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July 17, 2014

letter to cambodia



Dear Cambodia,

Before we met, I wasn't sure what to expect. I didn't know what to make of you and to be honest, I had reservations. You scared me. A lot.
Thankfully my doubts weren't a match for the allure of your extraordinary temples and I found the courage to book the tickets and hop on the planes.

July 16, 2014

the why // for me



Finding energy and time (and reliable wifi) to post, while being constantly on the move, has been proven impossible! I am going to wait until I'm back in Toronto to write my stories.

Today is the 62nd day of my trek and I wanted to share the main reason of why I left the safety and comforts of home two months ago.

I had to go on this trip because I needed to know I could.

June 20, 2014

favourites // pushing boundaries to phnom chisor


Is this real? I think to myself. Is this actually happening right now?

I'm speeding down an unpaved highway in the Cambodian countryside without a helmet, at 60km, sitting behind "Sam" my motorbike driver, holding on for dear life with one hand and eating a fried banana that he gave to me with the other. All the while, dirt and dust being kicked up from passing vehicles is hitting me in the face.

When I look up the trees lining the road give way to clear blue skies full of fluffy white clouds. Aside from the aforementioned dust, the view is stunning. We pass makeshift gas stations, which just have 1litre glass fanta bottles full of petro. We pass homes, with children and livestock roaming freely. We pass the greenest fields and trees I have ever seen.

This is the kind of stuff I read about on travel blogs and watched on travel programming, now I'm freaking experiencing it in real life!

June 16, 2014

lady! lady! where you go?


"Why you no tuktuk?" a man calls out after me. I had just politely smiled said I wanted to walk, declining his offer for a ride, "Lady! Lady! Where you go?"
-----

Since I arrived in Phnom Penh (above photo) on Friday, I must have been offered rides on various modes of transport close to 100 times now. This is to be expected when travelling in Southeast Asia.

Here in Phnom Penh, there are cyclos, tuktuks, motorbikes, and in a blue moon, the rare taxi, which does not have a meter of course. As a person of asian decent, I think I get asked less frequently than more visibly obvious foreigners. It comes in the form of hellos, honks of horns, charades of holding handlebars and revving, and questions of where you are going.

June 12, 2014

guesthouse // hiroshima


Currently, I'm chowing down on some Kaya toast with soft-broiled eggs in Singapore's Changi airport awaiting a connecting flight. The last 4 weeks in Japan few by so quickly. The last city I was in, Hiroshima, made me still wish I had more time. While in Hiroshima, I stayed at Akicafe Inn Guesthouse. This is the first guesthouse I've stayed at and I wish I had tried them out sooner! (I booked through expedia and it was only 2000 yen, or roughly $20 per night)

When I arrived, I wasn't sure what to expect but it was very clean, comfortable and had a great vibe.

What does a Japanese guesthouse look like?

June 8, 2014

favourites // the nakasando


Yesterday I booked a flight to Cambodia for the coming Thursday. Since my time in Japan is coming to an end, it is due time that I get my act together and start writing about it. Originally I had planned only to stay for 1.5 - 2 weeks, but due to the political instabilities in two of the countries I wanted to spend the most time in, I ended up extending my stay to 4 weeks!

I've stayed in 4 cities, Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, and Osaka, over the last couple weeks and will top off my time in Hiroshima.

What has been my favourite part so far?

June 1, 2014

error // posts not found



Sorry for the mini-hiatus. If you follow me on instagram or facebook you know I'm still in Japan. I've been dragging my feet on the blogging front because I really wanted to enjoy my time on this trip and not force any posts.

Originally I thought I needed a blog to occupy some of my time, but the days are going by faster than when I was at home in the routine of my previous everyday life. How could 17 days have already past since I left Toronto? Really, what I'm saying is, I'm having too much fun to blog at the moment.

What have I been up to?

May 23, 2014

the why // people



"Nani? Surprise! Very surprise", she exclaimed as she gestures with her hands waving them around. "One. Alone...it is very lonely desu ka?"

"Some times alone but not lonely. Today, I was alone, now you are here, so I am not alone." I reply smiling.

"Ohhh. Hai. Yes. Now not alone." She nods while giggling.

May 22, 2014

using tokyo metro



Anyone who has lived in or been to Tokyo will tell you how amazing the subway/metro system is. Between the two main operators, Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway, close to 10 million commuters are carried everyday.

The metro will get you anywhere you want to go in the city. The system spans across the entire city on 13 lines with 290 stations. It is so infamous for its punctuality, that Discovery Asia even has a video of how precise the conductors are.

May 19, 2014

cat cafe // nekorobi in ikebukuro



Today I went to one of Tokyo's many cat cafes, Nekorobi, located in Ikebukuro. Despite the fact that I have cat allergies, a cat cafe was one of the first things on my wishlist of things to experience in Japan. Yes I clearly have my priorities straight.

Cat cafes for those who don't suffer from cat-person-syndrome, is exactly what it sounds like, a cafe with cats. Popularized in Asia because many people are unable to keep a pet due to strict pet guidelines in apartments/condos. In Japan the cafes have to follow strict guidelines to ensure the safety and health of their cats before getting a license.

May 17, 2014

capsule hotels // tokyo




Say hello to my new home. This isn't the first time I've been to Tokyo, but it is the first time I've stayed at a capsule hotel. Did you have cubbies in kindergarten to store your hats and mitts in the winter when you got to school? If so, capsule hotels work the same way but for human storage. There are 50ish capsules on my floor alone. Japanese people are efficiency wizards!

What is it like?

May 16, 2014

and so it begins



Sorry for being AWOL for the last couple weeks. Everything flew by like a whirlwind and I just wasn't able to find the time to write anything. If you are following me on facebookinstragram, or twitter, you know that I'm currently in Tokyo.

The image above is from Pearson Airport in Toronto, one final look before getting on the plane. Sitting at the gate and waiting to board, I realized how much I was going to miss all my friends and family. Previously, I had never experienced feeling homesick and instead always got travel withdrawal after long trips. This time was different.

May 1, 2014

how to avoid food poisoning when eating street food

Due to my inner fat kid, one of my favourite things about travel has to be the food! Some of the most delicious things I've ever tried have been from random food carts lining the side streets in Thailand and Vietnam. Southeast Asian flavours are always so rich; you would be hard pressed to find any thing that tastes bland or one-dimensional in this part of the world. Needless to say, I will be stuffing my face with local delicacies from every city I end up in on this trip.

So how do I avoid food poisoning and starring in my own version of a Dukoral commercial while still enjoying the street food?

April 25, 2014

"the plan"


"So what is your plan?"

To be honest, I don't really have one (aside from my plan to not have a plan). I have no set schedule, dates, or destinations. A wish-list of places in Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China exists, but whether I get to all those countries or is TBD.

That may sound a bit unorthodox, but there is a distinction between not having a plan and being unprepared.

April 24, 2014

prologue

If you're like me, you like when things have a beginning or an introduction. So à la Austin Powers, allow myself to introduce myself. My name is Min. I'm late 20-something year old living in Toronto, Canada. Life was pretty uneventful until a couple months ago, when I handed in my resignation to spend 3 months backpacking solo in Southeast Asia.