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Leap into more travel

29 Feb

I need your help…today…on leap day!

I try not to ask for help to often. In fact I often don’t ask when I need it. So much so that I’ve just picked up Amanda Palmer’s book the Art of Asking. It’s really good so far. But I digress, I need your help.

I’d love to get that somewhat-still-coveted “best seller” tag on my new Kindle book. How? I need a bunch of people to buy my book all in one day or around the same time. If you or anyone you know could buy my book today that would be amazing! If you want to see the event I’m hosting it’s on Facebook.

If you know someone that wants to learn more about travel or wants to travel more please share this event with them. My book will help! If you don’t believe me you can read what other people had to say in the reviews section.

Let’s leap into some amazing spring break adventures or maybe plan something for summer or plan your next four years.

I’ll be on Blab at this time with the lovely Soness Stevens if you want to check it out. We’ll be talking all things travel…of course.

Thanks so much for your support. I couldn’t do it without you and I wouldn’t want to. I love my community.

Adventures

P.S. If you haven’t followed me on my other blog your missing the new stuff. I post more regularly over on my main site.

Smiling Helps

28 Feb

I reached out to some amazing women in my life and asked them to share some travel stories or tips for my readers. Here’s the first one. It’s about smiling. I hope you enjoy it!

There’s also a fun event at the bottom that I’d love your help with…tomorrow!

Smiling Helps

Our family spent the last three months in Southeast Asia and North Africa. Many of those times we found ourselves to be the only Caucasians in the area. We grew accustomed to the stares, head turns, and people stopping to watch us. As much as we tried to blend in, we didn’t. We figured out a way to break the barrier and help the situation to not be so awkward. Our solution – we smiled at everyone we made eye contact with.

What we discovered is that as we made eye contact and smiled, nine times out of ten we got a smile back and sometimes even a laugh or a giggle.

Smiling seems to be the best way we have found to break down the barriers and open the doors to meeting new people. Sometimes smiling at someone catches them off guard and they don’t quite know what to do, so they either quickly look away or instinctively smile back. Smiles do not require translation; everyone recognizes a smile.

I admit it was sometimes difficult to give a genuine smile. After all, it feels awkward to be stared at, but smiling put us at ease, too.

Many people are amazed at the experiences we have had on this trip. Often, the doors to those opportunities were opened with a simple, genuine smile.

Try smiling at people more and see what happens. Make eye contact and give a smile.

This is an excerpt from Smiling Helps (read the entire post) written by Jody Temple White while on a nine-month low-budget, high-adventure trip around the world with her family.  This uncharted trip took Jody, John (her husband), Riley (son, 16) and Allison (daughter, 11) to 24 countries and they participated in over 26 service projects ranging from animal and wildlife rescue, beach clean-ups, teaching English, holding orphaned babies, helping at after school camps and programs and eco-friendly gardening. The Courage Vibe is a family adventure company providing resources, tools and opportunities for families to live brave, give big and have fun.  To learn more about their story, visit TheCourageVibe.


I talk a little about this in my book Women with Wanderlust. You should check it out. It’s chalked full of tips like the following excerpt:

Myth: I need to know the language

One of the biggest excuses I hear about travel to foreign countries is, “I don’t speak the language”. Well the good news is that you don’t have to know it all to go there. How about picking up a few key phrases before you go or taking a phrase book with you? Get a small book that you can carry in your day bag or download some notes to your smart phone. I know there’s an app for that! How about some mp3s or CDs you can listen to for pronunciation?

If you want to know more than just a couple key phrases, there are programs to learn another language in three months! Really? Yes, it’s true! These courses are designed for everyone and they work.

If you just cannot learn anything before you go, English is the language spoken almost everywhere in the world. If all else fails, smile and try your best, that’s all you can really do. Also, don’t be above charades, drawing pictures, or saying every word you can think of for that one word that you need them to understand. Trust me, I’ve done all of those things!

A smile means the same thing in every language

If you or someone you know could use more travel in their life be sure to check out my book. I want to inspire everyone I can to travel more. We need more #romaingwomen

Leap into travel on Leap Day!

You want to travel more. You know folks that want to travel more… Spare me a cup of “coffee” on Leap Day? Tomorrow! It’s $3 and I give you all my travel wisdom! Share it with your friends and family that could use the gift of travel.

Join the leap day fun!

If you don’t believe how awesome the book is for just $3, you can read the reviews 🙂

Cheers to spring leaps!

Up in the air with Roux

14 Feb

Here’s a fun travel Q&A from my time in the air:

Favorite flight — Right now I’m pretty in love with Thai Airways and their lay flat beds. The food and service is amazing as well. We recently flew them from Narita, Japan to Bangkok, Thailand to Melbourne, Australia.

Favorite airline — I love Thai Airways and Lufthansa. I haven’t flown every airline and this answer can change with just one flight. I’m sure if I fly Etihad it will be my new favorite or how about Virgin Atlantic. Swoon!

