Saturday, January 19, 2013

Immersion Water Heaters Are Not Just for Tea and Coffee

Here's what it looks like:

If you've never seen one before, either you weren't raised by an army dad, like I was, or I'm showing my age. Oh dear! You don't see them much anymore, but can still buy them from Amazon here.I'm hoping with this post, they're come back in style because when it comes to travel, they are handy little gadgets!

Why do I like them so much? Well, they're fast, first of all. If you need a cup of hot water in a jiffy, they do the job faster than a kettle. While I've seen some adorable little travel kettles and most hotel rooms have a coffee maker in them, sometimes you don't want to even touch the coffee maker in the room without gloves and bleach. This thing is compact and easy to travel with, so why bother with anything else?

Also, believe it or not, but you can boil an egg or pasta using an electric immersion water heater (you'll also need to a ceramic mug or bowl to do the job - don't use a styrofoam cup!) Think of anything that can be boiled - tea, coffee, hot dogs, stew, soups, porridge - there are tons of cheap and easy meals that can be made in the comfort of your hotel/hostel room while travelling. This will save you tons of money.

If you need more cooking tips or just want a laugh, check out my first on-screen performance as The Real Iron Chef:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Money and Time

money and time time and money solowomantraveler
Nothing like planning travel with other people to make me appreciate why I usually go alone. With the exception of my hubby, who is easy to travel with as long as he has a bottle of Dramamine and special ear plugs, I just lack patience for waiting on other people. Timing is always an issue. Money and time - the big travel killers or enablers. It's rare to get everyone on board at the same time with that special mix of money and time.

I've been trying to maximize my time with my friends, while maximizing my time in each country and I think one thing will have to give. Which means time in each country will end up taking precedence over the friends. Sorry dudes! Luckily, these aren't guys with giant egos. I think they both understand I'm there to get certain things accomplished and that's it.

But really, I can only humanly do so much. Dfly has already been to Korea, so I will likely go alone. However, he may come with me to Kyoto and then stay there longer, which is a great idea. I am looking forward to the idea of a 3-hour train ride with him - catching up and shooting the shit. (For those who don't know, Dfly and I traveled to Yemen and Paris together, so we have experience with this)

I guess distance and 13-hour time differences don't help when it comes to planning either, but we are messaging, emailing, Skyping, Facetiming....I laugh because not all of that existed when Pt left for China over 10 years ago. Phone calls were the most amazing thing (I actually got a special long-distance plan to include China).

Even with me offering to pay for certain things, time still remains an issue. At the same time, it's because of these friends that I'm venturing out there in the first place. I see it as a once in a lifetime trip - the stars will probably never align quite the same way again to give me two amazing friends in two amazing countries, who can both speak a bit of the language there. Not everything will be perfect, but it will still be worth it!