Best of Legal Nomads

I’ve been blogging at Legal Nomads for over 3 years, and with a few hundred posts published, I wanted to put together a Best Of page for those new readers who aren’t sure where to look. Yes, there are tags at the side of the blog, but the categories below are chosen by me and are some of my favourites from my years of travel thus far.

I’d like to think of this page as a living tree, growing outward as I continue with my adventures. I hope you enjoy.

WHY I DO WHAT I DO

These are the more personal posts that explain a bit more of why I travel the way I do, and some of the lessons learned in the process.

Why I Quit my Job to Travel the World (April 2010): It took 2 years of blogging, but I finally explain why I quit to travel the world.

The Ups and Downs of Worldwide Travel (May 2011) – VIDEO: Video interview about travel as a solo female as well as the highs and lows and unexpected surprises of several 2 years on the road.

What Long-Term Travel Doesn’t Fix (December 2010): While I have benefitted tremendously as a person from my years of travel, there are some things that travel doesn’t fix, ones that are deeply ingrained into who we are as people.

How Travel Helps us Keep Life in Perspective (March 2011): From culture shock to reverse culture shock to living through harrowing moments abroad: how travel helps each of us recalibrate to our present.

What does Off the Beaten Path Really Mean? (September 2011): I get emails asking where “secret” places are that my readers can visit, but in this post I encourage everyone to think of what that really means. I think it’s possible to be “off the beaten path” even in your own backyard; you don’t always need to go somewhere far away.

On Taking Risks, Long-Term Travel and Finding your Path in Life (December 2011) VIDEO: my keynote from WDS 2011, on why I took the path I did in life and how one does not always have to have a full plan at the beginning in order to succeed at something new. (Making plans as you go is ok, so long as you continuously take stock of what comes next.0

Practical Tips from 4 Years of Traveling The World and On Homesickness and Long-Term Travel (both April 2012) – for my 4 year anniversary of departure, I’ve put together a long dual post about the practical and the ephemeral during this new life of long-term travel.

FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD

Tapas in La Latina, Madrid

Tapas in La Latina, Madrid

Cheap Eats: New York City (December 2009, updated 2012) – After years of working in New York and saving for my travels, I ended up with quite a list of cheap but delicious food from the city that never sleeps.

My first Week in Chiang Mai (January 2011) – Shockingly, my return to Thailand involved eating a lot of great street food. Who’d have thunk it? :)

What to Eat in Laos (February 2011) – Food-filled photoessay of all the terrific things I ate when I went to Laos. For those wanting more food photography, this is for you1

An Ode to Spices (June 2011) – This was one of the posts I’m most proud of because it encapsulates all that I love about food. The flavours, the textures, the colours and all of the things that make eating exciting and interesting to me.

It’s Always Tagine O’Clock in Morocco (November 2011) - Tagine, that wonderful dish from Morocco all folded into a bubbling clay pot, comes in many varieties. Photos and some context from the national dish.

Condiments from Around the World (And Why They Matter) (December 2011) – From pickles to chilli and everything in between, a long post on the table condiments we find on our travels, and how they fit into the history and culture of the places we visit.

It’s Surprisingly Easy to Be Gluten-Free in Italy (May 2012) – I had no idea that as a celiac Italy would be one of the most simple places to travel – the country is incredibly aware of celiac disease and has a wealth of gluten-free options.

My first (delicious) impressions of Vietnam (December 2012) – Very excited to be spending four months in Vietnam but I doubt I’ll get through all the great eats I want to try.

The Food Traveler’s Handbook: where to buy, recent press and more (January 2013) – YAY I CAN HAZ FOOD BOOK!

Sunsets and Soup in Mui Ne, Vietnam (February 2013) – An ode to a wonderful street soup in the beachside town of Mui Ne, Vietnam.

MISADVENTURES IN TRANSPORTATION

Atienza Cargo Ferry from El Nido to Coron: Not for the Faint of Heart (June 2009) - With 41 water buffalo, tanks of live fish and more chicken than your average KFC, this ferry ride wasn’t for the faint of heart. The boat was several days late, the captains hadn’t yet hit puberty and I woke up in the middle of the night because a rooster was slowly creeping onto my stomach, assumably to rest. As boat rides go, I won’t forget this one.

My 5 Worst Bus Rides in Burma (Myanmar) (June 2010): My memories from Burma are among the most smile-inducing from several years of travel, but the bus rides aren’t part of those happy thoughts. From trundling down a steep mountain path, packed into the back of a pickup like sardines to a 12 hour minibus ride through the Shan foothills, here are my top 5 worst bus rides from over a month in Burma.

2nd Trans Siberian Wrap-Up: Russia to Mongolia Border Crossing (September 2008) - 9-hours to get from Siberia to Mongolia? Why not! A play-by-play of the longest border crossing I’ve ever experienced.

A Flight Like No Other: JFK to Moscow with Vodka (September 2008) - A vodka-soaked flight from New York to Moscow was unlike any flight I had ever taken before.

My Crazy Flight to the Dominican Republic (August 2010) – If I thought JFK to Moscow was nuts, I was mistaken: flight to the Dominican included plenty of rum, a grandmother making out with an 18 year old and a screaming match between two passengers. Amazing.

My Safety Whistle: Worth its Weight in Gold (December 2010) – Two out of my three emergency uses for the safety whistle related to transportation: one while getting stuck in the middle of Burma’s Ayeyarwaddy river at dusk and the other when locked into the bathroom on a night train (classy, I know). Safety whistle: don’t leave home without it.

It’s Not A Proper Bus Ride without a Chicken or Two (February 2011) – Vomiting children, livestock and a songthaew so packed people were hanging off the end. Just another bus ride in Southeast Asia!

