Traipsing Round The Globe: Month 3

Hey! Welcome to the third update of Traipsing Round the Globe, a real-time recap of my round-the-world trip! Check out months one and two if you haven’t read them yet.

Hey guys! This round-up is coming to you from the idyllic island of Koh Tao, my favorite spot is Thailand! As usual I’m finding it hard to leave- I’ve already been here four days and am planning on staying at least another three. Whoops.

Where I’ve Been:

Rishikesh, India (11 days)

The Himalayas (Uttarkhand) (11 days)

Bangkok (4 days)

Koh Tao (4 days)

Highs:

yoga_Rishikesh

Becoming a certified yoga teacher!

This month I wrapped up my 30-day Yoga Teacher Training and guess what- I’m now certified to teach yoga! Yoga has seriously made such a difference in my life- from helping me control my anxiety to keeping me strong and flexible. I don’t feel ready to be a teacher just yet, but someday I can’t wait to share the gift of yoga with others.

And while I sadly had to bid adieu to my incredible classmates, I also got to say goodbye to two-hour vinyasa classes on 110-degree days. Dear God. Also I won’t lie- I was happy to leave the cow-shit and fly-ridden streets of Rishikesh far, far behind.

Himalaya_trek

Trekking the Himalayas.

This one was a literal high- a high of more than 14,000 feet to be exact! I’m not sure if I’ve fleshed this out fully, but I’m not hugely into camping- in fact, this nine-day Himalayan trek was my second ever camping trip! So I was super proud of myself when I managed to survive the world’s highest mountain range. While there were days when I was practically dragging myself to camp (namely, the eight-hour, almost all uphill day when I got sunstroke, yay), most days I was just soaking in the Middle Earth-esque views and having a blast with my fellow trekkers.

Three nights of luxury in Delhi and Agra.

And after a bare-bones month in rural India and nine days not showering in the mountains, a girl deserves a little luxury, right? So my two travel buddies and I pooled our Starpoints and rupees for some pretty swanky digs: Le Meridien and Leela Palace in Delhi. Leela Palace was utter luxury- from piles of white lilies and a string quartet in the lobby to beds fit for a sultan to unsolicited lemon iced tea being literally delivered on a silver tray, this hotel was the perfect break from the grit and grime of the five weeks previous.

 

Taj_Majal

Seeing the Taj Majal at sunrise.

See above. Gorgeous, right? While the Taj was admittedly quite out of the way, overall its beauty made the hassle well worth it.

Re-embracing civilization in Bangkok.

Um, post-India Bangkok might has well have been Boston. I spent my first day in Bangkok strolling the swanky Siam Paragon mall, perusing H&M and swilling a vanilla latte. Joy. And okay fine, I did some serious damage on my credit card at the Bobbi Brown counter- budget be damned.

Also after 5+ weeks of fan-rooms, AC felt like a thousand tiny angels all kissing my skin all at once. Glorious.

koh_tao_sunset

Becoming a beach bum on Koh Tao.

My Koh Tao schedule: wake up to poached eggs and fresh-squeezed pineapple juice, bathe in the warm, turquoise-blue waters, read Game of Thrones, drink Chang(s), meet friends for dinner on the beach, fall asleep to the waves crashing to the shore. Repeat ad infinitum.

Lows:

White-water rafting on the Ganges.

My Indian white-water rafting experience was insanity: manning a raft full of fully-clothed Indians who couldn’t swim, hearing the shrieks of a terrified, soaking wet infant, watching a mottled-blue human torso drift by. Um, who brings a 10-month old on a raft? WTF?

Dealing with the administration at my yoga school.

Let’s just say I did not leave on good terms with the owner and to be honest I wouldn’t recommend the school (or to be honest the city, Rishikesh) to anyone who wants to do their Yoga Teacher Training abroad. Post soon.

Blood blisters and high-altitude sunburn in the Himalayas.

Em yeah. I would’ve hoped I was made of more solid stuff but apparently I have a fairly delicate composition. Ouch.

Flying into a country with martial law.

Oh, so you know how Thailand is under control of the military, has a curfew and is under martial law? I flew here anyway. And while the only repercussion was that I couldn’t enjoy Bangkok nightlife as I would’ve wanted, it was still a possibly risky decision to come here. Oh and for the record- there’s no curfew on Koh Tao!

Blowing way too much money.

So I’m now traveling with an (awesome) friend who works as an i-banker in NYC- soooo my budget isn’t quite as water-tight as usual. To be honest I’m not too worried though- I’ll be home within a month anyway!

Not knowing what’s next.

Right now it feels like one chapter of my life is closing and another is beginning, which leaves me feeling more melancholy than I would have thought. As much as I want to start my career and settle down somewhere (and have a freaking apartment of my own, finally!), I know I’ll miss these carefree globe-trotting years of my life.

Favorite Shot:

koh_tao

So enough about me! What were your May adventures? Any shenanigans? Spill in the comments.

