There's more to Las Vegas than The Strip. Looking for day trips from Sin City? Here's five day trips to enjoy from Las Vegas.

On a Normal Life

Water is cascading down from the ceramic-tiled roof of my apartment. Under the gray summer sky, even the terracotta orange of the tiles are muted. And the rain, with its plump droplets and thunking onto the sand-colored stones below my window, has a whirr about it. A gentle humming that hums along with my heart. Which has been racing a lot lately. Racing overtime.

Yesterday marked six years since I arrived in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Six years since that first definition, that first identity of myself (aside from travel blogger and publicist) which defined me.

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A look at the stunning Sarinbuana Eco Lodge in Bali, a sustainable lodge featuring private bungalows in the heart of the island.

Finding Serenity at Sarinbuana Eco Lodge

Calm. The moment I arrive to Sarinbuana Eco Lodge and walk down the narrow path surrounded by lush jungle vegetation, a good two hours from crowded roads, I feel it. It’s everywhere as I walk towards the main part of the grounds, in the soaked pathway, in the droplets clinging to the leaves, in the thick, humid air.

A look at the stunning Sarinbuana Eco Lodge in Bali, a sustainable lodge featuring private bungalows in the heart of the island.

The tension I’ve been housing in my body for months (despite indulging in massages nearly every day in Thailand for two weeks prior) leaves my body. Apparently, I need this calm and respite more than I know.

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A look at Away Chiang Mai Thapae Gate vegetarian resort in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Away Chiang Mai Thapae Resort

A look at Away Chiang Mai Thapae Gate vegetarian resort in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

 

There’s a calm as soon as you walk through the white archway of Away Chiang Mai Thapae Resort. Off of the party street (and feeling an entire world away) sits the new vegetarian resort. For me, after spending two weeks living off of a bustling road, the resort tucked into a quiet, winding soi is a peaceful haven complete with bubbling water feature and jungle bird song.

Offering 39 rooms ranging in size, this property is one of the city’s only vegetarian property boasting an organic, booze-free restaurant — Moreganic — inline with the owners who are Hindu. All white with blue art highlighting local attractions like wats, the colonial Lana buildings are a stark contrast to the wood and colored buildings which are the norm in the city. Here, bright and tranquility are the themes and it’s apparent every well-thought out step you take.

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A reflection of life two years at home after traveling and living abroad.

Two Years of Home

A reflection of life two years at home after traveling and living abroad.

December 15, 2015.

I remind myself regularly of this date. When I’m up at night, my brain whirrs as I count the days, weeks, months and now years since I turned my back on expat life.

It seems like no time has passed at all, and yet all the time in the world has passed.

December 15, 2015.

It hovers over me at times, gently bringing back memories.

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Midnight in the Garden of Good

Midnight

There’s a cacophony of crickets, frogs and dogs barking that wake me before my friend, Jodi, does.

Laying on the bamboo floor in her hut constructed of the same at Elephant Nature Park, I am still. Present in the total darkness as the world softly whispers outside the slats in her walls.

Her soft footfalls come from the bedroom and into the main room where I am splayed out, tucked under some thick blanket a top a Thai mat typical of what people sleep on.

She approaches me, and in a hushed voice so as not to wake her son in the other room, or the two dogs and cat somewhere nearby, she asks if I’m awake.

“Yeah,” I whisper back, slowly peeling back the blanket from my body and standing up. The floor creaks softly the way woven bamboo does when walked upon. It’s a sound I haven’t heard for months. Since I left the park in December 2014 to start one of many new chapters in my life.

“Follow me,” she instructs, opening her front door.

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Planning a trip to Krabi, Thailand? Add kayaking to your list!

Getting Prehistoric in Krabi

Planning a trip to Krabi, Thailand? Add kayaking to your list!
Editor’s Note: I was a guest of Tourism Authority of Thailand during my time in Krabi.

My paddle dips into the glassy green water of Bor Thor, and the shrimp start dancing.

Hundreds of tiny creatures pop out of the water, hop across it like rocks skipping, and then dive back down into its depths.

“We’re almost there,” our guide, Man, who also graciously volunteered to steer my kayak, informs us.

Our three fire-engine-red kayaks skirt around a small turn and into a mangrove forest and then we see it: a half-moon emerging from the water and moving upward into a towering karst shrouded in palm trees and other jungle foliage.

We’re kayaking in Krabi — something I honestly never thought I’d do. Mostly because, let’s be real, I’m not so skilled at kayak navigation.

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