Thursday, June 30, 2011

Who's Got a Story to Share?!?!

I LOVE sharing my favorite travel memories with you and now it's YOUR turn to share!

I'm looking for guest posts on what YOUR favorite travel destination or travel memory is!

One of my favorite travel memories: absolute horror with a PYTHON in Vietnam

Maybe you found that perfect secluded beach in Tahiti? Maybe you met your now or soon-to-be spouse while traveling in the most unlikely of places? Or perhaps you tasted something so gastronomically exciting that you rearranged the rest of your trip to accommodate your food cravings? (I know I'm guilty of that last one on numerous occasions!)

If you have a favorite travel destination or travel memory you'd like to share, send your story with accompanying photos and a short personal bio to ME before the summer is over. 

One of the best things I love about travel is reliving each amazing memory by sharing it with friends and family. I'm looking forward to hearing what amazing adventures you've had so start sharing and reliving!

What will YOU share?!?

© Connie Hum 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

#TTOT Roundup: Gap Year Travel

Every Tuesday it's Travel Talk on Twitter! Follow the #TTOT hashtag 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 via : Why do a gap *year* - why not longer or shorter?
  • : I think it's important to have a "year". It gives you a target, a deadline and a way to budget for your travels
  • : I say ignore the "year" and travel for what ever time you feel comfortable with and can afford! 
  • : A year of holidays will make you gain lot of experiences
  • : I think a lot of people say gap year vaguely, as a phrase that merely means prolonged travels.
  • : I think a "Gap Year" should be the one year that you break from your travels to work
  • : 6mths = confidence. 1 year = experience. 2yrs = residence

Q2 via : What experience did you have on a gap year that you would never have anywhere else?
  • : I tried wwoofing (working on organic farms) in New Zealand - you learn new skills, about local culture and the land  
  • : A European whirlwind romance!!! Don't think that will happen again!!! The Eiffel tower sure does blossom romance!!!
  • : Studied abroad in High school & learned that the American way is not always the best 
  • : Learned that it's not so easy to throw out old routines and habits but once you do... it's completely liberating!
  • : A feeling of delicious freedom, I was living somewhere but didn't belong there, somewhere between a holiday and 'real life'

    Q3 via : What are the elements of a successful gap year?
    • : You MUST be flexible to appreciate a gap year! Expect the unexpected, be willing to explore, and choose the road less traveled
    • : Lots of great food, new and different tastes and bucketloads of whatever the local rotgut/brew is
    • : An open mind, enough money & the willingness to try everything once 
    • : Say yes, more than you say no. You never know what adventure awaits
    • : Understanding that we are all interconnected on this earth
    • : Losing yourself everyday but finding your true self by the time you return 

    Q4 via : Quick visit to as many countries as possible or really immerse in a few countries?
    • : Definitely immerse yourself in a few countries... otherwise you might as well just look up places on google!
    • : Take it slow in some countries, it's not the quantity, it's the quality. Pick up a language,learn to cook a few local dishes
    • : I'm all about immersion! Choose 1 destination, dive in, learn the language, enjoy the culture, develop life lasting friendships
    • : Everyone is different, but I travel quickly. If you need to get immersed in one place, I won't judge you
    • : Frenzied country hopping means you probably won't be back, and I always assume I'll be back (in a non-Schwarzenegger sort of way)

    Q5 via : When is best time to take gap year? Post college, uni or as career break?
    • : Best time is now; next best time is soon. The worst time is 'someday', because I never saw a 'someday' on my calendar
    • : There's no right or wrong time. take your gap year when it feels right to you. I took mine as a career break
    • : I saw a 75 year old lady on a gap year on her own in Down Under and not speaking English
    • : There's no "better time" to do it. The important thing is to do it! 
    • : Take the Gap year whenever you feel like it - and kids are no excuse. Take them with you!

    And there you have it, "Gap Year Travel"!

    Next week's #TTOT topic is: "Train Travel" submitted by EurostarUK. 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 to the Gap Year Travel discussion? 

    © Connie Hum 2011

    Sunday, June 26, 2011

    Montage Monday: Karnak, Egypt

    Ancient Egyptian mythology and childhood dreams come together under the scorching sun in Karnak as I made my way through the crumbling temples and ruins in 2009. It wasn't always easy for me traveling in Egypt as a solo female (don't worry ladies, it's NOT dangerous at all, just difficult to handle all the unwanted and unnecessary attention) but I have to admit, experiencing this incredible piece of living history made me absolutely fall in love with this historically rich and intriguing country!


