Tag Archives: Asia

Travel Diary | Samut Songkhram, Hua Hin, Nang Loeng, Bangkok – Thailand – Aug 29-Sept 2

8 Sep

 

“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck

Last Aug. 29, I traveled back to Thailand to explore Samut Songkhram, Hua Hin, Lang Loeng, and Bangkok. Not only did I get to enjoy the scenic and fun tourist spots, but I found myself completely immersed in #AmazingThailand’s rich culture once again.

A big thank you to #ThaiAirways and #TourismAuthorityofThailand for letting us see and enjoy your beautiful country once again. I am forever moved by what I have seen and done over there this time around.

I made sure to include the first part which shows our tour guide from #Hivesters sharing about his passion for sustainable tourism. If there is one thing I applaud, it is that Thailand is ever so proud of their country and ever so willing to share its beauty. Even more so, I am thrilled to see them find numerous ways to share their culture as it is, their locals as they are.

I always come back from a trip to Thailand, refreshed and inspired. It is my dream to one day see the same kind of tourism flourish (healthy tourism that is) in my own country.

Here’s my travel diary of our five days in Thailand. I hope you enjoy this vlog. Oh and if you do, don’t forget to hit the subscribe button for more of my videos.

I’m also on:
Instagram – www.instagram.com/jamieintransit/
FB – www.facebook.com/jamieintransit/
Blog – www.jamiefournier.com
Twitter – twitter.com/_jamiefournier_
Thanks for watching guys! Til the next blog 😉

Jamie In Transit: Phuket Thailand

23 Aug

I recently traveled to Phuket again and like the first time in 2014, I had a blast.

Sharing the link to my new blog with all of you: http://jamiefournier.com/jamie-in-transit-phuket-thailand/

On the blog, I’ll share the islands, tourist spots, and hotels I stayed in. Additionally, you’ll find some travel tips on how to make the most out of your Phuket trip.

Hope you enjoy reading this guys! Oh and do subscribe to my new website if you want to continue following my adventures. 😉 x

Wanderlust: Dos Palmas Island Resort & Spa, Palawan

25 Aug

It’s easy to make your mind up about something. Sometimes, unconsciously, we shut an idea, a person, or a place out due to certain triggers out there.

I’ll be honest, though the abduction of the tourists in Dos Palmas happened when I was only 17 years old, I’ve never quite forgotten about it.

Maybe that’s why I never gave this place a chance. I never once added this to my list of resorts to go to.

I’m glad that I was inspired to change that this month as I would never have discovered the perfect quiet getaway for those weekends wherein you long for a lil less of the craziness, and more of you…well you (and the special person or people you travel with), and nature.

Some things, or places in this case, deserve a second chance.

I’ll list my reasons for eventually, throughout the weekend, falling in love w this place.

But first, here’s a collage of what my weekend was like over there:

  
Special thanks to Trio for the wonderful app which I now use for my mash-ups(to download, here’s the link: http://tap.trioapp.co/jamiefournier).

Now, back to my reasons:

1. It’s Easy!

They make everything so easy. We booked through Globe Trek Holidays, Inc. (A big thanks to them too) and all we practically had to do was confirm and pay for our room. Once we were done with that, all we really had left to do was make sure we’d make it to our ridiculously early flight (5:20 am). We were picked up at the PPS airport, brought to the wharf  for our one hour journey to Dos Palmas and all the facilities, kayaking, snorkeling, and the like were for free. All we really had to pay for was our food and, ahem, drinks. 

 
  

2. Excellent Customer Service

And I mean the-going-beyond-what-is-expected-consistently kind of deal. All smiles from our first minute there to our last. This applies specifically to their servers at the restaurant. We didn’t really get to explore much as we had built a routine during those three days: Room-Pool in the morning (aka Sun Time) – Lunch at the resto – Beach time (aka Sand and Music time) – Dinner time (aka Grown-Up drinks time – Room time ( aka Movie and/or Balcony w A Wonderful View time). The point is the staff members we got to interact with were so accommodating!

