Find adventure in the ordinary.

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We all find ourselves stuck in a rut from time to time. Going to work five days a week, coming home and passing out at 9pm because you’re so god damn tired. Weekends are full of paperwork and errands you have to run. Some of us even have to continue working over the weekend. The majority of people around me keep telling me that that’s just how life turns out once you start a full-time job.

That’s just not okay for me. I simply cannot and will not settle for this. Even if you are not like me and crave to find yourself in the work you do, I still feel that a little adventure never hurt nobody. So let’s make a pact to find excitement in our everyday lives! Here are my go to tips if you feel stuck in the life you lead:

1. Simply EXPLORE

This can be your neighbourhood, the city that’s just around the corner or a place that’s worth a weekend away. You often don’t need neither tons of money nor time to find a little adventure in life. Go for a walk or take a shopping spree in a city you’ve never visited before. Trust me, you’ll feel so refreshed and full of energy. It always inspires me most to go to a place that’s super different from where I live and just observe the local people.

2. Learn a new skill

Whether that’s a new language, a handicraft or something entirely different. Find a hobby! Something that you can look forward to and that sparks your interest. This year I decided to up my game when it comes to photography.

3. Try new food

Never had Lebanese food before? Scared of challenging your taste buds too much? Don’t worry. If you don’t like it, you’ll never have to eat it again. But not trying it is such a waste! You might discover that you love spicy food after all or simply be inspired to alter your cooking style!

4. Just be a little adventurous

Change your clothing style, switch to a new perfume, try out new activities or find a new workout routine. This can be anything that makes you feel better and brings a smile to your face in everyday life.

…there are tons of things you can do to find adventure in the ordinary. Even if you’re just running an errand the street you run along every day. Take a moment, breathe deeply and look up. You might discover sights you’ve never noticed before!

Top 5 Must-Do’s in Bangkok.

If you’re ever planning to go to Bangkok, prepare for a city that’s huge in size, crazily multicultural, defined by smell and absolutely overwhelming in a positive way. While I’m still basking in the joy of visiting Bangkok and after having spent a total of five days in the city, here are my top 5 must do’s:

1. Street Food
For once, don’t listen to your mom or the overprotective friend when they tell you not to eat food that’s offered at stalls along the streets. Please do not miss out on this experience as it will challenge your tastebuds and exhilarate your palate.

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My top tips for street food are both the Rambuttri Road (close to the oh-so-famous Khao San Road) and all of Chinatown, particularly Yaowarat Road. If you’re into sea food, definitely make a stop at T & K Sea Food. Don’t be appalled by the plastic chairs, this is known as one of the best places to go and get seafood in Bangkok. Don’t make the mistake of going there before 6pm though – all you’ll find then will be a corner shop that sells gold jewelry. It only transforms into the famous restaurant during the night.

Having street food is neither fancy nor comfortable but the explosion of those rare and unique tastes is so worth it! The best food I had in the whole four weeks of roaming Southeast Asia was at street food stalls!

2. Shanghai Mansion Hotel
If you’re looking for a place to stay and you don’t have a super low backpackers budget, go and check out the Shanghai Mansion Hotel in Chinatown, located just off the corner from T & K Sea Food. The staff is super welcoming and helpful, the rooms are just gorgeous and the price is definitely okay for what the hotel offers. We paid around 35€ per night for a double room. Breakfast is included and offers you a variety of delicious Thai dishes accompanied by the occasional toast and jam for the Westerners.

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3. Rooftop Bar
Yes, it’s a typical tourist thing to do but for once forget your I’m-an-intrepid-explorer mindset and go with the flow. There are gazillions of rooftop bars in Bangkok and it’s pretty hard to choose one. We settled for the Moon Bar on top of the Banyan Tree Hotel in Sukhumvit. It is one of the quieter ones and we had heard you can access the bar in Birkenstocks or Flip Flops which was all we had. And we succeeded! The cocktails are a bit pricey but since you know you somehow pay for the view with your cocktail, I didn’t mind the prices at all.

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4. Chatuchak Market
You’re in for a treat, right? Then go check out the Chatuchak Market. But beware, it’s a full day’s program. Let me introduce you to the world’s biggest market. It is literally that big you need a map to find your way around. I am not kidding. Although we felt lost most of the time, I absolutely loved it. You can buy EVERYTHING there. From furniture to sarongs; animals to backpacks; food, matcha tea or coconut ice cream to jewelry. Some stores sell bad quality stuff you can find everywhere in Bangkok but there are tons of stalls that offer unique and hip items that are so worth peeking in.

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5. River Vibe Restaurant & Bar
This is one of my all time favourite spots in Bangkok. Our lovely hostess at the Cozy Hostel (we stayed there during our second visit) recommended it to us and it was such a great experience. The River Vibe Restaurant & Bar is located on the 8th floor of the River View Guesthouse. Most people go there for sunset but we went for breakfast and had the whole restaurant to ourselves! The breakfast is good but not overwhelming but the atmosphere makes up for it. You can sit on a lounge-like sofa and enjoy your coffee while having an incredible view of the city and the Chao Phraya river.

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This is not necessarily an insider tip, but don’t miss out on going somewhere via tuk tuk. The drivers often try to scam you when it comes to prices, they mostly never know the route and you don’t always feel safe but it is definitely part of the whole Bangkok experience. I’ll be back Bangkok – you crazy lady!

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Review: Packing for Southeast Asia.

Back home after the big trip! Farewell at the airport in Bangkok.

Back home after the big trip! Farewell at the airport in Bangkok.

This is it. The big trip is over. Just as I said on Instagram, it is a goodbye to island life, endless summer nights, heat and sandy toes. Just as I am always intensely melancholic when a trip is over, I am also filled with new experiences, good vibes and an infinite energy taking me through everyday life.

