Claire Staley

clarita the adventurista

Claire Staley

My husband Travis and I are about to embark on a 5 month journey through South Asia! I just completed my Masters of Social Work program this Spring and am ready to go explore the world! We plan to visit Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Nepal and India! Our main goal is to explore new cultures, cuisines, and locations. We plan to take a break from our travels in Nepal to spend time volunteering with the organization, Sarvodaya. This is a dream come true for me and I cant wait to get started!

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Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Asni July 20th 2015

Nothing much came to pass in Imlil, which is exactly what the gods intended when they made it, and exactly what we had hoped for when we decided to go there for a few days. After days in the thick sweltering heat of Marrakesh, we were in need of a respite. Climbing higher and higher into the sky, under the watchful eye of Jebel Toubkal – the highest peak in North Africa – we finally saw the small yellow sign for Dour Samra. We jumped out of the taxi and began the trek down into the small village to find our lodging. Douar Samra is a kind of paradise on earth - along with 6 small bohemian inspired guestrooms and a treehouse - there is a small organic garden, a loud winnowing mule, a very tubby ... read more

Upon arriving in Marrakesh it was immediately evident we were in a larger, more modern city. On the ride from the train station to our riad we passed night clubs, fancy restaurants, and billboards advertising alcohol and cigarettes. It felt like we had pressed fast forward on the remote and arrived in the modern world. The Medina felt distinctly different as well. The streets were wide enough that cars and motorcycles could drive on them, which lead to more traffic and congestion. There were also larger monuments and distinguishable landmarks within, which in theory, should have made it easier to navigate (this didn’t actually end up being the case). Our riad, located in the southwest corner of the Medina was run by a sweet, young French woman. It was adorably decorated with a mixture of Moroccan ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes July 3rd 2015

Anyone that tells you that travelling is 100% pure, heavenly joy, is lying through their teeth. The truth is traveling consists of extreme highs, some pretty low lows, and everything in between. For me, the highest of the highs occurs even before I leave home. For months leading up to a trip, randomly a thought will enter my head and interrupt whatever I am doing, reminding myself of my upcoming trip. It always brings a smile to my face, as if I have the best secret ever, that no one else can possibly understand. Then in the days leading up to travel, I can feel the excitement literally coursing through my veins. The idea of not knowing what is about to occur is both exhilarating and somewhat scary. The actual bulk of the trip is usually ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Tangier-Tétouan » Chefchaouen June 25th 2015

After Assilah, we took a private taxi 3 hours east through the arid interior of Morocco, up into the hills to a small mountain village called Chefchaouen. The entirety of the tiny village, perched on the towering hills, is painted a pale shade of blue, leaving you with the impression that you are actually under the sea, rather than high in the mountains. Chefchaouen has many of the staples of a backpacking town – lots of small shops selling Moroccan handicrafts (mirrors, lanterns, carpets, homemade soaps, hand knit hats, etc), a multitude of restaurants vying for your business, and the usual backpacker types with flowy pants and prayer beads. It is also the “kif” capital of the world, a fact that the locals are very proud of, and liked to remind us of literally every few ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Tangier-Tétouan » Asilah June 25th 2015

It’s official. Morocco has won me over. The combination of the amazing food (we’ll talk about that in a minute), the stunning architecture and the diverse landscape - all at an affordable price - is truly a traveler’s dream. But what makes it truly unique is the meddling of cultures – the red tiled Andalusian rooftops, the centuries old Arabic Medinas, the historic mellahs (Jewish quarters), and the traditional Berber tribes. Old and new is very visible here. Traditional Berber women descend into the Medinas with straw conical hats, while teenagers chat away on their cell phones, wearing Western shorts and tees. The size is also a huge plus - we have only been here a week and already we have seen a bustling seaside city, a small sleepy port, and now a small backpacker’s hub ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Tangier-Tétouan » Tangier June 22nd 2015

It’s amazing how much your perspective can change in only a couple of days. At home days pass by without much notice; each one similar to the one before it. When travelling, however, one day contains so many new discoveries, feelings, and sensations; it can feel as though a whole year has passed in the span of a couple of hours. Yesterday morning we woke up not having any idea what lay outside the walls of our riad. We knew we were in Morocco, but we didn’t know what that meant. The world beyond was a mystery. And now, two days later, we have seen and explored the myriad passageways of the Medina, eaten chicken patisse and lamb tagine until our bellies were full, explored the spacious courtyards of the historic Kasbah, wandered through the lush ... read more

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Khao Lak May 10th 2012

THIS IS ONE OF THOSE BIG MOMENTS. Those moments when you know you are at a crossroads.You don’t know what lies ahead, but you know that whatever it is, it is different from where you just came. We just reached our hotel in Khao Lak, Thailand and for the first time in several months we have almost no decisions to make. We don’t have to figure out how to get anywhere, where we are going to sleep tonight, what time the bus or train leaves, or where we will go next. We are staying at a 5 star Marriott resort for the next five days, using up the last of Travis’ hotel points that he accumulated over the last few years through traveling. We walked into the spacious lobby adorned with chandeliers and regal statues ... read more
View From Second Floor
Sun Lounging Deck
Most Comfortable Bed In The World

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Krabi April 30th 2012

I’M BECOMING A TRAVEL SNOB. It’s true. We are here in paradise, at one of the most beautiful destinations in the world with emerald green waters and dramatic karst formations jutting out of the water, but all I can think about is how annoying the tourists are. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that we aren’t the only ones that like this whole tropical paradise sort of thing. But seriously, what are all these damn tourists with blotchy red skin and hideous swimsuits doing in my paradise? Can’t they get their own elsewhere!? But let me back up a second. From Ko Phangan we took a catamaran back across the Gulf to mainland Thailand, and then jumped into a minivan with hordes of other travelers heading west to the Andaman coast. From here we were ... read more
Limestone Cliffs
Boat Ride To Railay
Limestone Cliffs

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Pha-Ngan April 17th 2012

I. LOVE. THIS. ISLAND. It has everything I love wrapped up conveniently in a little package. Clear turquoise waters. White sand. Jungle interior. Mountains. Night life when you want it, whispering palm trees when you don’t. Bungalows on the beach for $20 a night. It is a backpacker’s dream. As I write this entry my skin is still emitting heat from all the sun it has absorbed in the past five days. I smell like a tropical island – part sweat, part sea salt, part no-cares-in-the-world euphoria.I wish I could store this smell in a little bottle and dab in on my wrists on a cold winter’s day. From Chiang Mai Travis and I took a twelve hour bus south to Bangkok and spent the night in our usual hotel near the airport, Rafael Mansion. In ... read more
View From Porch
Our Pad

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai » Doi Suthep April 6th 2012

GETTING TO CHIANG MAI INVOLVED a bit more than the usual prescribed hassles. We flew out of Hanoi at 8am and arrived in Bangkok a couple hours later, still tired from another early morning. Not wanting to waste an extra day sitting around Bangkok we went straight to the train station hoping to catch the noon train for Chiang Mai. Upon arriving at the station we learned that the train was fully booked and the next one didn’t leave until late that evening. Worse yet, there were only sitting seats left, not recliners, which was important since it was a twelve hour overnight ride. While I sat on the bench and sulked (I was having a – ‘I’m sick of traveling’ - moment) Travis arranged alternate transportation on a double decker V.I.P. bus for that evening. ... read more
Black Grass Jelly
Suan Buak Haad Park
Relaxing By The Pond

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