On Phuket: Thailand 2 of 3

This experience feels worlds away even though it was just this past December. 

I want to follow through and still post about it, because I said I would. :) 

I’ll let the photographs do most of the talking, but I do have a few other thoughts to add if you plan to pop down to this side of the world. 

For one thing, we basically knew we wanted beaches and were pretty desperate for them. We booked some of the cheapest options we could find (flights, airbnb) and found ourselves heading to stay one week at the beach everyone says to not go to - Patong Beach

Picture parts of Florida at Spring Break time, but worse! Like nuts. Like kind of disgusting. 

Just not our scene. Brochures of sex shows. Sellers constantly approaching you asking if you want to buy a fancy suit. Asking if you want a massage. Pointing at a menu asking you to come eat at your restaurant. Aggressive marketing. Constant noise. Constant stimulation. People on scooters everywhere, so you really have to pay attention when you are outside to not get creamed. 

A day in or so, we knew we needed out and rented a scooter for the rest of the week and drove to beaches to the north and south of us. THIS made Phuket actually enjoyable. This week was about getting over fears.

Every time we would get on the scooter I would give my husband the same mini speech "The goal is survival, let the other people pass you, we are in no rush, take your time!" and sometimes he'd laughed but I'm sure by the 20th time he grew probably annoyed with it. Luckily he thinks I got use to it, I mostly just prayed the whole time we were zipping through the busy streets and thought about my sister Ivy's quote one time she said as they were on their way to go snowboarding "Well, if we die, know that we died adventuring". 

A few days in, I was no longer terrified on the scooter. It's just like anything. Bravery would begin appearing more and more and fear had no room to reign anymore. 

Side plug for New Zealand - it’s crazy to us what people would pay so much for to get a remote beach, while way more beautiful scenery is simply in ABUNDANCE here. Just our opinion at least :) 

Back to Thailand, basically all I really wanted to achieve in this post is to bring a little awareness to the scary world of sex slavery since Thailand is unfortunately plagued everywhere with this injustice. 

this. 

http://www.magiclanternpictures.org/ - new movie on Netflix highlighting the dangers of today's  'hook-up culture'. Have you seen it yet?

I haven’t seen it yet. I want to. I’m sure it is heavy. I follow the leaders that produced it from this nonprofit organization and am inspired by the battle they are fighting with humility, fervor, and surrender to a living God.

I'll wrap up our Thailand posts with one more about our time in Chiang Mai, in the northern mountainous area. 

On Bangkok: Thailand 1 of 3

Sitting on the airplane wanting to capture a few thoughts while they are fresh. 

When we left Spain I really didn’t know what to expect from Thailand. I tried to mentally prepare by watching youtubes and reading what this guy had to say

In total we spent four weeks in Thailand. We flew into Bangkok from Spain. 1 week in Bangkok. 1 week in Phuket. 2 weeks in Chiang Mai. I don’t think at this point we would have done things any differently. This amount of time worked well for us in each location. 

PRE BANGKOK:

So we actually flew into the Suvarnabhumi Airport, and stayed a couple of nights in an eastern district of Bangkok called Lat Krabang and had an incredible experience with the most delightful man, Yoong is his name, a talented designer of metal interiors and he built his airbnb himself. He picked us up from the airport and had fresh coconuts waiting in our fridge. We were amazed and I began mentally replacing the word 'kindness' with 'Thai-ness'. Yoong even introduced us to his family and they have a little store next door to the airbnb. His grandmother gave us free bananas, more thai-ness. We spent two days exploring the area with Yoong, riding up the canal to his coffee shop at a floating market and more or less rested to let our jet lag pass us. 

BANGKOK:

Yoong brought us to the sky train and we rode our way into the big city.

Bangkok is kind of insane. It’s massive. Chaotic. Buzzing with people, life, traffic, food, shopping, temples, a true cultural melting pot. 

It is certainly worth the experience, but we were super glad to move on to the beaches and islands for some fresh air. Friends said to try everything and eat everything, and that was the best advice. We honestly didn’t do a ton of sight seeing here, because traveling takes it out of you, for us at least it did and we had to rest and breathe and adjust to the new chaos of it all. Dorthy was no longer in Kansas, anymore. 

FOOD:

  • Chinatown: totally touristy and it felt nice to be here because most everyone there is a foreigner. The coconut curry dish was a favorite with a good ole Chang beer. Lots of souvenirs and mango and durian you can buy here. 

  • Big Hug Market outside SIAM Shopping Center: delicious pad thai, mango and coconut fresh fruit shakes, spring rolls, etc. 

