Have we got news for you! Are you ready for it?
2 Feet Out The Door now has a store!
That’s right, now you can own a little piece of the places we have been traveling. We have some great items right now, but remember that the store is young still, and growing.
Currently, we have pashmina and Thai silk scarves, wallets, keychains, and pouches that are perfect for holding iPods, cash, keys, chapstick, and other small items. We personally own a few of them and use them for iPods, daily medication/vitamins, and other small daily necessities. We hope to soon add some small antiques, figurines, and other things.
Everything is handmade in Thailand, and your purchases help those that spend time to craft them.
Go ahead and check out the store here. You can also find the store up at the tabs section of the blog.
Also, we are open to suggestions and requests. If you have something in mind, let us know and we will do our best to help you get what you want. There is beautiful and traditional jewelry, clothing, cool t-shirts, and my favorite—hippy pants! I call them that, but they are the most comfortable pants in the world, and I never want to take them off.
If you are interested in anything I mentioned that is not in the store, let me know, and we can send you pictures and prices.
Leave a comment here or send us an email at email@example.com with questions, comments or requests!
Bangkok, With a Pinch of Salt
When we travel, we like to talk to others that have been where we are headed and get their opinion on the place. Sometimes we find that our feel of the place differs greatly from theirs, and other times our opinions coincide. For example, a lot of people said they loved Siem Reap and hated Phnom Penh. Our feelings were just the opposite. We found Phnom Penh to be a cool and exciting city while Siem Reap was a tourist hole replete with beggars and hawkers.
We were told before we got to Bangkok that 2 days would definitely be enough in the city, and that it wasn’t a very nice place. Now, we take each warning or recommendation with a heaping helping of salt because we have come to realize that everyone’s tastes are different.
We got to Bangkok at about 10pm and headed straight for the tourist street with lots of shopping and guesthouses, because we figured we’d be able to find something cheap. Now, there we could see why some people might not like the place. It was crowded and loud and not very cheap at all. We ended up finding a room for $12, which is more than we have paid for a room since we left China. We pretty much went straight to bed after arriving, having been on buses for about 14 hours that day.
|Because recycling, that's why.|
The next day we found out what tends to be true for most large cities we’ve visited—there is so much more to the city than the one tourist area that features numerous bars and McDonalds. See, a family friend of mine has been living in Bangkok for 13 years and invited Ricky and me to spend a few days at his place. We took a taxi over, well outside the downtown area of the city, and were pleased to find a more mellow and welcoming area.
|Ducks, just hanging out.|
Like I say, we were pretty lucky in that we knew someone that could show us around. Thursday and Saturday we enjoyed Thanksgiving feasts with various ex-pats. I was able to get a taste of home, with a deep-fried turkey and pecan pie, and Ricky got to experience the most gluttonous holiday on the planet—twice.(He’ll write more on that later!) On Sunday, my friend took us to the largest outdoor market in the world. We walked around the place for a few hours, and still did not even see 1/20th of the place.
As an extra bonus, this friend of ours owns a Mexican restaurant, Que Pasa. Everything I ate there was the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. Travelers, if you find yourselves in Bangkok, you need to visit this place. It’s a ways out of the city, but well worth the trip, especially if you want to venture out of downtown and away from the tourist areas.
|Ricky and his new BFF, killing zombies on the iPod at Que Pasa.|
We ended up staying in Bangkok for about 4 days, and could easily have done more if we had more time on the visa. As it is, we are on the 2 week land border crossing visa, so we’re headed up to Chiang Mai for the sky lantern festival, where we’ll hopefully figure out what to do next!
I know this post is a bit of a rambling, but there are a couple of points I’d like to make. First, don’t take anyone’s word as gospel on where to go or what to see or do. Find out why they did or didn’t like a certain place; it could be that you like what they don’t, or vice versa. Second, get outside of the tourist areas! Eat local food with local people and enjoy the non-downtown areas of a city; there are lots of secret treasures to be found out there.
|Like this place.|
Luxury Items You Can't Travel Without
We were all kids once, so we know what it’s like to not be able to live without that special something. Some kids have blankies or teddy bears or dolls. Others had action figures or other little toys. I (Talia) had my little orange Tonka truck.
Thing is, though, that doesn’t stop when you get older. It just…changes. There are things that you can’t go without. When you travel, these things are usually considered luxury items, because honestly, you really don’t need that Tonka truck when traveling through Southeast Asia.
