Stories of Kindness: Mangoes in Uttaradit

 Stories of kindness from around the world - Mangos in UttaraditUttaradit is a province dropped halfway between Bangkok and Chiang Mai in Thailand. It’s probably visited more by lost backpackers who got off at the wrong train stop, as many locals assumed we did, than tourists. But hey, we love places off the tourist track, which is exactly why my family lived in Uttaradit for a month to teach English. Every day we spent a few hours singing our hearts out and teaching basic English to adorable primary schoolers. After that, we would just wander around town. Usually aimlessly, which always leads to the best surprises.

On one particularly hot summer’s day, we were walking down a street outside of town where a man was fixing the DIY speed bump in front of his house. He paused his cement stirring to initially ask if we were lost,  and then invite us for some ice water. 

They say Thailand is the country of smiles, and this couldn’t be closer to the truth. One moment you’ll be walking down the street and the next someone will be smiling at you, saying hello, waving, or even feeding you. 

We entered through his gate and sat outside at a long table, under the shade of a huge mango tree. Ice cold water was served and his wife began to peel mangos from a gigantic mountain of a fruit bowl and give them to us. I’ve never eaten so many mangoes in my life, it was incredible. Immediately we began to feel rejuvenated, the sweat on our faces replaced with smiles and sweet fruit juice. We sat and chatted with them for an hour in a language made up entirely of photos, hand motions, and google translate. The husband proudly showed us pictures of his family, and we explained we were working as English teachers at the local school. And then as quickly as we arrived, we went away on our separate paths, and reflected on how kindness definitely appears in the places you would least expect. 


Hello! This is the second post from a new series about kindness on the road. I was inspired by Jessie Voigts of Wanderingeducators.com to create something positive by highlighting stories of great people and genuine kindness I’ve experienced while travelling. More coming soon 🙂 Thanks for reading, xx -Izzy

Stories of Kindness: Friends on the Tokyo Metro

Stories of Kindness From Around the World: Friends on the Tokyo Metro

Friends on the Tokyo Metro

Two summers ago, my family left the states for our first ever backpacking trip, to Japan. Our first stop was an incredible few days in Tokyo, where we explored the marvels of a modern city unlike one I’d ever seen before. The sushi was, of course, delicious, as were the 7-11 dumplings and bubble tea. So far Japan was proving itself to be even better than what I expected.

Our last day in Tokyo rolled around too soon, and we found ourselves (and our six backpacks) crammed in a subway car in rush hour metro traffic. Have you ever seen that picture in downtown Tokyo where the metro attendants literally have to squish everyone into the subway car? We lived it. Fifty or so Japanese commuters wearing hello kitty and other themed face masks, standing shoulder to shoulder, and us. We pushed our way to the back of the car, where we met a group of Japanese backpackers en route to the mountains. Initially, we laughed together about our big backpacks and the cramped train, and soon shared a few words about where we were headed. All of a sudden, they started emptying stuff out their backpacks and pulling out plastic bags of chocolate and candy and handing them to me and my sisters.

As someone who lives out of their backpack, I know that the few things you carry are usually packed for a purpose…and important. Sharing their carefully packed items with us was such a simple gesture of friendship, and a very unexpected and kind one from people we had known for no more than a few minutes. We gave them some buffalo jerky from Colorado, and exchanged words of good luck in our different languages before they left the train. When I remember Tokyo, before the city lights and sushi, I remember the kindness of our Japanese backpacker friends because people always leave the strongest impression of a place.


Hello! This is the first post from a new series about kindness on the road. I was inspired by Jessie Voigts of Wanderingeducators.com to create something positive by highlighting stories of great people and genuine kindness I’ve experienced while travelling. More coming soon 🙂

My Experience in Morocco + Female Travel Tips

From miles of glorious golden Sahara sand, vibrant medinas, thrilling markets, quaint ocean towns,  flavorful tagines, and gorgeous mountain landscapes – Morocco has something for everyone. However, it is important to note that what lies a short, one-hour ferry ride across the Strait of Gilbatrar is a completely different world from Spain and Europe.

