Monday, January 31, 2011

Boo Last Minute Deals

Two weeks ago BF and I purchased our all inclusive ticket deals for Mexico. We thought we'd better get our asses in gear and book before we lost out big on our chance to go to our best friends wedding. We paid $2848 for 7 days. Ouch!
Today BF checked and tickets were still online but now $600 cheaper. Gosh dang it! I wish I had purchases cancellation insurance (which was super expensive) because I could have cancelled, rebought and still saved money.
Oh well, I would not have wanted to wait out for a cheaper ticket and missed the big event. *sigh*

Sunday, January 30, 2011

30 B4 30 Goals Update # 1


So here is my first update on how I’m progressing with my 30B430 goals. I am pleased to announce I have completed two of my goals and have become one step (or country) closer to completing a third.

18) Have a professional massage done - COMPLETED

On January 4th 2011 I had my first massage. BF and I had a couples Thai massage in a tiny hut right on the beach outside of our bungalow. I have to admit, it was a little painful at times but this girl really knew what she was doing. She targeted my problems spots right away. Afterward I felt like I was in La La Land and spent the rest of the day just reading and BF past out for hours. Later on we felt like we’d had a full work out. Overall it was a great experience but next time maybe I’ll do one without the pressure points and all.
If I return to Thailand I may stay in one spot for awhile and do a full on course of Thai massage. I like how they don’t use a lot of wrist or finger movements which is something I feared when I thought about becoming a masseuse (carpal tunnel anyone?). They use their whole body but a lot of legs, feet and forearm does the trick.
Cost - Well the day before it was $150baht per person per hour which is $5 CAD. The day we did it the price was up to $200. BF tipped them and rounded it out to $500baht. Worth every penny!

19) Take a cooking class - COMPLETED

Yay! I had been waiting for so long to do this in Chiang Mai. I ended up doing it in Cambodia first. The opportunity presented itself and I ran with it. The experience was not so fabulous as BF dropped out sick that day and the Chef was kind of a snotball who was too handsy for my liking.

My second experience in Chiang Mai made it up for it big time. I had an AMAZING time. I can see why that school is rated as the second most popular tourist attraction in the area. The owners were the teachers and they were the friendliest, happiest people. They taught us so much and we did everything ourselves. They even gave us a quick lesson in vegetable carving which was important to me. Free tour of the market was another bonus of the class. I can't say enough about it. Fabulous!


9) Visit 10 different countries - On My Way

I guess I should list all the countries I’ve been to for a start

Canada, USA, Australia, Hutt River, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Thailand, Cambodia

Before I started on this journey I had only ventured inside of North America. I’m glad I made the choice to travel. Since posting my goals while I was in Hong Kong I have added two more countries to the bunch. Thailand and Cambodia. How awesome is that?

Now I just have to manage to squeeze in two more countries before I turn 30. This could be a major challenge but one I’m looking forward to.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Wonderful Week in Chiang Mai

Well the week is not over but I'm having such a great time. The highlights have been attending a tradition Khantoke dinner, riding an elephant bareback, and taking a wonderfully fun and educational Thai cooking class. Oh, I almost forgot to mention two nights of glorious bartering at the night market where I finally finished buying gifts for my family who want to have a mini post Christmas when I get back.
I tried to get another Thai massage at the womens prison here (rehabilitation project) but they were full the day we went. I guess business is doing well. :) The money from the massage goes towards the womens future once they are released from prison. There is also a giftshop and cafe run by inmates. Great project.
Today BF and I are headed on a three day motorcycle tour on our own. We want to get away and explore some small hillside villages without big crowds. I'm hoping to visit an elephant dung paper factory before we head out. Apparently its very fiberous and makes great paper. I would also like to have a chance to visit a Karen "Long Neck" tribe while we're off on the bike.
Have I mentioned how much I love Thailand?

51 weeks later

So today is the end of my 51st week traveling away from home. That means in 7 days I will be back on the Island. Part of me is excited to see my family and friends after such a long period of time away. Another part is sad to leave behind such an exciting journey. The other part is dreading the thought of being back to reality. That includes job and house searching. *sigh

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cambodian Cooking Class Pics R Up

Below are the pictures of all my finished dishes from my Cambodian cooking class last week. I wish I could have uploaded more but as it is it took forever, even uploading only two pics at a time. Internet has been pretty dodgy here in Thailand so I'm doing my best to honor my promises. I would like to also post pics of the market I visited that day soon if I get a chance. Enjoy!
Pumpkin and Coconut Milk Dessert

Fried Spring Rolls
Curry Dish
Fresh Spring Rolls

Amok
Mixing spices base for Amok and curry

We're finishing up the chopping. Almost ready to cook with the woks


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Goal #19 Bites The Dust

I'm on a roll! Thats two for this month. 3 if you include adding two more countries to my 10 countries visited goal. Wow! Wish they were all this easy and fun.

