The theme of this week’s “Spill It Sunday” is one of my favorite things – traveling. I’ve been so many places it’s hard for me to narrow it down – each place is so special and has its own memories and awesome things about it. I picked three of my most memorable trips – runners up that almost made the cut were Argentina and possibly Paris, because despite everything, I still love it. Thanks Arman for hosting such a fun link-up with the best topic this week!
1. Hong Kong
Hong Kong will always be such a special place to me. I literally went there on a whim. I had no idea where it was on a map until I was booking my plane ticket. I don’t know if I even realized it was kind of China at the time. This sounds really ignorant coming from the girl who got a 5 on the AP Human Geography exam without taking the class and was a total geography/history/social studies nerd but I was a freshman in college so what do you expect – clearly I was concerned about drinking vodka and not what the globe looked like.
If you go: Eat a ton of dim sum and eggettes (street-waffles), pay a hospital bill at 7-Eleven (long story), go see the Tin Tan Buddha on Lantau Island (Take the cable car, duh – and be sure to eat lunch at the monastery. I still dream about their vegetarian meals), check out the Jade Street Night Market and mingle with the other expats in Lang Kwai Fong. Also make the trek out to Shek O – it’s one of the best beaches on the island.
I could go on for days about Hong Kong. I would probably live there if it weren’t for the oppressive heat and humidity. If you’re ever going be sure to let me know and I’ll make you potentially the best itinerary in the entire world.
Me on Lantau Island
Cambodia was life-changing for me. I remember watching the sun rise at Angkor Wat (best known from Lara Croft: Tomb Raider) and being so inspired and in awe that I literally could not sleep that night. That had never happened to me before a day in my life and hasn’t happened since.
Sunrise at Angkor Wat. I never pretended to be attractive at 19 or 20.
Cambodia is so inspiring and yet, so sad. Millions and millions died under the oppression of Pol Pot in the 1970s. If you don’t know, everyone educated and living in the capital, Phnom Penh, was marched out by the Khmer Rouge to work camps in the country, unless they were murdered first. A lot of the citizens are begging in the street or maimed from land mines that are still extensively in the countryside. There are monuments to “The Killing Fields” all over the country and nothing stops you in your tracks and puts things in perspective than a case of skulls out in the open.
If you go: Get up early and see the sunrise at Angkor Wat, go horseback riding through the countryside to see little known Wats, rice fields, and the beauty of the country, eat at Happy Herb Pizza and Cambodian BBQ and spend too much money at the Artisan’s Market that is run by victims of land mines. You can get amazing hand-knit silk scarves for $1o and you know the money is going to a good cause.
I have only been to Siem Reap but in another life or time I hope to spend some extensive time in Cambodia volunteering. (Once I break myself from the dependence of needing to be no more than 20 miles from a Whole Foods at any time).
My dad and I went to Hawaii earlier this year. I had never thought about going to Hawaii until my dad wanted to go “see a volcano” (literally his words). He more or less had to put me kicking and screaming into the car to go to the airport to come back to Pittsburgh (after I demolished an entire papaya with my hands, of course).
Hawaii is great because it’s technically in the US but you don’t feel like you’re in the US. It’s expensive and difficult to get there so you see more Japanese and Australians than Americans. (I love America – I love Americans – I hate American stereotypical tourists. We’re the worst.)
If you go: We went to Oahu and the Big Island (Hawaii) but plan on going back to Maui and Kauai hopefully in 2014. In Oahu, do the hike up Diamond Head’s Crater, eat too many Acai bowls, head up to the North Shore and grab shrimp at every single shrimp truck on the way (I know I’m allergic – I just took my chances because they were too delicious not to). On the Big Island, you’re cheating yourself if you don’t go see lava (look up to see where it’s flowing – when we went it was across private property so we had to pay $100+ to hike 2+ hours over hardened lava to go see it). If you don’t go surfing while you’re in Hawaii you’re a fraud.
Chat with me:
Where’s your favorite place that you have ever visited?