Saturday, March 30, 2013


Wahh, my carpels tunnel is getting worse. It all started several years ago when I was working in a restaurant, polishing silverware for hours and hours on end. Now, being a college student where all my notes are taken on the computer, working in a communications office and writing travel hands and wrists are tired of it all!

On the bright side, I might be having an interview with InStyle and (hopefully) Elle Magazine here in Czech Republic. One of my dreams can still be achieved in Europe, in a country that does not have the primary language English. My friend is also doing it and informed me about it, so I jumped on it. I am really really super excited and crossing my fingers...along with next week's meeting with the editor-in-chief of the travel magazine to see where Traveling with Wanderlust will go :)
Excitement for one, excitement for all! Again, fingers crossed!

Look for tomorrow's post on Argentina, South America and a mention at what the following day's post will be.

Travel on wanderlusters!


Laos...I actually have a friend from Laos back in the U.S. I never knew about the country until I met him...embarrassing for a travel fanatic such as myself. Then again, that was loooong ago (not an excuse, I know). Oh, oh, oh! Traveling with Wanderlust is now on Instagram, as of last night! Follow traveling_with_wanderlust for blog updates, new posts and beautiful pictures of the world!
Laos is an Asian country that is surrounded by Vietnam, Burma, Cambodia and Thailand (where I was supposed to be this week, insert crying face here). The official name is "Muang Lao" or "Pathet Lao", which translates to "Lao Country". The capital is Vientiane with the national language being Lao and a population of about 6,288,037 people...that's alotta people! 

The currency is called 'Lao kips'. I was looking at prices and saw that entrance into several tourist destinations were 20,000 jaw dropped and I was like WHAT!? That sounds so much! Then I did a conversion to USD and 20,000 kips was about $2.87. Okay, that's nothing, just all those zeros set me off there for a moment. Imagine how much money you would have a tourist in one week there...hopefully there aren't any muggings or purse snatching. 

Luang Prabang was the capital before Vientiane, it's a small city that is one of Laos' main tourist attractions. The journey between the capital and Luang Prabang reveals some hidden gems of it's own: the Kong Lor caves, rivers in pure nature and isolation and elephants in Shangri Lao. Once in Luang Prabang, some of the popular tourist spots are: Alms ceremony (the monks of the city collect alms of rice at 6:00 AM from kneeling villagers and tourists); Haw Kham (a royal palace turned museum); Phou SI (city's main hill with spectacular views); Mekong sunset walks; Vat Xieng Toung (the oldest monastery) and the Vipassana golden temple (all inclusive with a park!) Also, cooking classes for recipes to make Laos cuisine once you are back home are popular and the Night Market is a must go for tourists looking for a little something to remind them of their trip to Luang Prabang, Laos. 

Outside Luang Prabang, the Tad Sae Waterfalls, Pak Ou Caves, Tad Thong Waterfalls and Nature Trails, Bear Rescue Centre and Kuang Si Falls are popular with tourists. If you spend the day outside the city, one can spend the evening at Laos Red Cross Massage, at one of the several libraries or you can continue to explore the city, not on foot but by a rented motorbike! To rest your head, accommodation is surprisingly it's not your average four or five star place but some do offer free WiFi, free home-cooked meals and livable conditions for anywhere between $2-$20 USD per night. Booking my flight now!

Back to Vientiane...some of the most hyped tourist spots are: the Lao National Museum; Patuxai (the Victory Gate); COPE Visitor Center; The Art of Silk; Kaysone Phomvihane Museum; Lao People's Army History Museum and the Memorial of past president Souphanouvong. Popular temples and stupas include: Wat Si Saket; Hophakaew Museum; Black Stupa; Pha That Luang; Wat Si Muang; Wats Onteu; Inpeng; Mixay and Haisok. 

Buddha Park is also one of the most famous destinations in Vientiane with incredible Buddha and Hindu statues. Now, if you aren't into the whole going places to see things type of vacation, some must to-do's in Vientiane include: a once a month Monk Chat, the Green Discovery Laos, kayaking, zip-lining, nature park explorations, picnics on the Nam Ngum Lake, Lao massages (YES, please!), kickboxing- Laos style, meditation (yes, as well!), tours on bikes and enjoying yourself at one of the two spas: Adina Spa or Champa Spa. 

