travel tips

Travel Essentials for Southeast Asia

After living in Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam, I often found myself needing certain items with me at all times. I’m not particularly travel anxious, but these items made traveling so much more comfortable.

  1. Paper products: paper towels, tissues, and most importantly…..toilet paper!

ANYTIME I would find a place with paper, I would stock up my bag for the plenty of times when none were provided. I stuffed them into jackets, backpacks, purses, pockets, I made sure I had a napkin with me at all times. Many Asian food stalls, street vendors, and hole in the wall places will have some of the most delicious food, and that’s all they’re required to focus on. (no argument there) This is your western warning: bring your own napkins!

2. Oh SNAP, ‘I got you’ bag: miscellaneous small essentials for any situation

This bag was a requirement to go anywhere for me. It has all the small essentials for any situation. Unfortunately, I have some delicious blood and fragrant pheromones…aka mosquitoes LOVE me. This bag has 3 different items for those annoying, but ecologically important insects. On the other hand, I am quite lucky I have a strong stomach. no dietary restrictions, no allergies, etc. BUT, just in case…I had a few stomach and pain relievers for the two times I did have issues.

3. Sharper Image travel memory foam pillow

Being abroad for over a year, meant that I needed a comfort item that helped when I missed home. Since stuffed animals are not considered “mature” or “#adulting”….I found the next best thing. This memory pillow I’ve bought 3 different times now because 1. I am a forgetful human being 2. Other people want to enjoy it too.

I spent nearly 2 months trying to find a replacement upon coming home. I finally found one at Ross, but an upgraded version with a snap button loop!

4. Reusable items for food & drinks

DISCLAIMER- I am not perfect. I still drank out of water bottles while living in Southeast Asia and I didn’t recycle every single one of them. I did my best to minimize consumption, but yo girl needed to also stay hydrated.

I still carried a water bottle everywhere I went just in case there was a place where I could refill it. The items are the bottom are ones damn near the same ones to the ones I carry with me today!

My research partner cares about the environment as much as I do. She has one of those super fancy reverse osmosis machines for her water consumption. She then uses the excess water to wash clothes or dishes. YES! to no waste!

My favorite everyday bag: THRIFTED PATAGUCCI

Indonesian_durian_salatiga

This bright pink Patagonia bag was thrifted for $10 in Jackson, Wyoming. (I prefer red, not pink) This is my first and only Patagonia purchase. Now I understand why this brand is coveted and trusted. This bag has lived a life before me AND held up across Southeast Asia.

Background story: I got my master’s degree at the University of Wyoming for Environment and Natural Resources & Political Science. While in the ENR department, I noticed that everyone was wearing the a sort of uniform of same brand names and outdoorsy clothes. Patagonia, Northface, Columbia, etc. I didn’t feel like I belonged. Not the right race and not the same socioeconomic background. Imposter syndrome in higher education is no joke. Luckily I made some super supportive friends, who helped me feel more included and learning how to build my own community.

Thrifted Patagucci chillin in PhuQuoc beach, Vietnam

BONUS: My personal necessary items

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In addition to all of the above, I always travel with a

  • light hoodie

  • Hello Kitty eye mask

  • iPod

  • ear plugs

  • blanket

  • planner, journals, pens

As I get older, I am becoming more introverted or just needing more time to recharge. I spent a lot of time writing, journaling, and planning. When I’m not scuba diving, I was out taking pictures or reading a book on the beach. I also travel with a. small fleece blanket, even though I am near the equator and it’s feels like 100 degrees.

This was fun. If y’all want more info about what to bring to Southeast Asia…comment below!

Thanks for reading ^_^

WiFi Passwords in Vietnam

Simple WiFi passwords in Vietnam

wifipasswords_Vietnam

Many businesses in Vietnam aren’t creative with their wifi passwords. Many hotels, cafés, etc. typically have very easy passwords, so even they don’t have to remember something difficult. Thus, making it quite easy to guess the password of a place.

Now a days, if you’re staying at the hotel or buying a coffee at a café…many will have free wifi for paying customers. I’ve been to a few places where the password was 12345678,88888888, or 99999999.

So if you’re too lazy to ask, try these numbers because many places aren’t that creative with their passwords.

How to save on books while traveling

NERD ALERT: I love reading

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No shame in my nerd game. I to read.. In Indonesia, I would spend 3+ hours in Gramedia. It’s a bookstore like Barnes & Noble, except most books are wrapped in plastic and you can’t read it. You can ask an employee to open one for you, but sometimes I get nervous about them saying no. I am obsessed with buying a new book every week. (Even if I didn't finish reading the one I just bought).

Most people know that traveling with a kindle or any e reader saves a ton of space and weight. 

I love the feeling of holding a physical book or paper to read. However, I learned the lesson the hard way, when I tried to ship those books back to the US and lug more books to Vietnam. I admit I paid an unnecessary amount of money on over-baggage this past year. 


Casper, Wyoming Public Library

Casper, Wyoming Public Library

LESSON LEARNED

Instead I found a better way: U.S. Public Libraries

Some Americans have forgotten their tax dollars pay for libraries. I am taking full advantage of my Wyoming public library card now. My library in Casper, Wyoming has movies, video games, cri-cut machines, CDs, computers, etc. Now public libraries are embracing the digital age. 


The digital library saves me a ton of money! I've read over 10 books on the Overdrive app and listened to more than 5 other audiobooks FO FREE. I didn’t even know I liked audio books until I was able to listen to them FO FREE. The only down side is some books are so popular that the waiting list is like 2 months. For example, there was no way I could get “Crazy Rich Asians”. Current wait time is 9 weeks!!!!

Currently Reading

As an avid reader, I saw that Michelle Obama’s release date was set for November 13. I am pretty proud of myself for being the first to place a hold on it because there’s only ONE copy and 21 other people now waiting.

The Overdrive library allows for 2 weeks rentals for audiobooks and ebooks. It really pressures me to set aside time to read it before it gets automatically (through wifi connection) returns the book.

CONCLUSION

I’m not here to sell you an Audible subscription for a free audiobook or even an Amazon reading list. You’re already paying taxes for these services. USE IT! Then you can save more money for traveling (like I do).