    Entering the Karnak Complex was literally a dream come true for me. I was so excited I could barely contain myself! The hot sun overhead, however, kept me at a snail's pace as I tried to find refuge under any shadow I could find. The Ram statues lining the entrance were a sign of all the splendor waiting for me inside.



    No doubt my favorite section of Karnak was the Great Hypostle Hall where the 134 massive pillars stand at regal attention. It was truly mind-boggling to even consider how the ancient Egyptians managed such architectural feats when I can barely build a tower out of Legos!



    Taking a closer look at the amount of detail in the ruins of Karnak and again, I was absolutely stunned by the craftsmanship. It brought back a very vivid childhood dream of mine to learn how to read ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Obviously I never did, but walking among the ruins and seeing all the intricate etchings made me wish I had! How incredible would that have been?!?

    Did YOU have childhood dreams concerning travel? Oh, please share!

    © Connie Hum 2011

    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    Guest Post: Searching for Hidden Gems in Europe

    I have had the opportunity to do quite a bit of travelling in Europe thanks to my job which took me to the UK for several years. During this period I spent a lot of time visiting all the standard tourist destinations: night time at the Eiffel Tour, tours around the Coliseum in Rome and skiing jaunts to the Alps. This was all amazing, but I was far more interested in getting off the beaten path to do something a bit different – luckily there are hidden gems like Malta holidays to compliment the more well-known European spots.

    Slovenia is perhaps the most forgotten country in Europe – nestled between Croatia, Austria and Italy is easy to pass by without noticing this pastoral gem. It is well worth spending some time here, wandering through the pristine meadows, hiking up into the jagged peaks and relaxing at the holiday resort of Lake Bled. The capital of Ljubljana is one of the most pleasant cities you will find anywhere, as canals lined with cafes and bar are the perfect place to spend a summer afternoon. I spent an amazing week here, and basically decided that there was no better place to live than Ljubljana!

    I seem to have a pathological love of mountains – an obsession which took me to Andorra, a tiny country in the Pyrenees which has seen much of European history pass it by. Indeed, this is a place the world forgot. The mountains here are absolutely beautiful and I had perhaps the greatest trek of my life around the Coma Pedrosa Natural Park. Best of all there are no crowds, allowing you to have this gorgeous country all to yourself.

    Beach holidays are my guilty pleasure, and though I know they lack culture I can’t resist a week doing nothing by the sea. Sadly, most of Europe’s resorts are crowded and full of people looking to party the night away – this is not my type of scene. The alternative is Malta, a beautiful quiet island in the Mediterranean. There were certainly other tourists there, yet it is a desert island when compared to spots like Ibiza and Crete.

    These three countries were amongst the highlights of my time in Europe – this is not to say that I didn’t enjoy Paris, Rome and all the other famous sites, I just preferred discovering these quiet places. Sometimes finding something unexpected is the greatest thrill of all. 

    This guest post was provided by Direct Holidays.

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    #TTOT Roundup: Travel Technology

    Every Tuesday it's Travel Talk on Twitter! Follow the #TTOT hashtag 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 via : How does travel tech help you most? Explain please.
    • : A Kindle is a cool travel tech to have for people who need to read themselves to sleep
    • : E-Tickets! No more paper docs in zip-lock baggies stashed in your moneybelt
    • : Does microfibre towel count as travel tech? In which case invaluable for quick drying
    • : My camera is right hand "man" when I travel. Pictures are my favorite souvenirs!
    • : Looking up menu items in Chinese on my Android so I don't accidentally order stewed cat meat
    • : Does a watch count? I try not to take anything I have to worry about having stolen

    Q2 via : What's ur favorite tech medium 4 sharing on the go: twitter facebook, travel sites & why?
    • : Anyone here using Whatsapp? We love that app! Makes sending photos and videos so easy!
    • : Flickr for Photographs , Twitter for Talk, Facebook for Fun
    • : Twitter - my family aren't on here; DEFINITELY makes for more honesty
    • : Facebook just so you can make your friends (and ex-gfs) jealous of your trips
    • : Twitter is easiest & people respond quick!
    • : Twitter for strangers, Facebook for friends, Skype for family, and blog for all