Calling all foodies out there, the food there is well known for it's taste (delicious!) and how relatively cheap it is. The average meal can run anywhere from 7,000 kip to 60,000+ kips. Accommodation is the same, for cheap, just somewhere to rest your head type of places, you can expect to pay around 25,000 kips a night and for some what more luxurious places, anywhere from 60,000 to 400,000+ kips. When you are enjoying your meal, whether it be at the place you are staying or one of the many restaurants, be aware of the water you are drinking there though, there is water called "water without fishes": meaning the fishes have literally been removed, but nothing else...

Now on to safety, it's always in the back of our minds, a midst all the excitement for seeing a new place and taking it all in. Vientiane is relatively safe, however tourists should keep an eye out for pimps (usually in taxi cabs), the gyms (if you have children, there is no watch staff there by the pools), swimming (picking up parasites can happen), dogs (some have rabies in this area), mosquito-borne diseases (no malaria but dengue is a threat in the rainy seasons especially) and again, the water is not the cleanest around (unless you buy a water bottle, of course). 

There you have it! Laos- Vientiane and Luang Prabang. Are any of you wanderlusters headed there next? I sure wish I was...anything for a vacation...and to an Asia country, a continent I have yet to explore but will very soon!

For tomorrow's post, we will be exploring Argentina in South America! Travel on wanderlusters!

Friday, March 29, 2013


So, now begins the world project on various countries throughout the world, which will eventually cover every country. Some I have been to, some I have not, but I definitely plan on visiting a majority of these. The first country is Seychelles

Beautiful beaches, Creole styled homes, artist studios and French culture, Seychelles is a little known island off the coast of Kenya and northeast of Madagascar. That sounds like wanderlust heaven to me...

The capital is Victoria and there are several languages that are spoken there: French, English and Seselwa Creole French. 

Seychelles consists of many islands- about 115- but the Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles gives a list containing approximately 155. Sweet baby Jesus that's alot...and it seems so small on Google Maps...

There are about 42 'granitic' islands: MahéPraslinSilhouette Island,La DigueCurieuseFeliciteFrégate, Ste-Anne, North, Cerf, Marianne, Grand Sœur, Thérèse, Aride, Conception, Petite Sœur, Cousin, Cousine, Long, Récif, Round (Praslin), Anonyme, Mamelles, Moyenne, Île aux Vaches Marines, L'Islette, Beacon (Île Sèche), Cachée, Cocos, Round (Mahé), L'Ilot Frégate, Booby, Chauve Souris (Mahé), Chauve Souris (Praslin), Île La Fouche, Hodoul, L'Ilot, Rat, Souris, St. Pierre (Praslin), Zavé, Harrison Rocks (Grand Rocher).

On the island of Mahe, the annual temperatures range from about 24 to 30 °C or 75 to 86 °F. The coolest of months are between July and August where the lowest temperature is about 75 °F. The hottest months are between December and April, with high temperatures and generally about 80% humidity...not my cup of tea, I am not a big fan of humidity...

For the ladies and especially the feminists out there, Seychelles is matriarchal, meaning the women dominate the house and make the decisions. It is a societal norm for women to be unwed and fathers of children must support their children (financially).

Many of the residents and visitors claim the island(s) have maintained a French inspired culture and a majority of the population derives a French family name. 

So now for the fun stuff...six things you have to do as a wanderluster in Seychelles as according to the UK DailyMail:
1. Bag your own beach
2. Take a hike
3. Birds of Paradise
4. Victoria's secrets
5. A Cadbury treat
6. Sunset strolling

According to The Travel World, the six things you have to do in Seychelles: 
1. Victoria
2. Island Hopping
3. Botanical Garden in Mahe
4. Shark Bank
5. Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve
6. Kopolia Peak

Now, if those 12 are just not enough...Virtual Tourist offers you not six but TWOHUNDREDTHIRTYSEVEN thing you HAVE to do in Seychelles. Better get started now!

Now for the food...on the island of Mahe, several of the best restaurants are: Al Mare, La Plaine St. Andrews, Pirates Arms Restaurant, Baobab Pizza, Boat House, Chez Plume and Jardin du Roi Spice Garden.

That concludes post #1 of the new project...enjoy and if any of you wanderlusters have traveled to Seychelles, I would love to hear about it! Happy traveling...or reminiscing! 

The next country will be Laos in southern Asia!


I'm thinking of making an Instagram for Traveling with, if I do, I will post about it and use the #travelingwithwanderlust so you wandlusters can find it!

Happy Friday--- Good Friday! and of course, travel on!


