The Best (And Worst!) Moments on my Southeast Asia Trip

The Best (And Worst!) Moments on my Southeast Asia Trip

What's it like to travel to seven countries in 4.5 weeks across multiple continents?!

It's tough to sum up such an experience into one sentence.

You see, with travel - especially fast travel like this trip - I was constantly on the move: planning the trip as I went, keeping up with client work when I found internet connections, and trying to maximize my time in each amazing city I visited.

Exhausting and exhilarating could describe what it was like traveling to those places in a month's time.

With that said, this post is going to round up the best (and worst!) moments on my trip to Southeast Asia, New Zealand, and Australia!

"What?! You're sharing the worst moments too? Isn't traveling and the digital nomad lifestyle all cocktails and laptops on the beach?!"

With blogging, videos, and social media, we all choose to show the highlights of our lives.

In this post I'm sharing both sides of the story, as there are always positive and negative things that happen while traveling - just as there are positive and negative things that happen when you're home.

Here are the memories that stand out the most on this trip!

"Lost in New Zealand" Is The Next Travel Video You Need To Watch

"Lost in New Zealand" Is The Next Travel Video You Need To Watch

If you love natural beauty and the great outdoors, then you probably already know that New Zealand is calling your name - it is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

"Lost in New Zealand" is an incredible travel video that captures the essence of this isolated island country in the Pacific Ocean. Follow three friends as they travel the south island for six days.

10 Places To Travel To In 2015


Follow my blog with Bloglovin! hungarian parliament buildin

As 2014 moves to a close it's time to see where 2015's adventures will take us. From medieval Mdina, Malta to the white sands of the Maldives, here are our 10 picks for travel destinations in 2015.

1. Australia and The Great Barrier Reef

To see the world's largest ecosystem, go northeast of Australia for marvelous life and color underwater. Due to Australian government developments to add more ports, there will be some destruction on parts of the Great Barrier Reef. Now's the time more than any to see the reef in its current state.

Also, check out "Vivid Sydney" from May 22 - June 8, 2015, Sydney's annual light festival that sees over 1.4 million people over 18 days.

2. Savannah, USA

savannah georgia

This Georgian coastal town has been getting hype recently, and it's not hard to see why - think American southern charm, gorgeous Spanish moss trees, and plenty of US history.

3. Budapest, Hungary

hungarian parliament buildin

Budapest is an Eastern European gem that deserves more recognition. Seeing the Hungarian Parliament building lit up at night is more than enough reason to head to Hungary (it was constructed with the viewer's eye in mind).

Also read: The Thermal Bath Experience in Budapest

4. Malta

Mdina Malta

Malta is an often overlooked European country as it is a small Mediterranean island off the south coast of Italy. Maltese is the official language, though a majority of the people speak English. Don't let its small size deter you though - there are a number of activities to occupy your time, including diving, a trip to the blue lagoon, or wandering around the streets of Mdina, a medieval walled city.

5. China

beijing china

China's tourism continues to be on the rise, which is no surprise. Try Beijing or Shanghai for a big city feel or Macau for a taste of "The Vegas of the East." For a not-so-typical experience, head to the countryside for a more immersive and rural feel or the islands for a tropical vibe.

6. New Zealand

mount cook, new zealand

For adventure sports and scenery that is beautiful beyond comprehension, add New Zealand to your 2015 travel list. Spend time on the north island for volcanoes, mountains, forests, and beaches or on the south island for hiking, winter sports, and rafting.

7. Maldives

maldives canoe

The Maldives are supposedly offering more budget-friendly opportunities, which is exciting for backpackers who have dreamed of this formerly "luxe only" destination. With turquoise water and white sand, you'll never want to leave this Central Asian paradise.

8. Romania

Cluj Napoca

Spend some time wandering Transylvania this 2015. Picturesque castles, including Bran Castle (Dracula's Castle!) and Peles Castle await, in addition to other things to do, like spending some time on the beaches of the Black Sea Coast.

9. Chile

valdivia, chile

Spanning over 2,600 miles of coastline, Chile offers something for any traveler. If you're looking for mountains, the city, the desert, or even the natural wonders of Patagonia, you'll find it all in Chile.

10. Iceland

GeysirEruption Iceland

Many say that Iceland and New Zealand are similar in a number of ways, due to their remoteness, natural beauty, and opportunity for adventure. For Iceland, however, make sure you try gourmet hot dogs, take a dip in the Blue Lagoon, or go to Gullfoss Waterfall. If you have the time, take a road trip on the "Ring Road," a popular, circular route around the country.

Photos: Wikipedia Commons, Vivid Sydney

Around The World On A Budget


Is traveling expensive? It can be, but it doesn't have to! Instead of getting discouraged immediately after checking the price of flights, start to think outside the box when it comes to planning your next trip. If your dream destination is somewhere warm on a beach, look into Southeast Asia - there are hoards of beaches there. If it's classic European architecture, check out the castles and cathedrals of old-world Eastern Europe. If it's something adventurous or outdoors-y, look into Central or South America. For somewhere totally exotic and different, head to Central Asia.

