Tag Archives: travel

Croatia Travel Journal

Croatia Travel Journal by Lauren Likes. Tips and ideas for journaling and saving your favorite tickets, labels and all those fun little bits when you travel to capture the beauty of your travels without overwhelming your time and energy.

Last summer we took a dream trip through Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary. We drove the coast, explored the mountains and pretty much lived in a fairy tale for 3 weeks. Croatia and Slovenia are stoked full of the most surreal and idyllic cities and landscapes. The turquoise oceans, the red/orange rooftops of 1000 year old cities, flowers in every window and truffles on everything. It is a delight for your senses and an artists’ pleasure.

While travelling I wanted to be in every moment, but every moment came back to back to back and faster and faster and we were a bit overwhelmed with the gorgeousness of every turn we made. Thankfully I came prepared with a beautiful and simple travel journal and I only needed a few moments each day to capture the highlights of our trip so as to not lose the beauty of our time.

Below is the process I used for capturing this trip in my travel journal. I am passionate about collecting your memories, but not letting them sit on a shelf. But turning them into inspiration and that inspiration into art.

If you would like to move your photos and notes from the page to the canvas of your choice, join me in my course Travel Like An Artist. You will learn how to take the beauty, flavors, colors, ideas and inspiration from your latest trip and turn it into new, unqiue and inspired artwork. Learn more here.



  • Have your journal prepped and ready to go, don’t waste time and energy creating each page background when you could be traveling, eating or sleeping
  • Spend 5 minutes working every night
  • Do the least amount possible. Decide what is important for you to document and do, at least, the bare minimum each night so that you have the most important parts recorded. Anything in addition is just gravy 😉
  • Keep a generic format for your journaling: date, location, general overview of your day and the highlight.
  • Veer off the format and simply write a note about your favorite part of the trip so far or a love letter to a new type of tea you tried and loved.
  • Don’t over pack. You don’t want to be overwhelmed with supplies
  • Use those tickets and pretty papers you pick up! Hoarding is not cute or useful
  • Throw away papers and things you pick up as you travel. What you think is an absolute necessity today likely wont be tomorrow. I usually always pick up a pamphlet, map, etc everywhere we go and then every few days sort through and toss out the ones that are ugly, boring, useless, duplicates, just too heavy, etc.
  • Always buy postcards…
  • Get creative. Find ways to use elements, like larger maps or double-sided tickets. Fold things up, only tape them down on one side.
  • Keep what is important to YOU. Some people keep receipts, tags, napkins, notes, trash, tickets. It doesn’t matter. Whatever you like, staple it in. Some of my favorite things to collect are beer or drink labels, tickets, things in other languages and receipts.
  • Be ok with blank space. You don’t have to fill the whole journal or every page. This is why having a pre-prepped journal is nice, some pages can speak for themselves.
  • It’s ok to rip things. I fear, in the moment, ripping something up to use a small portion that I will regret it forever but I never once have. There is still plenty left over to scrapbook with.
  • This journal is about journaling, not about being the most beautiful, so let some expectations go.

I hope you enjoyed a peek into our summer and my journal. This book, because of all it’s wonkiness and random memories and items always tends to be one of my favorites. These moments that I collected in here are some of my favorite and will last beyond my lifetime because I took the time to stop and write them down.

I hope you are inspired to create your own travel journal and to record your memories. I am working on a new class focused on just this, so be sure to sign up for my mailing list to be the first to hear when it is available!

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21 Days in Southeast Asia Itinerary

21 Days in Southeast Asia. A travel guide by Lauren Likes

As we prepare to leave Korea, likely Asia altogether, we decided to take one more beautiful trip through Southeast Asia to soak up all the warmth, good food and culture it has to offer. This trip accomplished multiple goals for us, seeing friends, job fairs and travel, so be aware that our itinerary reflects some of that.

This was one of our medium favorite trips. Rating trips is so very hard because a lot of times what you love about a trip has little to do with where you are, if that makes sense. We spend a lot of this trip relaxing and resting as this was what we needed in this time. So we did little but experienced a lot.

Below is our 1 Second video with lots of little clips from fun, little moments of our trip. I love capturing these videos and being able to tell a real live story without a ton of work.

*More on how I create the 1 Second videos from our trips here. 

When I plan our trips I like to think big picture, details, emergencies and go with the flow…all at once. I use these planners to help walk me through every aspect of dreaming, planning, prepping, packing, documenting and sharing. Grab a set for yourself now! 

Below is our itinerary through Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. As I add more posts they will be linked. Please ask any travel questions you have in the comments!

