Hong Kong layover – what to do on a quick trip!

Recently, we planned our way home from Sri Lanka with a Hong Kong layover of 16 hours.  Hong Kong is a great place to spend a day, as they issue a visa-free entry to holders of most passports.  With a clean and highly efficient transit system, you can easily get yourself around the city and back to the airport. 

The immigration entry process was super fast, only taking about 15 minutes.  Comparing that to our several hour wait time to enter mainland China in nearby Gaungzhou, we were quite happy to get an early start to our explorations. 

Here’s the vlog all about our quick Hong Kong adventure!

Our first stop on our Hong Kong layover was the Tian Tan, usually referred to as the Big Buddha.  Normally, you can take a cable car directly to Big Buddha from near the airport, but it was down for maintenance for three days so we had to take a bus.  This was ok though, as it only took around 45 minutes.  To get thier by bus, take the bus from the airport to Tung Chung, then change to the Ngong Ping bus.  It’s not super easy to find this second bus, but after looking around for about five minutes we saw the line of tourists waiting and new we were in the right spot.

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The ride to Tian Tan Big Buddha was really pretty, winding it’s way through the foggy mountains.  The ocean would pop up every now and then, and before we could soak it all in we were at the Big Buddha.

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The Big Buddha is a 34-meter high bronze statue on the top of a 268 step structure.  You have to pay to get inside of the Buddha, but the fee is worth it, especially since you get lunch included.  We opted for the “snack” price and we’re glad we didn’t get the full meal because the snack was a lot of food.  The Buddha was really impressive and we spent about an hour exploring the grounds around it.  The adjacent temples and monastery buildings were very beautiful as well and it was amazing to see the difference in style from temples in other parts of Asia.

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Our “snack”.

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After the Buddha we had to venture back to the metro which passed near the airport.  From there we made a couple stops that were not so interesting before finding our way to Causeway Bay.  This was what we were looking for!

We had the great opportunity to meet up with a friend who we had met many years ago through Couchsurfing.  She was one of our favorite Couchsurfers, so it was a real treat to see her in her home element. 

Reunited with our Couchsurfing friend Pinky!

We got a ferry across to the main land.  This was referred to as “the dark side” because things were cheaper there and it lacked the super extravagance of old Hong Kong.  It was still extremely modern though, and safe at all hours, apparently.  The view from the ferry was something out of a sci-fi film, with buildings reaching the clouds surrounding us 360 degrees.  The lights on the buildings were also impressive, with Christmas already the prominent theme in mid-November. 

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Make sure you watch our vlog to catch these views on video!

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We ate at a very busy local spot in a basement that I could never locate again if I tried.  Our friend’s boyfriend joined us to eat, and they enjoyed ordering strange things for me to eat.  Cow fallopian tube, for example.  It was a fantastic meal that we had to eat fast at the end because, even though we had just gotten there, our time in HK was running short.  

Hong Kong food

The city had the rushed New York City-esque thing going on, but without being rude, dirty, or as in-your-face.  We took the bus back to the airport, our friends anxiously hurrying us so we wouldn’t be late.  We really couldn’t have had half as much fun without their help, and it really puts a smile on our face when we get to hang out with such truly friendly people. 

Tired and stuffed with Chinese food, we pushed our way through the security lines into the airport departure area.   We had seen so little in this Hong Kong layover, but it was really as much as we could have done.  It’s nice to hang out in new cities for a day, getting a feel for it just in time to leave.  We always hope that it will make it easier the next time, and sometimes that’s true.  Until next time Hong Kong.  We’ll be back.

Like this story about our Hong Kong layover?  Check out our Youtube channel with tons of cool travel videos!

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Sedona Mystical Tours: A Day in the Vortex

A few weeks ago Zach and I set out to do what I like to call a “location redemption.”  That’s when we go somewhere that we’ve been before, back in our drinking and partying days, and experience the place again through our now-sober selves.  If you’re not in recovery it might be hard to understand, but I really love going back to some of the places where I partied particularly hard and made some not-great memories and “redeem” them by having a more conscious, mindful experience as a sober traveler.

