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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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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Giving Back: A Look at FLYTE

Flyte
If there is one thing I know, travel isn’t a born right. It is a privilege. And one many around the world don’t have the opportunity to experience.

That’s why I am in love with the new charitable foundation set up by Matt Kepnes of Nomadic Matt — FLYTE (Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education). Over the years, he has become an advocate for many things centered around responsible tourism (such as being outspoken against swimming with the dolphins and riding elephants).

The basic idea of FLYTE this this: the foundation will fund overseas school trips for underserved high school kids. The organization will help fund and organize trips for teachers who want to put real world context into their lesson plans.

I was fortunate when I was in high school to have a very supportive family and when the opportunity came up to perform at the Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, I was able to do so. However, I know that is not the case for many people in the US.

That’s why Matt started FLYTE.

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The House Hunters International experience

Chiang_Mai_Fair_Lady_House_Hunters_International_Experience
If you haven’t been following along lately, I recently filmed an episode for House Hunters International — Chiang Mai Fair Lady — which airs tonight. If you’re new to d travels ’round, welcome! I hope you find this as the place to motivate you to get up, follow your dreams and see the world (or at least live vicariously), and to take a stand and help Asian elephants.

My goal with this site is to share my experiences traveling the world solo, shed light on life as an expat in various places I rest my head, highlight cool and off-the-beaten-path spots that are worth checking out, and promote responsible tourism.

Keep reading to learn more about what it was like to film House Hunters International, as well as for a look at life as an expat in Thailand, my push to make people more responsible tourists, and what’s next for me.

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Questions to ask about volunteer vacations

Questions to ask about volunteer vacations

Editor’s Note: I recently contributed to a book about volunteer vacations and how to be responsible when choosing one. Details are at the end of this post.

I remember when I first booked my volunteer “vacation” to Thailand. My friends thought I was nuts.

“Who takes time off of work to go and work in a foreign country?” they had all asked me when I announced I was spending one week of my 12-day holiday as a volunteer at Elephant Nature Park (ENP).

I’ve never been one to take conventional vacations, so while everyone else questioned what I was doing, it made sense to me. After learning about ENP and Save Elephant Foundation, and the vital role travelers play in keeping both the foundation and the park alive, I felt it was important to go and give back.

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Gifts that give back: The feel good gift guide for travelers

Gift Guide for Travelers
‘Tis the season! This year, I did some research and dug up some of my favorite picks for the traveler in your life (or you!) with this handy gift guide. What makes this one different? This is a travel guide featuring sustainable gifts and ones that give back to local communities and foundations, perfect for the traveler or travel lover in your life. Every gift in this guide has sustainability and giving back in mind, so you can shop and know your money is going to a good cause. From jewelry to accessories, to home goods to travel necessities, this is your feel-good gift guide. Even better, you have a chance to either save money on items in this guide or win a gift for yourself!

Looking to give that perfect gift to a travel-lover and do good at the same time? Here. You. Go.

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Are tourists ruining Venice?

Asking the question are tourists ruining Venice?

In front of me, a sea of people spans in all directions, even as the gray clouds above us threaten to burst.

Deep in the heart of San Marco Square, and what I deem the heart of the touristic center of the main island which makes up the step-back-in-time Venice, the tourists are unavoidable. In fact, here they are more in my face than any other place I have visited (and I am counting the mass of people gaping at Mona Lisa at the Louvre). It is shoulder-to-shoulder packed and puts me into the throes of those tense, pre-anxiety attack moments where all I want to do is throw elbows and make my way from where my packed water taxi has deposited myself along with the other throngs of tourists, through the massive square, and down into the veins of the town where my hotel is.

But, I can’t.

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