Erik from the midshift, yes you, we love you!:p

3. The Food

Prawns. Crabs. Delicious Grilled Chicken. A good buffet for breakfast. Best part? All reasonably priced! Well, may I just add, the buffet breakfast comes with the room package. Free, yes.

And, yes, I’m awful. Why? I didn’t get to take pictures of the food. We were following a strict no-phone-on-the-dining-table rule.

If you go, try their Inasal (Grilled Chicken), Gambas, Prawns, and their Crab with either Coconut Milk or Sweet Chili Sauce. And, yes, we had both. We are now about 5 lbs heavier but who cares when it comes with priceless holiday memories. Okay, we do. Pilates and gym time this week, yep. 🙆😋

4. For its Stillness

Throughout the weekend, we kept wondering where the other guests were. There were times when we felt we were the only ones there, apart from the times we spent at the restaurant.

This place is perfect for couples and families.

   
   

 
 
   

  

 

  

My Overall Experience

Because of the specific reasons listed above, I came out of that weekend trip feeling rejuvinated and a lil more ready for the hectic week ahead. 

Although it was a quick getaway, it was enough to give us beautiful memories, badly needed for individuals like us who are mostly stuck in the metro. And yes, it was enough for me to conclude that someday, maybe even sooner than expected, I’d find myself there again.

I meant what I said, I have discovered the perfect hideaway!
Thanks GLOBE Trek Holidays, Inc and Dos Palmas Island Resort and Spa for making this amazing weekend possible!



To book:

You can contact GLOBE Trek Holidays, Inc.:

GLOBE Trek Holidays, Inc.

Unit -B 322 Villareal St.

Pasay City 1304

Philippines

Tel: (63-2) 8816558/8335388/8339349

Telefax: (63-2) 8335388

Mobile: (63) 917-8991648

E-mail: globetrek@pldtdsl.net
Or contact Dos Palmas Island Resort & Spa:

Contact details are found on their website –  dospalmas.com.ph

  

Wanderlust: Ha Long Bay

20 Aug

When one of my best friends asked if I could travel with her after her residency, I said yes right away. Best friends for more than 15 years and this was to be our first trip together, other than our educational tour of asylums during our uni days. It was definitely easy to say yes!

“Where?,” She asked. Well after three trips to Thailand, that was off my list. Indonesia was far too much of a hassle for a quick getaway and brought about slightly unpleasant memories so that was off the list too. Cambodia will always be one of my favorites, but I wanted to see something new. Cambodia off the list as well. I’ve never been a fan of busy cities for holidays so places like Singapore and Hong Kong were off the list too.

“How about Vietnam?” It felt like that was the best option for a quick getaway after the narrowed down list.

And so there we were, with a trip to Vietnam to plan. We had 4 days, 3 nights. After some research, we opted to head over to Ha Long Bay.

Beautiful Ha Long Bay, yes.

1,960-2000 islets, mostly made of limestone. An unknown territory for me. A UNESCO world heritage site; was there even anything else left to consider?

We booked a family room to be shared by my best friend, her sister, and I with Paloma Cruise.

That was all we needed to do, aside from the airline tickets to Hanoi, of course, and our hotel for the night in the said city. Post that, we were counting the days to our trip away.

The Trip to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay

From Manila, we took a Cebu Pacific flight to Hanoi. If my memory serves me right (which normally isn’t the case), it took us three hours to get to Hanoi. Since we got there at midnight and our trip to Ha Long Bay was at 8 am, we had to book a room with Serenity Hotel in the Old Quarters area in Hanoi.

The trip to Ha Long Bay took 3 hours as well from Hanoi. We were happy with the comfortable van ride, especially since I claimed the front seat right away.

Once at the port, we checked in at Paloma Cruise and our beautiful journey began.