One of my favorite trips to date. I had been once before when I was younger but going when you are older really is an experience. My dad's best friend from high-school lives there so we have a fantastic place to stay in Anchorage. Two summers ago, we went to visit for 10 days and in those days we went from Anchorage to a small island cabin to Wasilla to Talkeetna to Denali National Park then back to Anchorage for the last day of our visit.

Since we went in summer that meant that the sun would stay up until midnight. I have never seen anything like that so I was amazed that when we came out of the movie theater at 11:20(pm) that the sun was still shining bright in the sky. Before going on our road trip we spent days just relaxing in Anchorage; going to the mall, getting my nose pierced, drinking amazing coffee, seeing movies, going to the Saturday and Sunday waterfront markets and of course, eating Alaskan salmon.

We started our road trip by driving through the most beautiful regions of Alaska, mountains and lush green everywhere. We then went through Wasilla, the town where Sarah Palin lives, and then to a small island where my dad's best friend had a cabin. We had to take a paddle boat from where the car was parked to the middle of the huuuuge lake since the motor boat was broken...that was an experience all right. The paddle boat was fairly old and only two people could go on at a time, so my sister and I went on one then had to come back and sit on the back hoping it doesn't break, to pick up my dad and his friend. Plus we had suitcases and coolers of food. Not fun. It was a beautiful day but still, makes you grateful for cars, motor boats, etc.

After three relaxing days spent on the island, with just four people, the sunsets, canoes and board games, we got back on track and made our drive to Denali National Park. We stopped in Wasilla again for some lunch and supplies, walked around the gorgeous lake there- where people were bathing- and took some quality pictures. Unfortunately, I could not see Russia...

On our road trip to Denali, we stuck our heads out the window and just enjoyed the fresh air and beautiful mountains surrounding us. The air in Alaska is incredible, to this day I swear that I have not smelled or taken in such fresh and clean air. It's so nice especially if you live in a city like I do now, makes me crave Alaska! Anyways, the drive was several hours long and we drove through some very, very small towns where only about 100 people live. It was interesting to see how town life is in such small regions and I was amazed at how secluded they were. There was maybe one small, gas station sized store in the town and any other bigger stores were almost an hour away. How did these people survive, especially during snow storms in the winter? Boggled my mind. After several hours of driving in the most beautiful areas, we finally got to the camp ground in the middle of Denali. It was about 11:00 PM, so the sun was still shining in the sky, making it a great opportunity for pictures. We met up with two friends and their dog and pitched our tents around their camper. My dad was laughing while he said, "Careful, don't have your toes out of the tent or else the bears are going to come eat them." I remember having a heart-stopping moment at the mention of occurred to me that there WERE bears but I didn't think there would actually be any physically near us..

Another thing that surprised me was how freaking cold it got within seconds the sun finally set. It was pretty warm nice and sunny all day then all the sudden, when the sun was down for about four or five hours, BOOM! Coldness took over. In the tent we wore: leggings, pants, thermal shirts, sweatshirts, North Face jackets, two pairs of socks, a scarf, hat, glove and winter sleeping bags. Granted, I woke up sweating in the morning when the sun was up but during the night it was bloody cold. We stayed in Denali a few days, just relaxing, fishing, hiking and exploring, panning for gold and sitting around the campfire enjoying one another's company. We didn't see any bears but we did see some moose and other critters. The water in the rivers was incredible, you could just drink it with your hands- it was really clean and crisp. When we panned for gold, I was determined to find a massive nugget that was worth millions. It actually happened in that very lake, several times, that someone found decent sized nuggets. I was out of luck that time, but next time...

After Denali, we headed back to civilization in Anchorage and spent our last day or two shopping, going to the Saturday and Sunday markets in downtown Anchorage again, getting my nose pierced and going out to eat some good seafood. When we left, our plane stopped for a layover in Seattle, Washington, another one of my favorite cities in the world. I will do a post on Seattle in the future but at that time, I thought I would be going to college there. If you had told me at that time that I would actually be attending college in Prague, I would've laughed in your face and called you crazy. Amazing how dramatically plans can change, right?

Anyways, Alaska has always been one of my favorite places to go and relax ever since going there for the first time in 2001, 2002? My dad is planning on moving there once my younger sister graduates college so I am really excited to visit whenever I want. I'm trying to convince my family to go up there this summer again but it's unlikely...soon enough though, Alaska, I will be back for you!

Travel on wanderlusters! Tomorrow will start the new project with a post on Seychelles!