    Q3 via stylish_events: What's your worst Travel tech moment?
    • : Realizing the phone has been accessing the internet abroad without my knowledge
    • : Slipping on a banana skin & dropping expensive new camera in mud - I'm not joking!
    • : When my Gorillapod for SLR wouldn't take the weight of my SLR
    • : This photo booth in France. Trying to get passport pix, got one big one
    • I was traveling around Japan and my camera battery ran out. I forgot to bring the charger... I had to buy a 2nd expensive battery
    • : My macbook (aka my baby) kept overheating in India while I was working...

    Q4 via : What's the most ridiculous tech seen carried by backpackers?
    • : My friend carried a portable record player.As in a vinyl record player on his trip to Thailand
    • connvoyage: A guitar. While trekking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. And having the hired sherpa carry it for him!
    • : Those solar panel backpacks. In London, In Winter....
    • : Someone I know went camping with a travel non plug in curling iron CAMPING
    • : I just got back from a trip w a guy who brought 2 comps, an ipad, 3 cameras & 2 phones

    Q5 via : What kind of Travel Technology would you like, which is not invented yet?
    • : Anti-snoring devices for hostels – so when anyone is in the same room it mutes them
    • : I gadget that sleeps for me so I can stay awake 24/7 and yet still be totally refreshed
    • : Affordable trips to outer space
    • : Self cleaning underwear
    • : A scam detector for when people are trying to charge too much or rip you off
    • : A device that makes the weather break around me. I want sun
    • : Headphones (or something to that effect) that can translate different languages

    And there you have it, "Travel Technology"!

    Next week's #TTOT topic is: "Gap Year Travel" submitted by travelbite. 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 to the Travel Technology discussion? 

    © Connie Hum 2011

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    Montage Monday: It's Gettin' Hot in HERRR

    Yes, summer is definitely upon us and being a true California girl, I love the hot days and long nights that summer brings each year. One thing about recent summers that I do NOT like: humidity. Growing up in California's dry heat, I never had the misfortune of experiencing humidity until I moved to New York City in 2005 and I have never experienced more humidity than in the last year and a half as I traveled my way across Asia.

    As I try to do my best to cope with my overactive sweat glands here in Hong Kong, join me as I look back on my HOTTEST memorable summer moments!



    Getting good and muddy with friends in Jordan's Dead Sea in 2009. It was easily over 100 degrees (40 Celcius) with very little wind when we made the hour-long journey from Amman. Whatever possessed us to slather hot, stinky mud all over ourselves is beyond me though I will admit, once you washed it off, your skin did look and feel incredible. That Dead Sea mud really does work!



    Summer in New York City can't get any better than a nice cold scoop of delicious ice cream from the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory with friends. The unique and refreshing flavors of green tea, almond cookie, red bean and sesame seed are all so yummy! I bet you can't visit the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory just once! I know I couldn't!



    The gorgeous blue waters of Granada in the Caribbean in 2007 was were my love of scuba diving began. I got my Open Water certification during the week that I went to visit my high school best friend. It's so awesome when friends live in beautiful places because you have more reason to go!



    Kayaking in Pokhara, Nepal with Matt in 2010 was a really fun day and an excellent way to cool off from the heat. Unfortunately, I couldn't really get into the swing of things and ended up going in circles most of the afternoon. I wasn't too fussed, it was a gorgeous setting to be in nonetheless. Besides, Matt capsized in his kayak and that was hilarious!


    What's YOUR hottest memory?

    © Connie Hum 2011

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    KamoN H&S Hair Salon

    My hair has taken its fair share of a beating in the last year or so. It's suffered through endless humidity, grimy buildup during long overnight (and sometimes even multiple day) journeys in extreme conditions, overexposure to salt water and sun from days (okay, weeks...OKAY, months) of being a beach bum, several highly suspicious bottles of Indian shampoo (at least I hope it was shampoo), unimaginable amounts of sweat and general laziness on my part. Something had to be done!


    The terrible 3 Ds of hair: dry, damaged and dirty

    Enter KamoN H&S Hair Salon, a relatively new and intimate Japanese-style hair salon located in the heart of Causeway Bay in Hong Kong. I went in for a luxurious head spa treatment, a signature treatment at KamoN, and the results nearly left me speechless!

