Monday, December 16, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays to Everyone!

I am writing to you from a small alpine town in the Swiss alps basking in the quaint town atmosphere, snow on the ground, and fresh air.

Here's my holiday greeting this year (I always do a video to send out to everyone but this year, I mustered up courage to sing and record a song):
Winter Wonderland:

- Alaine

Monday, December 9, 2013

My interview with Paulette Bethel for Lost in Translation series

I recently was interviewed by Paulette Bethel about being a TCK & Chameleon. Here's the recording of the live telecast:

The audio interview is about an hour long.

Paulette's Lost in Translation series is amazing, she's interviewed so many guest experts in the Third Culture Kid, Expat, Relocation world. Ruth Van Reken, Tina Quick, Kilian Kröll, Myra Dumapias, Rahul Gandotra, Jo Parfitt, Eva Lazlo-Herbert, and more! It was such an honor to be asked to be interviewed for this series. Reminded me how much of an impact I've made already among the TCKs, Expats, Cross-Cultural coaches and experts, Educators, etc. with the work I've done so far with the Chameleon project and even the TCKs I meet around the world. Its quite humbling and a reminder that I still have a lot of work left to do using dance/movement to tell the stories, memories, and experiences of TCKs.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Travel nerd

I'm a travel nerd sometimes. I read up on places online, ask friends who've lived/traveled there for tips, read guidebooks, blogs, scour the internet for pictures. Sometimes this gets me in trouble though because I WANT TO SEE, EAT, DO, EXPERIENCE EVERYTHING! I know I'm not alone on this... You know who you are! ;-)

There is always not enough hours in the day. But I actually edit my lists down A LOT to literally 2-3 things a day because it is VACATION after all and running around like a madwoman is not relaxing or appreciative of my surroundings. One of my favorite things to do is to just wander the streets. Sit in a cafe and people watch. I do this even when I'm not on vacation.

Anyways... the reason for this post. I came across this excellent website that is a cross between Pinterest and Yelp for Travelers!
AFAR The Experiential Travel Guide

Seriously, check this site out! I'm addicted to staring at all the pictures and mini-posts written up by travelers.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bucket list of places I want to go to in my lifetime

I asked my friends on facebook where are some of the places they'd like to go to. The answers are as varied and different yet also a reflection of the person as well. Here are some of their answers:
"Machu Picchu
Angor Wat
Athens, Greek ruins
Rio during Carnival
Congan plateau
Great Barrier Reef"

"Japan, Singapore."





"Morocco, please!"

"Scotland, Ireland, & Wales."

"Maldives, Madagascar, Galapagos, Peru, India, various places in Africa, Jordan... Frankly, if I've never been, I wouldn't turn a lot of places down!"    

"Cappadocia, Myanmaar, Machu Picchu, Turkey" 

"I want to visit all the countries where all my friends live. That might take a while"


"Devils pool, Victoria falls!"   

"Oh god, too many to count....Madagascar, Turkey, Iran, Thailand, Australia, Machu Picchu, Brazil...." 

"Japan. And not just the cities, I want to see the mountains and the countryside. Preferably when the cherry blossoms are in bloom."


In front of Kensington Palace in London, July 2013

I think bucket lists are really personal at times because it reflects what the persons' interests are and who they are as a person. I have an entire Pinterest board that I've pinned places I want to see.  

Here's my top 50 bucket list (which I'm constantly adding so its more like 100):

1) New York City - check. I loved living in the city from the moment I first set foot there, I fell deeply in love with the city.

2) London - check. Beautiful architecture, vibrant cultural city, and polite English hospitality. Yes, I know that Londoners are the "rude" side compared to their English and Scottish counterparts but coming from New York...

3) Hokkaido, Japan

4) Bali, Indonesia - check. I had my 29th birthday celebration last year in Bali. Ubud was really magical. The Balinese are gracious, calming, and polite people.

5) Stockholm & Göteborg, Sweden

6) Phuket, Thailand

7)  Reykjavik, Iceland

8) Copenhagen, Denmark

9) Amsterdam, The Netherlands

10) Zermatt-Matterhorn, Switzerland

11) Shanghai, China

12) Vancouver, Canada

13) Lake Tahoe, NV/CA. - check. One of the most beautiful places I've skied. The views of Lake Tahoe are breathtaking. The ski resort I was at allowed us to ski from CA to NV.

14) Aspen, CO.

15) Lake Placid, NY

16) Nice, France

17) Milan, Italy

18) Venice, Italy

19) Paris, France

20) San Francisco, CA. - check. I have been there a few times to visit friends and family. Each time is a different experience. It is one of my favorite cities in the world. The people, food, cultural vibrancy, and beautiful CA views.

21) Disney World, Orlando, FL - check. Spent a whirlwind impromptu weekend traveling to Disney World and zipped through Epcot, Disney world, Disney Safari. I grew up going to Tokyo Disneyland and for a long time during my childhood, I thought it was Mickey & Minnie Mouse were Japanese. When I went to Disneyland for the first time in Anaheim, my brain was so confused as to why everything was in American-English! After the age of 10, I realized that the Disney characters were from Cali but it still confused my brain. I wasn't used to hearing Mickey speaking in English! hahaha. What a treat to go to the largest Disney theme park(s) in the world and have my childhood dream come true.

