Travel

The 5 Things You Need to Survive Songkran on Khao San Road

Although this is late and it’s the last day of Songkran, I thought I’d write a list of things I wish I knew last year.

 

1) You are going to get wet. 

Absolutely every stall on Khao San Road celebrates Songkran. No matter where you go someone will dump a bucket of water on you, spray you with a water gun or get you wet by whatever means necessary. Even if you try and dodge buckets of water eventually one will get you – trust me, I tried. We took a break from the celebration and sat at one of the restaurants… a little kid still sprayed us with water. Luckily, the Thai sun is so strong you’ll be dry in no time.

2) Random people will touch your face with chalk.

It took a while to get used to random Thai men caressing my face – especially when I didn’t understand what was going on at first. Don’t worry, they’re harmless and just giving you their blessings.

3) Waterproof absolutely everything

Bring ziplog bags, buy cell phone cases, or just leave it all at home. I brought my passport in an under the pants fanny pack and it got completely soaked. If you’re planning on bringing valuables make sure they’re either waterproof or wrapped away. Stalls all over Khao San Road sell plastic phone cases that look like this:

4) Waterguns and water are available everywhere. 

Don’t worry about not finding a water gun. There are so many available you can bargain and find the cheapest one. Unfortunately I bought mine earlier and found cheaper ones along the way. Stalls also provide buckets of water for your water gun refill needs. Depending on where you get your water gun, sometimes these places will charge a couple of bhats. Try and find a water gun stall that will let you refill for free.

5) Even if you’re not on Khao San Road, you’ll still get wet. 

After we were done celebrating on Khao San Road, we hopped on the (free) public bus and headed back to our hostel. Unfortunately for us we didn’t realize Songkran celebrations occur absolutely everywhere in the city. All dry and with electronics in hand, we continued to get soaked with water until we were in the safety of our hostel. We even got chased by a little boy…

Bonus Tip: 6) Have the best time ever. 

Songkran is a lot of fun and a very unique experience. Not a lot of public spaces will allow you to dump buckets of waters on strangers without apology.

Is this real life? (📹: @jtrian)

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Do you have any Songkran stories? Share below!

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ETCETERA

Giving Back

Let’s face it, our world is fucked up right now. In the wake of the multiple bombings and attacks in the past 7 days alone, I’ve been pretty down about humanity and decided to try and help out the only way I know how right now. As a volunteer for War Child I fully support and believe in its efforts to help children in war-affected countries. I also have a bag of clothes (and random things) I was planning on donating to Value Village (and I’ll probably add more this summer…). See where I’m going with this?

Interested in something? Message me and let me know what you want! There are no prices, please donate what you would like! All of the money will be going to War Child directly. If you would like to donate to War Child but aren’t interested in any item, feel free to let me know and I can add it to my pool, or you can donate here.

The world sucks right now, I’m just trying to make it suck a little less.

Childhood is a pivotal time in our lives. But it is also fragile, and can be easily corrupted by the effects of war. By providing access to education, opportunity and justice, War Child gives children in war-affected communities the chance to reclaim their childhood and break the cycle of poverty and violence.

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If you’re looking for next year’s Halloween costume, here’s your Marty McFly starter kit! *Disclaimer* Flux Capacitor not included.

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Size: SMALL – This sweater is basically brand new, bought it at the sidewalk sale and never really wore it. Bonus: it has pockets!

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Size: MEDIUM – Comfy Forever 21 crop sweater.

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Size: MEDIUM – Nice Gap shirt courtesy of Kelly.

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Size: SMALL/MEDIUM – Nice, flow-y shirt. Disclaimer: The collar has a pink stain on it that would probably come out if I wasn’t too lazy to try.

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Size: MEDIUM/LARGE- I bought this flannel from a thrift store, it’s half shirt, half jacket. Disclaimer: It’s missing one button.

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Not the best of the series, but a nice, easy read. Jen’s book because why do we both need a copy…

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Honestly I haven’t read this and Jen was done with it. The book jacket had a stain on it so she threw it out.