    My glorious hair after my KamoN head spa treatment

    Each treatment at KamoN H&S is specially designed for your own hair type and unique hair needs.  The owner and head stylist, Sugi, begins each hair session with a personalized consultation to ensure that your hair gets the exact treatment to rejuvenate your scalp and hair.


    Sugi gives each client complete attention

    The rigorous, yet completely relaxing head spa treatment left my hair unbelievably smooth, shiny and healthy after an hour of scalp cleansing, massaging, moisturizing and steam treatment. While Sugi worked his magic on my hair, I was transported from the daily chaos of Hong Kong to a sublime state of mind. Pure relaxation! I honestly couldn't get enough of the head massage!

    KamoN H&S' core belief is that the health of your hair is of the utmost importance. The products used and sold at KamoN H&S are designed to enrich hair and protect from daily damage. The Japanese products also contain fewer chemicals than traditional salon products to help maintain hair health. And the best part is that the products make your hair smell absolutely amazing!


    Special Japanese hair products to promote healthy hair

    Although I'm pretty lazy when it comes to my hair, I have to admit, KamoN H&S' head spa treatment really won me over. The daily stresses and exhaustion of Hong Kong has been taken a toll on both me and my hair. With KamoN's head spa treatment, I get to temporarily escape to a private sanctuary and my hair comes out stunning. It's a win-win that I'm more than happy to partake in more often!

    And just because I can't get enough of how gorgeous my hair looked after my head spa treatment, here's another photo of my beautiful hair!


    Loving my head spa treatment from KamoN H&S!

    **KamoN H&S is located on the 7th floor of the Coasia Building at 496-498 Lockhart Road in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. A website is in the works, but for now, you can make reservations by calling +852 2890 1861**

    A special "thank you" to HK Fashion Geek for the opportunity to try out KamoN H&S' head spa treatment! Of course, thanks to Sugi and the rest of the KamoN staff for the wonderful experience!

    © Connie Hum 2011

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    #TTOT Roundup: Luxury Travel

    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 via : Where was your finest Luxury Travel experience and why?
    • : Upgrade at Marriot at County Hall in London.. It was awesome with the access to club lounge, views of big Ben.. Awesome room! 
    • : The Rovos Rail from South Africa to Victoria Falls - a fully restored luxury train. Caboose had a bar with a balcony 
    • : I cant afford luxury travel but paying a bit extra for a/c or a pool is luxurious
    • : Some of our editors have been amazed by high end safaris staying at places like Governors' Camp. Such luxury in the wild!
    • Diving into the turquoise Indian Ocean after 4 weeks in Australia's central deserts - it was beyond luxury, it was utopian
    • : Travelled with BA and got upgraded to one of those capsule business class seats. 12 hours flight at that!

    My life can't get any more luxurious than a private yacht on the Mediterranean in Turkey

    Q2 via : What is your #1 travel luxury item?  
    • : Twinings English Breakfast Tea bags
    • : I bring Swedish candy everywhere. My own personal luxury
    • : A pair of chic stilettos for crazy nights out!
    • : Makeup, teabags, my ipad. Got some actual milk today so that I don't have to have evaporated milk in my drinks. That´s a luxury! 
    • : My cashmere poncho....which double as a cozy inflight blanket 
    • : My "luxury" item is the 1 thing I buy from each destination: a scarf. Every time I look at 1, it reminds me of my travels
    • : My french press and fresh roasted coffee
    • : I cannot travel without my Nikon digital SRL!

      Digital SLRs are one of my travel luxuries as well
    Q3 via : If money was no object I'd travel to...
    • : All the 'Stans and do the whole Silk Road by bicycle 
    • : Antarctica
    • : Galapagos. Hit me up some big tortoise action
    • : Pin world map on wall and use darts to decide which place I will visit next!
    • : TURTLE ISLAND in Fiji
    • : I'd hire a private plane and take my all my friends on a trip around the world!
    • : I'd stay in really nice places right in the city center in my favorite European cities, then do the same in SE Asia
    • : I'd stay at all of hotels and resorts on the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List and Travel and Leisure Hot List

    Q4 via : How can you make Luxury Travel affordable? 
    • : Become a popular luxury travel blogger!
    • : Travel with friends who accumulated mega points and stay with them at their posh hotel resorts
    • : Discounts and promos!
    • : Travel on the low season! 
    • : If you're game, you could always sneak into the lounge facilities of a 5-star hotel
    • : Go to places where your money will go further
    • : Another is leveraging student/youth discounts when available 
    • : Marry very wealthy! 

