PEOPLE WHO TRAVEL: MEET DIANA FROM OTTAWA, CANADA
Hi, my name is Diana. I am a 28 year old Vietnamese/Canadian who likes cheese, lower case letters and traveling. As soon as I graduated from Carleton University, I hopped on a plane to teach English as a foreign language in South Korea for no other reason than it was the first country that popped up in the Google search engine when I typed “Teaching in Asia”.
What was supposed to be a 1 year journey, quickly turned into 5. I climbed mountains, I made friends, I ate kimchi. Now, I am back in Canada studying business so that I can I build my own empire.
1) NUMBER OF COUNTRIES VISITED
2) LANGUAGE(S) SPOKEN AND/OR WANT TO LEARN
(fluent) Vietnamese, (fluent) English, (basic) Korean and (fluent) body language
I want to learn Arabic.
3) AGE AND FIRST INTERNATIONAL TRIP YOU TOOK
I was 17 years old when my ex-boyfriend asked me to go explore Europe with him. My initial response was “no”. It wasn’t until family and close friends PUSHED me to go. I ended up spending the summer months living with him and his family in their house in Geneva, Switzerland and traveling around Europe.
4) FAVORITE AIRLINE
Turkish Airlines (their in flight meal for economy seats includes olives and feta cheese!
5) YOUR GO-TO IN-FLIGHT APPAREL
leggings, a t-shirt, light scarf, no bra and a light sweater.
6) THINGS/GADGETS YOU CAN’T TRAVEL WITHOUT
I can pretty much do without any gadgets or things. The only thing that I found absolutely necessary was my passport… haha
7) FAVORITE COUNTRY AND WHY
Malaysia has stolen a huge chunk of my heart. I went with the intention of going for 1-2 days and ended up staying for 3 months. There are so many different ethnic groups that make up Malaysia and they live in perfect harmony. It has everything your heart desires; delicious food (understatement), high raises, temples, mosques, tropical beaches, lush green scenery, mountains, incredible wild life and not to mention smokin’ hot men and women.
I still think back to my time on those tropical beaches and can’t believe a place like that actually exists on Earth.
8) WTF MOMENT
My friend and I once accepted a ride from a random man. He drove us the longest route possible off the beaten path and wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer when we kindly declined his dinner invitations. It was unbearably uncomfortable having to decline his dinner invitations again and again. Then I suddenly noticed a knife on his dashboard. I couldn’t take my eyes off the knife the entire ride. With my hand tightly gripping my friends shoulder wondering if we were in trouble, I casually asked “what is the knife for?…” only for him to mumble “…for my potatoes because I was listening to music.” (WTF?) .
As soon as he stopped the car, my friend and I got the f–k out and avoided him for the rest of the time we were in the city. Sorry mom.
9)FAVORITE CITY AND WHY
I honestly don’t know where my obsession with Turkey came from, but when I started planning my trip around the world, I knew that Turkey was the main destination. While I was slowly making my way over to Turkey, there were awful attacks and bombings happening with serious travel warnings from the Canadian Embassy to avoid visiting until things calmed down. Despite all the travel warnings and advice from friends and family, I went.
Cappadocia exceeded my expectations; it was deserted so I felt like it was just the locals and myself. The locals were insanely friendly, super chatty, genuinely sweet and the natural apricot coloured rock formations gave me life. It was void of god-awful eyesore advertisements. It truly is a magical place where time has stood still.
10) MOST EMBARASSING MOMENT
I am terrified of animals (kittens and puppies freak me out). One day I decided to go to the largest Bird Park in Kuala Lumpur. Never again.
While walking up the road towards the entrance there was a pack of wild monkeys sitting on a fence growling at me. At that very moment, I was convinced that I was going to get eaten ALIVE by monkeys. I waited until I saw a couple and begged for them to walk me down to the end of the street because I was terrified to walk alone. They laughed in my face and they walked the whole 2 minutes with me down the street and then carried on their own path. If it weren’t for that couple, I would still be standing on the side of the road paralyzed with fear haha.
11) FAVORITE CUISINE
I should probably say Vietnamese, but I could eat Mexican food all day, everyday. California (chicken, beef, shrimp, fish) tacos don’t play.
12) HOTEL, HOSTEL, OR AIRBNB?
I prefer different accommodations depending on my mood/budget. Hostels are great for the most obvious reasons, but every now and then I’ll splurge for a bathtub and solitude.
13) MOST MEMORABLE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
When I finally accomplished my goal of traveling the world on my own. I had always planned to buy a ‘around the world ticket’ so I started to work and save for about 5 years to finally do it on my own. It was the best present I could ever give myself/ my most memorable travel experience.
14) MOST CHALLENGING TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
Life in Korea was a dream! I loved my job, my social life, my financial freedom, my business (that I started up with a Korean friend) , but I decided to walk away from it all to travel on my own. The first 2 months it was SO hard to be on my own and live out of a backpack hoping from hostel to hostel. I started to question if I was doing the right thing and didn’t think I could travel on my own anymore. Why did I walk away from my comfort zone?! I was sort of miserable and was ready to run back to the comfort of Korea. However, I stuck it out and hit my travel stride about 2 months in.
15) BEST TRAVEL ACTIVITY
Besides eating my way around the world, I love to hike. I could spend all day in the mountains just getting lost on the trails with nature vibes feeding my soul. I live for the moments where I connect with Mother Nature because she helps me to restore balance and clarity in my life.
16) FAVORITE TRAVEL SOUVENIR
An ‘evil-eye’ keychain I got from a tacky souvenir shop in Oia, Greece. It’s my favourite because of the naughty story behind how I got it.
17) MOST LIKED INSTAGRAM PIC
my ode to Korea
18) FAVORITE TRAVEL PICTURE TAKEN
Probably my nude beach photo shoot in Greece. The first time I ever swam in the Mediterranean sea completely naked.
19) FUTURE TRAVEL PLANS
I will go and explore Eastern Europe and the Middle East as soon as I get a chance.
20) BUCKET LIST
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition. To know one life has breathed easier …” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
21) YOUR TRAVEL INFLUENCER(S) AND WHY
My friends. My newsfeed on Facebook/Instagram is always flooded of friends who are traveling around the world. Everyday I see new places that make it on my list of places I want to explore.
22) FAVORITE TRAVEL QUOTE
“let’s go everywhere”
Follow Diana and her adventures on Instagram –> @piana02