Ricky and I allowed ourselves one luxury item each, and no, our USB video game controllers for playing Mario Kart on the computer don’t count. For my item, I brought a pillow, which has saved me many a time on trains and buses when I really needed to sleep. Ricky’s luxury item is a fly swatter because, as I have mentioned before, he hates the creepy-crawlies. We both use our items frequently and are very glad that we brought them.
|For flies, mosquitoes, and pesky children.|
While we were in Otres Beach in Cambodia, we got to chatting to some other travelers and asked them what some of their luxury items. Their responses were quite interesting.
A couple of the girls we met said that they brought a bit of makeup, or a hair dryer, but one girl brought a “3-step facial care system.” Yes, three bottles of creams and lotions that she used every day. To her credit, she did have lovely skin.
|Because when you're trekking through the jungle, this is all a girl needs.|
Another girl brought a travel pillow—not one of the blow-up ones, but the real, stuffed, good quality kind. She didn’t have any room in her backpack for it, so wherever she goes, the pillow goes along, tied to the outside of her pack.
Guys were a bit different. A lot of them said they didn’t have any luxury items. One of them brought his own coozie (or beer condom or whatever it is that you call that foam thing that goes around a can to keep your drink cold).
Another friend of ours carried around his own insulated 64 oz Big-Gulp mug.
|Because this is what you really need when hiking in the Himalayas.|
The point is, we all carry around things that we don’t need but that bring us that little bit of comfort when we’re away from home. So, what are some things that you can’t travel without? Or if you haven’t traveled yet, what do you think you would absolutely need to take with you?
|It's Teddy, isn't it?|
6 Reasons Why Traveling as a Couple Really Sucks
A while back, I wrote a post explaining why traveling as a couple is a great thing. However, it’s not all roses and rainbows all the time. Sometimes it’s hard. Really hard. I’ve never done this kind of thing alone, so I can’t really say if it’s harder with a partner, but here’s my list of why it really sucks sometimes.
1. Making decisions.
Sometimes making decisions as a couple can be really hard, especially since practically every decision includes the both of you. Where are we going to eat? You’ll have this discussion 2-3 times a day, and believe me, it gets old. Where are we going to stay in this town? This one’s not so hard, because you’ll probably have a budget you have to stick to, but if one of you doesn’t like the place, you may have to keep searching.
Now, making decisions can be hard if you both have the same kind of personality. For example, Ricky and I are both pretty laidback in some things. We usually end up saying “I don’t really care, whatever you want.” Neither of us has a preference as to where or what we eat, or what exactly to do that day, so we usually end up trying to pass the decision making on to the other person.
2. Lack of Alone Time
I don’t care how in love a couple are, or how attached at the hip and perfect for each other they may seem, everyone needs alone time, especially couples. It’s simply not healthy to spend ALL of your time together. However, when traveling, it’s sometimes hard to find alone time. You’re often in a city you don’t know or where it’s not safe to go wandering out alone. Sometimes you have a strict timeline in a city. Say you’re in a city for 3 days with x amount of sights to see. There’s simply no time for separate time, especially if you both want to see everything.
And no matter how much you love your partner, sometimes you just to punch their adorable face if you have to stare at it again over dinner.
3. Different Activity Preferences
This one isn’t so bad, because taking turns is a wonderful thing. Compromise is a bit harder sometimes, but also good to learn. Perhaps one of you prefers sports-type activities, like rock-climbing, kayaking, or hang-gliding. The other hates those things, but digs going to museums and art galleries. It’s a tricky situation, and there’s no easy answer except to talk it out and come to a conclusion that hopefully suits both of you.
We have found those sorts of differences in our preferences as well. I love hiking. I’ve done some wonderful hiking in Hawaii and in the taller mountains of Utah. I love it. Ricky, however, despises it. Hiking is his hell, mostly because he believes anything that can’t be reached by motorbike is not worth seeing and he has an overwhelming disgust for anything with more than four legs.
So we don’t hike. And I miss it a lot. Sometimes I think of all the cool hiking opportunities I’m missing because Ricky doesn’t like bugs.
On the other hand, Ricky would like to go kayaking, but I have a strange fear of quickly moving water that is based around the time I fell out of a raft in some white water, got stuck under a rock, and when I was finally pulled out I was missing a shoe and a lot of blood. So we don’t do kayaking either. In a way, no one wins. And that’s just how it is.