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Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is an American travel blogger and freelance writer who moved to Paris at 21 and has been traveling the world ever since. She's usually in pursuit of yoga, languages and perfectly ripe cheese and her writing has been featured in National Geographic, Viator and Jetstar Australia.
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26 Comments

  1. That Taj Majal photo is stunning. Don’t worry about blowing the money. It’s there to be spent. Good luck with the job hunting!
    Jimmy Dau recently posted..The week in Photos – FourteenMy Profile

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  2. Ashley
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful adventures. Keep on writing, traveling and sharing your stories
    Hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  3. omgsh, like a dead body, piece of a torso!? wtf?? I’ve white-water rafted in India too and it’s a hoot. Imagine Ben’s job employing Indian divers (some of which literally cannot swim- no clue how they got certified, they wear jeans under their wet-suits, and the sikhs dive with their turbans on). I’m surprised you didn’t like Rishikesh that much, granted I only stayed 1 week but in comparison to most places I travel in India it was like a peaceful break! Esp. a break from traffic which is literally the best. Curious to hear about the yoga camp you stayed at & what you didn’t like. Oh AND I love the Leela too! We stay in them for weekends in monsoon because they are about half the price. Just dreamy!! Enjoy Ko Tao- I love it there too!
    Rachel of Hippie in Heels recently posted..The Expert Shares: 7 Differences Between Eastern and Western YogaMy Profile

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    • Wow Ben’s job must lead to lots of great stories! The Leela was one of my favorite hotels ever. Hope you enjoyed your visit home to the states by the way! :)

  4. Your photo’s are beautiful. I’m also worried about overspending whilst I’m on my study abroad trip for 6 months. I’d love to hear any tips you have for budgeting.

    Hannah xo

    Reply
    • Hey, Hannah! Where are you studying abroad? That alone makes a huge difference! :)

  5. Oh gosh the white water rafting sounds terrible!! congrats on getting your yoga cert- I’m looking forward to hearing more about it. Enjoy the rest of your beach time!
    Joella J in Beijing recently posted..Friday Night Beers In The HutongMy Profile

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  6. Congrats on completing your yoga teacher training! Bummer the school/location turned out to be a bust, but looks like you’ve had a lot of highlights to make up for it :)
    Rika | Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..Roatan Review: Tyll’s DiveMy Profile

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    • Very true! A part of me wishes I had done my yoga teacher training on a beautiful beach somewhere but India definitely lends itself to better stories :)

  7. Congratulations on the yoga certification! I’d love to do that one day, just to say I did it! but I probably need to work on my flexibility first… I know how you feel about settling down and getting an apartment. I still have a lot of travel plans in the future, but I know I don’t want to do it forever. enjoy your last month! I’m leaving Brazil in 7 weeks and that seems like such a short amount of time!
    Hannah Wasielewski recently posted..10 Reasons Brazil Should be Your Next Travel DestinationMy Profile

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  8. Sounds like an incredible month. I bet those views on the trek were AMAZING!

    And UM WHAT? That rafting experience sounds absurd!!

    Enjoy Koh Tao!! Home within a month already? Crazy! Let’s cross paths in the good US of A. I’ll be home in less than a month too!!
    Jessica of Curiosity Travels recently posted..What Americans Can Learn From ItaliansMy Profile

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    • I would love to! And good luck with your camino, sooo jealous! PS you should come to Michigan this summer! :)

  9. Lovely to hear from you Ashley and what an adventure you’re still having LOL! Congratulations on getting certified. Well in the bag and India, oh India. No one ever leaves India unscathed and unmoved LOL! Ah well, crazy encounters on a raft with a dead body and a baby in tow. Tick!
    ‘Loving the beach pictures. :)
    Victoria recently posted..So you think you know Mozart? Breakin’ Mozart in Berlin!My Profile

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  10. I love these updates :) Your photos from the Himalayas look amazing. Can’t wait to see more!

    And I want to hear about your next plans/lack of plans! Hopefully I’ll be seeing you in Michigan later this summer!!!!!!!!

    Reply
    • Um, yes!!! When will you be in the mitten? I demand a meet-up!

  11. Dear Ashley,

    How much you have accomplished and how exciting it all sounds. I
    can hardly wait for your return home and hear and see all. we will
    all want to have you to help us with yoga!

    Love you and proud of you!!

    Gamma

    Reply
    • I would love to help with yoga! So glad to chat with you on your birthday. As always thanks for commenting Gamma, you’re the best!

  12. Wow the Himalayas adventure is out of this world! How neat you trekked through that landscape. I would have probably died. You certainly deserved the luxury after that. Can’t wait to hear where life takes you next Ashley!
    Alex, Speaking Denglish recently posted..IT HAPPENS TO EVERY EXPAT: LEAVINGMy Profile

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  13. So I’m so glad I stumbled onto this post because my sister and I are currently planning a trip for this February to New Zealand, Australia, and I’ve been trying to convince her to add Koh Tao to the list! It looks like absolute paradise. Is that where that last photograph was taken? Where did you stay on the island, and did you fly into Bangkok and then take a ferry over? Sorry for all the questions! :) can’t wait to read more about your journey!!!
    Sara @ Girl Meets World recently posted..Photo Friday 12 – {Vlog}My Profile

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    • Hey, Sara! Yep, that last photo was taken on Koh Tao at InTouch resort. It really is a great island! And we actually took the night train down. Request the bottom bunk because it has more space- it’s definitely the easiest way to get there!

  14. I wanted to go to Koh Tao first, but ended up going to Koh Chang. It’s so awesome. It the monsoon started last week so some rain. Yep I didn’t feel much of the military coup in Bangkok but I think some travelers stayed away from Thailand. At Lonely Beach I basically had the beach to myself. Ashley what are your recommendations for Thai islands?

    Reply
    • To be honest I haven’t seen a ton of Thai islands. I love Koh Tao (obviously) and enjoyed Railay. Ao Nang and Koh Samui weren’t my favorite spots in Thailand… I’ve heard great things about Koh Lanta and Koh Chang though!

  15. That photo of the Taj Mahal is amazing. And I laughed out loud when I read “AC felt like a thousand tiny angels all kissing my skin all at once”
    Ashley recently posted..Hoi An Stole my HeartMy Profile

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