Below are a few destinations around the world on a budget that will still satisfy your desire to travel that won't drain your bank account. This list can help get you started when thinking about where to go!

Also read: Where To Find Cheap Flights


Southeast Asia: Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, etc.

Countries in Southeast Asia are extremely inexpensive to travel to. This region is often called a "backpacker's paradise" due to being safe, cheap, and with multiple countries that are easy to get to. Get started with a Full Moon party in Thailand, waterfalls in Laos, pristine beaches in Cambodia, delicious fusion food in Singapore, or bright green rice fields in Indonesia.

South Korea

For an Eastern Asian adventure without the Tokyo price tag, head to South Korea. Sing karaoke, eat Korean barbecue, and take trips through the lush countryside to see this stunning country.


Eastern Europe and The Balkans: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegonia, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Romania

This region of Eastern Europe is far cheaper than its western counterpart. While London and Paris are amazing cities, you can find accommodation for days in parts of Eastern Europe that cost the same as one night in the former two. You'll get a more in-depth experience and set foot in parts of Europe that many travelers never get to. The castles and architecture are gorgeous, too!



Istanbul is one of the most interesting cities in Europe, partially due to its influences with both the West and East. It's really cheap, and the farther east you go, the cooler it gets. Hot air ballooning in the Cappadocia region is a popular activity these days, as is taking a cruise along the sparkling Mediterranean Coast.


Greece is a European country that many people assume is outrageously expensive but is far more affordable than you'd think. Read the Greece section on this post for more reasons why.



Morocco tends to be more on the inexpensive side for tourists, especially if you're getting there from Western Europe (in which case, it will seem very inexpensive). Avoid tourist scams to save your money, and enjoy the beauty and exotic flavor of this country.


If you can get to Madagascar, you'll notice that prices are on the lower range for accommodation, transportation, etc. You never know, it could be worth it to see the Avenue of Baobabs in person, where baobab trees reach heights of about 100 feet.

The Americas


Peru has Machu Picchu which is already awesome, but you'll also find jungles and beaches in this South American country. Go to Lima or Cuzco for a city vibe, or head out to Lake Titicaca to marvel at this huge lake that sits over 12,000 feet above sea level.


North America in general can get pretty pricey, but if you want to go to the US, shave down the cost of seeing big cities in different parts of this large country by driving instead of flying. This will significantly cut down your costs and allow you to stop at unexpected spots on the way! Popular routes include:

-Historic Route 66 (California-Arizona-New Mexico-Texas-Oklahoma-Missouri-Illinois)

-Deep South (Louisiana-Mississippi-Alabama-Georgia)

-Pacific Coast Highway (Washington-Oregon-California)

-California to New York


-I-90 (East-West interstate highway along northern states)

-Southwest loop (Los Angeles-San Diego-Phoenix-Grand Canyon-Zion NP-Las Vegas)

Panama If you're craving Central American beaches but aren't digging the idea of Costa Rican prices, go a little further south to Panama. Rainforest, tropical birds, beaches, diving, and surfing are a few of many great things to see and do in Panama.

Oceania & The Pacific

Islands: Fiji, Northern Mariana Islands

Aside from Australia and New Zealand, which are both notorious for being pricey, look into islands in Oceania. Fiji is a great alternative to the Caribbean if you're looking for a beach getaway. Also check out some other islands, such as the Northern Mariana Islands - Saipan is on the US dollar and is relatively inexpensive (read more about Saipan here and here)!

Saipan: Paradise Found (Part 2)

This is the second part of Ian's guest post about Saipan (read part 1 here). Ian moved to Saipan for a year to teach after graduating college. Suicide Cliff Sunset

Of all the places you could go in the Pacific why should you consider the Marianas? What separates it from the other Micronesian islands of Palau, Pohnpei, or Chuuk? Or better yet from Tahiti, Fiji, or Hawaii for that matter? It is not the tourist attractions, the food, or historical landmarks which separates Saipan from the rest of these islands. Although I may be bias in my opinion I truly believe it is the people you will meet and encounter. The collective community of people are genuine and welcoming. If you happen to befriend a local you will most likely be invited to join them in a fiesta. Where you will get the full feel of what it means to be islander. It is about recognizing the people most important to you while also inviting in new faces to share in cultural tradition. The Chamorro and Carolinian people you encounter want you to experience all the island has to offer and that it will leave an impression on you. People here live in moment always taking in opportunities when they present themselves. You will never eat alone, feel alone, or travel alone while you spend time on Saipan.

Beach at Kanoa Resort

Locals are eager to direct you in where you could spend your time. Why Mount Tapochau, the highest point on island, is a must see on the island after you go up north to both banzai and suicide cliff. How early every Easter people take on the cross and carry it up the mountain side along a gravel and coral road. It is the devotion and faith of these people which separates them from the rest. The local people and those who call Saipan there home such as the Filipino and Korean populace believe in and love their island. Saipan is just not some small island to visit and tell stories about. It is an island which you remember in your heart and soul. It has personality and leaves you wanting more. If you choose to stay on the island as a resident you could not possibly go wrong. You will be a local in no-time and will find yourself thinking like an islander and talking like one. Some may be scared off by its immense heat and humidity, but it becomes part of your daily routine. The ocean becomes part of your daily life as you paddle board, swim, dive, and snorkel. It becomes the bounty from which you eat and enjoy fish you will not find anywhere else. The outdoors and constant temperature will win you over no matter how long you decide to stay.