#19 - Take A Cooking Class

Today BF and I took a cooking class in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Well it started out the two of us but BF feeling sick still from the night before (somebody drank the water) bailed out before we finished the first dish. So I had to cook both our selections which wasn't horrible but was a little overwhelming to split my concentration.

The course was $10USD each. We were surprised with a free t-shirt with the schools logo on it which was nice. We were also given a copy of all the recipes and a colored index card with pictures. We got to pick one item off of a list from each course. One appitizer, one main and one desssert.

I picked fresh spring rolls, Khmer amok and a pumkin dessert. BF chose fried spring rolls, Khmer curry and a banana dessert. There was only one other couple in the group so it was a nice small group of 4 people.

We made the dishes all from scratch though sometimes I felt the head cook was a bit too hands on and would also skip little bits that we should have been shown. She seemed a little impatient. Especially with me. I'm not sure why but she seemed to pretend to either not hear me or would stare at me blankly when I asked questions. The other woman in the group seemed to also pick up on it and would re-ask so I would get an answer. Anyway...

I enjoyed the class overall. The other couple was great. Especially when BF bailed out early and left me to do it all by myself. I got to basically do everything except BF's curry which they did for me even though I had expressed interest in doing it as there was plenty of time.

There were a few long delays with ingredients that was a little annoying. The class ran WAY overtime which was not great because my tuk tuk driver had to wait around a lot which he said didn't matter but I hated to take advantage of him and his time. He's been our constant driver for two days taking us everywhere we want to go. So we do pay him for his time for the entire day but I like to be respectful.

They wanted to show us the traditional way of cooking so there was a lot of chopping for the first part which tuckered BF out. Then they made him pound the ingredients forever with mortar and pestle. Poor guy. He looked so tired and stressed. It took ages and thats even with the chef and her assistant doing a lot of it. Then after they said we could use a processor or blender at home. Um, well I guess its nice to show us that it can be done with a mortar and pestle but it really killed the class having to stand around that long.

Afterwards though we did get to take a quick tour of the market with the cook. I liked the market and took plenty of pictures. I wanted to hear what the chef was pointing out but she was kind of ignoring me so I just caught it second hand from the other woman. We laughed it off together. I went back to the market later and bought two kitchen tools to help me recreate the dishes at home.

I was really satisfied with how my dishes came out. I taste tested everything and thought I did a killer job. They wrapped everything up for me to take with me as I wanted to eat with BF back at the hotel. I ran in to eat with him while my driver socialized outside but BF was not hungry at all. I gave him some gravol and took the food out to my driver. He and his friends were more than happy to devour it all. They gave me raving reviews on everything BUT the curry which was the only thing I didnt actually cook. HA! So I felt pretty good about myself.

I will definitely remake these dishes back home for a dinner party with family or friends. Especially the spring rolls which is something I've always wanted to learn. I have to say though, the fresh ones aren't really my favorite. I prefer fried and will probably stick with those unless I'm cooking a big festive dinner.

I'm glad I did it and I had a lot of fun. It was great experience and I'm looking forward to doing more cooking lessons in Thailand next week while visiting Chiang Mai.

(I will post pictures soon. Waiting for a better internet connection.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Friends Want Me To Travel In 2011

So before I left for this big year long trip one of my best friends was proposed to. Yay! Its something I am very happy about becuz I adore her fiance and he just fits with our little family unit. They warned us that it would probably be a destination wedding but it wouldnt be for a year or two. Great. Fast forward and the wedding is in Mexico in Febuary.

Do not get me wrong here. I am stoked to go to Mexico (it will add another country to my goal) because I have always wanted to go. I am thrilled to attend her wedding. I am touched they waited until we returned from traveling to get married. I am broke.

Luckily BF had fallen in love with this couple too and would not let me miss their wedding. They are our closest couple friends. We do a lot together and they are very important to us. So BF paid for our tickets which we booked last week. Its an all inclusive 7 day trip to a resort which will cost $2848 for us both. Eek! My whole trip to Thailand/Cambodia for 6 weeks wont cost that much. However, she'll only get married once and I'm in the wedding party.

I am supposed to pay BF back but I think it will be in future trips as we have been invited to two more events this year.