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Sedona is a famous “new age” destination due to its vortexes.  Crystal shops and psychic readers profiting from the tourists abound.  We sought out the real thing.
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Zach receiving some singing bowl sound healing during our Sedona Mystical Tour.

Sedona was high on my list for a location redemption.  I’d been there so many times, but I’d never really looked into the vortex phenomenon or any of the many spiritual aspects of Sedona.  Enter Mark Griffon of Sedona Mystical Tours.  I found Mark’s tour company online and knew immediately that having him guide us through Sedona would be the perfect way to finally experience the sacredness of the red rocks.  And I was totally right.  Mark’s expertise and gentle nature make him a perfect guide for seekers in Sedona.  Mark took us off-the-beaten-track to some locations where we were the only people there, even during the crazy tourist season!  Here’s the video we made of our Sedona Mystical Tour experience.

As you can see in the video, we had a truly remarkable experience in Sedona this time.  We had started the day feeling stressed and anxious due to outside factors, but after a short while of hiking and feeling the vibration of the land with Mark, we both felt cool, calm and heavily meditated!  It was wonderful.

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The epic view from Mark’s backyard, where we started out tour.
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Feeling the energy of the vortex trees.
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Sage ritual

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As we were posing for our last picture of the trip, this magical light beam came out of the clouds to bless us.

This post will the first in our series on vortexes and spiritual places in the USA!  Next on our list to visit and film are both the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz, California, and the other Mystery Spot in the Upper Penninsula, Michigan!  Where else should we go?  Leave your recommendations in the comments!

 

 

 

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Tuk Tuk Tournament Sri Lanka – The funniest way to get off the beaten track!

 

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As some of you may know, we are lucky enough to currently be undertaking the Tuk Tuk Tournament in Sri Lanka!  This is an epic two-week, “Amazing Race”- style adventure across the island.  Our chariot is the humble tuk tuk, the wheels of Sri Lanka’s poor and in general underprivileged people.   18 teams are taking part from all over the world.  The event begins in Hikkaduwa on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast, with a mid-party in the central mountains, and finishing in the capital of Colombo.

We have been chosen to represent Good Travel Program, a sustainability initiative which aims to connect sustainable businesses across Sri Lanka.  Besides trying to win the rally, we also have our main mission which is to promote “good traveling” and introduce the world to many of the folks working hard on sustainable projects and helping the local communities.  We will be savage in our efforts to educate the masses on the harms of plastic waste and hope to lead by good example to create a better future for us all.

We have just finished the tournament!  Thank you to everyone who supported us along the way!  Stay tuned for more videos, the sharing has just begun!  

Want to get rent your own tuk tuk and drive it around the island?  Go to tuktukrental.com and enter AVENTURA at checkout to receive 5% off your rental!

Want to get into Tuk Tuk Tournament 2019?  Sign up before the end of November to get 30% off!  MAKE SURE YOU TELL THEM THAT WE SENT YOU OR YOU WON’T GET THE DISCOUNT!!! That’s a great tukin’ deal if you ask us!

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Burning Man 2018 – Back to Black Rock City

This August, we again found ourselves waiting in a dusty line, inching onto the Playa.  Burning Man 2018 was about to begin and we felt calm and ready to view and take part in the madness that is BURNING.  Unlike Burners of the past, we wouldn’t be setting off explosives that leave massive craters, or eating piles of LSD and firing machine guns off of cars driving nearly 100mph.  Burning Man was different now, still a deadly beast but a beast that was maybe, could you say manageable?  This year, our 4th and 5th burns, respectively, Care Bear and I (Scattered Showers) planned to have a completely sober, and spiritual adventure in the desert.  What took place was far greater than we could have ever imagined.

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Our camp, the abduction zone!

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The first night of Burning Man 2018 we were greeted with a gloriously giant and red full moon.  It was a great chance to let go of the last month of struggles and usher in the new month of possibilities.  I saw my first glimpse of one of my favorite art pieces, a large helium balloon floated anchored from a bicycle.  Half painted black and half illuminated, the balloon spun through the moon cycles beneath the real thing creating a trippy dual moon effect that was stunning simplistic perfection among the larger and more complicate attractions.