Yasmin, Chic, and I waiting for our flight to Hanoi


A Quick Stop in Hanoi

We really had nothing to see, considering we only had a few hours in the city and we were dead set on resting before our 3-hour van ride.

Filled with bikes and busy roads. That pretty much sums up my experience of the city.

I have to say, though, that staff members at Serenity Hotel were extremely helpful and friendly.



Paloma Cruise: Exploring Ha Long Bay 

The minute we caught a glimpse of Paloma Cruise, we knew we had booked with one of the nicest cruises out there. 4 decks, 22 cabins. Beautiful interior design.

Excitement took over the minute we went onboard. 




Day 1 – Checking in Paloma Cruise

The cruise’s car picked us up at our hotel in Hanoi. Stayed at the Paloma Cruise office by the port to wait for us to get onboard. Took a quick small boat ride to the cruise. Delicious lunch. Trip to the floating village. Sunset party. Vietnamese cooking demonstration. Dinner. And squid fishing (for those who wanted; obviously this list did not include us).




  
  

  
  

  
  


  

  
  
  



  
  
  
  

  
Day 2

Breakfast on the boat. Transfer to the smaller boat for Lan Ha Bay excursion. Three Peaches beach. Lunch (supposedly on the beach) but we ended up having lunch on the boat that day. Visited a quaint fishing village. Kayaking to find colored jellyfish (where I bid my iPhone goodbye, thanks to my oh-so-efficient waterproof bag). Swimming. Back to the big boat. Sunset Party. Dinner.


  


  

    
   

Day 3

Breakfast. Trip to The Amazing Cave. Check out. Back to the wharf. Back to Hanoi.

   
    
    
 
   
    
    
    
    
   

My Overall Experience

I fell in love with the place. Initially, it was more like a hmm-I’ve-never-been-there-so-why-not kind of mindset towards the place. But that way of thinking was thrown out the window the minute I saw Ha Long Bay. Even more so, when I went onboard Paloma Cruise.

Beautiful. Magical. Romantic (of course when with your SO).

It felt like I was in a place where I’d be forgiven for forgetting the rest of the world. And that is exactly what I did while I was there.

Note to self: I must go back someday!

I hope you fellow Nomads will find your way there, if you haven’t already, someday soon. 

  

Wanderlust: Phuket, Thailand!

21 Dec

Where do I even begin?

I have about roughly 1000 pictures from this trip, a few videos, wonderful memories, soulful new friends, and battle scars to document out of this 7-day trip of mine.

My traveler friends always find it slightly shocking when I say that this has been the longest trip I’ve ever taken this year. Out of the four out-of-the-country trips I’ve taken in 2014, this is indeed the longest. Most of the time, I escape only on weekends. And, sometimes, when I’m lucky, I get to add another day and have three days all in all. Status quo for my trips is always fly out on a Saturday, come back on a Monday.

So why did I go for it? I celebrated my birthday last month, and despite knowing how busy my December will be, I decided to give myself the gift of time and disappearing in a place I’ve never been to before.

I’ve gone to Thailand twice, but never to Phuket. The first time was in Pattaya and the second, in Bangkok.

I have to say, out of my three Thailand trips, this side is my favorite. I have, however, yet to see Chiang Mai. This place I surely must visit for the lantern festival in the near future.

Anyway, back to my Phuket trip.

I went barely with a plan in mind. I had two thoughts, get to Patong, then head to Ko Phi Phi.

This is the route I ended up taking:
Phuket town –> Patong (Barely a day) –> Ko Phi Phi (3 days) –> Railay (1 day) –> Kata Beach (2 days)

This is what it visually was like for this route:

Stop 1:
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Stop 2:

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Stop 3:

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Stop 4:

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There are other islands that I hear are good that I could have visited like Ko Lanta and Ko tao that would have been nice stops, but I guess it only means I have to head back.