Note: I’m writing about this because I want to share my experiences, but I in no way want to discourage someone from traveling to Morocco. While living in Morocco for 12 weeks, we had many good experiences, which I have written about previously, but also some bad.  I try to keep it real on my blog – to say everything about Morocco was wonderful would be very misleading.

My family of six and I have been full-time travelling the world for over a year. We have been trying to adapt to the cultural differences we encounter in places we travel to. For example, eating soup with chopsticks in Asian countries, learning how to behave in a Hindu or Buddhist ceremony, covering in conservative countries like Malaysia and Morocco. Because we are only visitors in these places, we try not to draw attention to ourselves as outsiders and at the same time want to show respect to customs that are not our own. Morocco is an amazing place I would love to explore again in the future, but below the rich culture and scenery is a level of oppression and sexism I’ve never experienced before. We were living like locals, had purpose teaching and working, and were doing our best to assimilate, yet still faced the following challenges.

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Street scene in El Jadida

We started our time in Morocco in Tangier, at an Airbnb near the ferry port, and after a few days, took the train to a town called Kenitra, outside of capital city, Rabat. Staying in Kenitra was not a good experience for us. We would have been much better off staying in Rabat, a larger city more used to tourism. Walking from the train station was an unsettling experience because of  the hostile staring. Being global travelers (and a family with 4 girls), we are seasoned to staring, but this felt different. People were staring in a way that showed actual distaste and aggression. A few days later, we were actually afraid to leave our Airbnb after getting rocks and glass thrown at us just outside a Mosque. Men and boys would walk up to us just to say “f*ck you.”

At this point we did not feel welcome in Morocco, and we were scoping out our options to leave, but then we received an email from the British Language Academy (an English school we had reached out to on Workaway,  a site that connects volunteers with hosts to work in exchange for housing, which is how we afford our travels), saying that we were welcome to come live at the academy and help with the classes. This sounded like a good escape from our current situation in Kenitra, and the next day we were on a train to Berrechid, a small city near Casablanca. Upon arriving, we were thrilled that people were actually saying things like “welcome,” instead of the profanities we had gotten acquainted with in our first weeks in Morocco. We thought that what happened in Kenitra was an isolated experience.

While things were looking up since arriving and working at the school, being a woman and a foreigner here is not easy. Women in Morocco, at least in smaller towns, have a curfew of seven p.m. Walking after dark labels you a prostitute, or easy – just like that. I was told this by a young female teacher at the school. And even before that hour, walking alone is not safe. In the daytime, I was harassed simply walking 500 meters to the grocery store – surrounded and grabbed by a group of men five to ten years older than me. I wasn’t hurt, but I couldn’t help but wonder what I would have done if they hadn’t let go because of my pushing and yelling. 

Unfortunately, my experience wasn’t an isolated event. My sister was later harassed playing soccer in a group in broad daylight, and another friend was grabbed while on a run together with me. 

Why did these things happen? I can only guess. In my experience sharing these stories, the victim is the first to be blamed. I heard things like: ‘We were drawing too much attention to ourselves’, ‘we were not clothed enough’ , ‘we shouldn’t be out alone’. Victim blaming after the fact frustrated me more than the actual event. It showed me that the mentality is men are able to just get away with doing this. And yes, we were dressed conservatively, and obviously no one wanted to be harassed. There is nothing that says walking around isn’t allowed. It isn’t even about these things. We are women, foreigner women, and that makes us a target.

While living at the school in Berrechid, we went on trips to visit bigger cities like Casablanca, Marrakesh, and Fez. Here, the population of tourists is greater. The cities are bigger, more progressive, and women are able to be out after dark. There is still, of course, cat-calling, over-excited touts, and general staring, as well as a  general overlying feeling of uneasiness as men dominate, line the streets, and fill the cafes, but I never experienced physical harassment in these places. 