1) Nathaniel is hitting a big milestone in age and is considering a trip to somewhere warm and beautiful to celebrate. He deserves it and I want to share in it with him. His bday isnt until half way through the year so it gives me a little wiggle room to try and get some cash together. I wont eleborate too much in case he wants to do his own post about it on his blog.

2) My best friend E is also hitting a big milestone and wants to celebrate in Vegas over a three day weekend. I have never been to Vegas and want to go badly. She works for an airline and thinks she can land us a sweet deal. She said she probably wont book tickets until May which gives me a tiny window to try and get some money together to go. Its one of my 30b430 goals to go and visit E where she lives in Alberta BUT I think this could count as a visit so it would also complete one of my goals. Ha! How's that for convincing myself!


All of these trips are important to both me and my friends. I love them all. I am blessed to have 3 close, amazing friends. I want to share their important events in their lives. I want to go to these new places. I want to be a good friend. I am broke.

Of course BF would come to all of these so I would think Vegas and Nathaniels destination would make up for his paying for Mexico. I just now need a job, place to live and a rather large travel savings account. Wish me luck!

So what are your thoughts on this readers?

I have never taken a trip with friends before like this. So its kind of overwhelming that it all happens in one year. Of course, the year where I'm suffering the financial aftermath of a years traveling. I think I should TRY to do each one.

*Special Note

Nathaniel if you read this do not try to tell me I dont have to go with you. Your idea for travel is just as important to me as the other two. Do not lessen your special day. I love you very much and am looking forward to spending your big day with you. xoxo

Monday, January 17, 2011

Catching Up and Some Background Info

Sometimes right now I'm wondering if I made my comeback to blogging a little too early because I'm always so all over the place (literally) and never have time to come up with quality posts. Then I remember how much I've miss you all and hope that you'll bear with me. I only have two more weeks of travel then I'm home.

I realize looking at comments that some people are new to reading my blog and wonder why I'm traveling and what started it all. So I decided to give a little background on that.

I've always loved to break away. I live on Vancouver Island in British Columbia Canada. I love it but sometimes it seems to confining for a twenty something. As soon as I graduated I tried living in a lot of different places. I have lived in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton (x2), Salt Spring and Penticton in a rather short period of time. Eventually I came back and settled on the Island again. Its like an addiction only islanders understand.

While I was in Penticton I picked cherries for awhile and that is where I met BF taking the summer off from University in Quebec. He returned home for his last semester and then moved to the West Coast to be with me.

We decided right away we wanted to travel together. He wanted a break after all of his schooling and I just wanted to run. I was in debt and he had to spend some time in his career before taking a leap like that. So we waited. I paid off $18,000 in debt and he built up his resume. We did this over about a 2 year time period. Then I started saving and he kept working in his field. After one year like this we were ready. We both quit our jobs, gave wild goodbye parties and kissed our moms farewell on the cheeks.

It was hard leaving but sometimes in life you have to do what is uncomfortable to experience something wonderful.

We decided to spend a year working and traveling in Australia with a 2 month trip to Thailand tagged on the end for some rest and relaxation before heading home. BF really wanted Oz and I have always wanted to go to Thailand.

Here we are 11.5 months later and have done a lot more than we thought we would. We traveled and worked in Australia for 10 months (will have many future blog posts about this), we spent two weeks on South Island New Zealand, spent one week in Hong Kong, and now we are enjoying the last leg of the trip which includes Thailand and Cambodia.

It hasn't all been fun, its also been challenging but very rewarding. Soon we'll return back to the Island to see where life will take us next. We have no place to live, no jobs, no security. Of course I am a big planner and this stuff drives me a little crazy but it is what it is. My mom has offered us to stay with her while we get on our feet. Our things are in storage and we have a PO Box for mail. We have good job references and hope to find work as quick as possible.

Its not really where I planned to be at this stage in life but I wouldn't change this last year for anything. Sometimes my PF side wants to creep up and shame me but I have to tame the beast inside and remind myself that life is not all about the size of my bank account.

So thats a brief insight into whats been happening with me. As I wrote before I plan to have many future posts describing the last year of my life with more detail and of course pictures. I hope this clears up some questions for my new readers.

MUSICAL MONDAYS job 2 do - doo doo doo



At the guesthouse I stayed at in Krabi Thailand there was a really good CD that would play from time to time in the lobby area downstairs while I was skyping with my family. I asked the owner the name of the artist to which he responded "Job 2 Do". I set out to find the CD at a store down the street. I do like this song and it is very popular but I REALLY like the song "One World" which I haven't located online yet to share but did manage to get on CD along with this song. Enjoy some Thai music!