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Travel

Rome

October 23 – 25, 2015

October 23

Our first night in Rome was super memorable. Not only did we get to see 1000s of years of history in one view, but our bus driver Rocco broke the rules, and we caught a private glimpse of Vatican City at night. Dinner was at a restaurant next to the Coliseum, and some of our bus caused a ruckus in the hotel lobby.

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My favourite place in Rome.

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Vatican City at night

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October 24

For some reason I’ve always thought that the Sistine Chapel was also the main church in Vatican City. My ideas and thoughts about Italy were a little warped because of the movie Eurotrip. I was happy to know that some of the facts that I learned from the movie were true, but I was also happy we had the most informative tour guide ever. Learning about Michaelangelo’s struggles to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, paired with an explanation of the paintings, made the experience that much better.

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The Sistine Chapel

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is not supposed to be photographed, however, someone on my tour decided to break the rules a little bit. He was probably one of the few who didn’t get caught and yelled at.

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Vatican City

By the time we were finished with our tour, the line for the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel were SUPER long. A couple people on our tour witnessed a live mugging which made me realize that some people in this world just plain suck. Tourists come from all over the world to see such beautiful sites, and a couple of people ruin it by stealing all of their possessions.

This definitely wasn't built in a day. | #Colosseum #RootsIsCanada #wanDEBlust

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The Coliseum was surprisingly not as busy as I thought it would be, but pretty spectacular to finally see in person. Visiting sights you’ve seen in movies and on tv is a really cool experience – like the fountain from Angels & Demons. It’s also interesting to see in person because you realize that movies most definitely skew reality – there were definitely people crowding the fountain, there’s no way nobody would’ve helped Tom Hanks.

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The Pantheon

October 25

The airport in Rome is super strange. Being Terminal 3, we said our goodbyes to our fellow bus-mates, headed to one of the tiniest terminals I’ve seen, took a shuttle bus, only to be reunited with our friends at the main terminal… I had my last caprese salad and it was already time to board the plane.

The end of a trip is always bittersweet. You’re sad because you have to leave, but you’re also happy to sleep in your own bed again. After a hectic and busy busy trip, I was a little excited to get back to my regular schedule again.

Thank you to all of the amazing people I met, stories I learned and even though I’ve already done so a million times, (I know they’re definitely reading this) thank you to my parents for the amazing experience.

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Florence

October 22 – 23, 2015

 

October 22

As we drove to Florence I wish my camera could’ve captured what my eyes could see. The Tuscan hills, although dark, were still gorgeous from the bus window.

On the bus ride there we watched a documentary explaining the life and creative processes Michaelangelo went through. I never realized that the statue of David was ONE piece of marble, carved straight from the mind of Michaelangelo. Michaelangelo believed each piece of stone, marble, etc. contained a figure that he just had to carve out. He could picture a statue just by looking at his canvas. I can barely draw an arm on a cartoon person…

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We arrived at our Florence hotel and walked right next door to have real Italian pizza for dinner. The restaurant was home to the world’s cheesiest spaghetti and these awesome squares of ice cream (similar to a DQ dilly bar, just rectangular). The first menu we saw didn’t say pizza at all and we were disappointed until we realized there was an entirely separate pizza menu…

All of the hotels and restaurants seem to blend together after a while, I’m glad I managed to capture a picture of what meal we had each day for memory purposes.

October 23

Again, travelling with Trafalgar gave us amazing opportunities. We were one of the first tour groups into the museum, home to David. We had a solid 20 minutes to listen to our Florence tour guide (honestly, I don’t remember her name…) share the details of David with a full view of the statue before the crowds showed up.

The museum housed artwork from students. All of the statues sculpted by these students contained what appeared to be bullet holes – turns out, they were pegs used to hold the statues together. David has absolutely none of these. It’s only until you learn the little details that you really understand why David is so spectacular.

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Michaelangelo’s self portrait.