  • The Fox Hole: I so enjoyed this cutie little hole-in-the-wall joint - beer, coffee, bakery style foods. Feels good to #supportlocal   

SITES:

  • GRAND PALACE: If you want to experience a place that nearly feels like you’ve left the earth, go here. Brent enjoyed the temple ‘Wat Pho’ more but I opted to paint at a park and didn’t join him, but we were amazed at the temples, ornate designs, and people watching. TIP: you must wear a shirt that covers your shoulders and pants if you go here. I had to buy an elephant top for 100 baht, because I thought a scarf over my sleeveless top would work, Nope ;) 
  • ARTS & CULTURAL CENTER: Free! Neat photography exhibits and lots of cute shops, art galleries, and coffee and tea shops inside here. It also connects to the sky train. 
  • KHAO SAN ROAD: fair warning, this feels like being at a touristy beach in Florida minus the beach part. It’s basically a famous long road with bars, restaurants, cheap massages, t-shirts and goods for sale, you can eat fried bugs here. 
  • LET'S RELAX: massage franchise in the mall, but seriously best 30 minute massage EVER, this company has locations all over Thailand, it’s basically $8 or $9 for an hour massage. I stuck with the back, neck and shoulder massages because the Thai massage scares me a little hehe, and I heard someone refer to it as ‘lazy man’s yoga’, they stretch your limbs out and push hard into your groin area. The perks about Thai massages is they usually begin and end with some sort of tea or snack :) 

TRANSPORTATION:

  • Flying: We used AirAsia the whole time we were in Asia and had a great experience 
  • Driving: Uber and GRAB (app similar to uber) worked great for us here 
  • Sky Train: we rode this just once, and the staff was very kind and helpful 
  • Tuk Tuks: are everywhere and we took part in this just once and were done, haha. Just watch out for these, sadly it’s common for drivers to be connected with a large scams where essentially the tuk tuk drivers are paid by store owners to bring you to buy their goods, we had a long detour and eventually got where we wanted, but use your gps and make sure they take you where you want to go and don't be afraid to hop off and ask one to pull over if you need. 

 

GENERAL TIPS:

BUY A PHONE PLAN >>

In Thailand, we used TRUE and really should have gotten it set up at the airport but Yoong kindly took us to a local shop and we got set up with a thai number and data which we used to get around, translate info, SO HELPFUL! We spent around 750 baht to get 30 day plans for us each with data, aka around $23. ps - you need to make sure your phone is 'unlocked' from your current carrier in order to get a sim card placed in your phone. 

LOCATE A LOCAL GROCERY STORE >> 

It worked really well for us to explore on foot shortly after arriving to learn where we could get last minute food, find groceries, buy water, etc. Tesco Lotus was like a walmart here and our saving grace for buying vitamin C, fresh fruits for breakfast, toilet paper (cause cheap places won’t usually have much or any).

BATHROOM CULTURE  >>

TP isn't compatible with Thai plumbing, so most places will ask you to throw tp in the trashcan. Also in several public places there is simply a roll of tp outside the bathrooms for you to grab your amount before going in the stalls. This took me some time to realize, thus why I’m mentioning it here :) oh and when you see a toilet that doesn't have a flusher, but you see a bucket and a sprayer, you are meant to fill that bucket with water and pour it down the toilet, this momentum allows the flap to open aka a manual flush (also took me a bit here to learn this one). You get strong thighs in Thailand, lots of squatty potties. 

BASIC NEEDS >>

7 elevens are EVERYWHERE, just about every street, this came in handy when I needed to buy a toothbrush, etc. The beer is cheaper here than in a bar. 7 elevens can be priced on the higher side though, and for whatever reason people rave about their grilled cheeses called 'toasties', we stuck to street food.

LEARN THE BASICS ON LANGUAGE >>

It’s humbling to be able to travel just about anywhere in the world as an english speaker because most other people know english. Most Thai know basic english and if not, a few times we used the google translate app to communicate our needs. It goes a long way to learn the basics (thanks youtube) in Thai and a slight bow hands together saying ‘kah-pun-cahp’ means thank you, and ‘sow-wah-dee’ is hello. 

 A LITTLE SURPRISE! >>

If you have the opportunity try to be in the subway at 6pm sometime, a pretty cool experience happens daily. 

Don't hesitate to shoot me a line if I can help answer any questions. 

Thanks for reading, hopefully you found some good nuggets here 

:) j 

 

On Spain

Even though I am sitting at a coffee shop here in Chiang Mai Thailand, I find that being away from certain experiences allows me to see them more clearly - meaning I can just now write about Spain which was 3 weeks of our November. A total gift to our weary traveler souls.