Favorite city — It’s hard to pick a favorite city because they all have their charms. My home base is in Portland Oregon so I’m pretty sure that’s my favorite place in the world. I grew up in the state and can’t see being away from it for too long. The beauty just always pulls me back. Some of my favorite cities that I’ve traveled to are Siem Reap, Cork, Madrid and Gent.

Best airplane food — I love the food on Thai Airways or almost any Asian carrier.

Favorite airline experience — A fun story I have is on an Asiana Airlines flight and I asked for some vodka and orange juice. They were on meal service so they asked me to wait a few minutes. She came back about 10-15 minutes later and apologized for the delay and asked if I wanted that mixed or separate. I said, “whatever is easiest for you”. She came back a couple minutes later with an almost full cup of orange juice and an almost full cup of vodka. I looked at my friend and said, “I think I’m going to need some more orange juice”. We both started laughing.

Most expensive flight — The most expensive flight I ever paid for was going to Frankfurt, Germany from Portland, OR USA. It was just over $1,000, roundtrip. The most expensive flight I didn’t “pay” for was a more complex itinerary to SE Asia.

Biggest misconception that people have about flying — you need a lot of money to fly all over the world. I talk a lot about this in my new book, Women with Wanderlust.

What airlines should bring back — So many things but I think my top choice would be real food. If you’re going to make me buy it anyway, why not let me buy something that’s not overly processed? This isn’t the case on all airlines or if you are in business or first. But I think there should be a focus on good, healthy food.

Most unexpected destination — I have a few: Laos, Taiwan, Slovenia and Lesotho. All locations are less touristy, cheaper than the mainstream areas and stunningly beautiful.

I try to fly like Bond, don’t you?

An excerpt from my book, Women with Wanderlust: A Guide to Roaming

If you don’t know where you want to go and are open to ideas you should start asking around. Ask people where their favorite places are. Ask them where they would go if they could pick anywhere to travel. You should also think about your vacation style or how you want to travel.

What do you like to do on a trip? Do you like to stick to only one city or country? Do you like developing countries or only developed ones? Do you like to explore? What modes of transportation do you like to use to explore? Do you like hiking or mountains? Do you like to read by the pool or at the beach? Are there any festivals that you want to attend? Is there a time of year that works best for you to travel? Do you like cold or hot? Do you like the city or the country? Are you opposed to any locations or have places you’ve already crossed off your list?

Are you a luxury traveler or backpacker or somewhere in the middle? Do you like hostels, nice hotels, B&Bs or couchsurfing? It’s time to decide your travel style.

Any favorites you’d like to share with me, feel free to leave a comment. I love hearing other tips, tricks and stories or other must see destinations.

Want weekly updates on my blog check out my new site www.rouxroamer.com and subscribe.

Off the tourist path

31 Jan

Check out this podcast interview I just did on Thelma & Louise. I talk about the book and how to travel cheaply. I talk about Cambodia and Taiwan and how I recommend getting off the beaten path to find some hidden gems. It’s short. You can listen to it while going on a walk or doing the dishes.

Thelma & Louise help you connect with travel buddies and plan your perfect trip. I also talk about those things in my book. Here’s an excerpt from Women with Wanderlust, now shipping direct to your Kindle!

Staying with locals in unfamiliar places

What’s a good way to save money on vacation and really immerse yourself as a local? Don’t stay in a hotel in the tourist areas. I know we’ve talked about a lot of options including Airbnb, VRBO, B&B’s, WWOOF, hostels or Couchsurfing. If you want to live like a local, then stay like one. I know it may seem scary to stay in someone else’s space or to stay with someone you don’t know but it can also be an incredible experience. Maybe you’ll cook together or they’ll show you around town. To me it’s worth the risk to save some money and have a richer experience. I love living like a local. I love experiencing the city from my host’s vantage point. You get to see beyond the things in the guidebooks.

Buy the book if you like what you just read…or share it with a friend that you think could use it.

LeaveATrail

Women with Wanderlust

24 Jan

Proven travel strategies for less than the price of a green smoothie.

What’s that all about?! Well I just launched my travel book! All my travel knowledge wrapped up in a nice little book.

I’ve always been a little bit different especially in my travel strategies as you know from reading my blog. While some spend their hard earned money on lattes I’m always saving for my next adventure. With travel hacking I’ve traveled cheaply which has enabled me to go further than I ever dreamed. I would never have been able to take that dream safari last January without my insatiable will and thousands of miles. Over time I’ve honed my travel strategy to rack up the points and maximize my award bookings to travel to more places faster.

Travel makes us better and smarter, it shouldn’t just be the rich that get to do it. Everyone should be able to travel and live the life of their dreams. One of the last things my mother said to me before she passed, was “go, live your dreams, don’t wait.” The future is impossible to predict so it’s important to not wait to fulfill your dreams and goals. If travel is your dream, then figure out how to do it sooner rather than later!

If you haven’t learned everything you need to know about how to travel more or travel outside the U.S. I’d love for you to buy my book and leave me a review on Amazon. Reviews are the best gift you can give me…especially in the first few days after the launch.