So my takeaway is that the problem could have been the small town mentality in a place unused to tourism. Does that make it ok? No, but at least it means that our experience does not have to be every woman’s experience in Morocco.

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The medina of Fez from above

I have talked to women and men alike who see these problems, and are no less appalled by them than I am, but also know that there are many women who think that this is how life is everywhere in the world. It is the only reality that they know. While it is easy to sugarcoat things, or overlook unpleasant realities in an effort to paint the perfect picture of a place (travel bloggers, myself included, get caught up in this more often than not), that just won’t do anything. I have pretty pictures from Morocco, and for an outsider looking at those, it would be impossible to see the realities.

The only way to begin to solve these problems is to bring awareness. Morocco has been making strides towards women’s rights and equality in the past few decades. Today, they have the largest percent of women in the parliament of any Arab country. This is an amazing achievements, and the mentality that needs to be shared with small town Morocco. The more we talk about harassment and sexism, the sooner it will be seen as a problem, instead of an unpleasant normality.

Friends, Morocco, mountain travel

I like to think that these experiences are a learning process, and now I will have a much tougher skin for tackling the next drama. In some ways, I can’t stand Morocco, but then I think of the Atlas Mountains, places like the Sahara, the sea breeze in Essaouria, and the kind and welcoming people we have befriended here who, despite it all, make Morocco one of my favorite countries.

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If you are a female traveler and considering visiting Morocco, here are my best tips:

Stay in busy areas or touristy cities. Morocco just isn’t a place you can just hop off a train spontaneously and explore everywhere.

Go in groups. It’s not always possible, but if you can find someone to travel with your experience will be much easier.  

Travel Morocco experiences and tips

Friends on the bus on our way to the Sahara

Learn a little bit of the language. Knowing a few words of Darija Arabic or French can be invaluable. (In Arabic, “safi” can be used to mean “enough!”,  “hashouma” means “shame on you,” and “La, Choukran” means “no, thank you.”)

Act like a local. You may not look like one, but dress modestly, avoid eye contact with local men, don’t respond to the inevitable catcalls, and walk with purpose, not confusion. Looking lost 10/10 times will attract someone to come over and ask if you need help.

Find a local Guide. The locals know the good spots, they can speak Arabic, and they can get rid of any aggressive touts.

Morocco travel and experiences, travel tips

Having my scarf tied Berber style before the desert by Mr. Hareem

Stay at a Berber homestay, or do a workaway. With a workaway, having purpose made our stay worthwhile and gave us a safe place to recuperate and talk with other people after hard days. Berber homestays are a similar environment, and provide cultural immersion into the local way of life.

Colors and Culture of the Moroccan Medinas

Colors and Culture of the Moroccan Medinas

 

Here is an excerpt of my photography passion project for Wanderingeducators.com on the beautiful and unique Moroccan medinas. To read the full article click here.


Colors and Culture of the Moroccan Medinas

The best part of travel photography, for me, is capturing images of culture. There is nothing I love more than being completely immersed in a place with culture vibrant and new to me. While living in Morocco for three months, I have been photographing the life and culture of the medinas.

A medina is the historical old town of a city in Morocco and other northern African countries. They are full of tight alleyways, high walls, colorful storefronts, warm street food, and people. They are also free of cars, which make them an easy place to spend the day wandering around and photographing.

To read the rest on wanderingeducators.com click here 🙂

Colors and Culture of the Moroccan Medinas

Shoes for sale in Essaouira

 

1/20/17 – Morocco: The Atlas Mountains

Morocco, mountain travel

I felt the chilly mountain air brush against my face as I stepped off the bus. It was two a.m. and we had just arrived at a Berber homestay in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. I looked over my shoulder only to find myself staring into a snowy mountain range illuminated with the glowing light of sky filled with stars. I’ve never felt so awake at two a.m. in my entire life.

