This is a question I often ask myself when we travel. Usually, when our friends come back from a trip abroad they bring back a bunch of souvenirs to distribute amongst the group. Truth is, we don’t always use those items or finish the snacks (sorry, guys!). Our first couple of vacations together, I felt these gifts must be reciprocated. There was always the pressure of finding the right souvenir and space for it in our luggage.
Well, these days I am trying to live a more minimalist lifestyle. And that means buying less and making the most with what we already have. Although I don’t wish to impose any type of philosophy on others, I would highly encourage everyone to consume less. And part of that is cutting out souvenirs in most circumstances, or at least being more selective.
I took a semester of Japanese back in college, but aside from watching anime and JDramas every now and then, I haven’t really been seriously studying. Until now! I recently downloaded HelloTalk, a popular language-learning app which I highly recommend. Now I text with native Japanese people on a regular basis (still not confident enough to engage in speech conversation yet). I’ve been observing the way sentences are strung together and became more determined to properly learn grammar/syntax. One of the most confusing and difficult parts about learning Japanese are all the particles! So I found a nifty list of all 188 of them from Nihongo Ichiban and decided to make a printable cheat sheet you can download here. Enjoy!
Many of our friends ask, “how do you guys travel so often?” The reality is, we do not come from wealthy families nor do we make boatloads of money, but we are very lucky in the flexibility our jobs offer. Moreover, we are the type to go the extra mile in trip planning, as opposed to simply purchasing a LivingSocial or Groupon deal. Not that I am criticizing people who do this. Everyone has a different travel style – some just want a getaway without stressing over the logistics. Let someone/something else – be it a travel agent, tour company, or deal package – handle that. We are just the type that enjoys taking the process into our own hands.
Before Tie and I embark on any adventure, I usually do some thorough planning to ensure we make maximum use of our time there. Of course, sometimes we might come across a snafu or are simply too tired to wake up super early, but it’s still better to be prepared 🙂 Two of my favorite tools for trip planning are Google Sheets and Google Maps, and they’re both free!
In this day and age, it’s important for us to stay connected when we are outside of the country. You need a way for your loved ones to contact you and access Google Maps to look up directions every once in a while. It’s also very convenient if you get ever get lost, want to look for a place, or just want to do some research while you are out and about. While planning for our trip to Japan earlier this year, I had to figure out how to have internet access while we were going from place to place. There are a few options for staying connected: