I remember being at my Couchsurfing host Laura in Milan in preparation for my arrival to Berlin, a little shy of two years ago. She happened to be living between the two cities and kept yapping on about how free-spirited Berlin was. Specifically, she mentioned several times how wonderful it was that people were just naked in clubs like Berghain and Kitkat Berlin, having sex in public as casually as you’d sip on a Coors Light back where I’m from.
I remember thinking she was either completely off her rocker, or something decidedly weird or wrong was going down in Berlin.
I was a bit underwhelmed the first ever time I set foot in Berlin. I thought the city lacked in “WOW” factor and was sprawling too much and missing some form of a focal point. Some may beg to differ, but this was my first impression. But here’s the thing. Correlating my relationship to Berlin to a romantic one (and I think it very much is), since I have been doing a ton of dating since I’ve been here and come to see differences between exploding flamboyant things that crash and burn in seconds and slow burners that surprise you over time and make you grow fonder. Berlin is a total slow burner. It may not impress you immediately, but give it time and patience, and it’ll start to grow on you until you just can’t get enough of it and start seeing beauty at every corner.
Who hasn’t fallen prey of either totally over-packing and not wearing half of what they brought or, at the other end of the spectrum, feeling way too utilitarian and backpacker-ish for a fancy little city break? I have definitely done both. As a seasoned backpacker, I tend to fall in the latter category most of the time, but I do like to feel stylish when I’m city-hopping in trendy capitals. Do you think it’s possible to look sort of trendy-ish yet comfortable AND pack in a carry-on luggage? I like to think so! I’ve done a fair bit of city-hopping these past years (and there’s more ahead, stay tuned!), and this is my tried-and-tested packing list of the moment. I’m a pretty neutral-shade type of gal, and in this specific case, it makes sense to pack that way, because everything will fit together. Hurray for keeping it simple! Get packing!
It can take a while getting your bearings on in Siem Reap, I totally get it when people said they didn’t like their time there. It’s easy to fail to see the beauty outside of Angkor Wat if you wound up on dusty old Pub Street, amidst drunk tourists and pushy street vendors. But scratch the surface a bit and you’ll discover a town where social projects and vegan restaurants abound. A place I would 100% call home if I had the luxury to still be nomadic. Siem Reap is also emerging as one of the newest most affordable hotspots for digital nomads with great cafes and hostels, as well as very convenient visa options. Travel there with your Cambodia visa ready and keep reading to discover the best hostels in Siem Reap, ranked and researched. Whether you are a solo backpacker or five-suitcase family, Siem Reap has a home for you.
Let’s start by stating what’s obvious. I’ve been growing roots in Berlin over the past three years. To a point where I’m now ready to call this damn gorgeous crazy impossible city my home. There once was a time when the thought of having all my belongings fit on the back of my bicycle was reassuring — that way I could push the eject button and ghost at any opportunity. But something, I’m not sure when, shifted.
I started buying plants. I got a second-hand sofa and started chilling on it for the simple enjoyment of being home. I started fermenting stuff. I even got a goddamn dressing gown. Me. A dressing gown.
When you think of travelling to Thailand, Bangkok will undoubtedly be on your list of places to explore. But why not stray away from the usual EDM, flashing lights and obliterated drunk traveller-infested Khao San Road that so many people are so quick to recommend? If you are looking for a very hectic and overwhelming stay where you will have to squeeze through a swarm of people to get something to eat from one of the stalls, let alone to get in and out of your hostel, then Khao San it is. Don’t get me wrong, it is definitely worth a visit as it is one of those “must-see” places in Bangkok, but as it often happens, these “must-see” places become overpopulated, over-stimulating and overpriced tourist traps. But fear not! Below is a list of my three favourite districts with some of the best hostels in Bangkok that will supply you with just as much classic Bangkok fun and excitement as Khao San promises, and will guarantee to deliver a more authentic and personalised stay for a well-rounded trip to the world’s most visited city. And don’t forget to check out my vegan guide of Bangkok!
Remember Myst, the 90s computer game set in a beautiful fantasy world where you could get lost in the different “ages” and discover all sorts of magical stuff for hours on end? Well, ladies and gentlemen, I am here today to tell you that I have found the island of Myst: it is in Bangkok, Thailand, on the bank of the Chao Phraya River in what is dubbed “The Green Lungs of Bangkok”. Not only that, but it also has an enchanted tree house where I got to spend a few days – an eco-friendly project crafted out of sustainable and reclaimed materials amidst the jungle, a mere seven or eight km away from the downtown core of Bangkok.
Bangkok is possibly the city I commuted through the most during my time in Asia, yet I haven’t really talked about it much. I love Bangkok. And I love how vegan Bangkok is – just search for the little red on yellow “jay” flag at the entrance of cafeteria-style Buddhist eateries. These are convenient and cheap and sometimes delicious, but their emphasis isn’t on health and great ingredients – most of the time you’ll find MSG-laden overcooked slop. What really started exciting me, as well as all the fantastic rooftop bars in Bangkok, is the sheer quantity of hip, health-minded and vegan friendly or even vegan-only eateries that offer a slightly more upscale dining experience and deliver an extensive and exciting range of cuisine putting forth quality organic ingredients and innovative cooking styles.
I fell in love with being nude in public at vabali spa.
I know some of my German friends would roll their eyes at me for saying that Germans love themselves a bit of mixed gender nudity. But I think they totally do. If you’re not familiar with the Freikörperkultur, of FKK (free body culture), chances are you will after spending some time in Germany. And while some would simplify that the FKK movement was born as a form of resistance against the East German regime, nudism in Germany has its roots way further in history. After doing a little research, what stuck with me most is the use of nudity historically as a way for people to free themselves from the religious restriction that has taught people to be ashamed of their body, and from the industrial society. Without clothes, no-one is a factory slave, everyone is equal.
If you follow my Instagram, you might have seen that I attempted a zero waste challenge in May. I just about missed the boat at presenting you my impressions on time for Plastic Free July, but here I go anyway. Now before I go any further, there’s a reason why I used the word attempted: my plastic-free living month was admittedly less than perfect and there was a fair bit of infringement in the form of deep-set habits executed on autopilot.