My New E-Book: Packing Made Simple

Packing Made Simple: A Simple Guide to Packing Light

I finally did it. I wrote a book!

For years now, I’ve been traveling carry-on only as much as possible. On the rare occasions when I do have to check luggage, I still pack light because I hate having tons of stuff to drag around with me. I remember trips to Europe when I was a teenager and my study abroad trip to Spain where I brought such a huge suitcase I could practically fit inside of it. It was a struggle trying to transport that thing through narrow cobbled streets and up several flights of stairs.

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That Time I Took a Shower at the Airport

Singapore photos

At the end of our Southeast Asia trip, Andy and I had one last night and a full day in Singapore. We had to check out of our hotel before lunch but our flight didn’t leave until 11:30pm, giving us all day to hang out in the city. But since Singapore is very close to the equator, it’s really hot. I was not looking forward to arriving at the airport after a full day of sweating in Singapore’s heat and then having to sit on a 13 hour flight back home. Luckily I found a solution.

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Singapore in Photos

how much we spent traveling in Singapore

Singapore is a convenient place to start a trip to Southeast Asia. It has one of the biggest and busiest international airports in the region, which is why I ended up flying there to start my round the world trip a few years ago. It’s also why Andy and I ended up starting and ending our Southeast Asia trip there. I’ve now been there four times, never more than a few days at a time, and the last two visits were both on our recent trip.

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How Much We Spent Traveling in Malaysia

how much we spent traveling in Southeast Asia

Malaysia is often overlooked in favor of its cheaper neighbors, such as Thailand. While I can’t say Malaysia was my favorite country, it’s definitely worth spending some time there. It has a completely different culture and vibe from the rest of southeast Asia, and that alone makes it interesting.

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Kuala Lumpur Do-Over

Kuala Lumpur Petronas Towers

I visited Kuala Lumpur about four years ago, very briefly. It was a trip when I realized I had booked myself into too many destinations in such a short period of time. Because of all the hops I had planned, I had one night and not even a full day in Kuala Lumpur. Quick as that visit to Kuala Lumpur was, it was an interesting day filled with tourists from Bangladesh who wanted their pictures taken with me in front of the Petronas Towers and lunch at a hole in the wall Indian restaurant where I got lots of stares. (Note: Being a solo traveling white girl wearing a tank top draws a lot of attention in some parts of the world.)

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My Experience with Food in Penang

how much we spent traveling in Malaysia

I’m not sure Malaysia really stood a chance in the food category after we found such tasty food in Ao Nang, Thailand. But still we were curious to try some of the local dishes. We also heard that Penang was well known for food, and night markets were scattered all around George Town. I like the atmosphere of markets because there’s so much more energy than in a regular restaurant, so I was really looking forward to experiencing Penang from that perspective.

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Trying Not to Melt in Penang

how much we spent traveling in Malaysia

Our time in Penang was a bit strange. We never planned on stopping there, but we weren’t able to book train tickets from Thailand to Kuala Lumpur. Rather than take an extremely long bus trip all the way, it made sense to break up the journey with a stop in Penang. At this point in our trip, we were getting kind of burnt out so we probably didn’t put as much effort into things as we should have. It didn’t help that our hotel room had no windows, and the hotel played annoying elevator music in the hallways loud enough that we could hear it in our room.

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My Expat Life, Now With More Quesadillas

Mexican food in Freiburg, Germany

I’ve been living in Freiburg for almost three years now, so it’s rare that I encounter culture shock anymore. All the little things that stressed me out when I first got here seem normal now, or at least I’ve come to terms with them. I’m not sure I’ll ever adjust to the cold winters, though luckily we’ve come up with an escape plan. But the one thing I’ve missed most about the US (other than people) is Mexican food. If there’s a salsa god out there, I think he may have finally heard me.

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How Much We Spent Traveling in Thailand

how much we spent traveling in Thailand

Thailand is the first country that comes to mind for many people when they think of Southeast Asia. It’s definitely the most popular country in that region of the world due to the tasty food, gorgeous islands, friendly locals, and of course, the low prices. When Andy and I started our winter escape to Southeast Asia, we didn’t really think about going to Thailand. We thought we would end up in Malaysia or maybe Vietnam after Cambodia, but our plans changed and we found ourselves with three weeks in southern Thailand. Here’s how much we spent traveling in Thailand, enjoying the beaches and the food.

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Should We Expect People in Other Countries to Speak English?

English in other countries

I started thinking about this issue in Koh Samui while we were staying at a resort. Andy and I went to dinner one night, ordered satay and asked if it came with rice. Our waitress was a little confused at first, but after a couple of tries, she said yes. Of course, when our food arrived, there was no rice. She didn’t understand us at all when we asked about it, so Andy spoke to the manager, explained the situation, and eventually we got our steamed rice.

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