Here is a video of our adventure.  We tried to be respectful and only film with consent.  We did film inside the Temple which I have mixed feelings about.  However, I tried to keep the camera focused on the beauty of the Temple itself, and not on the people or what they left in the temple.  We only filmed on a couple excursions, as I feel it violates one of the 10 Principles of Burning Man –  Immediacy.

We Burned, we Burned hard.  Skipping the bar scene, skipping the raves, skipping the hours wasted staring at shiny things (mostly), we found ourselves with an abundance of time for self care and personal growth.  We attended cacao ceremonies with ecstatic dancing.  It was so very refreshing to dance with so many beautiful souls who were not smacking their lips on molly or shoveling cocaine up their noses.  The connection was so much stronger, deeper, the energy in the space feeling more intoxicating than adrenaline pumping straight to the heart.

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We attended gong baths, 1.5 hours long but they felt like they were over in the blink of the eye.  We stretched in dusty yoga classes, embarked on shamanic drumming meditations, breathwork meditations, manifestation trainings, and even a workshop on sensually manipulating the energy of your partners’ chakras.  After packing into the geodome with around 100 people, we were told that we could take off our clothes and play with each others “chakras” any way we pleased.   We laughed and left, not feeling like having such intimate chakra play in front of so many strangers.  We are weirdos and usually say “yes” to new experiences, but we found where our boundaries lie and are happy to keep the line drawn.

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After a good night of sleep, we woke before Thursday’s sunrise to catch the yearly Tycho sunrise set on the Dusty Rhino art car in deep Playa at the Trash Fence.  Tycho makes some of the least pretentious and most beautiful electronic music that exists, bringing in the new day in a way only a master could.  As the sun popped over the horizon, new life filled the tired crowd, the loving smiles so infectious.  Check out the set on Soundcloud through this link to relive the beautiful moment in time.

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Tycho’s 2018 Burning Man sunrise set on the Dusty Rhino art car!

This was the first year that I felt that I accomplished all of my goals.  I never (almost) felt FOMO as in other Burns, and slept enough to stay happy and healthy throughout the week.  We ate well every day, showered several times, had time to give each other love and were able to give of ourselves to help others who had less fortunate experiences than us.  Abundance and gratitude continued with us throughout the week as we lived lifetimes quickly and expanded our thinking to higher and higher levels, once thought unimaginable.  We truly are boundless souls, only limited by our own thoughts and desires.

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While Black Rock City is the closest thing to a utopia we have experienced, it isn’t perfect and we experienced several dark and unkind moments in Burning Man 2018.  We had a sober campmate who was dosed with LSD, ruining several days of their Burn.  They ended up recovering fine, but giving anyone mind altering substances without their consent is sick and cowardly, no matter how much you enjoy the substances yourself.  Having been roofied ourselves in a different environment, finding yourself under that spell is a hell that I wish for no one to ever endure.

I have some other gripes to submit to the complaint department.  MOOP (Matter Out Of Place) AKA litter was everywhere.  This is becoming more of an issue every year and I believe that this is because of the overall rise of infamous “PLUG-n-PLAY” camps (sherpas that get paid to set up luxury accommodations for the wealthy) which litter Black Rock City like the moochers that stay with them.  This different crowd of people don’t care about the principles of the city and their camps don’t explain to their guests about the importance of leaving no trace on the Playa (or the 10 Principles in general).  These plug-n-play camps also eliminate another of the 10 Principals– Radical Self Reliance– which is an essential part of the Burning experience.  When you lose the need to take care of yourself, it pulls energy from other parts of the city and collectively lowers the vibration of the entire infrastructure.

These MOOPing, radically RELIANT “sparkle ponies” (Burner lingo for people who show up with nothing but their pretty smiles and a bag of shiny clothes) are NOT Burners in my book and for all I care they can take their glitter, feathers, Segways, and douche-ey DJs straight back to Coachella where they belong.  This would free up A LOT of tickets for the good Burners who belong in the city and contribute to our glorious dusty way of life.

