I don’t normally do posts like these but I just really wanted to give some ❤️ to a few Instagram accounts that I love. Every one of these accounts either inspires me, educates me and sometimes they do both for me. I’m even pretty lucky that because of the internet, I can call a few of these babes IRL friends.
Well… it has it been a while since I’ve updated on here and for that I am sorry. I have so many half-finished blog posts about Bali that will be going live over the next few weeks including a semi-controversial one which I have just posted about here. BUT, during this time I have realized a few things. When I try to write these big travel blogger-esque posts, I find myself getting distracted because it’s not what I really want to be writing about. Which is why it goes sitting half done for a few weeks and then I move on. So after I finish all these Bali posts, I’ll be taking a step back from blogger posts and focusing more on me, myself, wedding and more.
Which if you stick around will be about living in Chiang Mai for 3 months. So trying to get a routine of life from going to the gym, making friends and potentially some other long-term decisions. This will also, of course, include a few day trips, sights to see and all the best places to eat but in a more informal post, cause that is who I am. They will be shorter, and as a result, I will most likely be posting more frequently. My Instagram will include more information that will be helpful and as always, If you want me to write about something in particular or answer something, let me know. I’m happy to share my knowledge and tips and or share the bloggers who are posting the information you need. Arms Wide Open is changing directions a bit and I hope you stick along for the ride.
IT HAS BEEN A YEAR!
Love, adventure, and reminders are just a few of the words that come to my mine from this last year. A year ago yesterday Sean and I had a pint at Stansted before boarding our flight to Pescara, Italy. Today, I’m taking a quick break from creating Facebook ads to write this post. Sitting in our apartment in Bangkok, Thailand. So much has changed yet nothing at all. When Sean and I took off to Italy, we were excited and scared. That feeling hasn’t changed. With every new country, we always feel that and I hope we always will.
A Love Note To Myself and A Reminder…
Recently, I have also been struggling a little bit with my depression. There was a time when I used to wake up daily feeling like shit. My anxiety those first two months in Italy was through the roof but day by day, I felt better. More in control and free. But the thing about depression is, it happens when you least expect it. Then, last week it happened. I’ve been lucky that I have far fewer days like this but it’s a reminder. A reminder to reflect and remember that I need to be aware of my anxiety and depression and to do what I need to do to keep myself happy and healthy but also, the thing is, depression can strike at any time and anywhere. That’s the sucky thing. Unlike before, I know the steps I need to take now to get back control. If that doesn’t work then I know I’ll have a system in place to help me until I do.
Which is why I am so grateful that I am still on this journey and I get to do it with my best friend. I am feeling like myself again but that also might be because we moved into a new place in Bangkok. It is perfect for us. Close to a BTS, lots of local food (last night we spent $3 on dinner) and a beautiful pool. Best yet, it doesn’t eat up all our income month to month.
As it is Valentine’s Day and also in honor of our one year of traveling here are 12 memories. 12 moments that I have loved from the last 12 months.
Jumping Off Of Boats in Halong Bay
I might not have had the best of time in Hanoi but I did adore jumping off of boats and the water…
Writing I Am Fat
Was one of the scariest things I have ever written and to this day remains one of my most viewed articles. People who I hadn’t talked to in years, wrote to me about it. Since writing that, I have become a leader in Fat Girls Traveling, helping the incredible Annette Richmond cultivate a community. It was also after writing that article, I finally began to embrace my body. I wanted to get healthy, not skinny and as such have had a lifestyle change.
Sweating It Out In Cambodia
I have dreamed of going to Siem Reap for as long as I can remember and in 104 degrees made me slightly delirious with happiness. I felt like a Tomb Raider every day and had the best passion fruit ice cream of my life.
A 17-Hour Train Journey
When I close my eyes and think of the train from Hanoi to Hoi An I can still hear the noise of the train. The very loud, almost drove me crazy sound yet, I loved that I did that journey. I pushed myself out of my comfort boundaries and of course, it is one of the most memorable ones. You can read it all here.
Eating Ice Cream All Around The World
From Athens, Rome, and More… I love ice cream and the world loves ice cream.
Taking Sean To Costco and Then Dragging Him To The Unicorn Cafe In BKK
Just look at how at ease he is in both of these spaces! He loved it or he loves me, either way he is adorable.
BONUS PICTURES – LOOK AT THAT LOOK OF LOVE ON MY DADS FACE
Spending Time With My Parents
I’m lucky that this past year, I got to see or spend abnormally long amounts of time with both my mom, dad and Sean’s family. I’m not sure when we will get that chance again so being able to do it has been nice. And not just because they let us live rent free in their homes allowing us to save up…
A Day In Mostar
When reality is better than Pinterest. I loved every single minute spent there. Mostar, I dream of the day I can return to you… See why here.