21 Days in Southeast Asia Travel Guide by Lauren LikesDays 1-5: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
We were here to see a friend and to teach a class for her staff. She works for AIM and it is an incredible organization doing some amazing things for the community of Svay Pak. This was one the most difficult but more memorable parts of our trip. We toured their community and got to see first hand the incredible work they are doing to stop sex trafficking and provide healing, restoration, education and new lives for the women, children and pimps in this neighborhood. While in Phnom Penh we spent time on the river, the palace, the museum, the Killing Fields and shopping in the markets. This city was our least favorite city of our trip as it was incredibly busy and someone tried to rob us and there was not a lot to do past the few tourist stops. If you are planning a trip here, I would suggest about 3 days to do all the above activities.

Day 5: Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville to Koh Rong Sam Loem
We took a private taxi to Sihouniksville, as all the buses filled up quickly, but it was a great choice. Very cheap and is a personal car, so you are alone and can stop when you need and go exactly where you need to go. We spent the afternoon here, there isn’t much to do in the city but there is a cute boardwalk area with shops, food and the beach. We stayed around the pier and took our ferry to Koh Rong Sam Loem. A word about the ferry, you can book online or in person. I would suggest prebooking but be sure to leave lots of extra time. Also the ferries are completely unreliable so DO NOT have a tight schedule…keep reading. We used this company. 

21 Days in Southeast Asia Travel Guide by Lauren LikesDay 5-8: Koh Rong Sam Loem
Best part of our trip, hands down. This smaller island is not developed at all and only has a line of small bungalows on the beach with tiny restaurants. It is beautiful and had the exact atmosphere we were hoping for: relaxed, good food, nothing to do. You can rent kayaks and do snorkel tours, but the main attraction is the beach and reading. We stayed here and were very happy with our stay, but there are some incredibly cool bungalows depending on your price range on the island. We absolutely suggest staying here and not Koh Rong.

Day 8: Koh Rong Sam Loem to Sihanoukville to Siem Reap
We did not book in country travel tickets before leaving for our trip but decided to figure it out when we got there. Once we realized that it was a 9 hour bus ride to Siem Reap, but opted for a cheap, 1 hour flight. But the aforementioned unreliable ferry didnt run on time and put us on a  ‘party boat’ which literally sat about 50 feet offshort and had a foam party while we watched our airplane take off without us….so we got into a taxi, frantically, and drove around to bus stations until we found an overnight sleeper bus for $17 each and had a pretty decent nights rest and woke up in Siem Reap.

21 Days in Southeast Asia Travel Guide by Lauren LikesDay 9-12: Siem Reap
We honest to goodness loved our time here because we stayed at the most jungalicious villas and we sat at the pool for 2 days. We did the 1 day temple tour and went to a dinner + dance show. We could not recommend our hotel more to you! Pub street or King street was very close and had some great food, a market and lots of street vendors to wander through. The temple tours have many options, but at a few points I really thought ‘all these are starting to look the same’. So if you are short on time or can’t look at about more than 10 temples before you glaze over, the 1 day tour is perfect.

Day 12: Hanoi, Vietnam
We booked an amazing package, here but directly through their website, that included everything from airport pickup and return and everything in between. We flew into Hanoi had the evening and left for our cruise the next morning.

21 Days in Southeast Asia Travel Guide by Lauren LikesDays 13-15: Ha Long Bay
This 3 day, 2 night cruise through Ha Long Bay was one of the highlights of our trip! It was beautiful, fun and delicious. People always say they cannot believe this place is real….because it truly is unreal how beautiful it is. All the activities are arranged and there is plenty of downtime on the boat and so much food. It’s a bay, so it’s not really sailing, you are really just sleeping on a boat that is sitting in water more than sailing…but still, amazing. We went kayaking, went on boat tours, cave tours, learned to make spring rolls, went squid fishing and ate and ate.

Day 16: Hanoi
We were very happy to spend one afternoon and one last full day in Hanoi. I was not feeling well, so we got a late checkout, but still had plenty of time to explore. Our hotel was right beside the lake, so we went to the palace and the puppet show. The puppet show is likely my favorite event from the trip, don’t miss it. We also ate street food, best pho of our life, and got massages at a fancy (but still oh so cheap) spa while we were here. We had other friends spend their break here and they said 1-2 is enough to explore the city, but there are plenty of day trips you can easily arrange from the city if you stay longer.

Day 17-21: Bangkok, Thailand
Oh Bangkok, we meet again. We flew here as the train was a very loooooong ride. This was our second trip here and we stayed in the exact same area as before but we were here for the job fair. I spent most of my time at the pool reading, but we did go to the Chatuckak market. Which was cool but also huge/overwhelming and not what we expected from the markets in Chiang Mai. These were either more touristy junk or very cool, local handmade fair trade type items, but we wandered for ours and never found the more traditional Thai items we were hoping for. You can easily spend a whole day here and eat. As foreigners Bangkok is a great city as everything is very well designed for your ease and there are so many options, as any large city has, but my advice is to keep going and see as much of Thailand’s beautiful countryside as you can. More about our big Thailand trip here. 

