Snow covered Sakura in Spring

The previous night I ironed my suit and layed it out carefully ready for my first day at school. After five days of intense training in Tokyo and a whirlwind few days of filling out forms and setting up my tiny apartment I was nervous, apprehensive yet excited for my first day of school. I…

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Trying Japanese food in Tokyo

  I love exotic food. I stayed in Asia for over 7 months in 2013 and loved eating exotic dishes everynight. I ate curry with my hands in Sri Lanka and ate from a giant leaf in Malaysia. In the UK I’d rarely choose to eat Japanese food, why eat expensive sushi when I could…

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A day out at Ueno Zoo, Tokyo

    With a city as big and sprawling as Tokyo it’s surprisingly hard to decide what sightseeing to do first! After a few days exploring quirky Akihabara, bustling Shibuya and historic Asusksa it was time for something different. My hostel was not far from Ueno; an area with a large park filled to the…

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First Impressions of Japan

  I waited in line at immigration at Haneda airport, my shoulders aching with the weight of my backpack and feeling sweat dripping down my back due the the 5 layers of clothes I was wearing. When it was my turn I shuffled to the desk, sorted out the formalities and was handed a residents…

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An alternative to paying for excess baggage.

‘Miss, your bag is 2kg over the limit. That’ll be £100’. As if! My flight to Japan wasn’t starting out as the relaxing journey that I had anticipated. Despite flying with Qatar, a respected Middle Eastern airline they were extremely strict with baggage allowances, giving Ryanair a run for their money. I was moving to…

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First impressions of Thailand

‘Miss Stephanie, Miss Stephanie. Border time. Get off!’. I woke up from my deep sleep, still tired from the 5am wake up call. Dazed I made my way to the back of the mini bus and heaved my heavy backpack on to my shoulders. The border was swarming with people selling strong smelling food and…

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A brief history of my travel pre-sabbatical Travels

      As you may well know from my previous blog post, I never had great aspirations to travel throughout most of my life. That’s not to say that I didn’t love going on holiday and experiencing different cultures (From the safety of a package holiday…). Spanish has always been a passion of mine,…

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2014, Reflections and travel summary

As I write this I’m tired, aching and with flushed cheeks after spending the day walking through Delamere forest in the bitter cold. I have a cup of tea at my side and I’m sat in my warm and cosy room, as comfortable as can be. 2014 was the year where I appreciated what I…

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How I decided to take a sabbatical and travel long term

  I devour the words of other travel blogs. I love seeing what made people just like me take a permanent or temporary break from the treadmill of’ real life’ in exchange for a life of adventure and the unknown. There’s one similarity between all of these bloggers. They have always wanted to travel. My…

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Ask Stephanie Anything: 6 Cheap things to do in Singapore

  I get many emails from readers asking advice about where to stay and what to do in destinations that I’ve visited. Just email me at stephanie@pearlsandpassports.com if you have a question and I will answer it. My question today was recieved from Caroline, a grad student who will be working in Singapore for the…

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