Dirty White Jazz: Sunset Drive (2013 Summer Playlist)

I drive a white Honda Jazz that unfortunately I don't get to take to the car wash as often as I should. I do, however, love taking it on relaxed long drives, often on my own, with a lot of good music to keep me company - hence the title of this series of posts. I love music of all kinds, and love putting them together in playlists that help me build memories. Often I associate a song or a series of songs to a certain trip or a specific moment from that trip, kind of like a soundtrack to my own personal movie. In these posts I will be sharing the music that I listen to during my travels, from all-time faves to newfound loves and one hit wonder flings. In a lot of these posts you'll find a download link to the entire mixtape for your own listening pleasure. I would also love to hear your music recommendations - I'm always on the hunt for new songs to play when I travel!  

Summer has officially arrived in the Philippines, if the humidity and the heat are any indication. Of course, there are plenty other, more pleasant reminders of this often eventful season - the vacation leaves being filed and spent, all the beach trips and road trips, even the city staycations, and of course, the music that goes along with any and all of these. It wouldn't be summer without a soundtrack, and here is my first one for the year - a mixtape lovingly curated by yours truly featuring remixes and originals from Classixx, Mausi, Tropics, Tuxedo, etc., etc.

Usually I just organize my chosen songs in a playlist on my iPod, but this time I tried to put them all together in one track, which you can download from the link below. It's best listened to on the road at sunset - after a quick day trip to the beach, perhaps? Give it a spin and let me know what you think!

Flashpacking for Females Part 1: A Few (Girly) Pre-Trip Tips Before You Hit The Road

Let's face it, traveling can be a rough, rugged, and filthy activity. Shoddy toilets, long hours in transit, places in the middle of nowhere without the comforts of home - such minor details are all part of the fun, except sometimes it can leave a lady feeling more aimless vagabond than fierce, fashion-forward adventurer.

So what's a girl to do? Suck it up and go with the flow, more often than not. But there are a few tips and tricks to survive life on the road without having to sacrifice one's girly needs (but also keeping in mind not to go overboard, either - nobody wants to travel with a fussy princess).

A key point is to be prepared - you must anticipate that a backpacking trip will leave you a little filthier and more unkempt than your usual self, so it's best to plan ahead. Read on to find out how you can prepare to rough it out on the road and still look like a decent human being (at the very least).

The People We Meet: The Man Who Gave Away Photos, Samcheongdong, Seoul

I love meeting people when I'm on the road. Some end up being single-serving friends, the kind you sit beside on a 2-hour flight and never meet again. Then there are those you end up befriending on Facebook, the kind you keep in touch with occasionally. Whatever the circumstances, wherever the place, however brief the moment shared, I love meeting people who leave an impression on me.

We were nearing the end of our trip to Seoul and were walking along beautiful Samcheongdong when we chanced upon him - a Korean gentleman with his messenger bag, camera in hand and a photo printer by his side, right in the middle of the street. He offered to take our photos and print them for free. Apparently, he spent all day doing exactly that - taking pictures of passersby, printing them and giving them away for free.   

Of Airports & Single-Serving Friends: An Old College Essay

Before traveling, my first true love was writing. I love words, love the science of putting them together and the art of expressing yourself with them. Inspired by Throwback Thursday (that thing is all over Facebook), I was looking through posts on my old personal blog and found this - a paper I wrote for my Modern Lit class in college. We were tasked to write about any of the poems we had discussed in class, and I chose Yvor Winters' "At The San Francisco Airport", about a father who accompanies his daughter at the airport to see her off as she heads for college. I thought it would be interesting to write the daughter's point of view of the moment. I thought of my dad as I wrote it - he works away from home and I live away from home as well, so we are used to regular hello's and goodbye's. I like to think of goodbye's as see you next time's.

So anyway, I wrote about what I thought would be the girl's thoughts and realizations while on the flight, after bidding her dad goodbye. The coolest thing about this paper is that when I wrote it, I had never ridden a plane in my entire life. It's personally amusing to think that not so long ago, I was a little girl eager to see the world. Now I'm still a little girl, still eager to see the world, but thankfully, I have seen more of it. I hope to see even more of it as I get older.

This post is becoming incredibly cheesy. Read my college paper under the cut, if you dare, and remember that I wrote it in college - I was young and naive. I'd love to hear what you think!

15 Things to Do in Luang Prabang, Laos

My trip to Laos in 2012 had been a very relaxed, come-what-may kind of trip. Jen and I didn't do much planning save for booking accommodations beforehand, and everything else kind of just fell into place almost effortlessly thanks to the many people we met along the way. I think we both didn't want a hectic, intensely scheduled itinerary after all our previous whirlwind trips to other countries. It probably had to do with us maturing as travelers as well. I suppose it happens to a lot of people who travel often - at some point, on your Nth trip, when you're a little less scared and a little more welcoming of the unknown, a little less excited about visiting every suggested destination on the tourist map and a little more interested in trying to live like a local, you realize that a trip doesn't have to be tremendously eventful to be memorable, and allow yourself to experience the magic of a place on the spot, without any expectations or prior research. So I was quite surprised at how long this list turned out, considering we had zero plans. It only goes to show that boredom and travel probably rarely co-exist, especially to those who are happy just to be in a foreign place, regardless of where it is and what there is to do there. For a true traveler, there is always something to explore, something to discover, and something to learn - at the very least, there is always something to do. And if you are by chance planning a trip to Luang Prabang anytime soon, this might help get you started.

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