Living in China, I don’t get get home to Florida often. In fact, before this summer, it had been a year. It’s a combination of the ticket price, the desire to travel through Asia, and of course, the 15+ hour flight.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it: the flight sucks. The jet lag sucks. And having people stare at you while you struggle to roll up your compression socks? That sucks too. But after doing it a few times, the flight time doesn’t seem as long, the jet lag gets a little better, and the fear of what others think goes completely out the window. Don’t believe me? I actually do walking lunges down the aisle. True story.
Prom tickets are for sale, yearbooks are circling the campus, and the students have traded their long pants and tennis shoes for jean shorts and sandals. It’s officially the end of the school year, and I’m counting down the days until I board a plane to Florida.
As a longterm expat, and international school teacher, I look forward to summer for so many reasons. Obviously it’s a chance to get in some much-needed friend time, family time, and pool time, but it’s also a chance to stock up on products that are hard to find (or just ridiculously expensive) on this side of the world. Continue reading
People often ask me to name my favorite country, or my favorite vacation. But I can’t. I tell them that asking me to do this is like having me choose between ice cream and chocolate. I like both. I’m going to eat both. So instead of telling you about my top travel experience, I’m going to share my top ten thus far (while enjoying a bowl of ice cream topped with chocolate sauce).
#1: Hiking the Inca Trail
I mean really, do I need to provide a caption or explanation for why this is number one? Look at this. And the picture doesn’t even do it justice. It was four days and three nights of hiking at high altitude, sleeping in tents, and seeing world wonders. It was challenging but oh-so-rewarding. I went through a company called Enigma and would highly recommend.
Look at this place. Seriously. The white sand, the limestone cliffs, the turquoise water, the perfect mix of shade and sun.
Years ago, I interviewed a man named Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, a professor and the director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University. I was writing an article on Tampa Bay’s best beaches, and wanted to know how the man known as “Dr. Beach” chose his ten top American beaches each year. He went into specifics about beach conditions, sand softness and color, the presence of wildlife, the views, water temperature, safety. He actually had a list of 50 criterion.
You’ve seen it. Or, at least, you’ve heard of it. Playing on hostel screens all across Southeast Asia, the movie “The Beach,” starring Leonardo has been declared a “must-see” for all travel enthusiasts.
The premise is that a young American man with a longing for adventure arrives in Bangkok, Thailand. He walks through frenetic Kaosan Road, through the neon-lit streets, past drunken backpackers and street vendors. He’s yearning for something different. At his guesthouse he comes in contact with a mentally disturbed man who tells him of a secret paradise–a pristine island, hidden by limestone cliffs–hidden from tourists.
I recently returned from a week in Krabi, Thailand with my parents. I hadn’t seen them in eight months, and we decided a reunion at the beach was just what the doctor ordered.
I was of course responsible for choosing which island we would go to, since apparently being an expat in Asia makes me an expert on all Asian countries. And while it’s true that I have traveled quite a bit in the region, I’ve done it a little differently than my 65-year-old parents would want to (i.e. staying in non-air conditioned bungalows for $10 a night).
Well, it’s official: I am certifiably crazy. During the last seven days I hopped on two 14-hour flights, adjusted to the 13-hour time difference not once, but twice, and now I’m back at work, teaching teenagers. But that’s not all. I did all this traveling for a guy. And not just any guy, but a guy I met on Tinder, in Shanghai, six months ago, who now lives in New York.