Author: friedlaughter

reflections on responses to the paris terror attacks

i can only hope in a time like this, we stop pointing fingers to compare disasters and how much conversation revolves around each, but we treat each atrocity as its own issue, all deserving of conversation and all deserving of condolences.

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11 Essential Items to Bring to the Amazon Jungle

I just came back from a week long trip to the Amazon Jungle (via Iquitos, Peru)! I’ll go over my itinerary in a later post, but I did everything from jungle trekking, to fishing for piranhas, swimming in the Yapata/Amazon River, to hanging out with the locals and participating in an Ayahuasca ceremony.

Below are 11 items that I think were essentials on my trip, and below that is a more detailed list of items I brought that just made things a bit more comfortable.

‘Stop, Reset, Continue’ — 2015

I’m not usually one to make New Year’s Resolutions, but it’s been a rough 2014, and what better chance to reset than a new year? Yes, it’s almost May, but I’d decided since January that my ultimate goal for the new year will be to follow the mantra, “Stop, Reset, Continue”. Stop: Disconnect — It’s become too easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the day to day, become complacent with the present, and forget that the change should be the only constant we’ll ever know. As a reminder to myself to stop, one of my resolutions for 2015 is to read one book every two weeks. — Reading has always been synonymous to learning for me, and to continue my learning will hopefully mean to continue to change, to challenge myself. Reset: Or reflect. Whichever one is more fitting at the moment. What’s that quote? You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one. I want to remind myself that it’s okay to start …

Anything unrelated to elephants is irrelephant. (Day 2)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard horror stories about elephants/tigers/etc being mistreated in their parks for the enjoyment of tourists and visitors, so aside from looking for an elephant park that had a lot of fun activities, I also made sure to look for one that treated their elephants well. Yes, Baan Chang Elephant Park (tripadvisor) was a bit pricier than other fellow elephant parks, but all their reviews were stellar, and they were very clear in disclosing why they chain their elephants during feeding times and at night (so they don’t fight for food/hurt each other, and so they don’t wander off, possibly hurting themselves). Overall, good vibes all around from Baan Chang Elephant Park. Our guide Chi picked us up from our hostel at 6:15 in the morning. We were exhausted! They also picked up 4 other people on the way, but it was mostly all of us. After an hour of deep slumber in the car, we arrived at the park and were given scrub-like denim outfits to wear. They weren’t …

Cooking in Chiang Mai (Day 1 cont..)

After looking up a ton of places on TripAdvisor, Facebook and just general google searches, I found a pretty swell lookin’ cooking school called Basil Cookery School that not only had a ton of great reviews, but had 7 courses that were part of the cooking menu. We would each also have our own wok/cooking spaces. Sammy picked us all up from our hostel at promptly 3:45pm and then we were on our way to the market to learn more about Thai ingredients, their uses, and to just pick up some ingredients on the way to the school. We also got to try a ton of cool fruits like mangosteens, rambutans, and fresh coconut! (I only tried the mangosteens though, as I’m allergic to everything else.) What I found really cool was how you could buy bundles of herbs/vegetables to make certain soups. Tom Yum Goong (hot and sour soup) uses a certain set of herbs to attain its distinct taste, so the vendors would pre pack those ingredients together so you can just pick …

The Land of a Thousand Smiles — Chiang Mai, Thailand (Day 1)

In the 9 weeks that we’re in India, we’ve received one 4-day weekend off to travel and/or relax and of course, I chose travel (which relaxes me) so it all worked out. I was joined by 5 other co-workers for a jam-packed weekend of culture, delicious foods, wild personalities, and gut-wrenching adventure..literally! We arrived Saturday morning, July 26 to the Chiang Mai airport and immediately went to our hostel, the Green Tulip House, where were we greeted by our super enthusiastic host, Stella. Our day was supposed to be a very casual, laid-back day — starting with a traditional Thai massage, then a trip to up to Wat Doi Suithep, and ending with a 7 course Thai dinner cooking class. My first Thai massage was in Bangkok, January 2013, and I’ve been missing them since! Thai massages are a bit different from other massages, as the masseur or masseuse will use his or her whole body in massaging yours. They’ll massage you with their feet, elbows, forearms, and even knees — sounds bizarre, and it’ll …

10 (Must-Bring) Things to Bring to India

I’ve been in India for about 10 days now, and what I’m realizing there are some things I’m really glad I brought, and some things that I really wish I thought to bring. After all, 10 weeks is a long time to be in India. If I were just backpacking through SE Asia, this would be a different list, but this is for being in one place for a long time. Disclaimer: this is just a personal list! I’m sure it changes for everyone, but if I were to go back and repack, I’d hold this list in very high regard. 1. Purell Hand Sanitizer/Wet Ones + toilet paper! These little nuggets make me feel a lot better being in India, especially on road trips where you have to do your business in an alleyway behind some trash. Even in Bangalore, I’ve found them very useful after handling cash, holding on for dear life on a tuk tuk (rickshaw) or just after using gym equipment — they don’t clean the equipment like they do in …

Two years later and I’m back in Asia!

I know I said I would completely update and I know I haven’t. I can’t promise I’ll get everything up immediately, but what I can promise is that I’ll try. About two years ago, I was gearing up for a 5 month adventure all around Asia, going from China and Korea to all over Southeast Asia. I’ve graduated now, successfully received my Bachelors in Finance and Management with a minor in International Studies, and employed at a pretty reputable consulting/advisory firm. I would have never thought that I’d be back to Asia so soon, but here I am, in Bangalore, India for 10 weeks for training before I start full-time at client sites back in Boston. My hire class all started in Boston on July 7, 2014, and after a week of getting oriented to company culture, we departed on Friday Jul 11, 2014 for India. Although I figured that being abroad in Beijing for so long two years ago would get be super ready for being back abroad and being in a new country …

Cooking Classes

For real this time! I’m back. As I look back on my journal entries, I realize that I’ve skimped out on detailing a lot of the adventures that I had. As I was saying in my previous post, I’m going to take my journal entries and detail them here for you guys, and so in this next post, I’ll be walking down memory lane to September 21, 2012 (backtracking a little, I know). I may not have noticed when I was in Beijing, but things happen really fast! With classes, activities, meeting new friends, you can get caught up in the hurricane of events and not realize how much is going on! My entry about Bambi was on September 25 – but I could have easily written about so many other things that happened so close in proximity as well! So here it is — September 21, 2012 Well, yesterday was quite cool. I had been meaning to take some cooking classes for a while. We have a BC coordinator that was supposed to help …

Reverse Culture Shock

I know, I know! I haven’t updated in forever, but fret not! I have kept a detailed journal outlining my adventures, so I will continue to update and reflect on my experiences by transferring those journal entries onto this blog! I’m actually really hoping that with every update, I’ll get more accustomed to being back in the States. I arrived back in Amurica January 8th, and yet after almost a month, I’m still struggling with my transition back to Western civilization. Therefore, over the next couple of entries detailing my adventures, I hope to make sense of all of my experiences, and in the process put out some really good traveling tips! I’ll be updating the layout and everything! So you’ll get a fresh new blog to follow. Cheers! kimmivo. Here’s a “regram” from instagram of my first moments back in Boston from a long 5 month trip to Asia. I had thai pants on! Didn’t exactly realize how cold it would be.