    Q5 via : Even on a budget, we all want occasional "luxury" splurge items... what is yours?
    • : I love local jewelry designs when traveling
    • : A good cup of brewed coffee and yummy slice of carrot cake or lime pie in a nice cafe
    • : Gotta buy that nice bottle of scotch in Duty free
    • : Excursions - food & wine don't last, clothes go out of style but memories last forever
    • : Exec lounge access is always a winner
    • : If traveling for over a week, I'll spend the last 2 nights in a boutique hotel for some peace and quiet
    • : Every once in a while I like to stay at a place with a fluffy pillow
    • : I got to say "FOOD". I can trade food for comfy bed, easily!! 

      Food and desserts ALWAYS deserve to be splurged on, in my opinion!

    And there you have it, "Luxury Travel"!

    Next week's #TTOT topic is: "Travel Technology" submitted by johnonolan. 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 to the Luxury Travel discussion? 

    © Connie Hum 2011

    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    Montage Monday: Cardiff, Wales

    Today I watched the movie "Submarine," a quirky film about young love, infidelity, spying on your parents and avoiding change. The movie was beautifully shot in Wales, which reminded me of the few days I had spent in Cardiff. I regret that I didn't have more time in Wales and watching "Submarine" only makes me want to go back and explore. Here are my favorite three photos from Cardiff!

     


    Which film has made YOU want to travel again?

    © Connie Hum 2011

    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    The Great Snack Exchange

    I'm a firm believer that local snacks can tell you a lot about a country, especially what flavors are popular with the masses. What country is a fan of spicy flavors? Sweet and sour? Dried fish??? Take a look at the snack aisle at the local market and you'll find out what tastes you can expect from the local cuisine.


    You can discover that Turks love nuts in Istanbul markets

    Several weeks ago, I got into a Twitter chat (a "twat" if you will, haha) with Tobias (or beforeiam35, as he's known on Twitter), a fellow travel lover from Sweden. We started talking about Swedish candy, which led to talk of snacks in general, before we decided to do a snack exchange.


    Tobias eagerly awaits in Sweden for his Hong Kong treats

    I happily went shopping for Hong Kong specific candy and snacks, no easy feat in an ever-increasing global world. Finally, I had a box full of goodies ready to send to Tobias!


    Sending my Hong Kong goodies to Tobias in Sweden

    Here's what Tobias had to say about Hong Kong snacks:

    The package contained a variety of of stuff, each looking a little crazier than the next one. I was especially intrigued by a red package containing prawn crackers.  "Crackers, I like that. Prawns, I like that too. What kind of wonderful sorcery is this?!"




    I started with the small candies called White Rabbit. I unwrapped one, started chewing and soon discovered it was like a type of Swedish candy. Unfortunately, not the good kind. The taste is hard to describe, but to me it just tastes like egg and cream. I wish I had started with something else...





    I proceeded to a rather interesting blue box containing  "Dragon's Beard Candy". This stuff was very well packaged, and it took a while to get into the vacuum sealed packaging. It was well worth the struggle though. This sugary treat with nuts was great. It has a very nice spun sugar texture and the nuts compliment this so well. One of the best candies in the package!





    Since opening the package, the inner me had feared the next snack quite a bit: dried fish. I opened the packaging and the strong smell of the sea hit me right away. I had promised myself not to chicken out, but I was pretty close on this one. Deep breathe, and back at it. The texture is what I really couldn't take. It's chewy and I felt like I was eating a fish flavored rubber band. I had to cut the snacking session short. 




    The next day, refusing to get defeated by some rubbery dried fish, I had decided to have another go at it, hoping that somehow my tastes had changed over night. Nope, still not my thing. I declared defeat and moved on to the next snack.




    Up next was a package of black cookies, with only Chinese writing on the label. I had no idea what this was. The funny thing is I still don't know what these cookies are made of. I'm guessing black sesame and peanuts, but I'm not sure. Either way, I really liked the taste and the way it crackled in my mouth.




