Wanderlust Wendy

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Back to the Motherland: Goodbye Saigon, Hello Taiwan!

From Saigon Vietnam to Taichung Taiwan

What a wild year 2020 has been! I rang in the new year in Taichung, Taiwan, helping my parents settle back into our home after 20 years of living in the United States as immigrants. The homecoming was bittersweet for them, and I was grateful to be there as emotional support. At the time, I had no idea that I would be making this announcement 10 months later: We are bidding farewell to our lives in…

Saigon City Break: Cat Tien National Park, Nha Trang, Ho Tram, and More

The Anam, Nha Trang, Vietnam

In the 15 months that I’ve lived in Saigon, I’ve only managed a handful of weekend trips outside of the city. Mostly because during the first six months, we were still recovering from our year-long around-the-world travel and wanted to stay put. Saigon is chaotic and full of energy. A periodic trip away is helpful to decompress and reset.  Here are the trips that I’ve taken and recommend. Hope you find this information useful, and…

The Practical Guide to Saigon Living

Saigon Living Guide

It’s taken me over a year of living in Saigon to finally feel like I have a decent grasp of life in this chaotic city. Even still, I’m learning about new spots that make life just a tad easier every week. I am paying it forward here with a list of things I wish I had known during week 1 of Saigon living. I hope you find these tips useful!  Facebook Groups Okay, Facebook is…

$1000 In A Day: Learning to Trade and Travel with Teri Ijeoma

2020 has been a wild ride, but August, in particular, has been mind-blowing for me, in a positive way. I oscillated between wanting to share this journey and yell it from the rooftop, and feeling unsure because it all feels too-good-to-be-true. Alas, wealth should be shared, and I wish there was a testimonial like this when I was deciding on the course. So, here we are, my journey of learning to Trade and Travel with Teri Ijeoma…

Things to Do in Paris for the Non-First Timer

One of the perks of having a French partner is the privilege to visit Paris on the regular. The luxury of being in a city not for the first time is the zero pressure to check out top sites. I’m free to roam the streets and do as I please. In my late teens/the early twenties, the movie Before Sunset was one of my favorites. I count my blessings each time I get to wander aimlessly on…

Things to Do in London for the Non-First Timer

London holds a special place in my heart. It’s the city that really kicked off my desire to live a global life. I’ve lived in the city three different times, totally nearly two years. The first time, on a semester abroad program, living in a dingy basement flat near Earl’s Court. The second time, I returned the following summer to be with a boy I was dating. The relationship didn’t work out, but that summer…

Life Lessons from One Year of Saigon Living

Saigon Living

In college, a four-month study abroad trip was life-changing. In my 30s, living in a new country for a year is a mere warm-up. Celebrating one year of living in Saigon has felt somewhat anticlimactic. In so many ways, I feel we’ve only just arrived in Vietnam. We seem to be barely dipping our toes into life in this chaotic city and have the faintest understanding of Vietnamese culture.  After six years in Shanghai, and…

One Year of Around-the-World Travel on $55 a Day

Chile, Atacama Desert

This week marked a year since we concluded our one year of around-the-world travel. Over this past year, we’ve had time to properly digest all that we’ve experienced. Our itinerary has been retold dozens of times. People seem to have a great interest at how we had structured our route, so here I share how we had planned our around-the-world trip.  Planning the Route and Logistics Our entire year was shaped by visiting friends and…

Engage in Sustainable Tourism from Your Couch

sustainable tourism

I’ve always loved traveling to learn about a culture and gain perspective on different ways of life. Typically, I dislike tours and prefer to be away from tourist traps. Somehow, I never connected the dots between my two passions: community development and travel. That is, until I met Ameer Virani, who works in sustainable tourism. He showed me that, in fact, I may have been unknowingly supporting local community development through travel. A light bulb…

US Midwestern Charm: Rediscover St. Louis, Missouri

After spending six of my formative years in St. Charles, a St. Louis suburb, I moved into the city. For four years, I discovered the city as an undergraduate at Saint Louis University. The idea of a college town didn’t appeal to me. I wanted to go to school in an urban setting, and enjoy non-campus-based student life. While I didn’t appreciate it at the time, St. Louis was rather ideal for a college kid….