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My brother and sister in law along with their darling 3 year old son, live on the Northern Coast of Spain in a city called Santander. Picture weather like Seattle, with beaches, mountains, conservative people, lots of little dogs, beach bum surfers, terra cotta, basic color scheme white, reds, yellows, potted plants, laundry hanging from the line, Spanish flags waving with pride. 

I read all about ‘hygge’ while we were there and we pretty much lived it out. 

Hygge is this Danish word referring to cozyness of the soul, but you probably already know this because I am now seeing it everywhere. Plastered on pinterest. The intimacy we as humans desire, especially in the winter months. 

Laying low is my jam. A few of my favorite memories I carried away from Spain were watching project runway with my sister, watching Brent work on some video projects (more info coming your way in the Spring), hugging huge redwood trees, talking about white high speed trains with our nephew Piérs, learning from Paul about language and various cultures, experimenting & cooking with their kitchen robot and enjoying Camilla's incredible 'add a drop of orange citrus essential oil' to hot cocoa and have your life changed.  

One of our favorite days involved taking the train about an hour away to a little quaint village called Liérganes. We could not get over the charm. Old cathedrals on top of rolling hills with autumn hues. We meandered about and felt almost like true Spaniards simply walking and enjoying the day at a slow pace and of course filled our hungry bellies with some chocolate churros and cafe con leche (espresso w/ milk) before we headed home. PS - in the photo below Brent is pointing at a yard robot mowing the lawn perfectly, ha! 

Lately, I've been really enjoying following several artists on Instagram and jumped on the 100-day challenge trend. Basically, that means I am trying to paint, draw, or attempt to create in my sketchbook once a day. Of course, it doesn't always happen, because the life of a traveler is fairly unpredictable. I've been inspired by Camilla to use the natural resources of what is surrounding me to create too, here are a few of my creative pieces from my time in Spain... 

Join along the journey on the insta @jordanhaleyart #jojo100days

People and Photography are two of my favs, pair them together and my heart can barely handle it. Another highlight of our time in Cantabria (the region we were in) was meeting this local. I can't even tell you what he said to us. (hindsight: we should have learned more spanish before coming) I was looking for the ladies room in this public park and he directed me there. He had so much pride for Cantabria and when I asked if I could take his photo, he thought I meant him taking a photograph of Brent and I. Humble. Happy. maybe a little intoxicated from some wine, what a joy to meet this sweet soul.

Here are a few more photos of the beauty of Spain... 

I highly recommend a visit to Spain. We've had the opportunity to go twice now, and I am a smitten kitten for this part of the earth. Selfishly I'm most grateful to have family that lives there (Thanks ya'll) PS you should check out the incredible photography from Camilla, my sister in law. I am constantly inspired by her eye and vision. 

One day I'll tackle a post about Thailand. Thanks for reading. 

J

:) 

On Belgium [Travel Update]

To offer some context to our trip to Belgium…

10 years ago I participated in a program called Rotary Youth Exchange 

It was one of the most formative experiences, especially as a young adult leaving my home country solo. Seeds of confidence and cultural understanding were planted deep in my core from that experience and I would highly recommend it to any young person today. 

Brent and I were originally going to meet up with my exchange friend, but sadly those plans did not end up working out because our flight was delayed by 2 days due to bad weather at our layover in Iceland. Wah-Wah. Real life has disappointments. 

Thus we ended up flying into Brussels and stayed two days at the most elegant airbnb. Jean Pierre’s home was nothing short of majestic. That pink fridge tho. Check it out. 

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Full transparency - I feel like my physical stamina is finding a new normal. Aka traveling with a heavy pack on my shoulders has been straight up difficult, but I can feel it getting easier as each day passes. Ya'll I'm going to be buff by Christmas, I know it. My goal is to be able to do 10 push-ups, I'm semi close. 

After Brent and I got settled in, we found a local market picked up some tomatoes, cheese, a baguette and called it an early night. 

Many people ask us ‘How are you able to afford this?’ and the truth is 

  • We are figuring it out and working remotely 
  • We set a budget aside for this trip
  • We make sacrifices (shop at grocery stores instead of going out to eat, choose inexpensive places to stay, will have the opportunity to stay with family, and will probably do workaway)

I’ll dive in deeper in another post and give 'a day in the life, budget post' maybe, hopefully :)

Brent and I are settling into our own methods of how we go about accomplishing something:

Example: We needed to get to the nucleus of Brussels wanted to see the Grand Place

B: looks at a map on his phone and is patient enough to wait for the free wifi to load going through a long login process to get there

J: utilize the knowledge of locals and wait for a kind face then ask in slow enunciated ‘excuse me, can you tell me how to _____________ (fill in the rest with something very specific)

Do our methods surprise you? ;)

It is kind of fun, we usually get to the same conclusion and the information usually helps contribute to a successful answer. That will also be another post, traveling with a partner!

