Pictures from the Gorgeous Colorado Mountains

The view from Dave's Mom's house in Summit County, Colorado.

Dave and I have been in Colorado for two weeks now and at every turn we’re reminded why we love this state so much. It’s picture perfect, friendly, and filled with people living incredibly healthy lifestyles. That last part is on the annoying end, only because it makes us realize how out of shape we really are. It’s a great place to eat local, organic and gourmet food though, which is right up my alley!

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Road Trip! L.A. to Colorado in Photos

Leaving Los Angeles in our new car!!

Well everybody, we have hit the road again. We’ve spent the past month adjusting to life back here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. with my parents in Los Angeles, and now we’re in Colorado. We drove our brand new Hyundai Elantra Touring (very awesome Korean car!) from my hometown of Pacific Palisades, CA to Dave’s hometown of Silverthrone, CO. Here are some pictures from our two day drive. Read more

Do It While You’re Young: My First Trip Abroad as an Adult

It’s been a busy week for Wake Up and Dance! I was on Wandering Educators, The Tripping Blog, and Do It While You’re Young (DIWYY). DIWYY posted my story detailing my first experience abroad as an adult. This was written for their Friends Don’t Let Friends Not Travel (FDLFNT!) Contest. If you know somebody who wants to take their first trip abroad, nominate them to win a free trip in the contest. Enter by April 8, 2012.

5 Things I No Longer Have to Think About

Home sweet home. As much as I adore traveling, there are certainly a few things I’m happy to no longer have to think about. They may sound like silly miniscule details, but I assure you they are huge when you have to keep them in mind constantly.

1. NO MORE ANTS! Or any critters for that matter. I Ziplock bagged everything to keep the creepy crawlers out. I kept dirty clothes sealed away so they wouldn’t attract ants and I kept clean underwear bagged so it would stay isolated. I also Ziplocked my toothbrush in its case so that I wouldn’t end up brushing my teeth with ants. (Yuck!) All food items needed to be bagged so that Dave and I wouldn’t find ourselves accidentally eating bugs. We let our guard down once in Singapore figuring that an unopened package of Mentos was fine in a hotel room in the middle of a huge developed city. We were wrong. While watching TV that night, Dave started chomping on the Mentos without looking at what he was eating. He offered me one and I saw that the candy was swarming with small ants! He had thought the crunchy bits were sugar granules. The lesson? ALWAYS bag your stuff in tropical environments.  Read more

Crafting on the Road: Learning how to make traditional Lao Buddhist temple stencils

Crafting in Laos

In the past few years I’ve been in and out of many, many temples and can’t help but be mesmerized by the stunning artwork covering the inner and outer walls of each and every one. Every temple, even ones that are only one block away from each other, have a different look to them and I’ve taken to photographing the beautiful art at each one I visit. I hope to use my large collection of temple art pictures as inspiration for something one day.

stencil makingI had always wondered how the artwork was made and how long it took, so I was ecstatic to discover Yensabai Book & Art  in Luang Prabang, Laos that offers traditional stencil making classes. For 120,000 Kip (15 USD) we were taught how to properly cut the stencils out of handmade paper with straight and curved chisels on a plank of wood. Over a span of two hours Dave and I hammered away while occasionally sipping on Lao green tea (for me) and Lao coffee (for Dave). It was a very cathartic experience and we not only walked away with a better understanding of how much work goes into decorating a Buddhist Temple, but also two pieces of awesome art.

stencil tools and materials

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cutting my stencil

our finished stencils

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Gone are the days

Gone are the days when…

  • I found street food suspicious.
  • I dreaded squatter toilets.
  • cockroaches spooked me.
  • big spiders in my room surprised me.
  • ants in my room bothered me.
  • washing my hair daily was a necessity.
  • I thought days on buses, trains and planes were exciting and not exhausting.
  • the majority of travelers relied on internet cafes.
  • internet was too slow that I had to email new blog posts to my dad for him to post.
  • wifi was a luxury.
  • T.V. in my guesthouse room was shocking.
  • I stayed in hostel dormitories.
  • I shared rooms with newly befriended travelers.
  • I had to backup my pictures on CDs at internet cafes.
  • fellow backpackers understood that service and food would be different than it was at home.
  • people found their exotic surroundings more interesting than their iPods.
  • a select few had electronic reading devices.
  • it was easy to find somebody to trade a book with.
  • I didn’t have a truly awesome travel buddy by my side every step of the way.

 

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Picture?

There’s an odd trend I’ve noticed while traveling through Asia. Asian tourists and locals frequently come up to me (and I’m sure other foreigners) and ask to take a picture with me. I can’t seem to wrap my mind around the concept of wanting to take a picture with a complete stranger when the only words you’ve exchanged with them were “Picture?” Read more

Us Wanderers

Most of the people I meet abroad in Asia are in the same boat as me. Not many are traveling for a few weeks; they are traveling for months on end or teaching English. So many of these people, myself included, are in their twenties and haven’t committed to a career path yet. Exploration is more enticing, and quite honestly we don’t know what to do.

We’ve been told to do what we love, but because our economies at home are in the crapper, to take what we can get. So, do you sell out and take whatever job you can if you can’t get a job that pays you to do what you love? Do you move back in with your parents? Read more

Korean Thanksgiving and Our Second Trip to Sokcho

We are just finishing up our much appreciated five-day weekend for Chuseok aka Korean Thanksgiving. Chuseok is a holiday where families gather together, eat good food, honor their ancestors, and give thanks for the plentiful harvest. Gifts are exchanged on this holiday and the grocery stores are stocked with large gift set boxes of whatever you can imagine. One teacher recieved a gift set of shampoo. Eight bottles of shampoo is more of burden to me than a gift, but I’m guessing the idea is that you can share with friends. A very popular gift set is the spam and oil set. Yum. In case you don’t believe me I have some photographic evidence.

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