The only way I can probably talk about this trip of mine is to talk about each place, each stop, and all that I enjoyed (and didn’t enjoy) doing while I was there.

Let’s start with the infamous… PATONG!

Even before I flew to Thailand, one of my friends had already warned me. Don’t go to Patong! “It’s a red light district,” he said.

Considering I got to Phuket at about 10ish, I was in a rush to choose a place to head to and Patong seemed to have a good hostel there so I ended up choosing that as my first stop.

From the Patong airport, you can take a cab which is about 700-900 Baht. I opted for the mini-van, because it’s only for 150 Baht.

Although, the first indecent proposal I got there was at the airport where you are tasked to book the van ride. “You come with me, and ride free…”

Uhmm tempting (…not), but no thanks.

The van ride is about an hour and maybe 30 minutes or less. I remember getting to the place, Bodega hostel, at about midnight.

The only thing I could pretty much do aftet that, according to the nice receptionist, was head to Bangla Road. You see, I never knew what Bangla Road was prior to my field trip there. I had asked the receptionist where I could get street Pad Thai and he quickly said “Bangla Road.”

Excited for my street pad thai, I freshened up, left my bags, and headed to the streets.

I stopped at a pharmacy and asked where Bangla Road is and one guy who was buying medicine as well chuckled and said “You won’t miss it…it’s the noisiest part of this area.”

And he was absolutely right. Bangla Road was just about 5-10 minutes away from where I was staying. One thing that surprised me, though, was how it transported me back to my shocking trip to Pattaya.

“Ahh, so this is what my friend meant,” I thought to myself.

I felt rather uncomfortable walking around, so I quickly found my spot, which is highly disappointing for my first meal during this trip, but I ended up in Mcdonalds, ordering what I normally get, Mcchicken and fries.

I cannot be blamed, though, as a female lonesome traveler, all I wanted to do was eat and be gone!

And that I did.

Below are some pics of my hostel in Patong and Bangla Road:

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Recommendations for those who plan to stay in Patong:
– If you’re the type who likes hostels, I give Bodega 3.5 stars out of 5. I like that it’s artsy and the beds are comfortable (except for the pillows), the lockers in the room, and most of all the really helpful and nice receptionist.
– From the airport, if you take a mini-van, they will take you to a tour company. Please do not avail of the trips there unless you know it’s the cheapest. I got talked into buying a van+boat ride to Phi-Phi deal for 500 Baht. Had I read Bodega’s thank-you-reserving-a-room-email, I would have known I could have gotten it for only 350 Baht. Oh well, lesson learned.;)
– Go eat at No. 6 Restaurant. That’s probably the only place I got to eat at because I had to leave for Phi-Phi. How did I find out about it? I asked one of the guards in one of the streets in Patong, and he said that was one of the best. They were good, yes, but I still heartily missed the street food in Khao San Road in Bangkok.
– Go see the beach! I certainly wasn’t able to go.

Next stop… Ko Phi Phi!

Oh beautiful Ko Phi Phi. It wasn’t much of a hassle to go there. For 550 Baht, I was able to get a van ride and boat trip to the island.

I didn’t know what to expect, all I knew was everybody, and I mean everybody, told me to make sure I won’t leave Phuket without a trip to Phi Phi.

As an obedient girl (hah!), I did exactly that and boy am I glad that I did! The minute we caught a glimpse of the island, everybody was obviously in awe of the place. Picturesque. The beach. The longboats. Everything
was just so lovely!

Here are a few pics of Phi Phi:

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Things to do in Ko Phi Phi:

1. Go on tours! I went for the Ibex Tour which outlined about 4 stops, including Maya Bay. I only got to enjoy about 2 since I got myself into a bit of a predicament after cliff diving. Despite this, I absolutely enjoyed the experience! Well, admittedly, it could’ve been better without my injured eye and back.:p

Below are some pictures to show you how beautiful this tour was for me (and the whole group):

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2. The only other thing to go for aside from going to the other islands or on tours is to check the night life and the restaurants or food stalls there.

