Arigatu Mr. Roboto

Yup, that's a volcano.

Finally, Chris’s account of his Japanese adventures from a few weeks before. Buckle up, and beware of the snowboarding stories:

14 hours later and touch down,  g’day Tokyo, niced to meet ya!

Here I am, land of the rising sun, snowboard bag on my shoulder, ready to take down Japan.

Just a couple of Tokyo subway rides, a short walk and I arrive at hotel heaven…  K’s House Hostel in Tokyo is exactly what you want a hostel to be—super clean, super cheap, super friendly and super location (I really stretched my vocab in that description).  Seriously awesome diggs —if you’re ever in need of some great accommodation in Tokyo, I couldn’t recommend it higher!

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She’s done it again

I want to go to there.

I have this one friend (the one who I went to visit in Hawaii), whose life I covet. I mean, I love my life, but she’s really got it down when it comes to traveling. She studied abroad in Europe in college, moved to Hawaii when she graduated and did tons of traveling around there, went to South America last year and now, she’s quit her Hawaiian job and is taking 6 months to travel around Asia, which will culminate in a month-long volunteer job in Vietnam where she will be working at a hospital teaching the PTs there (she’s a physical therapist) about the methods and techniques she’s learned in her years working at the hospital in Hawaii.

Not too shabby!

At our recent meet-up during her week home before she returns to Hawaii before she and her travel buddy jet-set off to Asia, she gave me her (relative) itinerary so that I could pick and chose a place and time to meet up with her, should I feel so inclined (the answer is yes, friends, I do feel so inclined). Here’s what it looks like:

Japan for 1 week
Vietnam for a few days
Cambodia for 1 month
Nepal for a little over a month
India for 1 month
Thailand for 2 weeks
Vietnam again (where she will be volunteering) for her final month

I asked her how her family felt about all her traveling around, especially after having lived in Hawaii for the past little-more-than-2-years. She sort-of laughed. “They’re wondering when I’ll be done,” she said.

I don’t know if one ever feels totally “done” when it comes to traveling, but maybe things just tend to die down in scale? I know recently I’ve felt a travel itch to up and move from Manhattan, take to the road or air or sea, see wherever I land and start new.

I probably won’t do it, though. My friend will. That’s the difference.

So I envy her, but for now, the least I can do is watch and live vicariously through her (and beg her to send me updates of her travels every few days so I can post them here).

Oh, and the other thing I can do is visit. With London and Rome in May and Oktoberfest in September, I’m not so sure how feasible it will be, but my friend promises me that they are traveling on the cheap, and that once I’m there, even if I stay for a week, I can expect to spend not much more than $100.

Really?!

That I could do. I’m thinking Thailand might be the perfect place and time for me to visit her. Plus, there’s no Visa requirement. I’ll have to look into it.

Although she did also leave me with a note of all the shots I’ll need to travel there— Hep A,B and C, tetanus, Malaria and Typhoid. Oh my.

Which place would you hop on in that itinerary?

Bis bald, my friends!

A Japanese Adventure- Before It Even Starts

Well Chris has made it safe and sound to his final Japanese destination—Niseko. His journey wasn’t without its bumps, though. After finding out that he had booked his connecting flight from New Chitose to Niseko on the wrong day (arrive in Tokyo Sunday afternoon, but booked connecting flight for Saturday, rookie mistake), he had to do a bit of reconfiguring.

Anyway, after the mix-up he managed to rejigger the schedule so it looked a little something like this:

Depart JFK, arrive in Naritu
Stay at K’s House Hostel
Depart Haneda, arrive in Niseko Village

Looking at that schedule, and thinking about traveling alone, in a country where the language is not my own, combined with that subway map from my previous post— I gotta say, I don’t know if I could do it on my own. Chris’s ability to travel on his own, such long distances, to such foreign places where he doesn’t even speak the language, it amazes me.

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We’re Almost There!

Let this be a lesson to you ladies and gentlemen, have your ducks in a row before you sit down to plan your trip, or else it will DRIVE YOU CRAZY!

On this Valentines day, as my boyfriend traipses around Japan with his best friend, I’m sitting at my mom’s house planning out my trip to London and Italy with my sister for her graduation. Let me tell you- this is not easy. First, there’s the timing aspect. It has to be after graduation (and possibly after a graduation party to pay for it), but before she starts grad school in the fall. All of these factors combined leaves us with only a short time period to plan the trip, which also, unfortunately, happens to coincide with the most expensive time to travel to Europe- the summer.

After a lot of back-and-forth (will we stay with a friend in London for a few days? Will it be too expensive to book two separate tickets from two separate places? Will a hostel really be that much cheaper than a hotel (that answer might surprise you)). After all of this back-and-forth, I think we have a plan we can get on board with (and, hopefully, afford). It goes a little something like this:

Fly into London, stay with friend for a few nights
Book a cheap(ish) sleeper train that will take us from London to Rome (with a short stop-over in Paris, which I see as a plus, my sister is on the fence about it)
Stay at a cheap(ish) hote that got decent reviews and apparently is in a decent area of Rome to get to sites and such (NOT a hostel, surprisingly. This hotel is actually cheaper than the decent/safe hostels we were looking at, and we get our own room. I guess we’ll have to let you know how it works out when we come back).
Book a couple of day trips around Italy
Fly out of Rome back to NYC

Overall, I think it will work. This is my sister’s first trip like this, certainly her first out of the country, and it’s our first alone together. So, I think it’s safe to say we’re still in the midst of figuring out our ‘travel relationship,’ but we’re coming along quite nicely. And soon, my friends (after we actually book this trip!), we’ll be here:

And here:

So, my friends, until we actually book the flight…bis bald…see you soon!

P.S. Does this intimidate anyone else?!

I mean, I thought the New York City subway map was scary, but this is what Chris had to deal with for his trip from the first airport to his hostel in Tokyo before he boards his second flight to where his friends live. Can’t wait for that update!