    So what about the prawn crackers? Well, they were really good. They didn't taste as much like prawn as I had hoped, but they were still among the best snacks of the package. The small bag was emptied in a very hasty manner, and I'm gonna have to look for it in the local Asian super markets.

    With that said, I would like to thank Connie for putting together a well mixed package of stuff and I really enjoyed tasting it all, even if some of the snacks did not appeal to my taste buds.  

    ***

    Wow! First off, I must say I'm really PROUD of Tobias for pushing through and eating all the weird and strange snacks I sent him from Hong Kong!  Even I have a hard time with the fishy ones! But that just goes to show you, Hong Kong likes dried fish in their food so much, they even put it in their snacks!

    Read more from Tobias and his struggle to check off his his bucket list at www.beforeiam35.com

    What's the STRANGEST foreign snack you've ever tasted?

    © Connie Hum 2011

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    #TTOT Roundup: Epic Journeys

     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 via : Which journey made you feel SMALL within the planet?
    • : Hiking in the Rocky Mountains
    • : Joining the travel community on Twitter. You guys have seen so much!
    • : Patagonia for sure!
    • Laying on the beach in Mexico and looking at the stars ... there was a ba-gill-ion of them!
    • : Crossing the Pacific by cargo freighter. 18 days of nonstop movement to get across. Massive ocean. Tiny people
    • : Physically the Great Wall of China - imagining that it was built by hand was mind boggling 

    Q2 via : Ever taken a religious pilgrimage or had a visit to a religious/spiritual site move your soul? 
    • : Many temples in Kyoto
    • : Visited Assisi and Chapel of St.Francis. Peaceful, beautiful, humbling in it's simplicity 
    • : The amazing churches in Granda, Nicaragua moved me. You can't walk ten feet without running into a jaw dropping one there 
    • : The Wailing Wall in Israel, Tabgha in Galilee Region, and Sierra Blanca in New Mexico. Total Spiritual Awakenings! 
    • : Haven't been yet, but I'm sure Machu Picchu is going to make me sob like a baby
    Machu Picchu, Peru

    Q3 via : What is your perfect soundtrack for an epic journey?
    • Have to go with anything Muse. Epic ballads for an epic journey
    • : Silence
    • : I like Lost Highway by Bon Jovi..."I'm busting loose....I'm letting go...out on this open road..."
    • : Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys or Legend by Bob Marley and the Wailers 
    • : Never bring music when travelling. Just soak in as much culture as possible. Its more engaging I think
    • : Listened to Sigur Ros the whole time I drove the ring road in Iceland! 
    Driving Iceland's majestic Ring Road

    Q4 via : What took your breath away?
    • : Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef
    • : Iguazu Falls. Absolutely spectacular. 
    • : A humpback whale lifting my kayak in Byron Bay, Australia
    • : I'd say the energy of new york, the architecture of paris and the wild beauty of the amazon jungle
    Times Square, New York City


    Q5 via : Tell us about the epic journey you have not yet done, but you will before you die.
    • : Roadtrip around New Zealand. This must be done. and soon. 
    • : Got the rest of my life and a lot of the gobe to travel...pretty epic. Til then there's this journey to work... 
    • : I'm going to walk the Camino de Santiago, maybe even next year... 
    • : I'll re-trace my mother's journey from Vietnam to the US: the high seas, Malaysia, Ford Chaffee in Ark, the Midwest, NorCal, SoCal 
    • : Wadi Rum & Petra. Bucket list, hopefully to be crossed off soon (maybe b/f the end of the year!)
    The Treasury, Petra, Jordan
     
    And there you have it, "Epic Journeys"!

    Next week's #TTOT topic is: "Luxury Travel" submitted by . 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 to the Overnight Travel discussion? 

    © Connie Hum 2011

    Sunday, June 5, 2011

    Montage Monday: Summer Lovin'

    Can you believe it's already June? JUNE! 

    Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining that summer is upon us. I dare say summer is one of my favorite seasons, though it's in close competition with autumn, oh! and also with winter, though spring is pretty nice too... In any case, I love summer and here are some reasons why I love it so much!


