Part 1: The Beauty of Yakushima Island

Β Trip date: June 24 – July 10, 2016

Part 1 of 3 will cover our first destination in Japan – Yakushima Island. We spent four days here.

Part 1: The Beauty of Yakushima Island

In love with the peaceful vibe here.

Related Posts:

My first time visiting Japan in 2015: What To Do: 3 Days in Tokyo
Destination planning for Japan trip in 2016: Where will we be in Japan?

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Winter in Europe: Advice and Takeaways

Trip dates: December 26 – January 9, 2016/2017

Overview

I feel a little toughened up after spending two, blistering cold weeks of traveling around Europe with 20-30 degrees weather. I guess give it another week, and I’ll be back to involuntarily commenting on how “cold” the weather is, at barely under 60 degrees (*rolls eyes at myself*).

In the process of planning this winter trip to Europe, I did mentally prepare myself to embrace it…thinking of beautiful European architecture or landscape blanketed with snow, colorful lights dancing across narrow, cobblestone streets, and Love Actually moments playing in my head. I was quite looking forward to a winter wonderland! However, truth be told, the weather could still be such a determinant factor in how comfortable you are during the trip. So, I learned to scrap any expectations of a magical, winter Europe trip (although some parts still were!) and to undertake a more spontaneous mindset. πŸ™‚

Our general itinerary consisted of (and in more details below): Iceland β€”> Scotland β€”> France β€”> Germany β€”> Sweden.

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Where to Eat Your Heart Out in Portland

Portland’s Food Scene

It’s blasphemy to admit that, in general, eating good food is not my sole mission in life. I’m only mildly interested in trying out a cool, new restaurant. When it comes to food, I’m the type to eat what sounds/looks good to me at the moment. I also think my tongue is desensitized from eating too much spicy food, so I’m not a fair judge. Don’t get me wrong – I have a pretty adventurous palate, and I love to eat good food. I just don’t go out of my way too often.

Portland struck a different chord. It was the quirky, nerdy, cute boy that made you (or maybe just me) excited to go to school. Portland made me excited to eat. Everything about Portland was Check out this restaurant! Go try the coffee! Drink all the beer! Don’t mind if I do! Even then, I don’t think we explored as much of the food as we wanted since there were only 10(?!) meals you could squeeze into 2 days. We made a valiant effort though. πŸ™‚

One day had amazing weather, while it rained all throughout the next. Fortunately, the rain wasn’t strong enough to kill our buzz. We pushed on to do our exploring just enough so that our bellies could digest. It was the perfect, short getaway weekend.

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How I Make Time to Travel Frequently with a Full-Time Job

It surprises me how much people tell me, “You travel so much!”

To me, it’s not nearly enough. However, I guess I do travel more than the average person.Β Traveling is ingrained in me now, and I can’t get enough. It provides an outlet to explore and learn things outside of my full-time job, which can monopolize so much of my time.

As much as I lose sight of what’s important to me during the desolate times of busy seasons, my desire to travel and to explore has stayed strong, if not grown more urgent. Helps a lot too that my boyfriend (have been calling him N on here) has taken interest, or obsession rather, into the travel hacking world.

The past two years have been sprinkled with trips throughout mine and N’s down time. Within the past year, our trips have increased due to the discovery of travel hacks. Despite that, we have both said that even without the travel perks, we would still spend on traveling because it’s worth it to us. I believe that if traveling is a passion of yours, you can make it happen as long as you plan ahead and take action.

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Where will we be in Japan?

Trip date: June – July 2016

Summary

I can’t contain my excitement for our Japan trip! Months have gone by, which make me both happy and sad, but the day has finally come! I guess time goes by fast when you are busy, busy. I wanted to get a short blog of some sort out into the world because I currently have some free time aboard this flight to J-town [edit: now laying in bed in a hotel in Japan]. Late last night, an idea of doodling on a map of Japan crossed my mind, and voila! See up top for my masterpiece. I just colored in an outlined map actually and drew some dots. πŸ™‚

These will be our destinations for the trip. We’ll be hopping around Japan for 2 weeks, flying into Tokyo then heading south to Yakushima the day after. Then, we will make our way back up to Osaka and Kyoto and wrap up our trip with the summit of Fujisan. πŸ˜€

Everyone has heard of the three main cities we’re going to (Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto) and probably not much about Yakushima because just look at the map – it is way, way out of the way. At first, I was reluctant to go here when my boyfriend suggested it, but after researching the island, I found out that there are tons of outdoorsy stuff to do. Of course, right down my alley. Plus, it’ll be cool to share my experience on a place that hasn’t been too popularized by tourism. Will let you guys know if it’s everything and more!

If you’re curious about what we’ll be up to, see my overview below of what our itinerary looks like and what main sites/activities we’re planning to visit/see. Not everything is set in stone and plans can always change, so there may be some updates. I didn’t contribute much to the logistics planning of this trip…only contributed big ideas of where to go and things to do. As such, Nicholai took care of all the routes/hotels/transportation details hehe. He also Excel-ed the crap out of our trip. Plenty of information to share if interested, and I’ll probably go into more detail, as our trip plays out, with subsequent posts.

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