Showing posts from 2015

Saga Waterfall Exploration, and WTF did I eat?!


Completely exhausted from a full day of shopping yesterday (and a not so fabulous nights sleep), I got up nice and early to get to my tour meeting place to catch the bus. To be honest I didn't even look at the information for what we were doing and knew little more that it involved being outside and seeing waterfalls. And that was perfectly fine!
The bus took us to Saga, a prefecture approximately an hour away, like much of Kyushu, filled with rice and mountains as far as the eye can see. Some winding mountain roads and we reached our first waterfall. 

At the top there was a shrine with a beautiful view of the valley below. A monk was caring for it and going through some rituals when I hiked up to see it. 

On my way back down (and for the second day in a row) I saw a praying mantis. That had to be good luck right? It's not every day that you see those, but seeing them two days in a row?!

After the waterfall it was back on the bus for about 45 minutes until we reached t…

What the Fuk?


Decided to spend the night in Fukuoka last night to get the opportunity to explore Saturday there, good choice. Fukuoka is a great city with tons to do, and the shopping, omg the shopping! Stationary obsessed friends when you die and go to stationary heaven it will most definitely be some magical place in Japan. I promise you!

Let me preface all of this by saying that when I had planned to go to Fukuoka, I had these lofty plans for shrines and temples and cultural shmultural...with a quick stop in Loft...well, there was no culture, just straight shopping...THE ENTIRE TIME!
I've been wanting to go to a Loft store for a while and just haven't had access to one. Fukuoka has a 7 floor Loft store. One entire floor is stationary. That would be the 6th. On the first floor they have an entire Hobonichi section and set up.

 For non stationary obsessed friends I apologize for the mild freak out. Needless to say, I stocked up on my 2016 Hobonichi goodies, which meant I had to get…

Spur of the moment weekend getaway, Japan style!


One of the (many) great things about living in Japan is your ability to hop a train and plane and in very little time be somewhere completely different. 
My full time job (yes I have one despite what many of you may think!) was a complete shit show this week, so I was determined to just get away and enjoy myself, not letting their ridiculous bs get to me or impact my weekend (when they don't pay me thus very clearly have no right to cramp my style!)
More than the change of scenery, I just needed to be surrounded by some of my people. People I can be myself around. People who don't judge if I want to wear Jammie's and lay around doing absolutely nothing because they will do it with me. These are some great people I tell you!
I may or may not have questioned the greatness of one said friend when she made me go for a 5 mile run in broad daylight (hot as hell)...just kidding I still love her, but I do not do daylight runs. That sun kills me, zero dark thirty all the wa…

Nagasaki, Bomb Museum, Peace Park, Paper Cranes, Gaston, and great friends!


Magda and Steve (awesome married couple on their 6 month honeymoon that I met in Thailand) were heading to Nagasaki so it only seemed logical to meet up! I found the train station and the train schedules and off to Nagasaki it was. Now this might seem odd to be taking a trip to explore a new city when I still haven't explored the one I live in, but eh whatever! Plus, it's not every day that friends are so close when you live in the boonies of Japan!
The train that takes me from Sasebo to Nagasaki is called the Seaside Liner or the Sea Liner or something of that nature. While the train is probably the oldest most outdated I've been on, the scenery is priceless. The name is accurate. The entire ride I had the sea on one side and it was gorgeous. Often times the other side had rice fields. I had intended on napping for the nearly 2 hour ride but found myself constantly looking out the windows at the gorgeous views!

I met Magda and Steve at the train station and from th…

Where do we go next? Help me choose!

You've followed me on my journey through parts of Thailand and a quick jump over to Cambodia, now how would you like to help me plan my trip for next summer?!
Like a choose your own adventure, except, choose Laura's adventure :) Unless you want to come too then come on, let's be vagabonds together!

I'd like to take a month (ish) next summer, rather than the 18-20 ish days I had this there you have it. No real parameters (please don't get me locked up abroad or infested with disease) minor stipulation is that I would like to spend more time in Thailand seeing more of the islands (perhaps Pattong, Koh Tao, etc) I'd also like to see Vietnam.

Post suggestions in the comments and I'll start making a list. As the time gets closer I'll have a final listed posted here where people can help me choose :) This is going to be fun!

Day 19: No sleep till...Okinawa! Making the most of a Taipei layover!


Well, sleep did not happen! That's really unfortunate for anyone I come into contact with today. Apparently the airport does heavy construction in the middle of the night. Tonight's soundtrack was welding. By 2:30am I felt sick and was freezing (I forgot to pack my socks in my carry on to keep my feet warm) I decided to go see about this shower situation. I expected it to be 1. Nasty and 2. A pay shower. It was neither of those things. It was amazingly clean and free! I love the system. You press a red button on the wall when you walk in (there is a changing room section and then you can step into the shower (the changing room has a lock to keep it private obvi) the red button turns on the water heater. Directions say to let it warm for 5 mins before getting in. You only get a total of 15 mins so I wasn't waiting the full 5! That water temp is hard to figure out. Mine was hot instantly. Then it got really hot and I had to jump away from it because it was burning my…

Day 18: Goodbye Bangkok, Thailand...hello Taipei, Taiwan


I woke up very early this morning, 3 something. I just couldn't get back to sleep. I think my body just new that my vacation was coming to an end and my mind was beginning anxious as a result. I haven't been this happy in a long time and I dread that vacation hangover, coming down from the excitement, settling back into the reality of things (at least until my next trip), and moving to a new place where I am completely unfamiliar. I can look at all of that as "not being on holiday" and "not Thailand" or I can embark on it as another I will do exactly that!
That's not to say that I wasn't completely morose when I woke up this morning knowing my flight would be taking me out of Thailand. 
I am rather excited and hopeful though, I found a super neat opportunity that I'm hoping to take advantage of tomorrow morning. I overnight in Taipei (I did not get a hotel so I will be airport camping) and the tourism board offers free tours …

Day 17: Goodbye Cambodia, hello again Bangkok...just stopping by to catch a flight!


Woke up rather early today and headed down to breakfast. I had lofty plans for my partial day in Cambodia, so there was no time to waste...but I was so freaking tired! Slow moving is an understatement.

Breakfast had fresh cut mango today. I think I died. I filled a bowl and sat happily at my table devouring it. I may possibly turn into a mango in another life, I think that would be ok!

Despite having a very organized suitcase upon arriving here, it now appears as though a tornado has ripped through the damn thing leaving havoc all over the hotel room. This resulted in unpacking and repacking to try to restore some order as the next two days are basically travel days in various countries, one of which I will have my luggage, the other I will not, thus needing clothing in the carry on to be able to not be so foul!
I went to the pool for a bit and relaxed before realizing I really should be packing, so I headed back to the room and organized my clutter. I really do need to start …

Day 16: Backstreet Academy (cement bag toiletry case & copperwirebracelet) cultural immersion out of this world!


After breakfast I found a tuk tuk and started my adventure. Adventure would definitely be the accurate way to describe things. We took some back roads which lacked serious infrastructure while my tuk tuk seemed to lack shocks. Then my tuk tuk driver got lost trying to find the location I was going to which was actually just a few km from the hotel. And of course he had to stop for gas which is an interesting experience in itself. It's not exactly a gas station!

Yes that's gasoline in those...water bottles? liquor bottles? what happens is she uses that rusty old funnel and just fills you up. It was the same in Thailand. I'm not sure of the price here, but it was 40baht in Thailand!

I made it to the Handicraft Association (which in itself is an amazing organization...non-profit, they sell goods from local villages and give the money back to them, they had some great items, weaving, pottery, you name it, all kinds of crafty things). I was there to make some kind of it…