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Staying warm with friends

I heard the others laughing and breaking into excited conversation as they too saw the gorgeous scene.

We walked into the house and I chatted with my friends Salma and Shaema for some time. Then,  the Berber family that hosted us for the night carried into the room a delicious dinner of cous cous. We ate around a gigantic shared clay dish, and then ran to the roof to see the stars and mountains again.

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Dinner!

The view was impossible to be captured on camera. Sparking snowy peaks, the glow of the moon, and a million stars over our heads. Words can’t describe it. Soon after, I was asleep sandwiched between all three of my sisters on a bed inside the house at around four am.

The next morning we woke up early, quickly bundled up in all the layers we had and ate a Moroccan breakfast of msamen, which is a type of fried pancake, and bread with cheese, honey, olive oil, and sweet tea.

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my Moroccan breakfast

After breakfast we traveled for another few hours through the Atlas mountains to a ski resort called Oukaimeden. Bus travel with Moroccans is no ordinary experience. Five hours through the mountains we clenched our teeth and gripped our seats as the bus raced around sharp turns. Meanwhile Arabic pop music played in the background at full volume. Surprisingly none of the Moroccans actually seemed to notice the crazy driving. There was dancing in the aisles, singing, and a lot of laughter of course.

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the ski hill

The skiing ended up not being what we anticipated, but more of a giant ice-covered sledding hill. My family separated from the group to go on a hike. The view from the top of the mountain was unreal. Miles of steep, blue mountain slopes spread out before our eyes, and jagged, snow-cloaked peak lined the horizon. I stood motionless, entranced by the dramatic beauty of a scene unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

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It was soon time to go, we hiked back down the mountain to find our friends and shortly after drove to Marrakesh to experience the Jamaa El Fena square and medina at night. The square was a cultural experience, but also loud and chaotic so we explored the back alleys of the medina and found a quite Hammam spa, with a restaurant upstairs. We spent three hours sipping wine, which is pretty much a forbidden luxury in Muslim Morocco, and eating a nice tajine dinner.

On the way home I gazed at the twinkling stars that blanketed the sky outside my window, a stunning finale to an amazing trip.

One Year of Travel

We’ve been traveling for a year. Wow. I can still remember arriving in Mexico last January and thinking how 365 days in the future felt so incredibly far away. And here we are. In the grand scheme of things a year isn’t a very long time, but it is a milestone to celebrate.

This year has offered a wide range of emotions for me, but overall it has been the best and most exciting year of my life.  I’ve been to more places than I could have ever imagined, and learned more than I ever learned from 10 years in school: Mayan culture in the Yucatan, eating brain in Thailand, the best Indian food of my life (so far ) in Malaysia, amazing friends in Morocco. I couldn’t be more lucky to call this crazy life my own… and this crazy amazing world my home.

That said, here is a list of the most important things I’ve learned this year.

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In Chiang Mai, Thailand

The Most Important Things This Year Taught Me

1) To be bolder. A year ago, I was a very different person than I am today. For starters, I was very shy and introverted. It was hard the first few months of travel, and I missed a lot of opportunities to meet people because I was too nervous to talk with them. Then I just started forcing myself into social interaction, and now I talk to everyone and anyone…. usually in broken English and assorted basic phrases of other languages, and usually to strangers much older than me. A year ago, this would have sounded like a crazy impossible feat to a girl who could hardly recite a line of poetry in class. Confidence is an important skill.

Worldschooling is all about seeing the world - In Croatia (Six Months of Full Time Travel!! – And Lessons Learned on The Road)

Swimming in the Adriatic Sea, Croatia

2)To be comfortable being uncomfortable. This year I have been out of my comfort zone probably 99% of the time. Travel forces me into odd and difficult situations, language barriers, strange food, and new places, so often that things that should bother me just don’t. This includes, but is not limited to, open sewers, hanging cow carcasses, goat heads, eating brain, bullet holes in buildings, sharing a bathroom with 13 other people, and more.