After this trip, I am also smarter. You think I’m bragging? Well, this was my first backpacking trip so I feel I learnt a lot. There are numerous things that your travel guide will never tell you but you’ll experience anyway. I will definitely cover these experiences in one of the upcoming blogposts! And you are most likely to have overpacked even though you solemnly pledged to only take the bare necessities with you. As promised, this is a review of how I packed and what I really needed from it.

First and foremost – I packed too much. Too many clothes. Even though I thought I’d selected every item carefully, it was still too much. Take fewer shirts and rely on cotton as it really is more comfortable in the heat. Make sure the clothes wash easily and stains get off quickly (Asian countries often wash their clothes in cold water!). One thing that I did not wear once was the long sleeved shirt, which I took additionally to my black cardigan. I thought it’d be handy as mosquito bite protector but that’s unnecessary. If you have one long sleeved item and a good mosquito repellent, you’re good to go.

In terms of the toiletries I packed, there’s nothing to complain. I did not use nail polish or other luxury beauty items as much but I still would take them with me again next time.

Medication – the bacteria to prevent traveler’s diarrhoea came in super handy, we didn’t have any problems during the whole trip. Make sure to take something like a first aid kit with you that has bandages. I had a tiny accident with a scooter by the end of the trip and it’s easier when you have these things with you. It can be a bit adventurous trying to explain to the pharmacy sales personnel what you need. Also, do not take too much mosquito repellent with you – one bottle suffices. Buy the rest over there, they have much cheaper and better formulas then us over here.

Travel/Miscellaneous – everything came in super handy. I would recommend every single item on that list. I was especially happy to have brought a microfibre towel (so good at the beach, the sand doesn’t get stuck in the fabric!), the inflatable neck pillow, the sleeping bag inlay, the flight cover for my backpack and the flashlight (the Gili Islands don’t have street lights so if you have to find your way home in the middle of the night a good torch is essential!).

Also, I was super happy with my Gregory J53 backpack. It had the perfect size, wasn’t too heavy and packed easily. It is the perfect companion for a backpacking trip where you stay in hotels and hostels. I am not sure whether I would recommend it for trekking. It is not sturdy enough to carry a tent and other equipment you might need for such a trip.

Even though we just came back from our trip a week ago, I can’t wait to plan the next one! Since I just finished my master’s degree, I am now on the search for a job. Maybe my next trip will take me to a new home and a new life?! Who knows!

Source: http://abdullaabdulnisthar.tumblr.com/post/114247865515/i-havent-been-everywhere-but-its-on-my-list

Source: http://abdullaabdulnisthar.tumblr.com/post/114247865515/i-havent-been-everywhere-but-its-on-my-list

The 5 ultimate tips for air travel.

As I just embarked another international long-haul flight (my trip to Southeast Asia started last week!!), I thought I’d collect my best tips for air travel.

Source: http://www.thisisglamorous.com/2015/04/travel-always-window-seat/

Source: http://www.thisisglamorous.com/2015/04/travel-always-window-seat/

1. Fly overnight
It might be a personal preference but I’d definitely rather fly overnight when I’m boarding an international flight. It is much easier to sleep when it’s actually dark outside. Also, you arrive at your destination early in the morning which gives you all the time to freshen up and enjoy a full first day at your destination.

2. No stopover in the US
If you can, try to not have a stopover in the US. If it’s inevitable, try to schedule at least 4-5hours for your layover. 3 hours as a layover often isn’t enough as the lines at immigration are super long and airports like Atlanta, Miami or Chicago are just massive.

3. Always check in online
It might not save you a lot of time at the airport since most of the people tend to check in online now but I still do it for one simple reason – I can choose my seat. On long flights I prefer to select an aisle seat. This way I don’t have to disturb my seat neighbours whenever I want to get up to walk around or go to the bathroom.

4. Pack your carry-on smartly
It is always worth to pack some underwear, a toothbrush and some moisturizer into your carry on. Also take your valuables with you! If your suitcase gets lost you don’t have to worry about feeling like yourself during your first days.

5. Get comfortable
This simply means – wear sweatpants, take a big scarf, socks and drinks lots and lots of water. You will thank yourself later when you actually manage to get some sleep during the flight and wake up rejuvenated.

The benefits of travel.

In the last 12 days, I’ve found myself between three different times zones, in three different countries and four cities. Rushing from airports to train stations and to the next airport just to hop onto another plane two days later. Since then, a nagging jet lag keeps me awake at night contemplating whether it’s all worth it.

It is. I feel more than alive when I’m on the move. All the sacrifices, the goodbyes, tears and hours lost on planes are so worth it. Do you ever question the idea of traveling and wonder whether we should all adapt a let’s-sit-on-the-couch-and-chill-out kind of lifestyle more frequently? Well, I got something for you:

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Source: Kaplan

This infographic is full of reasons why traveling is so worth it! Did you know that traveling makes you a better sleeper, improves your immune system and increases your life expectancy? Not only does this little gem show you all the benefits of traveling, it also helps you plan your next trip – looking for culture and museums? Go visit London, Berlin or New York. Planning your honeymoon? I’d say Argentina or Brazil are unconventional but romantic getaways!

To be honest, I didn’t really need convincing. But for the doubters out there, here are numerous reasons why traveling is good for you. Even if it’s only once a year – spoil yourself with a little trip to a place your heart desires.

Are you currently planning your next trip?
Here are some ideas for where you could go and some travel hacks you might want to know:

An infinite bucket list
Choosing where you travel
Travel Planning…or not?
10 things not to miss out on in Wales
Canada is jaw-dropping, eh?