Roundup: Reaching the Finish Line, Taking the Next Step, and Being a Better Person

by Nora Dunn on October 3, 2011

Glamming it up in Guilin

Glamming it up in Guilin

September has been a month of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. I traveled about 25,000kms by train in just 30 days from Lisbon to Saigon, along with two other nomadic travel bloggers Jeannie Mark of Nomadic Chick, and Michael Hodson of Go See Write as part of the Ultimate Train Challenge. Stay tuned for more posts with videos, stories of adventure, and a summary of the few dozen trains that delivered me to my final destination of Saigon. I’m currently staying at Thien Thao Hotel; exploring, enjoying foot massages, haggling at markets, eating all the street food I can find, and using the (thankfully) fast internet like I haven’t had it in weeks. (Wait a minute – I haven’t)!

Despite Saigon’s chaotic nature, it is my haven for the next 10 or so days. Then, my next step in my full-time travels: I’m flying to the Caribbean island of Granada, where I’m house-sitting for three months. After the constant movement of the Ultimate Train Challenge, I’m thrilled to counterbalance it with a few months of kicking back, living on a beach, taking long walks, and getting lots of writing done. I’m even excited to get a chance to taste what boredom might be like. This should be an interesting challenge, given my ever-busy nature.

Here are my published articles from September, along with a number of profiles of my recent travel adventures, and even a new music album that has just been released – featuring six songs that I sing on!

Wise Bread

25 Ways to Be a Better Person Today

Here are 25 practical ways to be a better person today (and reap additional benefits like increased happiness, saving money, and helping the environment).

Care One

Financial Planners are Not Only for the Wealthy

Last month, we discussed 15 Things to Expect from Your Financial Planner. Now that you know what to expect, it’s time to find one. This article discusses a few things to consider.

Save Money with a Christmas Wish List

I often make mental notes of things I’d like for Christmas. It’s inevitably a host of items with varying price tags and degrees of necessity. It’s perfect for a Christmas Wish List, and alleviates the need for my benefactors to guess (often wrongly) what I’d like or need. Except, when somebody actually asks me what I want, I can’t remember one thing on my “list” – since I don’t actually have one!

This year, I’ve wised up. Starting now, I’m making a Christmas Wish List. Here’s how.

Profiles & Shout-Outs

The Hostel Life asked me to share a little story about my traveling life, and being in the throes of the Ultimate Train Challenge, it only made sense to share the catalyst for my Ultimate Train Challenge involvement. It was my Australian rail adventures, which included 11,000 kms in 11 days. Straight. Here’s the “coles notes” version of how it all went down:

Finding the End of the Down Under

Mike Sowden, who I met in England last year did a nice write-up of our Ultimate Train Challenge adventures, just before we boarded the epic Trans-Siberian journey in Moscow. Check out this fledgling site with great resources while you’re at it!

Riding the Trains from Portugal to Vietnam – the Ultimate Train Challenge


And Jodi Ettenberg, resident columnist for Hipmunk, also had a few things to say about the Ultimate Train Challenge. Thanks, Jodi!

Ultimate Train Challenge – Lisbon to Saigon


Last but not least, I’m thrilled to announce that Cybiont has released his latest album, on which I sing on six tracks. You can listen to the album (and if you like it, buy/download it for $12) at the link below.

Cybiont: So Much Work For Love

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Henry Williams October 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm

good post and thats a lot of traveling in a short period of time

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Nancy & Shawn Power... Inspiring YOU to travel! October 5, 2011 at 2:41 am

Yes, you will need that 3 months just to get over that long train ride!

Good for you though.

Nancy & Shawn

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theprofessionalhobo October 8, 2011 at 2:46 am

@Henry, and Nancy & Shawn – Yes, 3 months in one place couldn’t come too soon! As much as I like Asia, and am digging life in Saigon, I’m really looking forward to some fresh air and a relaxed pace of life.

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Shawn October 10, 2011 at 7:00 am

Hey Nora,

Awesome write-up of the Transmanchurian Railway adventure. My wife and I crossed the whole of China from Beijing to Kashgar. Here is a little about our trip in Beijing:

http://traveloutthere.blogspot.com/2010/11/big-wall.html

Love your blog.

Shawn

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theprofessionalhobo October 10, 2011 at 10:27 am

@Shawn – What an adventure in China! How did you cross the country? By Train as well?

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Shawn October 11, 2011 at 2:28 am

Hey Nora,

We did a combination of trains and a sleeper bus from Urumqi to Kashgar for the final 24 hour push!!

Shawn

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theprofessionalhobo October 12, 2011 at 3:48 pm

@Shawn – ooh. Sleeper bus. The kind you get flat on, or the kind you sit up and can’t sleep on? ;-)

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shawn October 13, 2011 at 9:15 am

They were semi flat were not very comfortable.

Oh forgot to mention, our Beijing to Kashgar ride, all done on Hard Seats and one of the sections was standing room only. Even the conductor, who couldn’t speak much English, knew enough to say that we were “crazy”.

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theprofessionalhobo October 13, 2011 at 1:18 pm

@Shawn – Ha ha! Yes, we had a few non-english speaking conductors who communicated their thoughts about our sanity to us as well at various junctions… :-)

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