December Goals (2016)

Hey World,

First of all, This is the 100th post on A Path Unpaved. November 2013 feels like a million moons ago - but I've enjoyed every step so far, and I hope you have too.

And now it's almost DECEMBER, and the end of 2016.
 Can you believe it? 

December Goals: 
1. Mail ALL of our Christmas/Holiday cards out (and the rest of our wedding TY cards...)
2. Reconnect with 5 friends to see how they are doing 
3. Change my name on my driver's license
4. Host my 3rd annual Christmas Cookie baking party in Iringa
5. Ask family & friends for book/reading recommendations 
6. Order 5 new books I'm excited about over Christmas 
7. Continue hosting weekly marriage meetings with Brady!

And November Goals, I didn't forget you! Here's how they panned out:

1. Select a wedding photo & template from Minted to use for our Christmas cards (and order!) It was too much fun checking out all of our options, but the shoe fit with one in particular right away! 
2. Host my best friend Kelsey & take LOTS of BFF pictures on our adventure to Victoria Falls Kelsey left two days ago, and I can't even begin to share how GREAT it was to have her here!
3. Organize and cook a small Thanksgiving Dinner here in Iringa (& co-plan a community one) Not yet! Some unexpected travel glitches has made me delay Friendsgiving, but should happen ASAP!
4. Attend a book sale / host a book swap to refresh my bookshelves Not quite done, but I've reserved a table at the Christmas Craft Fair in two weeks to hopefully tick this one off!
5. Buy our flights home for Christmas (and book NYE accommodation in Amsterdam!) Booked!
6. Send two "just because" cards & one postcard to a lucky few friends :) I mailed 6!
7. Finish reading three books!  I've read 6 books this month; and am halfway through two more. On fire!

What's on your to-do list this month? 


#ScenesFromCambodia: Kampot & Phnom Penh

Hey World,

Can you believe it's already the end of the week? November is almost coming to a close and Christmas is in ONE MONTH (!!!). I'm plugging along away at work, and preparing my team for close oversight of farmers as they begin to plant their maize for this season. I'm also counting down the days until I head home for Christmas break!

Anyways, it's also time to wrap up my #ScenesFromCambodia posts. 
(PS: If you missed the first two Cambodia photo posts, check them out here & here!).

I had heard great things about Kampot, but at this point in my trip, was less inclined to do anything adventurous as I really only wanted to eat, write and sleep. My day in Phnom Penh was devoid of writing until the late afternoon, and though I heard a lot about how not-friendly the city is, I had an incredible experience there! It was definitely worth shelling out money for a centrally-located hotel which allowed me to walk around quite a bit, or hop on a motorcycle taxi.   

Guys, this was my sunset view every night while in Kampot. I'd often be writing from 12-12pm, taking one long break for dinner, so it was refreshing to stop by and watch the sun go down for a few minutes before getting back to work!
This guy creeped on me writing my thesis one day. Too funny!

My digs in Kampot!

Thesis Fuel: hot tea!

No matter where I go, my job seems to follow me! 

When there is no hope to finish your paper, look for Cheetos. 

A bag -- filled mostly with books! They were both super heavy, but I managed to carry them around for two weeks with limited back issues :)

Welcome to the capital!

Raspberry smoothie break. 

I got a manicure at this awesome place, just in case someone asked a specific question in coming weeks....(my hunch was right!!!)

Well guys, thanks again for tagging along through my Cambodia trip! Upcoming throwbacks will focus on East Africa (Rwanda & DRC), and in the new year, we'll go back to Europe (Slovenia, Slovakia, Venice & Austria!). 


May Your Gratitude Flow Like Gravy!

Hey World,

Thanksgiving is arguably one of, if my, #1 holidays, because it has everything I love the most: family/friends in one place, a reason to eat gravy, votive candles, and a conversations about gratitude. This year I had some wrenches thrown in my original plan that has delayed the celebrating (to host over a dozen coworkers for dinner), but has not delayed my gratefulness on this holiday!

Take some time today, tonight or early tomorrow (depending on your gravy glow!) and give infinite thanks for the blessings in your life. You can bet I will be throwing gratitude to the wind all evening long*!


PS: If you want a fun exercise to track your thankfulness, fill out this simple yet chic Month of Gratitude sheet by Emily Ley! 
PPS: If you want to share some gratitude with others, Kim from So Many Places has a really cool Yellow Envelope project to pay it forward with small acts of kindness. If you're interested, you can read about it here! She's sending envelopes all over the globe -- I know you want in!

*And also eating stuffing as soon as I can. LOTS of stuffing! 
(but never too much stuffing as there's simply no such thing :)

#ScenesFromCambodia: Siam Reap

Hey World,

While I started off strong with my photos from Angkor Wat in the last post (Marisa's Disco Tuk-Tuk Temple Tour!), there's a lot to do around Siam Reap, and is definitely worth a couple of days outside of your temple time, should your schedule allow!

While I didn't have much time aside from exploring some downtown temples and doing a bit of shopping, I did take off a half day to visit the Tongle Sap, which was awesome! Check it out below. 

I loved all of the details around Siam Reap!

Reading in the sunshine!

When in doubt, always order a blue cheese burger :)

One of my hour breaks!

Reading by the pool for HOURS meant this sun hat was a necessary purchase.

One of the best parts about this tour is that Brady did it about a year earlier, also while traveling solo! 

I love this: Making Grandma do all of the work :)

While passing through Sihanoukville on my way to Kampot, I took basically NO pictures! Most who head there stay right alongside the beach (which is gorgeous & is known for its party scene), but I opted for a night in a downtown hostel & then a hotel up on the hills to just break up my trip a bit. Honestly, if I had known the distances between the town & the beach, and more about how to get around, I would have opted for some beach time, or stopped in Battanbang instead. Live and you learn!

There's a final post coming on Friday from Kampot, and you can check out the previous post from my Disco Tuk-Tuk tour here. Hope you're enjoying the (delayed) trip to Cambodia!


#ScenesFromCambodia: Marisa's Disco Tuk Tuk Temple Tour

Hey World,

I know today's title is a bit of a mouthful, but I was so grateful for my tuk-tuk driver, who took me all from Siam Reap around Angkor Wat for two days, that I had to give him a special mention (he's also the last picture!).

Traveling alone was really difficult for me (remember Malawi?), and combined with the stress of writing my thesis, there were more than a few tears shed on most days. However, my time in the actual Angkor Wat complex was so breathtaking, and my driver so kind, that I closely held onto these cherished hours for the entire trip. 

Full disclosure: This photo is my favorite from the entire trip

Tomb Raider fans; this is for you.  

I wasn't lying when I said DISCO tuk tuk!

Mid-day hydration / energy break!

By the second day, I was asking all sorts of people to take my picture for me -- but this one is by far my favorite!

If you were looking for your next computer background, 'd be happy to email you the photo!

THIS GUY! After the first day, he bought an American flag for me. Too much!
After many years out of Southeast Asia, it was so amazing to be back to somewhere that feels familiar (even though I was experiencing it alone). While there are many more corners of the world I haven't explored, going back and tackling another SE Asian country like Vietnam or Malaysia is HIGH on the bucket list!

Want to see more from Cambodia? You can check out the intro here, or check back in again on Wednesday & Friday for more!