About Me

Hi!  I’m Justine, a California native turned expat who just wants to see the world.  I’ve been to over 30 countries in the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Southeast and East Asia.  And I’m planning on getting quite a few more stamps in my passport in 2016.

Why Travel Lush you ask?  Well, because I just can’t seem to stop indulging in all things travel.  Seriously, it’s kind of a problem…

Along with my boyfriend Aaron (who is mentioned often in this blog) I’ve been traipsing around the world on and off for nearly 15 years.  I absolutely love learning about new cultures, sampling delicious street foods and walking aimlessly in foreign cities.  I really am an unabashed travel fiend!

But – in case you’re itching to know more – here’s a little bit about my story:

Travel Lush - About Me
Photo courtesy of Élan Klein Photography

In August 2013, my boyfriend Aaron and I made the decision to travel the world indefinitely.  So we moved out of our house, sold most of our possessions, and bought two one-way tickets to Bangkok.

With a strict budget of $40 a day (per person) we had no idea where we were going or how long we’d be able to travel.

We spent 12 amazing months traipsing around Southeast Asia and South America.  We motorbiked around Thailand, floated down the Mekong in Laos, sipped fresh bia hoi (beer) in Vietnam, island hopped around the Philippines, gorged ourselves on street food in Malaysia, chilled out on perfect beaches in Indonesia, and lived like locals in Colombia.

It was bliss.

Travel Lush - About Me
This is the life…

After a year on the road, an unexpected change of events brought Aaron and I back to Indonesia.  Our journey as expats in Southeast Asia began when we moved to Jakarta in August 2014.  Aaron worked as a university professor while I landed a gig as a freelance writer for an English-language newspaper.

Living abroad in Jakarta was no doubt a challenging, eye-opening and life-changing experience.

Ambling through some Balinese rice terraces.

In 2015 we left Jakarta and spent six months living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  And in February of this year we moved, yet again, to Beijing, China.  Aaron still works as a university professor and I still work as a freelance writer.

As of now we’re still settling into our new hometown.  But I can already tell you that this year is going to be another wild ride.  I’ve now been living abroad for nearly two years but this whole lifestyle is still new to me.  After all, Beijing is a far cry from both California and Southeast Asia.  And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that life in this corner of the world comes with its fair share of challenges!  And yes, I do rant about it from time to time.

But when it comes down to it, I wouldn’t change it for the world.  Every day brings with it new challenges, new adventures and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.  And also, I have Asia as my playground.  And that’s pretty freaking awesome.

Forbidden City
I heart Beijing!

 What you’ll find on this blog:

This blog is where I document all of my travels.  In the past I’ve mainly written about Southeast Asia, since I spent nearly three years living and traveling there.  But now that I’m based in Beijing I’m thrilled to do some serious traveling in East Asia.   I also tend to ramble about life as a (semi)newbie expat.  I’m a vegetarian who really loves food, so food plays a major role in this here blog.

vegetarian food in phnom penh
I’m a vegetarian and I love mock meat. I seem to write about this a lot!

I genuinely enjoy giving advice on travel and expat life.  So you can expect all sorts of tips for what it’s like to live and travel in Southeast and East Asia.

Travel Lush - About Me
Koh Rong…my favorite beach in Southeast Asia!

I tend to be on the frugal side when I’m traveling, so I mainly talk about budget travel.  That being said, I’m kind of a fan of staying in budget-friendly boutique hotels, drinking at rooftop bars and indulging at delicious restaurants.  A little more goes a long way in Asia.  And even a penny pincher like me is willing to take full advantage of Asia’s amazing value.

In sum, this blog is all about how you can affordably indulge in everything Asia has to offer.  If I can do it, you can too!

If you’re new to this site, here are a few posts that will help to get you started:

I’m also on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.  To keep up with my latest posts feel free to follow me on bloglovin’.  I promise you won’t regret it.

And, of course, you can always feel free to contact me at thetravellush@gmail.com.  Seriously ask me anything.  I swear I’m super friendly!

Thanks for coming on this wild ride with me!


21 thoughts on “About Me

      1. Yes, Im sure you will make wonderful memories there! I hope you get there soon…when the World Cup is over the flight tickets will probably be cheaper! You can’t miss the Galapagos Island in Equator either 🙂

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