One of the things I’ll remember most is the anticipation to see David. The museum wasn’t very big, and the tour guide had lots of information and facts to share with us. After the first room, we entered another where David was at the end of the hall. The tour guide made us walk one by one to each statue leading up to David before we could see the masterpiece.

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After the museum and a quick walking tour of the city we were given free time to explore and shop…

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Fake David.

Meet Fake David. This is the place where the original David used to stand. Given its location, the statue was getting ruined and moved inside the museum.

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The bridge at the end of this canal is one of the last standing bridges during the reign of Hitler. Now, home to the more expensive jewellery stands in Florence.

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To be honest my mom and I spent most of the time shopping, looking for sinus medication and eating gelato, and I was too busy to take videos and photos. Similar to Venice, the shops and stalls along the streets were all the same. Leather purses. Scarves. Souvenior shirts. Magnets. I was having what was the beginning of a sinus infection and we stopped by a local pharmacy to find something that would help me. Unlike Switzerland, this pharmacist knew what drug allergies I was talking about. After thorough research we came to the conclusion that her purse was cheaper in Venice and mine was cheaper in Florence… you can’t win them all right? Being in Italy, my mom and I’s goal was to find Prada – it took us a while but we found it only to go into the store for 5 minutes. You know, when in Rome… or I guess in this case, when in Florence.

For snack my mom and I stopped at a cafe and I chose a delcious caprese salad. I like cheese.

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On the way back to our group meeting spot my mom and I got lost (I’ll admit, it was partly my fault. I thought I knew exactly where I was going because I’m usually really good at directions…).

And just like that, it was time to leave for the last city… Rome.

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Venice

October 21-22, 2015

 

October 21

The coolest part about the day was waking up to the Swiss Alps at sunrise and being on a gondola around sunset.

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The ride to Italy was way shorter than our Paris-Switzerland adventure. As usual we stopped at truck stops and gas stations along the way and I had my very first taste of real Italian pasta. Again, Brendon had an interesting way of describing the Italian restaurant process and the best way to order. I think his stories and descriptions were the funniest part of the trip.

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After heading on a water taxi to the main area in Venice, the first thing Ginnie and I did was get gelato (obviously). My backpack is in front of me because we were warned of pickpockets. It’s a shame that such a beautiful place that attracts thousands of tourists lead to such crime.

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After a quick tour of the Piazza San Marco, it was time for our lovely gondola ride. My co-worker described it the best. Gondolas are supposed to be one of the most romantic things in the world. Sitting next to your loved ones, kissing under every bridge, with men serenading you with their beautiful voices. Except everyone forgets to mention the smell of the water.

Ciao Venice 🇮🇹 | #Venice #RootsIsCanada #wanDEBlust

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Regardless of the water, the gondola ride was the best way to view Venice. Navigating through the Grand Canal, we had views of Venice just as the sun was going down.

My favourite food in the entire world is spaghetti and on this specific night, I finally got to taste it true Italian style.

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October 22

The cool thing about Venice is that the only real form of transportation is boat. It was like a whole other world and experience for me. The thing about the streets of Venice is that they’re very tricky. But it doesn’t matter where you turn because you’ll run into either a gelato shop, leather store, Murano glass store or souvenir shop. I myself contributed to the economy of Venice in the form of two leather purses…

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If you ever have the chance to tour Burano Island, do it. Burano is more beautiful than Venice. With its brightly coloured houses, Burano Island is a lot less crowded than Venice itself. The tour was not included in our package but it was most definitely worth it.

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Anybody who knows me knows that I am not a big eater – so when I sat down for a 7-course meal I was physically in pain. The food was delicious but I LITERALLY couldn’t eat fast enough. The first course was so delicious I kept eating and soon regret it… As I was putting dressing on my salad the waiter was trying to shove calamari down my throat. It was probably the funniest dining experience ever. The walls were covered with decorations, absolutely plastered with them, Brendon taught us all how to “properly” finish our mini bottles of amaretto (as seen in the video) and I’ve never eaten so much food in my life before. I also had my first Italian pizza!

