I know that you've been waiting for some news about our book in progress "Where Should I Go in Southeast Asia?" Well, we're super excited to release it too! Here are some updates for you:

Change of Art

Initially, I was hoping to work with Abbey of Le Rêveur. But I got an email from her that she could no longer continue this project as she has a lot on her plate at the moment. Bummer, right? But it turned out to be great thing because I received an email from another artist who wanted to collaborate.

The funny thing is that she is a French girl currently living in Asia. And I'm this Asian currently living in Europe. How's that for a twist?

Southeast Asia Book6

Collaboration for Happiness

Marie Pottiez is a travel blogger, founder of Miles of Happiness. Curious of everything, she has an unquenchable thirst for discovery and sharing. Originally from France, she lived in Belgium, New Zealand and Indonesia, before settling down in Hong Kong in 2014. She spends as much time as possible traveling throughout Asia, discovering new pieces of paradise all year long.

Two+Frogs+in+a+Suitcase

You can follow her adventures on Facebook , Twitter  & Instagram. You can also watch her videos on Vimeo and get inspired with her Pinterest.

I chose to work with Marie because she's a super talented artist who's also well traveled and she's been to some countries we've visited in Southeast Asia. I also love that she has illustrated a children's travel book, 61 Days in New Zealand. She's a digital nomad just like me who takes her work wherever she goes.

Here's a sneak peak at Marie's work on etsy:

Marie Pottiez New York

Back Cover Description

6 months across 9 countries in Southeast Asia with only about 2,500 USD. Impossible?

Travel blogger Lois Yasay Ribeiro did just that. She now hopes to answer your question: "Where Should I Go in Southeast Asia?" by ranking all the countries she had visited. She also shares her insider recommendations on where to stay, what to eat, and what to do. She reveals her route and itinerary to take you on a soleful journey across Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore. With the help of artist Marie Pottiez, they invite you to go visual vagabonding through a hand drawn map, sketches, and images.

"Where Should I Go in Southeast Asia?" is 50% art, 50% guide and 100% inspiration.

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Book in Progress

So all the text has been written and edited. We're just finishing the artwork and design and we're good to launch. The ebook version will ready in April and we're in talks with a possible publisher. So stay tuned for that! 

We promised to give away free copies of the ebook to the first 100 signups. We got so much more than that, thank you. But if you still want to know when the book is ready, you can subscribe to our newsletter.
Southeast Asia Book1

Are you traveling around Southeast Asia soon and also wondering where to go? Ask your questions in the comments section.

Lois has traveled extensively and have lived in Asia, the United States, and Europe. She just recently got married and now has a baby girl. She is currently based in Europe trying to find a home base for her family. She is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of We Are Sole Sisters.


Get updates on our upcoming ebook Where Should I Go in Southeast Asia? by subscribing to our newsletter. Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & Instagram.
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I love road trips, don't you?

I love the feeling of freedom on the open highway. I love listening to unfamiliar music or having a good conversation while sitting inside the car. I love looking at the changing landscape, the road signs and the myriad of sky colors. I even love stopping at the restaurants, coffee shops or gas stations while checking out the local food and delicacy. Most of all, I love the anticipation- that feeling of being in between places.

When I'm on the road, my heart expands with every breath.

I went on a road trip with my husband and daughter recently. We drove from France to Portugal and it's one of the longest trips I've been in a car. The distance from Versailles (France) to Viana dos Castelo (Portugal) is about 1,600 km. You can probably do that in a day with a few stops, but we chose take the leisurely route. We wanted to do it in 2 days so we can stop in Biarritz for the night and continue the journey towards Spain then Portugal the next day.

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The French highway is called the autoroute and the rest stops are called "Aire". So you would often see a sign that says "Aire de ____" and some icons to indicate if that stop has a restaurant or gas station. Some stops only have picnic tables and toilets. Others have restaurants, playgrounds, hotels, and grocery stores.

Our first stop for brunch in France had a Paul, a boulangerie and  patisserie that sells bread and pastries. I couldn't resist getting a chausson aux pommes or French Apple turnover for the road. I bit into my pastry and nearly choked on something hard. I found a ladybug inside! 

What a great way to wish us luck at the start of our journey!