Day 21: Seoul! South Korea
We travelled home on this last day and I have learned that direct flights are the best and so is getting home in time to actually have some time left in the day. I know some people want to milk every second out of their travel, but we need time to breath and reset and also sleep.

I have lots of beautiful photos and journals to share with you to come later! If you have any questions please ask in the comments! 

Travel tips: Road Trip Essentials, Top Travel Tops Part 1 and Part 2, Photos to take while travelling, Instagram While Travelling Tips 1 and

Andong, South Korea: Experience Traditional Korea

Andong, South Korea Travel Guide. See a traditional puppet show, mask dance, eat like a local and explore the 600 year old villages of Korean Culture. Last weekend we took a group of high school theatre students to Andong, South Korea to explore more traditional Korean culture to prepare for their upcoming performance, that will be based in old world Korea. This was a beautiful little slice of Korea and I knew this was the perfect piece of culture to share with those of you who won’t be able to travel to Korea and to create a little travel guide for those of you who will!

Andong is about 3 hours outside of Seoul, in the country side, amidst mountains and sprawling beauty. Truly, all of Korea is full of so much beauty. Let’s start with food! My favorite. This region of Korea is famous for jjimdak, a spicy chicken dish. We ate the medium spicy and it was pretty spicy, so beware. the cabbage may have been my favorite part of this meal. But what’s not to love? Carrots, good. Potatoes, good. Chicken, good. Glass noodles, good.

Andong1 Our first stop was Wolyeonggyo Bridge, which is beautiful and really difficult to take photos of at night. It’s a bridge that runs across the river and has a beautiful temple in the middle and one on the other side of the river. Andong2 Andong4Next we stopped at the Andong Fountain to see the show. It was actually really beautiful and fun. It lasted about 20 minutes. Here is a really fun video of it. Andong3By far, the best part of our trip was our traditional Hanok stay. We slept in a 500-year-old traditional Korean home and it was magical and so lame all at once. It was the best experience. It had been on our bucket list since we landed here in Korea. Until now, I don’t think I truly understood about traditional hanoks worked. They are a group of buildings that form these square courtyards and each building serves a different purpose for the home. (of course, all of them are slightly different, but this is a good general understanding). The buildings on the right and left are the sleeping rooms that we stayed in. The middle is a family room/living room type and has additional sleeping areas on both sides. Andong5Below is one of the sleeping rooms. You may can tell that the doors are very thin and you see the stack of pillows and sleeping pads. Koreans sleep on the floor and use Ondools, a floor heating system to stay warm in the winter. Hello warm feet in winter! Andong-

Andong9Andong6 Andong7 Growing peppers for Kimchi! Andong8 Andong10 Andong11 Andong12 After our, actually, pretty good night of sleeping on the floor, we headed to Hahoe Village.  It is over 500 years old (much of it has been rebuilt since the Japanese liked to burn things during the way) and many people still live here today! Andong13 Andong14 We got to experience many of the traditional ways of life before modernization. Below Terrell is ironing by beating the wooden dowels on the laundry, which we were told was a very enjoyable and rhythmic past time for Korean house wives. Andong15

Here we are churning tofu.

Andong16Carrying water from the well! The Korean’s do it without hands of course….Andong18Making delicious rice cakes, a serious arm workout. Andong17 Andong19 Andong20 The local shrine and Zelkova wishing tree, also over 600 years old. You can add your wishes here and this guy is real fun 😉 Andong21 The straw roofed houses are for the lower class citizens and the tiled homes are for the upper class. We also saw trees planted by Queen Elizabeth, US Presidents and homes by Korean rulers and war hero’s and great philosophers. This place grows a lot of fancy people! Andong22 Andong23 Andong24I am so entertained by Korea’s overuse of this exact sandal, everywhere you go. They are the ‘shared’ indoor sandal when you can’t wear shoes inside. We also attended a, free, traditional tea ceremony. We learned the proper tea holding and drinking etiquette and ate the most chewy and disgusting cookies. But this room was a library and was used for tea, thinking and study. I could spend hours here thinking and reading! Andong25 Andong26 Andong27 Andong28 Andong29 Back to more food, the village has some restaurants right outside where they serve local Mackerel and Bibimbop. Very salt, very delicious. Andong30 The Korean affinity for male genitalia entertains me to no end. On a serious note, they have traditional mask dance (Talchum) and puppet shows and museums here. There are 9 masks and each represent a type of person. The shows were a way for the commoners to make fun of the upper class and to bring up political issues that were being neglected. Andong31 Andong33 Andong34 Andong35 Andong36 Always, the foreigners get called out. Good thing my husband is a great sport and did a little dance with them 😉 Andong37We learned so much in 24 hours and experienced a ton of really stellar Korean culture. This was an amazing and easy trip to take from Seoul and needs very little ‘prep’ work as everything is in one central location once you get to the village. Now, I’m off to explore some more!