Gypsea Diary Adventure ~ Itinerary

Below is the current plan for our adventure

We will likely make adjustments along the way and will update accordingly!!!

May 17 – Singapore – Nicole and Mariah re-connect

May 18 – Singapore

May 19 – Fly to Phuket, Thailand

May 19-21 – Phuket, Thailand

May 21 – Fly to Chiang Mai, Thailand

May 21-23 – Chiang Mai, Thailand…Overnight Bus to Bangkok

May 24, 25 Bangkok, Thailand

May 25 – Flight from Bangkok to Hanoi, Vietnam

May 26 – 27 – Halong Bay, Vietnam

May 27, 28 – Sapa, Vietnam, bus along coast in Vietnam

May 29- 30 Vietnam Coast

June 1 – Hoi An, Vietnam

June 2 – Hoi An, Vietnam to Siem Reap, Cambodia

June 3-5 Cambodia

June 5 – Fly to Singapore and then to Denpassar, Bali

June 6-11 – Bali and Lombok

June 12 – Fly Home!!!

The Gypsea in Me!

This crazy adventure started 5 months ago when I decided to go on exchange in Singapore. I chose Singapore of all places for two reasons. First, I could attend a university that had a great communications program (Wee Kim Wee School of Information and Communication)! Second, and this is the REAL reason I chose Singapore…it is a great hub to travel in and out of, given the fact that it is so close to so many amazing countries!

I decided to go on this journey alongside one of my really good friends because I wanted to “go and experience the world” (whatever that meant… and at the beginning of this experience I wasn’t really sure), but what I did know was that I was craving adventure…. the reality is I always crave adventure… I get a high off spontaneity and frivolity, experiencing new cultures and new things.

Going abroad to Singapore was one of the best decisions I have made for myself and I am so fortunate and thankful to have had the opportunity to experience such an adventure. That being said it was difficult leaving! I am so deeply connected to my friends and family, and I was leaving everyone behind and venturing out in the world by myself, for the first time, ever! I was nervous… not going to lie! I got on the plane and I did venture confidently knowing that I had a loving support system back home that was cheering me on and vicariously living through all my experiences and stories. I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to visit 7 countries (Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Philippines) this semester…I did get ‘some’ work done in between all the travel…which will be reflected in my grades when I get back?!

So how did this all come about, how does this relate, and why Gypsea Diaries?

My mom was a huge advocate for my going abroad at some point during university. Before I had even entered university, my mom and I had several conversations about me going abroad for a semester because we both love travelling and exploring. That also meant that at the end of the semester, wherever in the world I decided to venture, she would meet me and we were going to travel for a month.

A few months before exchange I received a note from my mom after she landed in Hong Kong with the “intro” to a book idea she had called Gypsea Diaries. Needless to say I fell in love with the idea. All those near and dear to us know that my mom and I don’t have a “normal relationship”…I don’t think either of us know what “normal” is and we are the first to say that we are “fucking nuts”. But that’s what we love…because if we are going to be honest, “normal” is boring. Since I was little my mom and I have been inseparable. She has always told me how people used to joke and say that she should have been a kangaroo…that way she could just keep me in her pouch and take me with her everywhere she went. My mom and I are attached mentally, emotionally, and physically and it’s a deep love and connection that we are going to try to put into words throughout our journey. What makes this journey unique is that we are both at critical points in our lives,

Me – just about to enter my last year of university and trying to figure out “who I want to be when I grow up”. And with that I am figuring out my dreams and desires, the legacy I want to leave behind, and the people I want to surround myself with.

Mom – still probably trying to figure out who she wants to be when she grows up. She has already achieved a ton but put some hopes and dreams aside and now at this point in her life she is revisiting them and  is just trying to figure out the correct way to go about making them happen. And as part of this process, she has decided to take a new path and is in the process of completely re-designing her life.

So here it is… our story…two women…holding hands…ready to savor, marvel, and steal moments, memories, and breaths!

…. ready to “take on the world”

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Day 2&3 ~ Phuket

Thailand is lovely…we feel like lovely is the right word. The people are so gracious and there is a gentleness in all they do. At every juncture we are greeted with the ‘wai’ gesture and the words “Sawatdee-kah”.

Wai is the placing of your palms together as if in prayer or when you say Namaste and is accompanied with a slight bow. It can mean “Hello”, “Thank you”, “I’m Sorry”, or “Goodbye”. We love it. It feels like a genuine and tender acknowledgement.

Mariah picked a beautiful place for us to kick off our Gypsea road show – we are in what looks like a tree house (though it is on the ground) in the middle of a rain forest overlooking the ocean. It’s beautiful. And every touch is beautiful. We have included pictures below of our lunch because even the way it was served made it taste better and feel special!

Given all the places we wanted to see in the area we hired a driver ($75.00 for the day) who took us to a beautiful temple, viewpoints that gave us panoramic glimpses of the area and then dropped us off at Patong beach to eat, swim and tour the markets! So much fun and colour and vibrance.

We then departed from here and headed to Phuket Town where we toured before heading back to the hotel to sleep, eat and as usual chat til we drop.

A key highlight of our trip to Phuket would be our encounter with one of their local ‘bugs’. The Cicada is a thumb sized cricket that is extremely loud. They are everywhere but stay within the trees..until one decided to visit our room…you can only imagine the insanity that ensued. After a few short OMGs and screams we decided “Nicole” needed to deal with this unwanted guest!!! So we moved some furniture. Nicole grabbed a towel and a long point umbrella and off she went to rescue us. It took about 10 minutes to corner this thing and then put the towel on top and we apologize now to all insect and animal lovers but we had to kill this thing so Nicole plunged the towel with the umbrella. The entire time we were doubled over in hysterical laughter.