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After we said goodbye to Burano we headed to Florence for the world’s most cheesiest spaghetti and the home of naked David…

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New Year’s Eve is just another day.

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There are so many expectations for New Year’s Eve. As the clock strikes midnight it’s like all of life’s problems are supposed to magically disappear…

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But they won’t. Because you’ll wake up the next morning (perhaps with a hangover) and it’ll be just another day…

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I’m not saying don’t plan anything, don’t enjoy your night, stay home and be miserable…

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Just remember that how you spend New Year’s Eve doesn’t determine how your year will go…

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If your night doesn’t go as planned don’t be disappointed.

Everyone’s chasing a good time and it’s always a disappointment. I plan on doing nothing and then if something lands in my lap…but I always end up drunk and disappointed. – Jennifer Lawrence

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Don’t lay all of your hopes and dreams on one night of the year.

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Some of the best nights and memories are the ones that are unplanned and spontaneous…

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Don’t expect things… just enjoy whatever you’re doing and try and have some fun…

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So if you don’t get to the bar on time, the perfect outfit, or your midnight kiss just remember…

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It’ll be okay ♥

This may sound super cynical and bitter but all I’m saying is don’t place so many expectations on one night of the year. I’ve had so many thoughts, dreams and hopes for New Year’s Eve in the past when really one of my best nights consisted of me watching half of the Lord of the Ring trilogy in my friend’s basement and passing out at 12:20… So please, if you’re going downtown or having a house party have fun. Have fun while you’re waiting for that cab to show up, cleaning up drinks off your floor or clinking glasses with your parents at midnight. Enjoy your night and Happy New Year friends. Here’s to 2016 and hoping that this’ll be the year someone invents the flux capacitor…

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2015.

I struggled real hard to find the right words to say to recap one of the most adventurous years I’ve had. Yet every time I wrote a sentence, re-organized it, tried to pick the perfect pictures, captions, etc. nothing seemed to do it justice. There are so many things I would like to say and write about this year, some that I’ve already written about, so excuse the word vomit you are about to read.

I’m a 23 year old who loves her job (so far anyway *insert wink face here*). I travelled to 7 countries this year. I started my year in Malaysia and went back there again. I had the extreme pleasure of travelling to Thailand with two of my best friends. I fell in love with the mountains in Alberta. My parents took me on the European trip of a lifetime. I saw the Bills beat the Dolphins in Buffalo. I attended more concerts than I can count and even secured a job that pays me to run them. I met my favourite band and I discovered so many more. I had my heart broken. I finally learned how to use eyeshadow. I moved in with my best friend and we got matching tattoos. I lived my grade 7 dream of living with Jen and Kelly (even if it was for just one night). I took Uber for the first time. I made it to the aquarium downtown. I finally started volunteering with War Child. I made friends and I lost friends. I threw Debchella 2k15 (yes, that’s what we’re calling it…). I FINALLY saw (and will be old enough to remember) the Toronto Blue Jays making the playoffs. I checked numerous things off my bucket list including: attend an NFL game; attend a Toronto Maple Leafs game; meet Taking Back Sunday (in it’s entirety); and play an open mic night. I severely scraped up my knee…

The list is endless.

I learned many things about myself, life and relationships. I’ve learned that you can’t make someone love you if they don’t. I’ve learned not to chase people. The people who want to stay in your life will always find a way. I’ve learned I have the best friends in the world who always have my back and I’ve learned that I have the best parents in the world. This year I learned that you have to spend as much time with your loved ones when possible. I chose to travel to Malaysia instead of Cambodia to visit my relatives and I do not regret it for a single second. I had the amazing opportunity to spend one last trip with aunt who recently lost her battle with cancer.

I also caught a major travel bug.

So thank you – if you’ve shaped my year in any way, good or bad, thank you for the part you played in this adventurous year. Even though I didn’t get to see a flux capacitor this year it was still spectacular.

Here’s to the year that lies ahead.

“Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one.”

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Peace out 2015, it’s been a slice.

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