forget to tune follow the #TTOT every Tuesday at 9:30am and 9:30pm GMT!

As always, a HUGE travel community thank you to our #TTOT hosts and organizers: traveldudes, , , , , , and !

Have you got anything to add? 

© Connie Hum 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Love Story Part 2: Wedding Bells

If you missed Part 1 of my Love Story, catch up on how Matt and I met in India before reading on!

Matt and I got married in India!


Before you start freaking out, just continue reading... I promise it's not what you think!

As Matt and I continued to travel together, our secret crush for one another had been growing steadily. Unfortunately, we were both still under the assumption that the other wasn't interested at all. Matt and I both continued to dance around each other, trying to send out signals to express our own interest while remaining platonic and friendly. As you can imagine, it was getting more and more difficult, as well as frustrating!

Getting closer, but staying platonic

Matt and I soon befriended an Indian man who was getting married in a couple of weeks and invited to his wedding. Although it would mean traveling back to Maharashtra, we decided that the wedding was an India experience that we couldn't pass up!

Getting henna at the wedding

When we arrived for the five-day wedding in very traditional Ellora, everyone just started assuming we were married and constantly asking where my "husband" was and asking Matt where his "wife" was. 

Um, WHAT???

Matt and I had discovered that for a single man and a single woman to be traveling together in India was quite a topic of intrigue. Males and females just do not commonly have platonic relationships and it was getting hard trying to explain that we were just friends to every Indian we met.

Not wanting to cause a scandal, we just went with it. Thus, Matt and I became "married."

The new "bride and groom" with the real groom

This turned out to be a good thing because after a few days of having to refer to each other as husband and wife, it paved the way for us to finally confess our feelings for each other!

"Isn't it so funny that people think we're a married couple?"

"Yeah, imagine it! Us, together?!"

"Well, actually..."

The happy couple

Matt and I have been inseparable since the wedding in Ellora, India. 

Stayed tuned for next week's Love Story installment.

© Connie Hum 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

#TTOT Round-Up: Oceania

Every Tuesday it's Travel Talk on Twitter! Follow the #TTOT tag to see what all the commotion and Tweets are about! There are two sessions to join, one at 9:30am GMT and the other at 9:30pm GMT.

Here's the round-up of this week's #TTOT: 

Q1. Favorite area visited so far or high on the bucket list? (submitted by )
  • : Morotai and Halmahera, two undiscovered gems in Indonesia 
  • : New Zealand and Madagascar high on bucket list 
  • : Fave place visited in Oceania is Rapa Nui aka Isla de Pascu aka Easter Island
  • : Haven't been yet but learning to surf somewhere/anywhere in Oceania would be so cool 
  • : The Great Barrier Reef of course!!! Nemo is waiting for you all to visit and say Hi!!
  • : Polynesia is beautiful (especially Bora Bora) and Melanesia is fascinating. Aussies and Kiwis are great, laid-back people
MyPostcardFrom loves the Cook Islands
Q2. What is your favorite Aussie/Kiwi word or expression? (submitted by )
  • : Che Bro and Fair Dinkum. Or Suck me Sideways! 
  • : "Sweet as" is my fave 
  • : Always loved it when the Croc Hunter would say "crikey"! 
  • : I am so hungry I could eat a horse and chase the rider
  • : Goon Bag! Love that term for boxed wine!! I get an Aussie to say it every time I meet one! 
  • : Ubiquitous 'No worries' and international confusion/amusement caused by 'thongs' 
  • : I like that the "Great Australian wave" is swatting flies from your face   

Two koala bears are caught hugging by traveldudes
Q3. Unmissable cultural experience in Oceania?(submitted by )
  • : Sleep under the stars in a swag in the Simpson Desert in mid winter  
  • : Rubbing noses with a Maori man. I've got a flat nose... we ended up mashing our entire faces together 
  • : Coffee culture in Australia and New Zealand. Love the cafes, top notch coffee! 
  • : Getting fire dancing lessons in Samoa
  • : Polynesian traditional tattoos, visiting a Tahitian pearl farm, & vanilla producer
  • : Anyplace where you can experience the beautiful indigenous peoples and culture

    Fearfulgirl gets close to stingrays in Moorea, French Polynesia
 Q4. Best, worst, strangest Aussie/Oceanic food experience? (submitted by )
  • : Minced camel pasta in the outback and witchetty grubs. The latter tasted like chestnuts
  • : Haven't been myself but The Wild Foods Festival on the west coast of NZ. They had horse semen shots this year 
  • : Vegemite has to be the worst. Best...Polynesian Barbecue, straight from the Mumu
  • : Kangaroo on Pizza.... Until I got to Australia, I never realized that they ate the cuddly creature! 
  • : Cannot remember what they are called but the meat pies that are like a heart attack encased in pastry
  • : Kina, Maori word for sea urchin. You eat it raw - but then growing up on Asian food I have no objection to that at all

chows down on local seafood in NZ
Q5. What are Oceania's best kept tourist secrets? (submitted by )
  • : Pinnacles and the Nambung National Park on Western Australia ... Beautiful!!!
  • : Scuba Diving in Palau 
  • : The Shire 
  • : Drive anywhere around Australia's coast and you'll find hundreds and hundreds of beachy secrets
  • : I would say a lot of small islands around Fiji!  
  • : The beautiful beach of Okarito, NZ! We encountered it by accident, while getting lost
poohstraveler discovers Australia's Great Ocean Road
And there you have it, "Oceania!"