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Train travel in Bangkok

3)To grow up faster. I’ve always been a fiercely independent person, but I think travel has made me more so. So many unexpected things can happen when you are traveling, and many of these moments come with a lot of stress. There isn’t room or time to act like a child or complain in this lifestyle. I’ve also had very limited interaction with teenagers or a peer circle that is my age. Most of the people I hang out with are adults. I get asked a lot of questions about what that is like, or if it’s hard for me. Honestly, hanging out with adults is the best, especially adults who take me seriously. Having people 3,5,10, or 20+ years older than me as friends has really helped me grow.

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Breakfast in Mexico

4)To make new friends, and keep the old. Some say that it’s impossible to form deep emotional connections with people when you are constantly moving, but I don’t find this to be the case. Everything in a friendship happens, only more quickly. Instead of talking a little everyday for a year, you talk with a new friend for hours and hours over a few days. We realize the limited time we have together, and try to fit as much learning about each other as possible in the shortened time.  I’ve also kept in touch with new friends and formed strong friendships with people I’ve never even met.  On the other end of the spectrum, I don’t know where I’d be without my old friends. Our relationships surprisingly haven’t changed, even though we don’t see each other off Skype. Online friendships are no less important and special. Email is a gift, and with it you can have many deep conversations that don’t happen over coffee or at school. 

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

5)To live minimally. My backpack weighs around 12ish kg right now. Everything I own fits into a 45 liter REI backpack. It’s crazy to think about, but I would never trade this simplicity for a life filled with clutter. When I buy things now they become treasured luxuries that I care for and appreciate. Living minimally taught me to be creative and resourceful as I often have to repurpose old possessions so they can be used in new ways.  

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At the airport

6)To learn all the time, and learn anything. The best lessons come from unlikely places and unlikely people.

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Teaching English in Thailand

7)To take the path less traveled. Yes, we go to tourist spots occasionally because how could you not see the Eiffel Tower and Arc De Triumph when in Paris? How could we skip Chichen Itza, one of the seven wonders of the world, when in the Yucatan? Other than that, we spend a lot of time away from the tourist track. This is where the most fun happens. My favorite was when we got invited into the home of a lovely Thai family. We were in a province called Uttaradit, in between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, teaching English at a primary school. The province does not receive any tourism, so we were quite the oddity. One second we were walking down the street, and the next we were drinking ice-cold water and eating an infinite number of mangos. This would have never happened in Bangkok.

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Uxmal Ruins in Mexico

8)To eat literally everything. This is one of my favorite skills that I’ve obtained through traveling. Most of the time, I don’t have the luxury to choose what I want to eat, and western food is expensive in non-western countries. I’ve learned to eat all food and not be limited by preferences, including unusual food like boiled snails, brain, durian, chicken feet soup….

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Delicious soup in Thailand

9)To appreciate what I have, and not dwell on what I don’t. I spent a lot of time at the beginning of this year dwelling on the thought of what my life would be like if I hadn’t left my comfort zone in the US. Negativity can be overpowering, and it sent me into a pit of self-pity that I struggled to climb out of. What I had forgotten is that I have the best life I could imagine, experiences that many only dream of, and an amazing family with me every step of the way. I focus on these things, and all the other good and beautiful things in my life now. I’ve never felt happier.


That’s all for 2016. Here’s to another year of travel, love, life, family,  and new adventures. Bring it on 2017. Thanks for reading! xx -Iz

What we Did in Denmark

Denmark was the first stop along our travels through Europe this year. We stayed for a week in Tolne, which is a tiny train station town in the northernmost part of Denmark.

We arrived at Tolne Gjaestgivergaard, a pottery studio which attracts most of the visitors to the town.

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Life in a pottery studio/ house

We discovered this place on Workaway, and despite not being all that artistically inclined we found plenty do at their annual international ceramic arts conference.