We then worried that this bug would somehow revive itself while we slept. Or that its peers would take revenge….all these crazy thoughts causing even more laughter.

Anyhow we survived and while Mariah slept peacefully, Nicole packed us up for our trip to Chiang Mai…but first a paddleboard lesson.

See you in Chiang Mai!



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Day 1 ~ Singapore

Well Singapore was a 1.5 day whirlwind. We had initially planned to spend 3-4 days in Singapore so Mariah could show Nicole they key highlights she discovered while on exchange. But because due to some opportunities in Thailand and knowing that Singapore is a connection hub we decided we would be back so we would adjus and break up our time. But in typical Pie Pie and Pickle form we saw a ton in a short amount of time!!!

With Mariah as Nicole’s personal tour guide off we went…

We went to Chinatown, Little India, Boat Quay and Clark Quay where Mariah spent much of her time ‘partying’ while here at school…ya did we mention she was here for school?!?!?!

There were 2 distinct highlights – Shop Wonderland Cafe – pictures below and the Gardens by Marina Bay.

Shop Wonderland is this amazing cafe that Mariah found in her first 2 weeks. We would love to replicate this place in Toronto – the food is outstanding and the ambiance is so beautifully whimsical and feminine.

The highlight of the day however was when the two of us chatted until the wee hours of the morning under the stars and the magical trees at the gardens by Marina Bay – this is the picture that banners this post. You can drink in public spaces in Singapore until 10:30 pm. we LOVE Prosecco – we think it makes us funny (or funnier than we already are!). So Mariah bought us a bottle and we drank right from the bottle and chatted and cried and caught up about life, love and everything in between until 2 am. It was a GREAT night!!!!!!


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Gypsea Diaries – Introduction

Somewhere between Thelma and Louise, Eat, Pray, Love and Under the Tuscan Sun is the Gypsea Diaries.

Gypsea because it speaks to the carefree mindset of a ‘gypsy’ blended with the church like sanctuary and spirit of the ‘sea’ to the authors.

Diaries because it is an adventure.

It is the bridging of 2 generations of feminists or gender advocates (which we prefer) but with their own definition and voice.

While in third year after a semester in Singapore, my daughter and I headed on an adventure. I will not use the words ‘the trip of a lifetime’ because for my daughter specifically, it is one of many trips that will mark her life. And for me it is a dream come true.

Her precious 20 year old hand so frequently holds mind as we travel through life let alone on this incredible journey, tending for so much more than my maternal heart and truly nurturing me as a woman. She is beautiful and magical, a vastly improved image of myself and the world is truly her oyster.

As we travel, our experiences are individually unique. While she is gathering pieces and learnings to create a life, I am coming undone shedding what no longer works, what pieces no longer fit and breaking away from the confines of my generation’s expectations. All the while, we do this, gaining strength from the hands that join us as our fingers lock. Does she know the power of the lock. The security it provides me, the confidence as a mom and woman that with her hand in mine there is unconditional love, sanctuary, safety, peace…church.

I often wonder if it is one sided. But, she is the one who always reaches for my hand. I am reluctant to reach for hers never wanting to be that “mom” but truly cherishing every single time when her hand reaches for mine – and I mean every single time. And because of the reach, the lock and the moments when her squeeze tightens and the strength shifts from me to her, I know I am her safe ground also. Holding hands is what the two of us do and we do it so naturally. It is in her hands that my heart is safe and it is my hands that she ventures so confidently into the world.

As mothers, as women, as sisters, we have a vibrational and spiritual energy that is more powerful than any man, god or church. We are just beginning to leverage this power to its full potential. Our daughters will lead the world to a better place because they are learning from our mistakes, our successes and our wisdom.

This is our dual generational story of adventure and discovery, of doing and undoing and of love beyond compare.




Wine Before We Wander

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Wine Before We Wander ~ An EPIC Evening and the Launch of Gypsea Diaries!

There is no other word other than EPIC to describe the evening of Thursday May 7th.

On Thursday, my daughter and I hosted a launch party at our home.

My daughter skyped in as she is on exchange during her 3rd year at University in Singapore.

We invited circles of women in our lives and the result was…EPIC!

If a house could levitate because of the vibrational powers and intentions of the people it contained then our house was levitating on Thursday!

My sons who safely took refuge in our basement from the 50+ women who graced our home for an evening of Wine, food and conversation said they could hear the screams of delight as yet another woman entered the soiree and was greeted by myself and others.

The women who came spanned in age from 21 – 72 and reflected the many difference circles to which my daughter and I are separately and jointly connected. In some cases, women entered and knew no one. In all cases, everyone left having made several friends. It was EPIC!

The intent of the evening was to share the launch of Gypsea Diaries; a book my daughter and I will be co-writing in real time as we travel through South East Asia and, to invite the women in our circle to follow and share.

This was the plan for the evening however, as the house levitated a greater plan and purpose evolved.

I have always wanted to host an evening of Wine and Women. Thursday it seems was just the beginning. With the house in levitation mode, I realized the magic and power of the gathering – the energy is still in body as I type and the house is still vibrating.

Thursday was EPIC but it seems it was only the beginning. There are many more days of levitation still to come. To catch a glimpse of some of the EPIC evening festivities please head to facebook!

And to follow us as we write and travel please subscribe via Gypsea Diaries.