4. Different Energy Levels
I am a very low energy person. After running around all day seeing temples and museums, I need to re-charge by having a little downtime. Ricky, on the other hand is high energy. He likes to get up and go and just keep going, a la Energizer Bunny.
|Ricky always did look good in sunglasses.|
|But I have a cuter smile.|
Some days I can keep up and we get everything done by early evening. Other days I have a hard time and have to take a nap in the early afternoon. This frustrates Ricky sometimes because he doesn’t like to just lie around during the day. Sometimes this becomes a war of time management, because what would traveling with a significant other be without a little violence? (I’m just kidding here…we never resort to physical abuse. The verbal kind does us just fine.)
5. Minor Frustrations
|Eating this will fill me with a murderous rage.|
It is not easy to be in a foreign country, a place where you don’t understand the language or the culture, a place where you don’t like the food, where you can’t sleep, etc. All these little things add up to a growing mound of frustration which you often take out on the person closest to you. When the food is unexpectedly and unbearably spicy and you’re starving you get angry and start snapping at your partner and they wonder what they did wrong. Or tuk-tuk drivers keep shouting at you and you shout back until you’re shouting at everyone, including your travel companion.
This happens often, more often than I would like, on the parts of both me and Ricky. We get so frustrated sometimes that we think we’re frustrated at everyone, which is hurtful to the other person, because really, they didn’t do anything.
6. Dealing with weird habits, routines, and failings brought on by traveling
Whatever about living together, traveling together is a unique situation in which you are forced to see and deal with your partner’s nuanced style of living, which gets even weirder when outside of the “real world.” One of you may be too organized to the point of OCD, and the other not quite organized enough. You stop shaving (face, legs, whatever), and refuse to wash your clothes. Your partner’s once pristine sense of hygiene has fallen into disrepair. You yourself are finding that you can’t leave the room until each pocket has been patted down 3 times each to make sure you have your keys, wallet, iPod, and tissues.
Traveling changes you, and not always for the better. I have gained weight and started losing things (phones, earrings, keys). Luckily Ricky puts up with it, despite his travel-induced anger management issues.
You see, traveling is a weird thing that brings out the best and worst of everybody. And for better or worse, you have someone to share it all with if you decide to travel as a couple. If you think I see traveling as a couple as a negative thing because of this post, please go back and read the first post about the wonders of travelingtogether, because despite all the frustrations, problems, disagreements, and misunderstandings that occur, you have to fight to make it work, and when you do, it’s amazing.
November trip update
Hey readers, it’s time for another trip update to tell you guys exactly what’s up.
So in the last few weeks we’ve visited some amazing sights around Cambodia including the killing fields, S21 (the school turned prison) and Angkor Wat. We decided we wouldn’t bore you to death in a blog about the temples of Angkor . Despite Angkor being an amazing sight to see, we didn’t feel it wouldn’t make a very interesting read so we decided to leave it out.
Since we left Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor we have been on a small beach near Sihanoukville on the south coast of Cambodia and thank god we found it! We were so frustrated and angry with Cambodia that we were ready to leave after just two weeks and then we found this amazing place.
It is a small beach where life is slow and easy and most importantly cheap!
Also very importantly, we have decided to not go to India, and I, personally, am very relieved. Shoving India into our already busy travel plans is just too much right now!
As of right now, as we relax on this beach and unwind until our movement recommences, our plans for the future are as follows:
· Thailand for the Yi Peng festival and the national day.
· Malaysia for Christmas
· Vietnam in the new year for a motorbike tour
· Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore Motorbike tour
· Myanmar for a month
Thereafter we have to recollect and see what else we want to do or what else we can do with our remaining cash, with an luck we will still have time and cash to travel to another country or so!
If ANY of our readers have any suggestions on what to do in any of these places or requests for anything you would like us to do please contact us and let us know. We NEED suggestions and requests on what to do!
Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)
I lay awake in my top bunk unable to sleep. It was midnight in Krakow and I tossed and turned, trying not to scratch at the itches tha...
*Graphic content warning* So far, most of our sightseeing has been quite lighthearted. We’ve seen pandas and monkeys, temples and stat...
I was in the bathroom this morning getting ready to go to the supermarket with Ricky. I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt and some slide-on ...
Yesterday Ricky wrote about the secret tragedy in Laos , about how hundreds of people a year are killed or injured by UXOs dro...
Up in the mountains, all bundled up! Sorry for the long delay, faithful readers! It’s been a wild ride. Well, six wild rides. For si...