    The #1 reason why I love summer so much: beach days! Lazying on the sand, splashing in the cool ocean waves, playing a game of beach volleyball, what's there to NOT love about a day at the beach? In the photo, Matt's making new friends with a couple of kids on the Nai Yang Beach in Phuket, Thailand. I managed to convince the kids that it would be fun to bury Matt in the sand. We all laughed and got to work. After Matt was thoroughly buried, the kids and I ran off to hide!



    Sure, you can get ice cream and delicious desserts year-round. But when, other than in the summertime, can you eat serving after serving, buckets after bucket of ice cream without having to explain yourself? Summer, that's when! And when the weather's hot and steamy, nothing else beats the heat than a cold, creamy scoop of ice cream. This inviting dessert was found (and immensely enjoyed) at Siem Reap, Cambodia's The Blue Pumpkin one hot afternoon. The chocolate cake was oh-so ooey and gooey, but the scoop of ice cream, that sure hit the spot.



    Hammocks are funny things aren't they? Take them out of a place anywhere near to a beach and they just seem to serve no function. On holiday, hammocks just make sense and you wonder how you ever lived so long without one. In Costa Rica, I practically lived in mine! This little boy became my little shadow while I was staying at his family's little beach resort in Puerto Jimenez and every morning, he would be waiting for me by our hammocks. So cute!



    Since the most recent places I've called home have been New York City, Istanbul and Hong Kong, biking isn't a frequent activity of mine. Put me on a bicycle however, and I'm whisked back to my California childhood where every day seemed like summer to me. My friends, Kristin and Kristina, and I went bike riding in New York City's Governor Island where we spent the days giggling and cycling as carefree as when we were eight years old.



    Watermelons. They are only in season in the summer. Watermelons!!!

    What do YOU love most about summer?

    © Connie Hum 2011

    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    Where Has Anal Girl Gone?

    "They used to call me Anal Girl. Because I was neat and organized."  

    Yes, I used to be neat and organized just like Zooey Deschanel's title character in "500 Days of Summer" (a GREAT film if you haven't already seen it). Back in New York, my desk at work was always strategically filed (chronologically and then alphabetically), dirty dishes in the dishwasher were always stacked in tight near-military formation, my dresses hung in my closet by order of sleeve length followed by skirt length.

    However, since moving to Hong Kong and starting full-time work again, I can't find the time to make my bed, I can't piece together words often enough to continue blogging at my regular rate, I can't even balance my checkbook! This is a pretty HUGE failing coming from me, the girl that keeps an Excel spreadsheet (a very detailed one at that!) of her DAILY travel spendings. Daily. For over a year!

    A snapshot of my expense spreadsheet. Click to see just how anal I was!

    Anal Girl, that's who I used to be.  

    What in the world happened???

    Over two years of not working a full time job? Long afternoons spent drinking Turkish tea in the streets of Istanbul, head buried in a good book? Meandering across Southeast Asia with a carefree attitude for over a year?

    Most likely all of the above!

    But in reality, it's because I'm no longer "just a traveler."

    I'm in the midst of shifting into expat mode and free time is no longer my constant companion.

    I honestly don't know how expats all over the world do it!

    Hong Kong is supposed to be easy! I'm half Chinese so I'm familiar with the food and culture here in Hong Kong. I can speak intermediate Cantonese so I can communicate with just about everyone I run into. Hong Kong's British influence makes it one of the easiest cities for a Westerner to adjust to in terms of language and street signs, but yet, even after six months (yes, it's already been six months!), I am still floundering to find my place here.

    Don't get me wrong, I LOVE living in Hong Kong, but there are moments where I just want to stop in the middle of the street somewhere among the crowd and scream at the top of my lungs, "WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH ALL YOU PEOPLE??!!??" I'm about thisclose to going on a murderous rampage every day when I walk to work. 

    Try to navigate YOUR way through this without murderous thoughts

    Every expat has these same feelings right? RIGHT???

    I already know my life in Hong Kong isn't a permanent one and that one day, not too far in the future, I'll be back in my element as a traveler again, but for the time being, I am determined to make the most out of my life here. And I'm not going to let anyone or anything, even Hong Kong, get in the way of that!

    Could this just be Hong Kong's way of ripping me another one? After all, I did used to be Anal Girl and maybe, as a Hong Kong expat, I just need to loosen up? 

    Now it's YOUR turn to rip me another one! What's YOUR best expat advice for me to loosen up?

    © Connie Hum 2011

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