TravelOutbackOz finds a surprising statistic
Next weeks #TTOT topic is: "Travel Photography" submitted by LifeOutofaSuitc. Submit your questions HERE! And don't forget to tune follow the #TTOT every Tuesday at 9:30am and 9:30pm GMT!

As always, a HUGE travel community thank you to our #TTOT hosts and organizers: traveldudes, , , , , , and !

Have you got anything to add? 

© Connie Hum 2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Love Story Part 1: Falling in Love in India

This is the beginning of a love story.

Matt and I recently celebrated our one-year anniversary. People have been curious about how Matt and I met (in India of all places!) and how we've progressed from strangers to traveling Asia to sharing a new home and life in Hong Kong. I've always been hesitant to talk about it in detail. Maybe because I know Matt's mom, Gerry, reads my blog (which is pretty cool). Or maybe I'm just the most private personal life blogger there is. I don't know. I just never felt ready to tell our story.

I guess now that the "official honeymoon" period is over and Matt and I are both adjusting to the stresses of "normal" life, this is the perfect time to tell you about how Matt and I met, which will also help us to see just how far we've come in one amazing year. Here's how it all began:

Yeah, we're surprised by our love story too

It was February 2010 and Matt and I were both solo traveling in India with no itinerary, no plan and no destination in particular. Matt and I met one afternoon in Ellora, Maharashtra and exchanged emails. I headed off to my meditation retreat in Igatpuri, not thinking too much of that cute English boy I had just met and was probably not going to see again.

After I completed my meditation retreat, I sent Matt an email about meeting in Goa. As it turned out, Matt was already there and would wait for my arrival! I was excited because although I loved traveling in India, I was finding it a bit difficult and daunting on my own.

The beaches of Goa, perfect for falling in love

I met up with Matt in Goa and we spent a couple days exploring and sharing delicious Indian curries together. We had much to talk about, though to be honest, with Matt's quick way of talking, thick English accent and use of slang, I didn't understand most of what he was saying to me. I just smiled and nodded most of the time. Ha!

I had been nursing an insanely infected finger in Goa and it was starting to get ugly. Matt convinced me to go see a doctor, much to my resistance. Matt even sat with me outside the doctor's office while I waited for her to return from lunch. Once inside, she gave me the bad news. She was going to have to lance it.

Who knew an infected finger could lead to love?

You may not know this, but I am terrified of needles and I almost burst into tears! Matt was very sweet and offered to hold my hand while the doctor did her thing. Holding Matt's hand was the first inkling I had of the inevitable butterflies that accompany a growing crush. Little did I know that Matt was feeling the same way about me and offering to hold my hand was just his sneaky way of getting a bit closer to me!

After Goa, Matt and I decided to travel to Hampi together. After we arrived in Hampi, the first thing Matt did was rent a motorbike. Although I was a bit nervous to ride one, Matt convinced me to get on and explore with him. I was so scared I wanted to hold on for dear life but I still didn't know Matt too well and I didn't want to let him in on growing secret crush I had on him, so I sat in the back trying not to scream my head off.

Our first photo together

That night, my crush grew even more as Matt and I rode into the next town in search for food. I saw a man selling chicken briyani by the side of the road and suggested we eat there. I wasn't sure how Matt would react to eating at a place where the man behind the counter was using his hand to mix the food, but Matt was just as excited as I was. I love a man who's not afraid to eat dirty! The butterflies took flight again.

Sharing street food for the first time

The next day, Matt and I decided to try to find the Hampi waterfalls some locals told us about. We spent the day hanging around the boulders that surrounded the waterfalls and even went in for a swim. We didn't know it then but another couple was exploring Hampi at the same time, saw Matt and I goofing off in the water and thought that we were so cute that they took photos of us. The next day, we serendipitously ran into them and they offered to send us the photos! Matt and I were already a cute couple before we were even a couple!

Getting spied on in Hampi

That night, I was chatting online with my good friend, Leigh, and telling him about how much fun I was having with my new travel partner. Leigh's interest immediately peaked and he was very inquisitive about this Matt fellow and if there was anything going on. I was sure that nothing was ever going to happen with Matt and told Leigh so but he just wouldn't believe it.

Matt came into the room to see what I was up to, sat down next to me and said hello to Leigh. Our conversation abruptly stopped dead as the topic of our chat was now sitting in the same room. Leigh couldn't tell that Matt could still see him on my laptop screen and started to dance around in the he's-cute-you're-going-to-fall-in-love kind of a way. I was horrified and glanced over to make sure that Matt hadn't seen. Whew! Matt was heading out for a drink and I quickly reprimanded Leigh. I explained that even though I thought Matt was cute and very nice, I didn't think Matt was interested and I didn't want to ruin a lovely friendship by acting on it (which was the same way that Matt felt, but of course, at the time I didn't know that).

Leigh insisted that something would happen and I laughed in his face.

The next morning, Matt and I decided to leave Hampi and headed for Pune together. We didn't realize it then but Matt and I were going to be making a lot of decisions on future destinations in order to stay together...

Unknowingly starting our life together

In short, Leigh was right. Oh, and yes, Matt did in fact see Leigh's little jig! 

See, I told you this is a long story and it's just the beginning! Shall I continue the story?

© Connie Hum 2011

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