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Finally a trip of my own!

Only one month away and I’m off for my VERY first trip abroad! Mine and Gavin (my son)’s passports came in the mail a few weeks ago, and it really hit me that we are taking a HUGE and exciting adventure. Of course I was bummed because my passport photo had red splotches all over it and it made me look like I had really bad acne or something – but I got over it. I have been doing everything I can to not pack already, but I’ll admit that I have a couple outfits set aside.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to travel, especially with my husband and my son.
We will be traveling to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Siem Reap, Krabi and Koh Lanta. Each place will deliver a unique experience. I keep trying to tell people which place I am most excited to tour, and I simply can not choose! I am thrilled to finally meet the JW staff in person. After spending a year working with each individual via email we have developed bonds and it will be incredible to give each person a big hug and say hi (I hope they are all prepared for how talkative I really am in person!). I must admit I am especially excited to meet Waew as she and I have become friends. My husband can’t wait for the cooking class in Chiang Mai. He has aspirations of becoming a world-renowned chef and this is right up his alley. I’m sure Gavin’s favorite experience will be seeing Callie and “Pouper” in Cambodia. I doubt he will ever want to leave. “Pouper” is his best friend; it is so cute watching them play together.

I’m also excited to stay at the B & B, I have a vision of how nice it is, but I have a feeling it will exceed my expectations. To be honest, I am nervous about volunteering at the language school and going to the squatters village as I have never experienced poverty on this level. I think it is something that I can not prepare for and must keep my mind open to all the good that JWOC is doing to help and focus on the things I can do and the things that are out of my hands.

Surprisingly, I’m not nervous about the 22 hour flight! We’ll see what I say AFTER our trip. My entire family keeps saying “how are you going to handle being on a plane for that long with a 2 year old?” I always respond “Andrea does it by herself with 2 kids, I can handle it.” I think I am just going to go with the flow as I normally do and we’ll work it out.

Well, back to day dreaming about my upcoming adventure – will chat soon!

Ready To Jump

So I have kinda always fallen for the ‘everyone’s doing it’ idea. That whole, if all your friends jumped off a building would you too… sorry mom and dad, but, umm yea. Case in point:

My friend was doing it...On the way down

This is the case with blogging. Bizarrely I first learned of blogging from some of my Mormon friends. Who would have thought they would be doing something exciting I wasn’t! Well it turns out that Ellie, Paige, Celia and Lenore all have an addiction well beyond drugs and alcohol – blogging! Because of them (and the fact that they are funny and smart) I found the blogosphere and I love it! A way for everyday people to express themselves without having to worry about rejections and publishers. Also a way for all the nosy people of the world, me, to get a glimpse into others lives. Thanks to April Journeys Within and I are now online and in the land of blogging. The plan is not just to assail you with gorgeous photos of my kids, though I can: 


but also to give some insight into Southeast Asia and life, as it sometimes seems, on another planet. With the prices in Europe going higher and higher and our good ol’ dollar taking a hit, trips to the Orient are looking better and better. Who can knock a $10 foot massage and 25 cent Pad Thai!  With the countries in the region opening up more and more and travelers looking into heading east I thought it was about time I weighed in on it. The blog will be a mix of my current travels and adventures as well as stories from our 5 years here. We have also included Kristina who is just starting her adventure in Laos, April, who works hard in the States, but whom we sometimes allow over here 🙂 and some of our local staff as well, they too have some interesting insight into the region, it’s there’s after all! Feel free to leave comments or ask questions, we’ll be here, enjoying the adventure!

Songkran Festival Day – April 14 & 15 2008

Songkran is a Thai traditional New Year which starts on April 13 every year and lasts for 3 days. Songkran festival on April 13 is Maha Songkran Day, or the day to mark the end of the old year, April 14 is Wan Nao, which is the day after and April 15 is Wan Thaloeng Sok, which the New Year begins. At this time, people from the rural areas who are working in the city usually return home to celebrate the festival. Thus, when the time comes, Bangkok temporarily turns into a deserted city.

posted by Waew (April 10, 2008)


Our Signature Hotels

After living and playing in Southeast Asia for the last 6 years we have had many hotel experiences. We have been lucky enough to stay in some amazing properties and we have definitely have had some less than appealing places…websites can be deceiving! I have done hotel inspections in every country, in every city we go to and we have found some hotels that we feel embody the spirit of Journeys Within. Our Signature Hotels are in all price ranges and in all countries, they are the places that when we travel we like to stay. The hotels that we feel give a little more than is necessary. We consider them our partners in making each trip we run special and memorable. We have stayed in all of our Signature Hotels and we have included reviews from other tour consultants as well as from guests so you can get a real sense of each property. Our rating system is described below, my good friend Dawn Johnson once warned me that it was a ‘socks on’ hotel and I loved the mental image and expanded on her clever description. 

Shoes On: A more basic property that might not be clean enough for even socks…hopefully there would be another compelling reason to stay here.

Socks On: Not dirty, but not really ready for bare feet either. Sometimes this is used for good value for money places that are fine…but could use some new carpets.

Socks Off: Clean and fresh, you can take your socks off and not worry about stepping on anything or getting grubby feet.

Everything Off: This is for those special properties that make you want to get naked! Fluffy white beds with lots of pillows, sparking clean hardwood floors and big bathrooms with only flattering mirrors.

For a detailed list and full reviews of our Signature Hotels go to www.journeys-within.com

Honeymoon Registry!

Andrea and I were talking about some new services that we could offer for our guests and she and I agreed helping with a honeymoon registry would be something people would enjoy. So I looked around and found a great site that offers honeymoon registry for free, www.honeyfund.com.  


 I have put together a sample honeymoon registry at http://www.honeyfund.com/wedding/journeyswithinhoneymoon. Here you can see examples of how your wedding guests give the gift of upgrades or pay for an adventure already on your itinerary. Your registry is completely customized for you. Honeyfund will host your registry free, and I can set it up and maintain it for you as a courtesy service. Unlike other services where you simply receive the money, when your guests give a gift I will directly book it and send you a confirmation of your gift. (Just one less thing for you to have to do yourself – which is nice:) I personally know how stressful planning a wedding can be, so I hope to make this as stress free and fun as possible. If you have any questions – please do not hestitate to contact me.

Congrats again,