May 20, 2017 Mao

Even though I had been in the US for quite a few years now, there seemed to never be a shortage of funny cultural moments with my girlfriend Sara. Especially when we first started dating I was quite fresh-off-boat still. Whether we are simply hanging out or eating at a restaurant, to meeting family members and traveling the world, there’s always some lol moments due to our different cultural backgrounds. Sara grew up in the typical suburbia America where people wave at each other in the cars. Her family is very conservative but Sara turned out to be very liberal (funny…

May 19, 2017 Mao

I get asked a lot of questions when traveling the world as an American. Some funny, some rude and some are just completely out of the blue. America has such a big influence on the world, whether it’s politics or Hollywood, people are often curious and need a reality check. For the most part, the questions are driven by TV shows or movies that they have seen, or whatever that’s going on in the news at the time. It’s no surprise that people tend to generalize and stereotype things. I am always happy to chat with people about America as…

May 17, 2017 Mao

Croatia is definitely one of the most stunning and underrated destinations that I have ever been. The crystal clear Adriatic Sea, terrific Mediterranean cuisines, and the large-footprint of Roman ruins were only some of the highlights. Most importantly, the genuine and funny Croatians were the cherry on top for our trip. Croatia has certainly risen in popularity in recent years, especially with the popular Game of Thrones TV series as many scenes were shot in Dubrovnik. However, Croatia is still quite a hidden gem outside of Dubrovnik and not that many non-Europeans travelers visit there yet.     When to go: I went…

May 8, 2017 Mao

Have you ever wandered what is it like to be teaching English in China? Perhaps it’s the culture that fascinates you, or you simply want to make a change and try something different. Whatever your reason may be, China is certainly a very interesting place. The country has advanced so much in the past two to three decades, but at the same time it is still a developing country, which may be difficult at times to adjust. Hopefully by learning more about the good, the bad, and the ugly of teaching in China, it can help with your planning. It…

May 2, 2017 Mao

The first day when I landed in Los Angeles, couple of girls in the back seat of another car were waving and smiling at me as my aunt was driving me to her house. I waved back and I could see one of the girls giggling. “This country is awesome, people are so friendly and it’s just like all the Hollywood movies! Or perhaps that one girl was giving me a pass?” I thought to my naive self. If only life were this easy. Little did my fresh-off-boat self know there are a lot of cultural differences and norms that…

April 27, 2017 Mao

Besides Chicago, the Midwest of the United States is such an underrated destination even for Americans, and international travelers tend to choose popular destinations in either coasts. There are so much more that the Midwest can offer than just corn fields and hillbillies. In fact, not only will you find the friendliest people, I believe the American Midwest is the best place to experience American culture and the good old wholesome values. The road less traveled always brings you more intimate experiences. So what states are in the Midwest? Well, this is debatable, but typically it goes from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin,…

April 20, 2017 Mao

Despite with whatever’s that’s going in the news, the new president, and countless of other issues, I truly believe America is still pretty awesome! Is America perfect? Absolutely not. It has many of its own issues that could probably never be sorted out and many areas that are lacking compared to other countries. But overall, it is the most accepting, welcoming and progressive country I know.   My Fresh Off Boat Journey: During my college summer break in 2009, the year after I volunteered and watched court-side gymnastics in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, I bought a round-trip ticket to visit my sister in the…

April 17, 2017 Mao

Oh Bali, the paradise for “Eat, Pray, Love” people and party animals alike. The gorgeous beaches, mountains, resorts and friendly Balinese will certainly make your experience an unforgettable one. During our short visit, we met some really amazing and friendly people while enjoying breath-taking scenery and landscapes. From the mountains to beaches and resorts, this is definitely a memory of a lifetime. It is also very cheap which is super awesome. Just pack up and go, not only will you love it, you might not even leave.     Bali 101 Where: Bali is a tropical island in Indonesia. Did…

April 10, 2017 Mao

Welcome to my series of under-rated travel destinations! Here I explore the cities and countries that don’t get enough attention as places to visit. These destinations are typically not inundated with tourists, thus preserving their original charm and allowing you to truly experience the culture.   Okay, I am probably a little biased since I was born and raised in Taiwan. Still, after traveling to many cities and countries around the globe, Taiwan truly brings unique values and perspectives that make me appreciate this island more and more whenever I come back to visit. Whether you are a history junkie, nature…