US Midwestern Charm: Rediscover St. Charles, Missouri

St. Charles, Missouri

In 1998, I landed from Taichung, Taiwan, to St. Charles, Missouri, as a 12-year-old awkward girl who didn’t speak much English. I was confused at the people-less streets. I hated the need to drive everywhere that took away my freedom to walk and bike places. A city girl somehow found herself in a small suburban town.  In the six years that I lived in this town, I couldn’t wait to leave. The town was so…

Rest Better on Airplane Mode

Live slower on airplane mode

Life in Saigon has resumed to normal from COVID-19 for several weeks now, and so has the city’s infamous hustle and bustle. This lively city felt suffocating after a month of calm. The Vietnamese government successfully kept the COVID-19 pandemic under control, in what felt like a flip of a switch. Just as suddenly as the city went quiet, it came back alive with compounded energy akin to millions of freed birds. Within days, I…

Saigon Visitor Guide: Restaurants, Cafés, and More

Ho Chi Minh City, more commonly referred to locally as Saigon, is a vibrant and energetic city. The rapid urban development leads to an ever-changing city, balancing between the new and old. My favorite thing to do in Saigon, as is in any city, is to wander aimlessly, looking into alleyways. Saigon has no shortage of hidden gems. I love discovering a charming café or sophisticated wine bar nestled within an unimpressive building.  Most of…

Practice Cooking Meditation to Live Slower

cooking meditation, mindful cooking

Like many, I’ve been cooking and baking up the storm. But for me, this has been going on well before the global pandemic began. I’ve had some time to reflect on why cooking brings me so much joy, and why you, too, should practice cooking meditation. An Incapable Cook in College In college, I was a terrible cook. I often made food that was so bad that I would end up buying sandwiches or eat…

2020 Q1 Business Update

The first quarter of 2020 felt never-ending. Amid a global pandemic and a new job, I managed very little progress with the blog. I contemplated whether to continue these updates, since this blog, much like my new day job, is more a nonprofit endeavor than a business.  Out of curiosity, I went back to the first update I published a year ago. Looking at the YoY growth, I am quite pleased by the progress. While…

Saigon in the Time of Corona

Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon, Vietnam

By now, you are probably so tired of reading about Covid-19, the novel coronavirus that has led to a global pandemic. I’m impressed if you even clicked on the link to get here. If you got here by accident, feel free to close the tab. My feelings won’t be hurt. Like most of the writing on this blog, this post is for my future self to remember this major point of history.  This coronavirus has…

Tet Holiday on Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam

Phu Quoc Island, Bai Ong Lang, Vietnam

After our year-long whirlwind travel, we were looking for a vacation. Not travel, but a vacation, where we don’t feel pressured to check out all the sites, and hanging out all day by the beach is perfectly acceptable. Five days on Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam checked the boxes.  The Night Before Tet Holiday We flew out the night before Tet Holiday began from Saigon’s Tan Son Nhat airport. Big mistake. The airport was absolutely…

A Toddler Taught Me How to Live More Intentionally

Live Intentionally with a Toddler

For 2020, I had set the year’s theme to “Live More Intentionally.” I wasn’t sure how I was going to achieve this other than being slightly more aware of my daily activities. Before getting a new job, I had booked a three-week trip to St. Louis to spend time with my nephew. I was looking forward to some quality family time. I even had lofty ideas of getting some blogging done during these three weeks. …

The Luxury of Doing What You Love

The Luxury of Doing What You Love

On a Monday morning, as I sat in the Grab car that is weaving through Saigon’s nutty morning traffic going a new job I love, a thought came to me, “Doing What You Love is a Luxury.” I was immediately filled with gratitude as I bask in this very luxury that I couldn’t afford just a few years ago.  The Luxury to Disregard Pay A decade after I began that expensive graduate degree, I’m finally…