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Unfortunately, I had little sleep the night before so I slept a lot on the French autoroute. The landscape was not very interesting on the first leg of the journey. All you can see is one highway after the other. But I did manage to wake up just before sunset and take this picture:

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We arrived in Biarritz around midnight and found a ghost town. February is off season in this surf capital of France and it doesn't get busy until the start of summer. We stayed at Hotel Palym and they had a comfortable, small room that was perfect for our little family.

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France to Portugal5

We woke up early so we have time for breakfast and a quick stroll nearby. It was my first time to see the ocean in over a year. I stood on a cliff overlooking the bay and soaked it all in. I couldn't believe we were here!

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Even though it was still cold, the sun was out and we took our little girl for some Vitamin Sea.

 
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France to Portugal8

France to Portugal9

We could even see a few peelers in the distance. We saw a few people swimming though no one was surfing. Ben says it's a privilege to see Biarritz like this- quiet and peaceful. He says he wouldn't want to come back in the summer where you have to fight for a wave as all the surfers flock here.

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From a distance, we could see the Pyreenes mountain range that forms a natural border between France and Spain. There are only a few places on earth where you can see this type of landscape- white snow capped mountains in the background and blue green ocean in the foreground.

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I would have wanted to spend a few days in Biarritz but we had to save that for another time. Ben was eager to get back on the road as we still had thousands of miles ahead of us. The landscape changed a lot when we got back on the highway. We went from the monotonous autoroutes to the scenic mountainscapes.

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We were getting closer to Spain- a dream come true!

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We loved listening to the radio- the foreign languages, the mix mash of accents and tunes that hinted where we were even if we didn't look at the signs.


France to Portugal16

France to Portugal17

Crossing the Pyreenes is exhilarating for both the driver and passenger. There was still a lot of snow and there were many turns on the road. I definitely couldn't fall asleep here! There was so much to see and I was smiling in anticipation.

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Ben looks at me and tells me how much he loves being on the open road. There's something special about the seeing the horizon, the sky, that line that separates heaven and earth. It's like a dazzling display right before your eyes. The best part is, you can just open a window or even stop and be a part of it all.

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I wondered if there would be a huge sign to welcome us after we've crossed over to Spain. In the Philippines, even in small towns, it's common to see billboards saying "WELCOME TO ____ CITY! ENJOY YOUR STAY AND COME AGAIN!"

But if I hadn't been paying attention, I would have missed this:

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"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in France anymore."

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By nightfall, I was eager to arrive in Portugal. I've been wanting to see this country that Ben has been telling me about ever since we met. He is part Portuguese after all, and so is our daughter. I prepared my camera to take a shot of the Portugal sign. Ben told me I wouldn't even notice it.

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I did. But it went by so fast! And this is all I got:

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So we stayed at another hotel in Portugal for the night. We went to the Miño River the next morning to take this:

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France to Portugal23

France to Portugal24

It was so wonderful to be reunited with the sea again! I couldn't resist getting close to the water even if it was freezing. Portugal boasts of a coastal area with some of the world's best surf spots. And we were not disappointed.

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Do you see lines? 

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This fantastic view is from the Portuguese side overlooking Spain.

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We walked on the beach to see the sunset- my first in Portugal.

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France to Portugal29

It's amazing to note that the mountain behind me is Santa Tecla in Spain. But I'm actually on the Portuguese side. And with that sunset, we ended our first day in Portugal. We look forward to exploring more of the region. I have a feeling we will stay here longer than expected...

Do you love road trips too? Don't forget to share your best memories in the comments section!

Lois has traveled extensively and have lived in Asia, the United States, and Europe. She just recently got married and now has a baby girl. She is currently based in Europe trying to find a home base for her family. She is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of We Are Sole Sisters.


Get updates on our upcoming ebook Where Should I Go in Southeast Asia? by subscribing to our newsletter. Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & Instagram.
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“These days I have been still, and so the simple things like staying at a hostel and talking to other travelers like you is enough to make me feel like I’m on the road again. And the road is my home.”

This is what I told two kind-hearted travelers over a dish of Patatas Bravas and quesadillas. They both nod, my new Argentine friends, wearing those big smiles of theirs I’ve come to love, and from the light in their eyes I know that they understand. And that is a rare thing, to meet someone who genuinely understands. Over lunch we stuffed ourselves not just with delicious Latin food, but with fascinating stories of each other’s travels, that we all finish feeling wonderfully full.