A Weekend in Kanchanaburi
I meant to write a blog post about this weekend but I never did… Should I? Instead, here are some pictures. It was unbelievably beautiful. The main highlight being when we visited the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum. It was built by the Australians to remember the POWs who died and those who survived the building of the Burma-Thailand Railway in the 1940s. Was a contrast to see the beauty when you know the pain and suffering that occurred here.
From impromptu trips to Rome to climbing the ruins of Pompeii and getting lost in the Mountains, Italy has cemented its place in my heart forever. Italy will always be so special to me. It was where Sean and I began this new chapter and also pizza. I love pizza.
Scootering On Koh Lanta
Sorry, mom, I love you but I wore a helmet every time!
Cheesy but true but this year I have reconnected with old friends, family and made new ones. I get messages weekly from people asking my advice and tips and I LIVE FOR IT. I am grateful that I have people who click on my links and read what I write. It is a very satisfying feeling. I also want to say a big I love you to my friends. Who keep me sane, who make me laugh and who are just incredible. Thank you all for forcing me to keep going. To keep trying and being honest with myself. Thanks for allowing me to be vain in posting images of myself. Thank you for being along on this journey.
So thank you all for reading and following along with me this past year. I look forward to sharing more with you all. Thanks for the love. xx – Amanda
Read more about the importance of Self Care in one of my very first blog posts way back when here.
Wow, I can’t believe that TODAY marks my 6 months of traveling and digital nomad journey. A lot has happened over these last few months. Originally, I was going to do a sort of photo essay of my three favorite pictures from each month but I just couldn’t do that. I had too many. I was stressing cause I was trying to find a balance and then I realized that my Instagrams are my photo journey. So if you aren’t following me on my personal or travel one, you are really missing out. (Hint, hint.)
Before writing anything more, I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has read these posts over the last 6 months. Especially to those who have messaged me personally. It has truly meant a lot to me for your support and love. Here are to the next 6 months and many more stories, pictures and of course, passport stamps.
It was 6 months ago I finally started the journey I had been dreaming about. I got off a plane in Pescara, Italy and loaded up the rental car with 25 KG bag and carry on. Driving in the night to the house in Montefino, picking up pizza to eat and some beer along the way. With pizza sauce on my shirt minutes after arriving, I sat at the table with Sean. We ate in silence, just smiles as we realized this was it. There was no more “next month, next week, tomorrow” It was today.
When I first started this blog I wasn’t sure what I wanted from it. If I wanted it to be an online journal, a collective or an actual travel blog. When I first started writing, I was very much in a mental place where I needed a space to write. I needed a space to figure out the thoughts and feelings that I have had, some hidden deep inside of me. It’s crazy to think how much mentally I have changed since then and at the same time, not at all.
6 months ago I was getting my anxiety under control and I was re-programming myself. That’s why I had a lot more personal blogs back then. Where as now, I suppose it is a bit more “travel blogger” but that’s because this is my life now. It’s a mixture of work and travel blogging. Mentally I am in the best place I have been, but of course, I have my bad days. Sometimes my anxiety still gets the best of me. Days like today, (August 12) where I couldn’t bring myself to leave the hotel room despite the fact we only have two full days left in Saigon. I just couldn’t do it. So, instead, I binged on Netflix and researched for my next trip (Cambodia) and cuddled with Sean. I don’t feel bad though. I needed it so I did it.
When I first started this space it was because in some ways I wanted to be held accountable for whoever decided to follow along. I knew that some days I was going to need a little push to put myself out there. That push was this blog. It’s a little lame and a little vain but I’m okay with that. This blog has helped me discover things within myself that I forgot even existed.
This has been such a rewarding experience and I have gotten to do it with my best friend by my side. I’m not sure If I could have done this without him. No, literally he made this website for me. But he has also held me when I’ve cried. He has told me to suck it up when I was being bratty or ridiculous. He puts the band aid on when I fall off a sidewalk and has reassured me that we will get through this together.
In Italy, I learned to enjoy my morning cup of coffee and to take a moment a few times a day. Croatia taught me to be okay with the jiggle of my thighs in front of anyone and everyone. Bosnia lite the flame for us to travel to the lesser known places. The States allowed me laughs and biscuits with friends and family. Thailand allowed me to feel the air on my face as I scootered up and down mountain roads. Vietnam reminded me that sometimes people will stare and that when given an option to jump off a boat you always jump.
Today, I arrived in Cambodia. A few days from now I will be watching the sunrise on Angor Wat. A destination I have dreamed about for years. The best part is, I am making my dreams come true. Not anyone else but me. I am reminded to continue to keep my Arms Wide Open for there is much more to see. Not every journey will be fun and some won’t go as planned but I’ll get there in the end. You best bet that I will continue to write these lists, my rambles, and tips as I do.