If you pre-order now you also get my “20 Tips to Better Photos” guide. Woohoo! Just contact me with your receipt.

Share this with anyone you know that wants to travel more and doesn’t know where to start. I want to start a movement of more #roamingwomen

If not now

As always, you can follow my adventures on Instagram and Twitter @rouxroamer

Read more stories or see photography at rouxroamer.com

Tokyo temples, treats and trains

27 Dec

The third and final country on our recent trip…Japan

I finally made it to Japan! This place has been on my bucket list for awhile. Although the item that is on my bucket list has not been crossed off. I’d love to make it here for the cherry blossom festival. Seeing all those pink trees raining pink petals would be a dream come true. But for now, I saw the misty temples near Tokyo and ate many great treats.

This time around we only had three days in Japan. It’s a good think they have some speedy trains. The first thing on our list was to see our friends. Next, we were told we had to see the scramble and Harajuku Street in Tokyo. We knew we had to eat some sushi, ramen and pocky. All those treats that Japan is known for, and some we just found out about like rice waffles and Kippy’s coconut ice cream.

We stumbled upon the cutest place to get sushi in Tokyo. It was small and non-smoking. They guys were making the sushi right in front of us and there was only about 20 people that could fit in the restaurant at one time. It was fantastic! I only wish I could give you directions to get back here. I just know it’s on one of the streets headed away from the scramble.

Sushi Line

We also got to see some really cool temples in the mist and rain. It was a very peaceful experience. We even got to ride in the infamous streetcar on the Enoshima railway line. We wandered the cute streets in Kamakura and Enoshima. It was so much fun with our friends. I’m so happy we made this part of our trip.

Buddha and Umbrellas

Some words of caution when visiting Japan.

Bring cash to exchange or cards with chips in them. Most places don’t accept cards but when they do, you need a chip in it. This included the ATM machines and the airport. Cash is almost a must if you want to leave the airport. Trains, cabs and buses want you to pay cash.

You aren’t allowed to smoke outside so most places allow smoking inside including restaurants. If you’re lucky you can find some places that are non-smoking.

Taiwan, Asia’s best kept secret

13 Dec

I think Taiwan should be on your bucket list and here’s why:

Hualien Coast

Is that not enough reason to go? I mean, seriously, is this Taiwan’s best kept secret? I had no idea it looked like this. No one ever told me. It’s not one of those popular destinations that people talk about having fantastic turquoise water. Anyone I’ve shown the picture to hasn’t responded like they knew that it existed in Taiwan either. Crazy! I spent a week in Taiwan and all of it was fantastic, not just this one view.

We spent a few days in Tainan City at an apartment. We wandered the streets, ate some delicious food and drank a lot of bubble tea. We tried to find the night markets and were successful on one attempt. There were tons of temples to see and check out. I discovered an amazing coffee shop to work at, Donutes, just up the street from where we were staying. It’s open 24 hours, they have great coffee, amazing cakes and good wifi. What a treat!

After a few days in Tainan City we decided we wanted to explore more of the island and get back to some nature. Once I found some information on the Taroko Gorge I was intent on checking out the east side. I love nature, hiking and visiting waterfalls. We booked a train to Hualien.

Once we were in Hualien we rented a scooter and high tailed it to the gorge. We spent a few hours driving up to the top and checking out all the viewpoints. We hiked a bit and took a ton of photos. The clouds were amazing as they wrapped around the mountains. Like Oregon, we also found a ton of waterfalls coming down the mountains. The clouds were getting lower and darker and it looked like we could get some rain. We started on our way back home. We didn’t make it very far before the downpour started. We were drenched and we had miles to go. It finally let up and we started drying out. However that didn’t last long before another downpour started that was worse than the first. I now understand why it’s so green on that side of the island.

We stayed the night at this amazing hostel. One of the nicest I have ever stayed in. I’d highly recommend Wow Hostel. They aren’t just in Hualien either.

Wow Hostel

Before we headed out of the area we drove the scooter up the coast and that is when we saw the cliffs with the amazing blue water. It was a wonderful drive and there was only sunshine on our backs.

From Hualien we rode the train up to Taipei and stayed one night in the amazing Éclat Hotel (pictured below, center). We were right on the train and bus lines but we were close enough to walk to the night market, Taipei 101 Tower and Elephant park. We stumbled on a photography course in the exact location that we wanted to take photos. It was a our lucky night to learn some new tips and tricks for night photography! We also found an awesome speakeasy tucked behind a wall in a coffee shop. The manager was even from Portland, OR. Talk about a taste of home with those amazing cocktails.

We really enjoyed our time in Taipei. We also enjoyed taking the high speed rail back to Kaohsiung City. I wish we had high speed rail in the U.S..

If I had more time in the Taipei area I would have loved to get to the Yangmingshan National Park. I would have also loved to travel East and see the sunrise on the coast near the Gold Museum. There’s also some more waterfalls to explore.

TaipeiTowerPanoSM