Japanese Gun Emplacements

I urge you to consider Saipan, a seemingly unknown Commonwealth and Paradise under the flag of the United States. Thank you for reading and as they say on island in the Chamorro tongue, "Si Yu’us Ma’ase."

-Ian Mulligan

Saipan: Paradise Found (Part 1)

This is a guest post written by Ian, who moved to Saipan for a year to teach after graduating college. Paradise Sunset

As the sun begins its final ascent on the horizon a beautiful array of colors paint the evening sky. For those on the western side of the island a coveted chance remains to see the optical phenomena of the green flash. Although it is a rarity to see it is not an infrequent occurrence to see daily sunsets which can take your breath away. This alone gives the feeling and impression of finding paradise where it might not be expected.

Merchant Marine Ship Sunset

Known officially as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) this chain of islands sit in relative isolation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It sits 1,500 miles south of Tokyo (Japan) and 1,600 miles east of Manilla (Philippines). In terms of proximity the only land area bigger than the home island of Saipan is the island of Guam, a mere 100 miles away. Still when all is considered these 100 miles seem distant upon a vast and unforgiving ocean. Despite the distances to other islands and nations the island of Saipan offers a plethora of modern amenities and activities.

The landmass of Saipan sits at 12 miles long by 5.6 miles wide and should detour eager travelers from experiencing a unique and welcoming island culture. As an American holding and Commonwealth the primary currency remains the American dollar. Just as the primary spoken language by a majority of the island is English. One does not have to speak any of the multitude of languages on the island to successfully navigate and enjoy themselves. These languages include the various Filipino dialects, the primary being Tagalog, the indigenous languages of Chamorro and Carolinian, and various Asian languages such as Korean, Japanese and Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese). You may also hear the Russian language spoken by a heavy influx of Russian tourists who frequent Saipan. With the large amount of languages spoken it makes community activity all the more enriching.

House of Taga

One such activity where you would hear all of these languages is the Thursday night market just outside the village of Garapan. This Thursday market caters toward the islands vital source of income –tourism. This industry centers around the village of Garapan, the largest urban sprawl on island. Ten to fifteen minutes south of Garapan are the villages of Susupe and Chalan Kanoa which harbors another set of resorts. These resorts are mostly found on the western side of the island. In Garapan the two major resorts are Fiesta and Hyatt which offer some of the best food found on island. It is not uncommon for locals and tourists alike to indulge in the scrumptious buffets offered by both hotels.

Local BBQ

In addition to the buffets the hotels are offer high end restaurants which cater to a variety of cuisines. It is safe to say that if you want to have a good time on Saipan the village of Garapan has the most to offer. The resorts in addition to having excellent food offer some of the best beaches on the island.

Imagine: sitting on the beach sipping your preferred drink as the sun falls beyond on the horizon. The night continues as you eat the best ramen and sushi in the Marianas followed by karoke and dancing. The next morning you enjoy a five-star breakfast buffet before embarking on another day in paradise. You decide to take a small ferry to the small island of Managaha off the coast of Saipan. This popular tourist attraction hosts wide sandy white beaches and some of the best snorkeling in the area. The warm tropical water and abundance of fish is picturesque. After snorkeling you engage in a riveting game of volleyball that ends in a celebratory drinks. As you wait for your boat back to Saipan you take one more time to enjoy the water as you jump off the pier. After changing into evening wear you board another boat bound for a night cruise which features another unforgettable sunset.


If you are a history fanatic the Marianas is a prime destination for learning about and experiencing World War 2 landmarks and museums. Before becoming a United States Commonwealth the Marianas belonged to the Spanish, the Germans and the Japanese. During the 1930s Japan heavily influenced the development of the island which led to the Marianas becoming a strategic location for the Japanese command in the Pacific. As the United States engaged in their island hopping campaign they inevitably came to the Marianas. In one of the more brutal battles of World War 2 the United States was able to secure Saipan. It came at a bloody price which led to the deaths of both Japanese soldiers and locals alike. Throughout the island are memorials which recognize the sacrifices and sad realities of war. The war left tanks, guns and bunkers behind to be admired and marveled at.

If you are feeling adventurous and want to further explore the Marianas I suggest going to the nearby island of Tinian. A ten minute flight in a small passenger aircraft will land you on an island which follows the layout of Manhattan Island. At one point in history the airfields of Tinian were the most active in the world. It is also from this airfield that the Enola Gay the famed or infamous B-29 took off to drop the first of two atomic bombs on Japan. It is a sobering and eerie feeling to be on the ground of a historical event that changed the world. Now if gambling is more your preferred activity Tinian has a casino and hotel for you to stay at if you choose to stay the night.

Check back soon for the second part of Saipan: Paradise Found!