“What do you think this is?” Joseph, our guide, holds a small, green object in his hand, about the size of a grape, but clearly much firmer. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before, but given that we’re at the recently relocated Satok Market, one of Kuching’s most famous food markets, I’m reasonably certain […]
Attention budget travelers! This week’s Chewing the Fat is all for you, as we’re sitting down with Agness, a true superstar when it comes to seeing the world on limited funds. Dubbing herself a “Polish tramp”, Agness left home (and her comfort zone) in 2011 to travel the world on the cheap, with the goal […]
Stepping out of the pint-sized airport in Mulu is like being vaulted straight into a nature documentary. We’ve already been on Borneo for about two weeks, but it isn’t until we’re walking the 1 kilometer stretch of road from the airport to the grounds of the national park that I really, truly feel that we […]
A clock hangs on the wall of our room here in Saigon. At first glance, it’s a helpful but unremarkable piece, a rather drab thing clearly picked more for its utility and cheap price than for any inherent style. A second glance reveals that there is something decidedly off about the clock. Not only is […]
Fresh from the holidays, we’re kicking off 2014 with a truly fantastic installment of Chewing the Fat. This week, the lovely Jessica from Ways of Wanderers steps up to the plate and devours everything that we set in front of her (how’s that for mixing metaphors!). Jessica is no newbie when it comes to traveling (or […]
Normally we call these posts “Everything You Wanted to Know About…”, understanding that, even with weeks (and sometimes, months) in a country, these titles are perhaps a shade hyperbolic. Probably a more accurate title would be “A Small But Important Fraction of What There is to Know About…”, but even if that latter title has […]
As perpetual travelers who are constantly pulling up stakes and heading from one city to the next, we’re always looking for things we can toss to lighten our load, not ways we can add to it, so this somewhat trivial shopping outing is really anything but. We don’t buy things unless they’re absolutely necessary, are easily portable, and will get a lot of use. Whatever preconceived notions you might have of long-term travel, know this: for us, a yoga mat and two “normal” (read: not quick drying) towels count as a luxury. Oh how these months of travel have changed us.
I haven’t learned to apparate just yet, so for today, I’m offering up the next best thing: an interview with Emily Monaco, a born-and-raised New Yorker who has been living in Paris since 2007. (Talk about living the good life, eh?) For the last six years, she has made a living from her joint love of food and history, offering walking — and tasting — tours of the city and contributing freelance to a number of travel and foodie publications, and even earned her masters degree in 19th century literature from the Sorbonne in 2013! Today, she extends her love of cooking and France to television journalism in Paris and blogs about her culinary adventures over at Tomato Kumato.
If you’ve never been to Nashville, you might think I’m trying to pull a fast one on you when I tell you that in the center of Centennial Park (Nashville’s equivalent of New York’s Central Park or London’s Hyde Park) sits a full-scale replica of the Parthenon. Constructed in 1897 as part of celebrations marking the 100-year anniversary of Tennessee’s official entry into the United States (one of Nashville’s monikers is “Athens of the South”), it was built to exactly mimic the original. From the decorative friezes depicting scenes from ancient battles and myths, to the glittering and gaudy 42-foot tall Athena Parthenos statue that stands inside the building’s sacred cella, every last detail of Nashville’s Parthenon has been lovingly restored. Accordingly, when you stand in its shadow and gaze up the smooth length of its columns, you see it not as you would the Parthenon in Greece today, but as the original once appeared over 2000 years ago. Just a five-minute walk from my doorstep, I spent a lot of time marveling at its majesty, and sometimes wondered whether I would ever really need to make the trip across the ocean to see the original.
Walking down the wooden jetty into Semporna’s harbor, I couldn’t help thinking what a difference 180º can make. Behind us lay Semporna, a shantytown so grim and gritty, it can only be likened to an angry red inflammation on the otherwise flawless cheek that is the northern Borneo coastline. But with our faces turned to the Celebes Sea—stretched out on the horizon and that perfect shimmering shade of blue that is too rarely found in nature—it was hard to reconcile what we had just walked through with the beckoning paradise before us. Living in Semporna may not have many perks, but I’d wager that with its views, you’d be willing to put up with quite a lot.
This week’s Chewing the Fat is one I’m so excited to share with you. If you’ve spent any amount of time reading travel blogs, then undoubtedly you will have come across the chronicles of Gillian and her partner Jason over at One Giant Step. Based in Canada, they caught the travel bug and took off on an epic RTW trip in 2009/2010, right around the time Tony & I started hatching our own plan to take a leap of our own. We avidly followed as their travels took them around the world and back to their home and native land, only to watch as they relieved themselves of the few possessions they had and headed out again, this time to live in the world as serial expats. First Thailand…next up…Mexico!
Whenever we have talked about CouchSurfing on the site, people have remarked in the comments about how lucky we are that our experiences across the board have been unequivocally excellent. Although I will allow that there is inherently some element of uncertainty and risk when you agree to meet strangers from the internet in real life, I don’t think that our positive experiences are the result of chance. Heck, I don’t even think it’s because the world is predominantly made up of good people and that CouchSurfing has attracted an unusually high proportion of said individuals.
I promise that one day I will write a post about our time in Malaysia that is not focused on food. Today, however, is not that day.
I loved the city of Melaka and want to tell you all about it, but the truth is that I keep coming back to the food. It was so good, that I just can’t seem to talk about anything else. We had always heard that competing UNESCO rival George Town up in Penang province was the country’s food capital, so you can imagine our delight when Melaka unexpectedly provided us with the perfect setting for an impeccable and authentic Malaysian food bender. No disrespect to George Town (we ate really well there, too!), but in Melaka, we came for the historic buildings and stayed for the food… if that’s not a glowing recommendation, I don’t know what is!
When Tony & I initially set out on this trip, we thought we’d be gone for the standard 1 year, maybe 18 months if we were lucky. But we’ve now been traveling long enough that when people we meet along the way ask us how long we’ve been on the road we actually have to stop and really think about it. I was astounded when I did just this last week and realized that we’ve now been traveling for over 15 months! Best of all, we’re still going strong and have no plans to stop any time soon.
Back before we packed up our own bags and started our own travels, Tony & I were both avid travel-blog readers (we still are!) who loved living vicariously through the adventures of other intrepid souls who had eschewed a conventional life in pursuit of their worldwide dreams. When we stumbled upon the epic and hilarious blog, Landing Standing, run by the delightful and daring Meg and Tony, we knew that if our paths ever crossed somewhere on our travels, we’d have some serious partners in crime when it came to tackling the local food scene.