Belgium has been lots of croissants and cappuccino, buzzing of transit, voices speaking a myriad of languages, not the most pleasant of smells - cleaning products, dog poop, trash. Traveling isn't always rainbows and butterflies, BUT we did arrive in Spain yesterday (Sunday) and we feel like we are in heaven. We are graciously staying with family for the next 3 weeks and will share more soon.

Thanks for reading babes! 

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If you have any questions, comments, thoughts, ideas, or want more to further elaborate. You. Just. Let. Me. Know. Keep me posted what topics would be helpful or interesting to read. Your feedback is appreciated, 

Jordan 

Bridge Day 2017

This past week Brent and I were looking forward to camping closer to the New River Gorge near Fayetteville West Virginia. We stopped in the cutest little coffee shop called Top Knot and spoke with the owners who informed us we'd made it just in time for Bridge Day. 

Bridge Day is this annual celebration where over 85,000 people come out to eat food, shop from local vendors, and watch brave souls BASE jump off one of the largest bridges in the world.

Enjoy a little video I made (thanks Brent for a few clips) and wait for the humans that were catapulted off. Apparently you had to have over 100 skydives to do a base jump and then you had to have 50 basejumps to do the catapult. CRAZY. My heart was racing and I was merely a spectator. 

On Leaving...

Is it sad that I think the pretty much the hardest part of this experience is behind us?

Moving is not for the faint of heart, *insert winky face* but seriously, it's hard. Maybe that will be another post. 

Proud of Brent, he basically moved his business and our home. Shoutout to Curtis (who was a huge help!!)

Congratulations to my brother Drew and his new wife Lachan, I am confident no one could make polka dancing look as fun and good as you two. Bless you Lachan for taking on a new 12 letter last name. S-I-E-B-E-N-M-O-R-G-E-N.

Currently: 

Brent and I are sitting in a real hip(ster) coffee shop in Nashville, Barista Parlor is way cute, thanks Rachel Cohen for the recommendation. Although I must admit, Brent was peeved to learn they didn't have drip coffee but he turned into a happy camper after sipping his yum pour over and getting his laptop plugged into an outlet by the window. 

We are in it ya'll. Looking at one another as we cruise down the highway heading East driving through TN slowly realizing we don't have a home, just have one car, will be in America one more month then will fly abroad and figure it out from there.

The feelings are a salty trail mix of sheer joy, slight fear of the unknown, pieces of confidence because we are seasoned humans, and realistic awareness that there is a BIG difference between 'traveling' and 'vacationing'. 

So here's to being travelers for the next 8 months ish. Enjoy photos below. Love-ing this neat mural outside the coffee shop here. 

J

 

Big News from the EuDalys

5/14/16 Jordan and Brent EuDaly, Wedding Day 

5/14/16 Jordan and Brent EuDaly, Wedding Day 

I sit here in a coffee shop pondering (truthfully my bum is getting numb because I have been here for more hours than I actually care to confess...)

Pondering what life will look like for us in just a matter of weeks, months, next year even...

I'm not sure if there is a book out there that is an adequate 'how to' on prepping for leaving your community for a year or so and I'm honestly not sure if I would even want to read it. 

Bittersweet.

That is the word at first I was using when telling friends and family our 'plan' to travel east and camp before jet setting abroad. I was afraid people would be mad or sad, but to my humble surprise - most everyone was incredibly giddy and glad for us. (thanks guys!)

Relief. My anxiety lowered. 

I stood outside Anthropologie as I called my parents and told them the news. My Dad asked "so have you two been planning this for quite some time?" 

I chuckled a little and told him "nope, not at all."

Sometimes the stars just align, God opens a door, the timing just becomes right. However you want to say it - it happens.

There is probably another blog post for the door that opened aka my husband quitting and walking away from the company he has been building for the past 4 years. 

Promise - it's all good. God is good. We are celebrating. 

The night he made this decision, he was sitting at our tall cherry wooden table he built by hand and I was sitting in the next room on our IKEA navy flat couch, he says out loud in a calm tone "I am feeling radical"

something in my belly fluttered a little, knowing deep down our little comfortable lives were about to get. reaaaaal. exciting.

Here we go.