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Rant over.   Besides those points, you can still have the classic Burning Man experience in 2018.  Just don’t trust anyone who looks like they’ve had a few too many showers, combs their hair, or wears glitter or feathers (super MOOPy and culturally inappropriate unless you are in fact a Native American).  This isn’t to say that all of the people who look like this have bad intentions, they just haven’t been ridiculed into submission yet by real Burners who abide by the rules.  I just follow this simple to remember rule: DUSTY = TRUSTY.  This rule along with some well-timed mockery which can go a long way 😉

The Playa is a place where you can rediscover an intense connection with your self.  This can be frightening in its own sense but, if you can get through it, can be one of the most rewarding experiences that radical environments like Burning Man can offer.  The default world (what we Burners call real life) can separate even the strongest spiritual souls from the magic the human experience, and coming back into balance has deeply altered more than a few destinies.

Some other highlights of Burning Man 2018:

  • Being chased by a man on 5 foot stilts.  He was stamping passer-bys with his camp logo.  I pulled away on my bike at top speed, the chase lasting longer and growing faster than I could have imagined.  It was a great race but I won by an arms length, stilts man missing me by an arms distance as I reached full biking speed.
  • Finding all you can eat ice cream (3 flavors) about a kilometer out into the deepest part of the Playa under a giant statue of a chameleon.
  • Finding a tribe of people who don’t drink but have more fun than all the wasted people combined.
  • Getting magically gifted an In-n-Out burger on Friday night.
  • Leaving with a clear mind and easily reintegrating with the default world, hopefully bringing what I’ve learned back with me and leaving my negativities in the dust.
  • Controlling the giant Sextant Tesla Coils with a piano keyboard.  I played some deep scary bass and received an unexpected applause at the end (it’s in our video above).

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I’m not here to tell you to go to Burning Man, in fact quite the opposite.  Its hot, long, dirty, and loud, with lots of unruly individuals.  You shouldn’t go unless you have time to research how to Burn properly, being respectful to the city and those who have giving so much of their love to create it.  There are already far too many people out there who don’t belong or deserve to be there, so if you have any doubts then stick to your local music festival.  Burning Man is NOT a music festival, hint hint.

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After the Man burn from the sky.

If you think you have what it takes to be a real Burner, consider checking out a regional Burn first.  These events are numerous and take place all over the world.  They are easy to get tickets to, less environmentally challenging (sometimes), and can have much more intimate atmospheres.  Many Burners much prefers these smaller events to the BIG Burn, as they are usually shorter and as said, much more accessible.  A Google search will help you find them, figure it out yourself.

To all those wild-eyed weirdos out there who made Burning Man 2018, my 5th Burn, my best Burn, I thank you.  Although we have a different kind of strange and epic adventure planned for 2019, we will see you in 2020.  As our camp neighbor Fermat liked to flirt, “Wanna get dusty with me?”

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The Orb, a 100 diameter disco ball.
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Marking our glorious achievements as sober Burners!

Carrie recently wrote an article for The Fix about how to have an awesome time at Burning Man without drugs and alcohol.  Check it out here!

She also was quoted in SFGATE, a San Francisco newspaper, about things to do sober at Burning Man.

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Like this story about our Burning Man 2018 experience?  Check out some previous meanderings through Burning Man 2014 (and here’s Carrie’s take)and Burning Man 2017 (Burning Man 2011 and Burning Man 2016 were lost in space time). As always, please like our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject for more travel tales as we meander through this strange and wonderful planet and beyond!

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Our Southwest United States Roadtrip – Almost VanLife

Hi lovely readers!  You may be wondering what we have been doing in the months since we posted!  It’s been so long! Our digital nomad lives have brought us home to the USA for a summer of roadtrip camping adventures, visiting friends and family, and running some workshops and retreats for our yoga retreat company Bigger Life Adventures.  It’s been fun to live “Dirtbag Life” with our Prius and our tent again and explore the beautiful nature of our own country.  It’s almost VanLife, right? Here’s a video we made to show you our road trip through Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado.

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Feeling at “ohm” in the gorgeous landscape north of Taos, New Mexico.
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The “Prius Tent Life” Chef

The highlight of the trip was definitely the Via Ferrata in Telluride, Colorado, which you watched at the end of the video above.  This amazing adventure course is bolted into a rock wall hundreds of feet above the stunning Telluride Valley.  It’s super thrilling and LONG, with sections of hiking and sections of scary iron steps and a sheer dropoff below!  It took us about four hours.  So worth it for the views and the adventure though!