The best bar I got to go to there was Banana Bar. Rooftop. Big screens. Music Videos. Good drinks (Loved their Hawaiian Margarita). Great vibe!

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Other party places are lined up mostly by the beach. Stones. Blancos. Ibiza. And the list goes on.

You’ll see electrical rodeo bulls there. Fire dancing. Fire limbo rock. Buckets for drinks.

If that’s what you are after, Ko Phi Phi is the right place for you.

Here are some pics of my first night there:

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3. Food. For those who’ve read my other travel blogs, you’d know I’m not a big eater. I did, however, enjoy some of my favorite Thai dishes while I was there. My favorite spot is but a stall on the way to the beach called Ko Phi Phi Fast Food.

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Other places to try are Grand PP Arcade and Capu Latte.

Aside from those two, I must say it’s quite easy to find an eating spot. There several food stalls and restaurants all over the place.

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4. Enjoy the beautiful beach! I stayed at Stones Hostel so it was quite easy to do this. Stepping outside was all I needed to do to enjoy the sun and beautiful view.

There are lots of options for accomodations and it really depends on what you prefer.

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Next stop: RAILAY!

Oh beautiful Railay! I moved to another island because three days in Ko Phi Phi was enough for me. I had seen and done all there was to do.

I’m so glad I chose Railay because I saw the best beach there. I spent only a day there, but, boy, was it enough!💗

Beautiful scenery. Lesser people. Quiet hideaway. Peaceful. It was a welcome change, after spending three days in Ko Phi Phi.

Here are some beautiful pictures of Railay:

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The highlight of this stop was the trip to Phra Nang Beach.

The walk to the beach itself was already amazing. The beach, even more mindblowing.

Despite carrying my backpack (with my fractured spine–an unknown fact then), I still loved every minute of it!

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Oh and when I saw the beach, I completely fell in love. I’ll let the pictures show you why:

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We stayed at Diamond Cove Resort, by the way. Beautiful and serene place:

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By the way, I paid about 350 Baht for a boat ride from Phi Phi to Railay.

After my Railay stop, I had to decide on where to go to be near Phuket for my flight back to Manila.

I didn’t want to go back to Patong and it seemed like the most logical thing to do was head to Kata.

Kata is a lil more quiet than all the other spots I went to. I would say it’s more of a family or couple destination.

I had fun though, thanks to the wonderful folks I met. I stayed at FIN Hostel. I loved how it looked; it was so vibrant and beautiful. I loved their rooftop pool and common area.

One of the highlights was seeing another lonesome lit lantern up in the sky! My newfound besties and I tried to look for one while I wasn’t there, but to no avail. The sweethearts found one on the night I left though and lit and let it fly for me!

Oh such sweet friends they are!

Anyway, here are some pics from Kata:

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Here are some pics of FIN Hostel and my newfound besties there:

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Countless beautiful islands. Wonderful beaches. Soulful new friends from all over the world. Sunsets. Swimming with planktons. Lanterns. Amazing, precious memories.

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Thank you, Phuket!

Will I ever head back? Definitely! Sans cliff diving and injuries, of course.;)

Wanderlust: Visiting Paradise – Coron, Palawan

20 Nov

As always, another adventure beckons, so here I am unloading pictures from my phone in hopes of capturing the beautiful moments of my last trip far longer than this phone can ever fathom. I do so because I know there will be days when I’ll be stuck in 14-hour sleepless work days and I’ll need a reminder of what I’m doing all this for.

And this reminder, Coron, will be one of the most beautiful reminders I can ever have.

Somewhere out there is a paradise waiting to be visited. Less than an hour away from Manila with limitless beautiful spots to devour.

I went for a quick weekend, but even that was enough to induce the energy and excitement I have been yearning for for a while now.

Although this wasn’t my first time to see Coron’s beauty, I still was pretty much in awe during the whole time I was there.

Why? Well, let’s start with the string of pictures below and maybe you won’t need my words to explain. Although you know I still will. Here it goes:

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The view on the hike up to go see Kayangan Lake

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Special thanks to Darss for taking most of these amazing pictures, by the way.

So there you go. Do you get what I mean when I say that there’s no need to say anything about these beautiful spots? In every corner, every boat ride, every Island stop… I was in complete awe of the world’s beauty.

I purposely did not mention the specific places as going Island/Lake hopping is quite easy. All you need to do is go for any package and the friendly and helpful guides will take you around paradise after paradise. Yes, to your heart’s content. It would normally just cost 650 for one tour.

Aside from the beauty around, the beauty under the sea waiting for you to unravel is indescribable.

I’m not an avid fan of diving but I have to say I enjoyed snorkeling.

Take a look at these:

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Photo credit: Darss 😉

For those who are wondering about what they should do there, below are spots I believe you should not miss out on:

1. Kayangan Lake

This is simply my favorite spot in Coron! Serene, relaxing, and beautiiiiful!! I stayed on a wooden plank relaxing sans any toxic thoughts and it was simply amazing!

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2. Go island hopping!!

Beautiful, almost-secluded, beaches. Lakes. Clear water. Beautiful creatures under the sea. The first string of pictures shows the sights I saw while Island hopping. We started the tour at about 9 am and ended at about 4 pm. All this for only P650.

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3. Visit Maquinit Hot Springs

I have not gone for this during my first two Coron trips, but a lot of my friends say it’s worth it. Even if you get to Coron in the afternoon, you’ll still be able to manage in the evening. It worth a visit, I hear. I’ll definitely go during my 3rd trip.

4. Climb Mt. Payas

I didn’t get to do this; obviously because I only had practically half a day.

Here are pictures taken by Darss though:

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5. Meet people! Go out there, join big traveling groups. That’s the best part about traveling anyway.

Our island hopping tour was composed of six individuals. Individuals I would otherwise never have met had I not gone for this adventure. I was lucky, my trip was made even more memorable thanks to them.

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Oh and where did I stay? During my first trip two years ago, I stayed in Coron Gateway Hotel. They had exceptional service. They upgraded our room to the best suite they had which was awesome! Spacious and fairly new when we stayed there.

For this trip, we stayed in Sea Dive Restaurant which was just as nice. My favorite part about that place is the view from the restaurant. So beautiful.

Below are some pictures:

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How much was the damage? And this, I always include so everyone can see that it is pretty much manageable! Coron isn’t as expensive as most people think.

Below is the breakdown:
* P4,900 for my plane ticket from PAL (which I bought on the Wednesday before my trip that Saturday)
* P1,300 per night from Sea Dive Resort
* Food per meal is about P100-P300
* Island hopping per day is about P650. You can also rent a boat for about P2000
* P150 for the van to and from the airport

As I traveled through Coron for the second time, what made it a lil more special this time around was having my Travel Finds Jcaf Art bag with me. I had a little bit of my art world with me while exploring which was amazing.

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Oh beautiful Coron, this blog will never ever be enough to let everyone know how beautiful you are…

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For those reading this, if you have not
gone there… It’s high time you book a flight and head out there. Trust me! 😉

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All she wanted,
was to find a place to stretch her bones
A place to lengthen her smiles
and spread her hair
A place where her legs could walk
without cutting and bruising
A place unchained
She was born out of ocean breath.
I reminded her:
‘Stop pouring so much of yourself
into hearts that have no room for themselves
Do not thin yourself
Be vast
You do not bring the ocean to a river.

– Tapiwa Mugabe

Jcaf Art Bag: Mae in Thailand

4 Aug

Mae and her Chaos Jcaf Art bag on a boat ride from Koh Samui, Thailand.

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If you want your own Jcaf Art bag, please visit http://www.travelfindsshop.com/store.:)