What would you do if you could be DROPPED – somewhere, anywhere – in the world?

All who wander may not be lost, but alas, they lust – ah, wanderlust.

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If wanderlust is a sin, I think my feet are in too deep – my soul aches for eye-opening spirited adventure, maybe even a bit more than my heart longs for an amazing man. Sad but true! It makes me the happiest person when I voyage by bus, boat or foot – planes and trains will take me further, but it doesn’t matter as long as I get to see something new.

I’ve still got miles to go, but here’s sharing with you some legendary memories from my travels:

Trying Haggis (lamb innards) for the first time in Edinburgh, Scotland. Hated it, but I made new friends with 2 sisters who didn’t like it all that much too.
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Photobombed two Japanese girls as they were walking along a bamboo forest! Just a normal day in Osaka Japan.
adventure2JAPAN

Karma bites back… It’s my turn to get harrassed, and I’ve never met more aggressive guys than the Italians. Random nightclub in Rome, Italy.
adventure5ROME

Found some Ukes and formed a girl band in Cebu, Philippines!
adventure1CEBU

Was in for a rude and nasty ending at Spain’s famed celebratory bullfights – considered turning vegetarian post San Fermin 2013, in Pamplona Spain.
adventure3SPAIN

Woke up at 4am to chase the magical sunrise and cheeky monkeys – conquering Cambodia, Siem Reap with my Dad.
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I was doing my usual work on the laptop the other day (FACEBOOK) when I got a message from a dear friend David, living in the US. He sent me a new reality web series where Heineken has been picking and dropping all sorts of individuals in completely, utterly random places. David thought I might like it, and he was wrong – I loved it.

I watched all the other videos on the site and this ad campaign consumed me… why? Because this is such an epic way to live life.

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Clint Jacobs from South Africa was blindfolded by Heineken, dropped in Poland by skydiving clowns, and given a tandem two-person bike to find his way to Berlin. He also needs to find people along the way, not only to help ride the bike – but to create a circus show within the week.

Number 1, This must be some serious character building. I’m actually going to Berlin next week and it is not even within biking distance to Poland – at all!

Number 2, where is his clothes, or underwear at least?! I know I’ll be asking for my makeup if this happened to me, it’s a little crazy. But I would still do it! #dropped

The 2nd part of this crazy circus search:
DROPPED - POLAND 2

LEGENDS ARE NOT BORN – THEY’RE DROPPED. There’s nothing like learning to swim when you’re being thrown into an ocean. Or learning how to form a circus until you’re forced to do so!

—–>>> THINK IT COULD NEVER HAPPEN TO YOU? OH NO, IT COULD.

Heineken has been trawling the bottom of the internet and playing “departure roulette” at major airports too, searching for social media users and jetsetters, instantly changing their plans and sending them somewhere far away.

Does this sound like a dream or a nightmare to you? Normal people – like you and me – all around the world who have shared this video with their friends, claiming that they would do this in a heartbeat, have been dug out from their comfortable comment boxes on Facebook and physically DROPPED, anywhere from Ridjk to Romania.

The 3rd and last video of this new flying freakshow legend:
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So share these adventures with your crazy friends, my fellow wildchild! Oh please, please won’t someone pick me up and drop me somewhere, anywhere!

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The best of San Fermin 2013: A tourist’s experience of the bull run, bull balcony and bull fight

Whether I’m up rushing for my balcony viewing of the bull run at 7am, strolling the streets in the afternoon, or trying to fall asleep at 2am, there isn’t 5 minutes where the music stops playing. And by music, I mean everything – I recognized a range of Spanish classic pop songs, to David Guetta and Gangnam Style. Pamplona during San Fermin is a perpetual 24-hour party. It reminded me a bit of my college days in Australia – a number of cobbled alleyways reeked of beer and piss.


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*Bull Balcony viewing of the San Fermin Bull Run*

This was one for the bucketlist. Christine and I got the evening train in, and landed smack in street festivities of San Fermin. It was 11pm, and roads were closed when we got in, so our taxi dropped us off as far as it could. We pushed through crowds of inebriated party goers to navigate unfamiliar streets and quite quickly, found our way to our accommodation in Pamplona.


We were already tired, but its hard to ignore the jolts of adrenalin and cheers from celebrating locals. We were welcomed by our lovely local host, who briskly ushered us into a tight and tall apartment building – it was stairs only, and I struggled with my month-long luggage bag up 6 storeys.


My room was small, homely and cosy – a refreshing change from the usual hotels. There was something wrong with it though…

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The noise. I wouldn’t even call it noise – “noise” is an underestimation. This, is deafening. I didn’t expect this, but be prepared for gunshots, marching drums and brass trumpets accompany the screams of party-goers every 5 minutes. It’s too hot to sleep if the window is closed, but it’s too noisy to sleep when the window is open.


I asked for an adventure, but I didn’t know I wouldn’t be able to sleep.

There are many things I do alone, but I’m glad San Fermin isn’t one of them.


I can’t believe it was as loud last night at midnight as it is in the morning at 6am. The party goers are screaming, tension is building, but I’m perched high up and safely on our balcony. We’re living through San Fermin (pun intended) the only way we know how – VIP style!


So much safer than being on the ground. Not long now till the morning bull run!


A sea of red and white – kind of like the Singaporean National Day parade, but 10x crazier. With bulls. And beer. And Spaniards.