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In the kitchen

For a week we helped with cooking and cleaning in exchange for lodging in the middle of a beautiful forest, and delicious Danish food everyday. Even better, we were able to make friends with a ton of amazing potters and ceramic artists! The studio is well-known for its resident artist programs, where artists from all over the world come to live and learn full-time at the studio. And they are always hosting many volunteers from workaway,  so there was always someone to talk to.

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New friend Lea in Skagen

On one day all the volunteers and some artists went to visit Skagen, a larger city on the northern tip of Jutland, Denmark. Skagen is one of the most visited places in Denmark . The city has some historical background as being a very popular gathering place for artists in the summers of the 1800’s and 1900’s. Many Scandinavian artists came to paint the beautiful scenery and lighting. Much of the art has been preserved and can be seen at the Skagen museum.

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The famous art of Skagen

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Yellow streets of Skagen, Denmark

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Kathryn eating a Danish danish

After the museum we visited famous Grenen Beach, the place where the North and Baltic seas meet. Supposedly, during the summer on a clear day you can’t tell where water ends and sky begins; the whole place looks like a huge blue dome. The day we went was rainy and grey, but dramatic and beautiful nonetheless.

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Grenen beach, the northern most part of Denmark. In the distance you can see the North and Baltic seas meeting in forever clashing waves

Our time in Tolne was probably the most authentic Denmark experience possible. Everyone was extremely nice and welcoming, and we felt like a part of the family almost instantly. I’m sure we will be back next time we are in Denmark, but until then I won’t forget the amazing people and memories made here.

Thanks for reading and happy travels! XX -Izzy

(P.S. if you want to learn more about Tolne Gjaestgivergaard and possible stay in their inn yourself you can click here. And if you want to learn about and donate to their resident artists project you can click here)

 

 

 

Updated Guide to Saving Money in Norway

How to Save Money in Norway

Norway and Scandinavia are some of the most expensive countries in the world to visit. The standard of living in Oslo is 120% higher than in Bangkok. This is evident in all aspects of life. The air is clean, the roads are driven primarily by electric cars, the food is healthy, and nature is everywhere, well-preserved and beautiful. Despite the costs, here we are (for the second time), a frugal family of six living in Norway. People must think we are crazy, but honestly this country is not as expensive as everyone thinks. Here’s what we do to live on a budget.

How to Save Money in Norway, Feeding a baby moose at a nature park in Norway

Feeding a baby moose in Nesbyen, Norway

Eat cheaply and shop smart

Eating out in Norway is beyond expensive. Trust me on this one. A pizza is $30, a beer $15, a normal meal is $25 dollars. Avoid that at all costs. Cooking at home is a must.

Grocery stores can also be expensive at first glance. If you look a little deeper you will find some very reasonably priced food. The brand First Price makes an inexpensive off brand version of almost everything, from toilet paper to roasted chickens. It’s usually 50-75% cheaper than the brand name. First price is also healthy and delicious. We matched up the ingredients on some of their products to the brand name equivalent, and they were near identical. The chain grocery store KIWI carries the most first price products, and has the lowest prices. Sometimes before the weekend, or at the end of the day grocery stores give out free bread that’s usually $4 a loaf.

Shopping smart in Norway, a cart full of first price brand food.

Look at all that first price!

Asian grocery stores or similar family run stores have the lowest prices for fruits, veggies, and bulk good such as flour, sugar, or rice.

We even foraged for food, which is obviously season dependant but can yield great results. Summer has blueberries, raspberries, and lingonberries. Apples are plentiful in the fall , and many people will let you pick some from their trees if you ask nicely . Different mushrooms can be foraged every season.

How to save money in Norway. Foraging in the green mossy forest

Foraging for Mushrooms

Norway is pretty dry in terms of alcohol. Many Norwegians actually go to Sweden to get alcohol. Most cities will have one store which sells alcohol stronger than 4%. These end sales after 3pm, and are pricy… Beer and drinks under 4% are for sale at most grocery stores.

