Wanderlust Wendy

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Trans-Siberian Journey: Visa Prep

Preface  Xavier (French) and I (Taiwanese-American) were living in Shanghai at the time of this trip prep. I was staying in China on my Taiwanese ID, but will be traveling on my US Passport, so I needed to obtain Russian visa in Hong Kong. US citizens do not need a Mongolia visa at this time. French needs both a Russian and a Mongolia visa, but the Mongolian Consulate in Shanghai no longer supports visa issuance, so we needed to make a trip to Beijing. Getting Russian Visa in Hong Kong Quick note before I discuss my experience: not all nationalities are able to hop over to Hong Kong for Russian visa. There are a list of countries where a long-term HK visa is required. Please check before you book your appointment and your trip. I booked train tickets in and out of Russia with Real Russia, and they were able…

Trans-Siberian Journey: The Finale

The last part of Trans-Siberian journey through Europe was fairly rushed since we needed to be back in France by mid-July. After two days in Warsaw, we took a 6-hour train to Berlin, stayed overnight to celebrate France’s win in the World Cup, then headed for Strasbourg, our final destination. I’d almost say the end was somewhat anti-climatic, but we were also happy to slow down the travel pace, and stay put for a few weeks.  Berlin Charm The last time I visited Berlin was in 2006, while studying abroad in London. It was cold and rainy, and back then I found Berlin to be rather industrial and characterless. Boy have things changed!  We had less than 24 hours in the city, and while most of that time was dedicated to the World Cup, we strolled along the canal in the city centre, and marvelled at the magnificent architecture. The…

Trans-Siberian Journey Part 12 – 2 Days in Warsaw

Journey to Warsaw We boarded our final sleeper train of this journey in Moscow, heading to Warsaw, Poland. This train was one of the most Soviet-era-esque trains we’ve taken, likely because most people in their right mind would take a low-cost airline flight, and not a 16-hour slow train.  Yet, given that this is our final overnight ride, I felt rather nostalgic. The cabin was the smallest we’ve had, but we had the luxury of privacy. In between episodes of podcasts, we lamented over how quickly the trip has gone by. Train travel has been amazingly relaxing in surprising ways. I thoroughly enjoyed being trapped in one place, with nowhere to go. The connection to Internet is limited at best, thus provide the rare luxury to truly be in the present moment.  In a time where we are all striving for maximum efficiency, this type of slow travel is crucial…

PEACE CORPS

2012 Peace Corps Annual Gathering

Over the weekend, I met the Peace Corps volunteer on this 1964 issue cover of National Geographic. She was with the first group of volunteers to Ecuador, and one of many remarkable Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) that I met at the 2012 Peace Corps Annual Gathering. The event  was hosted by the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), an independent non-profit organization that works closely with the Peace Corps…

On est ensemble!

The long-awaited Peace Corps reunion weekend happened a few days ago. This is the 50th year of the Peace Corps and this was the weekend that loads of events took place in DC. My stage (training group) took this opportunity and organized our own reunion on top of it. Somehow, we managed to get people to fly in from all over the country. Nearly 50 people showed up at the barbeque that took place. People came from San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Denver, and a few were fresh off the boat (plane) from Cameroon just a couple of weeks ago!