22) Washington D.C. - check. We traveled to DC for Memorial Day weekend in 2009 and Chameleon toured there in 2010 a couple times. It was really exciting to see the White House, Washington Monument, Abraham Lincoln's statue, Capitol building, etc. All of the major US Government institutions are there.

23) Rome, Italy

24) Pyramids in Egypt

25) Berlin, Germany

26) Brussels, Belgium

27) Taipei, Taiwan

28) Boracay, Philippines

29) Montreal, Canada - check. Beautiful city, a mix of French/Canadian/North American. Culturally vibrant. I'd only spent a weekend there and I'd love to go back there and explore it more.

30) Seoul, Korea.

31) Los Angeles, CA. - check. I spent summers in LA as a teen and then ended up going to college in LA. Beautiful weather & beautiful beaches. There is a part of me that remains that cool California girl vibe despite my type-A New York tendencies.

32) Mount Fuji, Japan

33) Hawaii

34) Geneva, Switzerland

35) Seville, Spain

36) Madrid, Spain

37) Vienna, Austria

38) Prague, Czech Republic

39) St. Mortiz, Switzerland

40) Tuscany, Italy

41) Naples, Italy

42) Edinburgh, Scotland. - check. Toured here this summer for the festival. Great atmosphere, nice people, a lot of history, decent food, walking friendly. I had a great time!

43) Okinawa, Japan

44) Ibiza, Spain

45) Melbourne, Australia

46) Gold Coast, Australia

47) Great wall of China.

48) New Orleans, LA

49) Cape Town, South Africa

50) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Why I travel

Perhaps its the "Third Culture Kid" syndrome that gives us a constant need to travel that is inherent to our existence on earth to be global citizens or simply because we have that "itch". I am always dreaming up of my next trip. Where should I travel next? What do I want to see/experience/do? What do I want from my next trip? Is it a vacation? Is it to escape? Am I going there to scope out a possible future home? What do I want? Who do I want to see? Who do I want to meet? etc. Many questions run through my mind.

I turned to social media and asked my facebook network of friends, colleagues, students, third culture kids, expats, global nomads, family, and employers. These are their responses:

Why do YOU travel?

I travel because __________

"I travel because I want to be free"

"It's the best way to learn about the world."

"I need peace, because I want to feel foreign and misunderstood while bumping into unscheduled adventures with locals and travelers like myself."

"I wanna gtfo of singaboringpore." - LOL!

"I have to for work."

"I want to see. I want to gasp! return awestruck. And then linger on delightful memories knowing there is so much wonder still to experience."

"I seek to scratch The Itch.

"I travel because it brings me home."

"I want to connect with my mom, my kids and my family."

"I hate this bloody place."

"... a sedentary life is harbinger to the death of delightfully dynamic decisions, discourse and discovery! I apologize for nothing."

" i need it!"

"it is a joy to find a new home everywhere I go ... ?! "

"I can"

"I need to remind myself that there's more to life than just working"

"Because I Enjoy the new spices in life."

"I will see and experience things beyond the pretty photographs"

"I want to see as much as I can before I die"

"Either, I want out of my comfort zone or I want to relax, but always to escape the normal routine."

"I'm no tree."

"its a life worth living..."

"I travel because I'm curious!"          

"i need balance"

"it teaches me humility and gratitude"

"I want to learn!

"my soul needs it" 

"I'm curious! and because I love to get lost on purpose."

"i need to get out of Singapore to realize how fortunate i am"

I travel because I need to feel alive and discover myself again.   
I've read a lot of travel blogs and articles about why people travel. I think ultimately the reasons that we travel is because the monotony of daily life and the human need to explore the unknown becomes the biggest draw to traveling to new places. I have a bucket list of places I'd like to see that is very personal to me. Its always interesting to read other people's bucket list of places they would like to see in their lifetime. 

The past year has been very difficult for me as you can see from my past posts but there were some positives in my life that have happened in my life like the students I teach and have taught this past year (love you all!), rekindled friendships and made a few new friends, rediscovering the country of my youth, but what I've really LOVED is the traveling (Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Bali, Chiang Mai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, London, Edinburgh) and the year is not yet over! I am approaching my 30th birthday in a month and to celebrate, I have been planning on a ski trip to Switzerland and visiting a couple European cities. I've heard so much about these place but have never visited. I'm looking forward to celebrating my birthday, the holidays, and ushering in the new year with snow, skiing, gluhwein, hot chocolate, fondue, bratwurst, bier, art, culture, history, and new adventures!

I guess you could say that instead of being bitten by the travel bug, I've always had the travel bug since I was a fetus (my parents were traveling all over the world while pregnant with me). I have a travel addiction that is getting better with age!

Photo taken in NYC in 2010 after a big snowstorm right after Christmas and we went sledding in Central Park