Decoding the Insanity of Driving in Morocco (November 2011) – Driving in Morocco is quite the harrowing experience, but when treated like a game of Rad Racer and with knowledge of the basic rules, it became one of the best parts of my trip to the country.

UH, REALLY?

The following posts were culled from the “So…..that happened” memory group. Funny, harrowing and just plain weird.

Updated Crap Counter: Eleven Birds, One Bat (Perpetually updated): All of the birds who took a shit on my head, and the lone bat who started me down the dangerous “mammals who shat on me” path.

A Culture Clash Moment in Mataram, Indonesia (Sepember 2009) – The Black-Eyed Peas meet conservative Indonesia during a bridal fashion show.

How Not to Kill a Poisonous Spider on the Perhentian Islands: A Lesson in 3 Parts (August 2009) – Killing a bright green, poisonous spider on the Perhentians in Malaysia isn’t as easy as you think.

Highlights from my Night in the Jakarta Airport (July 2009) – Arriving late at night from the Philippines, I had several hours to burn before my next flight to Bali, which were rendered that much more entertaining by a newfound friend who aimed to drink as much beer as possible before takeoff.

The Saga of My Computer Charger Cord (May 2009) – When rats chewed through my computer’s charging cord in El Nido, the Philippines, it took a full day (and half a village!) to get it fixed.

Three Years of Sickness and Travel, By the Numbers (July 2011) – After motorbike accidents, teargassing, food poisoning from a llama empanada and more, I finally sat down to do the math on the crazy things that got me sick on my travels.

SUNRISE, SUNSET

Sunsets from around the world

What would round-the-world travel be without the constant slideshow of fiery colours at dusk and dawn? I’ve been taking pictures of sunrises and sunsets since I set off and I’ve yet to tire of them. Here are a few posts highlighting favourites.

Sunsets and Storms on Malaysia’s Perhentian Kecil (November 2009) – Shoulder season is a great time to travel because prices are usually lower and the crowds sparse. A side benefit: I landed on Perhentian Kecil as the monsoon rains drew closer, making for some stunning sunsets as the storms rolled in.

A Golden Sunset in El Nido, Philippines (June 2009) – Monsoon season began in El Nido, with new storms barrelling toward the Visayas almost daily and moving upward and over the Philippines. Rains followed by golden sun – a beautiful combination.

Gunung Agung, Indonesia on my 30th birthday (August 2009) – Spending my 30th birthday atop the most sacred mountain in Indonesia was one great memory, even if I lost several toenails to get there. Sunrise made it even more worthwhile.

Featured Photos: Storm over Sydney (December 2009) – Another great sunset after a powerful storm, this time in Australia.

Sunrise over the ruins of Bagan, Burma (Myanmar) (January 2010) – Scrambling atop a crumbling zedi to watch the sun rise over Burma’s central plains is an experience I will never forget. Absolutely stunning.

Mandalay’s U Bein Bridge: Aging Teak & a Glorious Sunset (October 2010) – Burma’s iconic U Bein bridge is usually photographed from below, so as to include the teak within the frame. However, there was something eye-catching in the tamarind branches of an old tree, its gnarled silhouette catching the late afternoon sun, that made me stay on the bridge and take photos from there.

An Afternoon in Paris’ Montmartre (November 2010) – The sun setting over the 18th Arrondissement, the buildings glowing in the distance, this post details a lovely walk through Paris at the end of a sunny day.

POSTS THAT MAKE ME SMILE

The most subjective category of all, devoted to those posts that make me smile. These are the stories that take me back to the experiences that spawned them, to the places that I love.

Beautiful sights from around the world

Top 10 Philippine Quirks (June 2009) – It’s no secret that I adored the Philippines (many of the posts in this section come from the country), but this remains one of my go-to posts for a memory-jolt because it captures all of the strange and delicious quirks that make the Phils so great.

Mongolian Dreams (October 2008) – My brief but intense weeks in Mongolia were among the highlights of my trip, and the Trans-Siberian traisn among the reasons I left in the first place. It’s thus no surprise to see Mongolia’s wrapup on this list. From riding camels in the Gobi to exploring monasteries to living with nomads (and helping kill a sheep for dinner), the country was worth it on every level.

Palawan Paradise: El Nido, The Philippines (June 2009) – It took me awhile to write about El Nido, but once I did I felt that I did the tiny town justice in my post explaining my months living there. From fishing for dinner to the air sirens that serve as a bedtime warning for errant children, this town left me feeling like I stumbled into an alternate universe. And I loved every minute of it.

Why I Love my Burmese Longyi (September 2010) – My time in Burma, something I’ve yet to finish writing about, was among the best weeks I had on my adventures. I started this post thinking it would be about boats and ended up with a thread linking my myriad travels in the country together: the longyi I wore throughout.

Watching a Solar Eclipse in Burma (December 2010) – Piggybacking on the prior post, this 3 day slow boat trip in Burma was chock full of adventure, karaoke and a solar eclipse to boot. What more could a traveler want?

Animals from around the world

Animals from around the world

Some Post-Asia Reverse Culture Shock (June 2010) – People often talk about culture shock in arriving somewhere, but not as many posts are devoted to the return, the plunged-into-cold-water feeling of going home and feeling like you never knew it. This post is a list of reasons why I had a hard time readjusting to North America after so long in Asia.

Waterlogged and Smiling: Celebrating Songkran in Bangkok (April 2010) – Sandwiched between a month of protests and a calamitous army crackdown, the raucous water and clay filled days of Songkran were surreal.

Mandalay to Myitkyina by Train (August 2011) – 24 hours of train travel, food and observation in Northern Burma.

Best of Burma: Photography and Memories from Inle Lake (February 2010) – Photoset from the colours, chaos and beautiful markets surrounding Inle Lake in Burma.

Thank you for reading!

-Jodi