I love traveling, I won’t deny it. I was bitten with the travel bug early on and my parents took my sister and I traveling regularly as we were growing up. I remember that there were periods of our lives where we were going overseas every 2-3 years and taking car trips in between. It wasn’t until I went to university that I was grounded for 4 years … it sucked and I hated it.
Over the past 4 or 5 years, I’ve been grateful for being able to afford travel, since being fully employed. Here are the other places I’ve been to in the past 5 years:
- Portland, Oregon
- Hawai’i, HI
- Mumbai and Rajasthan, India
- London, England (layover)
- Disneyworld, FL
- Albany and New York City, NY
- Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel
- Palestinian Territories
ABOVE: Checking out one of the tombs in Petra, Jordan
Having said that, I know next year might be different. I might not be going oversea and due to the current political situation, going to the United States doesn’t even seem like such a good idea anymore (although that won’t stop me).
I’ve been happy that I can do trips without budgeting much (really, I don’t budget at all), but if I am going to save for a house, I will have to tighten the belt a bit more and figure out how to be a better budget traveler.
Yes, I might be downgrading a little, but I love my freedom and I love being able to see people, spend time with them and learn about the world. I’ll never give that up!
Yesterday, we had a lovely time exploring the desert of Wadi Rum. This morning, we woke up in the beautiful sunrise over the sandstone mountains. Left our host camp at 6:30 am with the smell of wood smoke still in our hair. We traversed up the Dead Sea coast again on the Jordanian side.
Immigration through the West Bank was definitely a unique experience. There was a lot of hustle and bustle, but it was business as usual for many. Approximately 400 km later, we settled in downtown Jerusalem. Running multiple loads of laundry at the rented apartment and catching up with social media.
Now enjoying the street singing as we are getting close to the countdown towards 2017.
Happy new year, wherever you are celebrating (or not)!
Merhaba from Jordan!
It was a lot of work figuring out this trip and the first three days were quite rough, as two of us managed to get sick right off the bat. There were several moments where I wished we were simply at home with our respective families. Yet despite three days of bitter, hard rain, in both in Israel and Jordan, and our little trip ups, the sun finally came out today and day 4 of our trip was just really wonderful!
This morning, we enjoyed a lovely stroll around the Roman amphitheatre in Amman, walked around Mt. Nebo and floated in the Dead Sea. In the evening, we enjoyed a Turkish-style hamman to wash off the salt and filled up on a traditional Jordinian style dinner of spiced rice, potatoes, carrots and onions.
The internet access has been spotty and some of our clothes feel perpetually wet, but we are really glad to see such a special and unique part of the world. Looking forward to seeing Petra tomorrow!
Not much to report this month. A few things of note:
It’s been months in the making.
What started off as a daydream to see more the Middle East, seeded by the fact that B. and I visited Turkey ever so briefly just a few years ago, is now finally coming together. Originally, only the two of us were traveling together; now, it will be a 10-day trip to Israel and Jordan with my sister, my cousin and my best friend!
Our flights to Tel Aviv were booked a few months ago, but we’d been taking our sweet time in planning. With December looming near, we spent the month of November researching, booking and finalizing, occasionally conferencing on the phone to pin down our needs and wants were. This weekend, a lot of our hotels and ground tours were finalized; I’m happy to say that this brings a great sense of relief. Now I can do the “real” planning and start looking for yummy vegan* restaurants!
Earlier this week, I finally started pinning down sites on Google My Maps. This is a great tool to have on your mobile device, even if you travel around with a data plan. I’ve had My Maps work successfully off triangulation while in India and Turkey.
One of my goals in December will be revisiting my Lonely Planet. It had been collecting dust on the shelf as I had foolishly bought more books – how I managed to get two Caitlin Moran books in November and not finish either of them is symptomatic of the book-hoarding problem I have – and it’s time to dig into it. For a long time, I was extremely ignorant of the history and culture and politics of Israel** and Jordan, so I really need to brush up on my politics!
*Apparently, Israel is going through a huge transformation towards veganism.
**Strangely, Toronto has an extremely large Jewish population. However, they are clustered in extremely tight-knit communities, and many people growing up in Toronto do not know Jewish people until much later in their lives. I didn’t know any Jews until I went to university . At the moment, I cannot recall if I know any Jordanians.
Got back in Toronto around 10 pm after a 10-day road trip. It’s been rad, making new friends and revisiting old ones. I even saw one of my former colleagues from South Korea; it has been 9 years since we last met up!
All and all, I covered about 1800 km, but I really had no intention of driving in the shape of a phallus …
Last weekend, I was in New York City with my family. My mom, sister and I spent a couple of days to ourselves and then visited extended family in Queens/Flushing.
I know, I know … I haven’t been blogging as much the past few months. The convenience of microblogging on Instagram means that I simply just don’t post as often on WordPress any more! If you’d like to see some of our family photos, click here.
Addendum: I should also mention that the highlight of my trip is seeing the Louis Armstrong House Museum. No photos are allowed, but you can easily go on YouTube and find videos about it. The kitchen, good lord. The kitchen is the stuff of dreams!!!
Spent Saturday afternoon looking up fitness classes in New York City. We had originally intended to watch a Broadway musical, but seeing the prices made my jaw drop and I decided to look for other forms of entertainment that might be more affordable. So far, I’ve been eyeing a few studios:
I’ve always wanted to try an Iyengar class! When I visited India in 2014, I had actually wanted to visit the original Iyengar Institute outside Mumbai; however, I got severely ill and it never happened.
I’m excited! Hoping I could squeeze in at least two studio visit.
We also managed to book four nights at the Marriott on the east side of Manhattan. For four nights, we are each paying approximately $92 CAD, which is great considering the horrible exchange rate and how costly NYC hotels are.
Did an itsy-bitsy hike and picnic this morning out near Smokey Hill. We had a potluck and then walked up the trail to the look-out point.
It was so nice, I wish I could have stayed longer! I need to get outdoors more often.
Four weeks ago, I spent part of my Goose Hunting Break at DisneyWorld in Orlando, Florida. While I didn’t write much about my recent trip to DisneyWorld, I have to say that I have been reading a lot of Disney history since coming back.
While doing my research before the trip, I watched one of the “Abandoned” mini-documentaries by Bright Sun Films. They have been quite addictive and after my trip, I started watching more. If you’ve been to DisneyWorld as a child – this was my fourth trip, but my first as an adult – old memories definitely start popping up as you recognize old rides and attractions that no longer exist.
While I haven’t watched all of them yet, here are my favourite videos. Enjoy!
- Disney’s Discovery Island – The island that gave birth to Animal Kingdom. I never knew about this place, but it would have been pretty awesome to check out the island when it was abandoned!
- Wonders of Life – I forgot about Body Wars, but I definitely went on the ride inside Horizons! Bit miffed that I didn’t get to go inside the building as it’s not entirely abandoned, but is now a seasonally-active building. We lined up at Epcot to go in for the annual Flower and Garden Show and as we were waiting for a free ticket, we happened to have just missed out on the last set. ARGH!!!
If you’re still hungry for more Disney facts, check out D23*.
*The site is named after the year 1923 , the year that Walt Disney moved to California and is the same year that the Disney Company started.