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The other huge highlight of our summer so far was hosting our Mid-Summer Reset at Laguna Mountain retreat campout!  We had 13 guests and it went super well!  I got to teach yoga in the beautiful mountain meadows of east San Diego County and Zach cooked amazing plant-based meals for everyone!  We can’t wait to host our next retreat in Sri Lanka!

Check out the amazing video our friends from Where We Wanderlust made about our retreat!

 

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Portobello Mushroom Burgers and Kale Salad – just one of our amazing meals!

 

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Hiking Garnet Peak
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Teaching about Ayurveda!
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Yoga in nature is the best!

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Songkran Thai New Year Water Gun Battle in Chiang Mai, Thailand!

We had a very wet, exhilarating blast of a time during our first Songkran Thai New Year celebration!  In Chiang Mai, people converge around the Old City‘s moat with water guns, hoses, buckets, and refill barrels!  Our friends from the USA picked Songkran week to visit us in Thailand so they could join in on the madness!  We had tons of fun acting like kids, dueling with Thai families, dodging water gun fire all around us and sneak-attacking unsuspecting tourists!  Who’s coming to Thailand for Songkran next year?

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Enjoy this post about Songkran Chiang Mai? Check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

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Exploring Langkawi and Staying at Tubotel

I recently got to explore some cool parts of Malaysia as a solo female traveler, when Zach had to hurry up to Sri Lanka for work and I had a weird gap between visas.  We think it’s good to travel by ourselves sometimes!  It opens doors for lots of self-discovery and gives us a chance to miss each other.  The highlight of my trip was definitely Langkawi Island, a huge island in the northwest corner of Malaysia.  To get there, you can fly (expensive) or take a ferry from either Koh Lipe, Thailand, or Penang, Malaysia.

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Welcome to Pulau Langkawi!
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Tubotel- the best hostel in Langkawi!

Tubotel

On Langkawi I got to stay at Tubotel near Cenang Beach which was a joy!  Super friendly, amazing facilities, and the rooms are all inside cool giant recycled construction tubes!  The tubes make for a chilled-out, cozy little nest with a sea view!  Check out my Langkawi vlog below for a tour of Tubotel, Cenang Beach, and some other cool places I checked out!

I had a lot of time to chill out and work from Tubotel’s amazing patio and it was great to take it easy and catch up on some projects!  The best day in Langkawi, though, was the day I conquered my fears of scooter driving and rode all over the island!  Vroom vroom!  I drove like a Grandma and let everyone pass me to avoid accidents but I definitely started feeling cool and confident midway through the day.  Scooters. are. great!  Just be careful!  I checked out the Upsidow House and then rode all across the island through some beautiful jungle and fun hilly roads then stopped for some nachos at Fuel Dock Langkawi.

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Dancing on the ceiling at Upsidow House

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Tasty nachos after a lot of hot scooter driving!

I had a plan to check out the Durian Waterfall on the north side of the island but thanks to being a newbie at scooter riding and navigation I got lost a few times and ran out of time and energy before I made it there.  That’s okay, because I definitely want to come back to Langkawi with Zach next time!  And time spent chilling on the beach is never time wasted!

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Dreamy rice fields with water buffalo grazing

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On Cenang Beach you can find tons of water sports to enjoy

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Enjoying a delicious coconut affogato with banana bread, from one of the little coffee stands right on the beach!
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New friends ending the night at Tubotel!

Tubotel Services Included:

WiFi

Free breakfast – the menu changes every day and always has several options!

Air-conditioning in all tubes and dorms

Pizza oven serving at night!

Movies, games, and books!

Bike rental available

Free maps

Address: Kuala Cenang, 07000 Pantai Cenang, Malaysia

Emailalexsigi@yahoo.com

Website: www.tubotel.com

Phone: +60 14-240 7022

Prices:

Garden View Tube: 188 MYR

Sea View Tube: 268 MYR

4-person dorm: 88 MYR

Female dorm: 45 MYR

Male dorm: 50 MYR

Economy 12-bed dorm: 30 MYR

 

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