Thrift shop

If you are in need of clothing definitely visit your local Fretex. Fretex is a chain of thrift stores that specialize in brand name (mostly H&M honestly) clothing at a VERY discounted price. It’s very similar to the Salvation Army or Goodwill in the States.

How to save money in Norway, Norwegian Fretex thrift store

Fretex second hand store

If you knows some locals, or are staying in a local area, ask about school sales. They are big sales at local schools of donated clothing, shoes, furniture, ect. These are even more inexpensive than thrift stores.

Live Smart

Do what you have to do, whether it be Couchserfing, Airbnb, Workaway, or WOOFing, to avoid staying at a hotel. You can even camp, this is free everywhere that isn’t private property. Libraries have free wifi, charging stations, and computers. Remember, the best thing about Norway is that all the best activities are completely, 100% free. Hint: Go for a hike 🙂

Foraging in Norway, girl stares at tall pine trees

 

To read my 1st article on Norway on a budget click here. Happy travels XX – Izzy

 

The Best 9 Exotic Fruits to Try at a Thai Market

Have you ever seen an exotic looking fruit and wondered: “what the heck is this creature?” “Is this even good?” “Should I buy it?”.  I have and I even wrote an article to answer all these questions for you!

After living in thailand for almost three months I have tried an assortment of interesting foods. As a fruit lover, fruit has been my favorite. If you get the chance to try some exotic fruits you definetly should, you might just fall in love! (Click here to read the article on www.wanderingeducators.com)

The Best 9 Exotic Fruits to Try at a Thai Market

If you have ever been to Thailand, you have probably seen, heard, or eaten a variety of wacky things. Hopefully fruit was one of them. If you haven’t tried any Thai fruits, you are simply missing out. Thailand has some of the best tropical fruits in the world…seriously, this is not debatable. They are cheap, delicioious, and fun to eat.

 The only place you can find these fruits is at a local market (here’s my guide to navigating a Thai market).What fruit should you pick? Ah, I’ve got you covered. Before you head out into the marketplace, read on.

Rambutan 

This one is easy to spot for its hairy pink shell. When you peel off the shell, there is a white sweet fruit inside. The taste is similar to a grape.

Rambutan. From The Best 9 Exotic Fruits to Try at a Thai Market

Click here to read more about rad exotic fruits! https://www.wanderingeducators.com/best/traveling/best-9-exotic-fruits-to-try-thai-market.html

Thanks for reading and happy travels! xx  -Iz

 

 

The Shadow of the Samurai

Hi friends. If you want to read a cool fictionalized travel article about a trip I went on to Japan last year you should head on over to wanderingeducators.com. This article was super fun to write and different from my usual blog posts because it incorporates history, fiction, and travel writing. All of which are some of my favorite things! Anyways… here is the beginning and to read the full article click here.


The Shadow of the Samurai

After the morning rain, the afternoon sun struggles to push its way out of the thick fog covering the mountains. My sister and I, umbrella in hand, walk side by side, jumping occasionally to dodge the puddles in the road.

On the Nakasendo Trail, Japan. From The Shadow of the Samurai

Aside from our occasional laughter, it’s eerily quiet. The only other people around are various shopkeepers in their old wooden storefronts. One Japanese man uses a small broom to sweep water off his porch. He smiles kindly as we pass.

We are walking the Nakasendo Trail. During the Edo period in Japan, this was one of the five routes to connect Edo (today’s Tokyo) to Kyoto. Its height during the 17th century would have looked like the polar opposite of how it does now. The streets were crowded with travelers, merchants and traders, feudal lords, and of course, samurai warriors… all on a 27 day trek across Japan.


 

Want to read the rest?? https://www.wanderingeducators.com/best/stories/shadow-of-the-samurai.html

Thanks for reading and happy travels XX – Iz