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After lunch at Señor Pollo, we headed back to Z Hostel Philippines which is just a short walk away where we were sharing an 8-bed mixed dorm with two other travelers. We sat on the floor of our spacious room, and the stories just kept on coming. Hilarious misadventures on a Thai island. Remarkable road trips in Australia. My beautiful sun-drenched days in Langkawi. Every now and then while talking, we’d explored every possible nook and cranny of that room we shared, like little kids who won’t keep still.

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Z Hostel Manila7

We’d climb up the bunk beds only to come down again, and sprawl so happily on the clean white sheets. Dario would open all the cabinets in the pantry, and we’d joke if he perhaps found any food in there. I would ogle at the spacious lockers thinking how smart it was to have a small shelf and sockets inside so you could charge your gadgets in peace, and Steph would tinker with the individual headlamps on each bed. We’d pull the blinds up from our windows, revealing the pretty city view. And from my bed, I’d look down to adore the quaint garden rooftop of the Italian-themed house next door. And all the while, all of us giggling silly thinking how the little luxuries of our room—from the cool air-conditioning to the bidet in the bathroom—could make a weary traveler feel so gratified.

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Z Hostel Manila15

We laugh because, as travelers, we have become so used to cramped hostel beds and hard mattresses that Z Hostel’s wide and comfy beds were enough to make us feel like royalty.

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Z Hostel Manila14

That night, we were invited up to the roofdeck by the friendly owners of Z for an intimate barbeque party. This is my favorite place in all of the entire hostel. We had wine, beer, barbeque, nachos, isaw, and balut that we made our new traveling friends try. Which they did. So enthusiastically.

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Z Hostel Manila12

At the height of the night, I was feeling woozy. I found myself looking over the deck and the lights from the towering buildings of Rockwell were reflecting on the glass in my hands, glimmering like stars floating on my scarlet wine. This is my life, I think to myself. I have found my life. Because it seems that even now that I am technically home, the road keeps begging to keep me. And for just that night, I heed. I let myself drown in wine, and wonder, and overflowing lust for life.

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Z Hostel Manila4

Ever since that night, I have been finding myself back again and again at Z. And each time I am standing there on the roofdeck surrounded by its warm people, I would always say “There’s something about this place,” and whoever standing there next to me would always agree.

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Z Hostel Manila2

Perhaps it’s the friendly staff. The reception crew and the security who deliberately brought taho up to my room because they knew I had been waiting for the vendor to pass by. Or maybe it’s the owners—the team behind Z who are such grounded, funny people who’ve welcomed me again and again.

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Z Hostel Manila18

Or perhaps it’s the convergence of people. The visitors and the hosts. The musicians who would come to sing, and the artists who would come to paint. The buskers and their magic card tricks. The friendly locals and the wide-eyed travelers. The strangers waiting to make friends only if you would say hello.

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Z Hostel Manila9

That’s the thing I love about being in hostels. Being at Z. Always, the convergence of people are enough to make me feel like I’m on the road once more. I’m looking at this city I’ve known and loved all my life, but I feel like it is only now that I am really seeing. I saw Makati through the eyes of my new friends. I walk the streets of Z’s neighborhood and it’s like I’m running my hands across its intersections, its veins, and for the first time feeling its pulse.

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Z Hostel Manila5

On Sunday nights you’d think the city is sleeping, bracing themselves for the Monday, but not here. On their famous Sunday Slowdowns, Z Hostel is brighter than ever, and the people are, too.

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Z Hostel Manila16

Will, one of the owners, told me that when Z started, they would only have a few guests at their barbecue parties. And they were only mostly attended by people they knew. “Tonight,” he tells me, “I don’t know any of these people.” He is grinning, and the thrill in his eyes says everything. The place was packed that night.

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Z Hostel Manila21

They say that you know you are in the presence of a free spirit because you feel good, very good, whenever you are around or near them.

Z Hostel may not be a person, but it definitely has spirit, and one that is irrevocably light and free.

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Nicole is a wayfaring soul, writing tutor & freelance writer currently based in the Philippines. She also shares her words and photography on The Stillness in Moving

Author's Note: Thank you to Z Hostel Philippines for accommodating Nicole. You can also join them on the Z Hostel Facebook page. As always, all opinion are the author's.


Get updates on our upcoming ebook Where Should I Go in Southeast Asia? by subscribing to our newsletter. Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & Instagram.
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