Moving Truck Camping Part 1- Shenandoah National Park

Location: Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

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We had a few weeks to spare, so K and I decided to take the scenic route down to our new abode in North Carolina.

Note: we are both pretty minimal, and we like to make each new home its own. When we realized that we could fit everything we owned into a 10’ moving truck–and that such a truck is actually smaller than most RVs–we designed a week-long trip where we could stop and camp at some of the most beautiful sights along the Blue Ridge Mountains! We knew that we wanted to drive down along the Blue Ridge Parkway and also stop in Boone and Blowing Rock (more about that in our next post!). Since the Northernmost tip of the Parkway runs practically straight into Shenandoah, we couldn’t resist spending a few days there.

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China 101- The Most Important Meal of the Day

Location: Jian’ou, Fujian Province, China

I can say with much sincerity that one of the things we miss the most about China is the food and the food culture. Especially breakfast, which I think most Chinese people would agree is the most important meal of the day. One of the most common responses I get to photos from our journey is: “That’s what you guys ate for breakfast!?”

In Jian’ou, breakfast is the time the city hummed with life. Everyone would venture out to one of the hundreds of local breakfast shops to start their day off right (and maybe catch up on a little gossip and get a glimpse of the resident foreigners). More people would routinely eat out for breakfast than lunch or dinner combined. And seriously, what do Chinese people eat for breakfast? If you’re coming to China expecting a piece of toast, bacon, oatmeal, pancakes, or some cereal in the morning you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

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The Dancing Ladies

Location: Jian’ou, Fujian Province, China

When we were living in China, one of the greatest things we noticed were the different forms of exercise. Not having widespread affordable healthcare available to the entire population makes keeping one’s body fit (even into old age!) a huge priority. It was so admirable to see how active elderly people in our community were. They would do play ping pong, pool, or badminton. They would also wake up early to perform Tai Chi sequences on their roofs and climb mountains (often times backwards, as is the tradition in China). They would take advantage of the local terrain whenever possible- living in a mountainous region made it easier- and it was oftentimes a community effort. The best part was, they would always find new ways to make it fun.

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Siem Reap- The Spiritual Place

Location: Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia

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Siem Reap greets you with an assembly line visa service. There’s a line of ten or eleven functionaries. Each of them has a rubber stamp, signature, and necessary paperwork. For just $35, your passport can progress down the line, and you gain entrance to a country that only 20 years ago was life threateningly dangerous to visit. It’s quite the different story today.

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Phuket- Life’s A Beach

Location: Patong; Kr’abi; Pranang Island; and Poda Island, Thailand

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As it is the first day of Autumn, I can think of no more perfect a time to reminisce about a place that I can only describe as a kind of perpetual summer paradise. Phuket, Thailand is a location for a specific type of vacation person. In my experience there are at least two different types: those who enjoy a lot of sightseeing and movement and those who just want a little R&R. K and I were skeptical before venturing to the Thai seacoast because we tend to be in the former group. If there aren’t a lot of things to “do” in a place, why go? We were even more skeptical when we heard a lot of people in hostel describe Phuket as the “Cancun of Thailand” (not to knock those who like Cancun). That is to say- Phuket has a bit of a reputation for being the non-authentic Thailand that caters strictly to tourists, has dirty overcrowded beaches, is filled with overpriced resorts, and swarming with scam-artists keen on taking your money.

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2 Weeks Notice

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So, here’s the part when I tell you all that we only have a month left of living in China! Now, don’t worry. For all you loyal readers we have an epic tour of Southeast Asia starting mid-July, and we plan on documenting our travels right here on the blog. K also has a series of video projects in the works, and we both want to do a retrospective about all the things we’ve learned during our time as expats.

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