Run with the bulls and you’ll have instant bragging rights, or die trying. I’ll rather stay safe and high up on the balcony please, it’s much nicer to be injury and trample-free!


I just want to shout “nacho libre” and see who responds!

Arriba!

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*Bonafide bull fighting (Tauromachia)*
Location: Plaza De Toros

I woke up smiling, completely clueless as to what I was in for. Surprises are always fun right? My friend/blogger sister Chrispytine now lives in Europe and she told me about a trip to San Fermin in Pamplona that she was organizing.


The travel plans matched mine, and I put my hand up for it straightaway. I’ve always wanted to see a live bull fight – cartoons and movies could hardly do it justice and the bull fighters were depicted as such heroes. So off, we go.


Thanks to my immense lack of research before coming for a bullfight, I didn’t actually know that the celebratory tradition of bull fighting climaxes in the slow, drippy bloody death of a bull. The bull fighters (Toreros) and Matadors (senior bull fighters), spend half an hr per round teasing the bull with pink or red cloths while getting close enough to spear it. Slowly, but surely (bloody), it falls over in defeat. All the locals, half drunk on their BYO beer and wine, yell “ole ole ole” in victorious hurray.


My fellow foreigner friends and I have shell-shocked faces, sort of dismayed – and yet we clap and take pictures when we’re supposed to, feeling like we should try to enjoy the expensive entertainment that we came here for. An animal who is trapped into its own death is not a win for me, but we did pay for it.

How horrifying and heart-breaking to watch, my tears of sinking realisation punctuated only by the joyful roars of everyone else in the stadium. Surely a sport that honours the cruel torture and total death of an innocent animal is cruel and inhumane? I don’t think I have a right to criticise this long-standing cultural activity, so deeply a part of the lovely country of Spain which has warmly welcomed me. I decided I don’t like this world-famous sport at all, but it’s a little too late and also kind of ironic, considering I’m watching this while eating my kebab. My stomach feels sick with the thought and I start to visualize rainbows and butterflies.

Think it’s time to consider vegetarianism.


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If anyone’s interested, I’ll write a proper post with camera pictures on the top things we did in Pamplona for San Fermin and a first-time breakdown of how much/how to get around, but it’s up to you to consider turning vegetarian after you experience this too.

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->SORRY FOR THE LACK OF UPDATES, I’ll UPDATE MORE WITH PROPER PHOTOS WHEN I’M BACK END JULY. MEANWHILE, I’M OBSSESSED WITH INSTAGRAM VIDEO SO FOLLOW MY TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM (@estellekiora) FOR LIVE UPDATES! Xoxo

Spending a week in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, Cambodia is heartbreaking, but will make you a better person

I love my country, but Singapore is getting too glitzy and I know I need to shake myself out of this spoilt bubble that I’ve created around me. Singaporeans like me spend hundreds of dollars on taxis every month, and it has become so normal to watch my friends or overseas visitors spend anywhere from $2,000-$30,000 a night at my favourite nightspot haunts. Having my own business now means that I need to better appreciate the value of money, so I am taking a break with my parents to visit their friends in Cambodia. I need to escape this unhealthy perspective that I sometimes create for myself in my comfort zone at home.


Phnom Penh is much cleaner and has a surprisingly slightly westernized landscape. My days here are easily filled with $3-5 meals in beautiful restaurants, $1-2 coffees and drinks at spacious alfresco settings and conversations with a substantial number of expatriates – mostly sent here to work with the government, business projects and NGOs.


With the strength of my US dollar or Singapore dollar, it is simply impossible to be disappointed with $2 clothes at The Russian Market or Central Market, sleeping in $40 boutique hotels, or enjoying $9 per-hour massages at fine spas.


(Cambodia… #likeaboss)


In the rural countryside, the clouds are much nicer and there is lots of space. Locals tread under the searing sun and atop raw sandy land, going about their day to day.

It’s common to see motorcycles carrying trays of heavy and bulky items, or 3 adults clutching each other as scarfs and hats shade most of their face. Skinny cows or cats roam the land, and young children beg me everyday for food or money. Some are commonly run by begging syndicates and by giving in to one person, you are usually just disappointing 100 others. I want to give them all the dollars I have, but I know that’s not the way to help get them off the streets. The Cambodians need more than just money to break their poverty – they need a lot of support, jobs, education, love and probably a miracle.


Sure, people see that the Golden Triangle (Thailand, Cambodia and Laos) is dirty and backward, but when I look at Cambodia with my heart instead of my eyes, I see so much more.


(Challenge your compassion – go back in time and witness the horrors of humanity at the Genocide museum and The Killing Fields.)

The Cambodians are lovely people, albeit shy and fearful – oppressed by the unfortunate circumstances that toppled their once glorious kingdom. They were the second richest empire next to the Roman empire! How could so many problems happen to one country in such a short period of time? I am deep in sad thought as I sit in my wonderful air conditioned first class bus and eat my Twisties.

It’s one thing to see pictures or read books, but being present here will fill you with genuine understanding and clear impact of the change that the nation needs.
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(Still in Cambodia on the way to Siem Reap… More stories and pictures to come soon.)

Wondering and wandering… Guatemala

Just found a beautiful homemade video my cousin created of his trip to Guatemala, and I’m living vicariously through his lens.

Mexico has always been one of the top travel destinations in my wishlist! I’m totally jelly. Have YOU been? Did you like it?