My internet is weak so I hope I picked a good link for you. Fingers crossed!

Cambodia!

Just arrived in Cambodia for a 5 day stay. We have wifi in our room so I hope to catch up on my posts tomorrow. :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Checking In

Hey everyone!

I have just left Phi Phi Don and have arrived safely in Phuket. Tomorrow night I fly to Bangkok where I will check into the hotel we stayed in last time which thankfully has wifi. Internet in Thailand is so sketchy. Can't wait to post more soon.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Musical Mondays 'Hearts a Mess' By Gotye



Before I stopped blogging for awhile I used to sometimes do a regular post called Musical Mondays. Its Monday in Thailand and I wanted to share this song with you. I first heard about a year ago in Batlow, Australia when I was up at the local pub watching a pool tournament after a long day of picking apples. It stuck with me from that first moment. I remembered a few lyrics - your hearts a mess - and luckily it was enough to find it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
I prefer the quality of this link but it wouldn't upload to blogger for me.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_CM5-gel6o

Saturday, January 8, 2011

McPharmacy



So people may think this is far fetched but if you have ever worked retail pharmacy you will know that the staff goes through this several times a day. Stressful much? Tolerance and patience are two necessary qualities when working in my field. So happy to have had a year off. It will make my fake smile paste on so much easier. Dont forget to read the comments on the YouTube page.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

One Goal Down, 29 To Go

Above - Our bungalow Below - Thia massage hut




So I am pleased to announce that this week I completed my first 30B430 goal. Big pat on the back to me. Well, maybe a rub.

18) Have a professional massage done

While BF was getting his PADI dive certification in Koh Tao done last week he encouraged me to get a massage or something to relax a bit. I decided that I’d rather wait for him and do a couples massage.

When we arrived in Koh Samui we were lucky to score a private bungalow right on the beach. Outside of our room was a little hut where Thai massages were being done. For two days I watched the girl give non-stop massages. As soon as she was done with one person somebody else would jump up immediately to approach her. I checked the price and it was only 150Baht which is like 5 bucks CAD. Woohoo!

The following day I noticed there were two girls doing massages so it was perfect for us to go together. The price had gone up to 200Baht which was no big deal. In the end BF tipped them generously and gave them an even 500 for the two of us.

How was it? Amazing, but painful at times. I had to give her credit though because she found my sore spots no problem without being told where they were. I had been having really bad neck pain. Like can’t move your head neck pain. She worked on that area big time.

I must be one big ball of stress because she kept telling me to relax and I did at times feel myself tensing up. I think it was all the pressure points she was hitting. I guess I didn’t know what to expect from a Thai massage. I thought it was going to be rub down heaven but not so much.

Still, it was great. I was all dreamy afterward and spent the rest of the day reading while BF slept. Later that evening we both felt like we’d had a workout session. It was a good experience overall.

I was intrigued by the way they used their whole bodies to perform the massage instead of just hands and fingers. If I ever decide to take a course in massage it will be in Thailand for sure. I wanted to do it before in Canada but was worried about Carpal Tunnel.

As for my neck pain? Gone. BF says he had been having problems with his shoulder and his girl targeted it right away and that it feels so much better. Well, I guess we’re now believers.

It makes me happy to complete at least one of my goals while still traveling!


How to get free McDonald's coupons!



How do I describe Nathaniel's blog? Maybe I could say its a whole bunch of little wonderfuls rolled up into a happy wrap. I love him with a big chunk of my heart and this video post shows why.

I hope you enjoy it as I've asked Nathaniel to do a pf related guest post for my blog in the near future. Make sure to check him out. He's linked on my sidebar!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Loving Thailand

Hey everyone~
This is the first internet access I've had in days. We are traveling all day tomorrow and hopefully soon I will have internet at my hotel. The place I've been staying the last 4 nights didnt have internet but... it was a bungalow on the beach... rough I know.
I managed a New Years post because I predated it but forgot to do a 30B430 post for the 30th. Ugh, not a great start BUT I did manage to knock at least one thing off the list. :) You'll just have to wait for my next goals post to find out what it was. Hehe

Miss you all!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy 2011 Blogosphere!

I just wanted to say a quick welcome to the New Year to all my gorgeous readers. Your support has always meant so much to me. This year will have a lot of challenges for me and having you there to listen to my thoughts and help me with your comments will be very important for me.



So thank you for being the best reading audience this girl could ask for. Lets see what 2011 holds for us together.



Love and admiration,



Dolly :0)