Freedom Life: September + October 2019

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What its like to plan a destination wedding in Australia and a Southeast Asia Honeymoon! Its the freedom life, my life as a digital nomad! #wedding #honeymoon #destinationwedding #southeastasia #travel

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Well if you didn’t already know, I just got MARRIED!! My wedding to Chris from Aussie on the Road was this October 5th, so of course, all of September was spent preparing for the wedding. Then for most of October, we were off on our Southeast Asia honeymoon!

So, hopefully you can excuse me for the lack of posts and videos these last two months. Things have been CRAZY busy, and then, of course, I had a personal rule against publishing and working on the honeymoon. It was definitely necessary to take a little break with all of that going on, but I’m back!

Richelle wedding

I’m married!

Where I Went

  • Ben Lomond, Australia
  • Bellingen, Australia
  • Coffs Harbour, Australia
  • Newcastle, Australia
  • Koh Yao Yai, Thailand
  • Ao Nang, Thailand
  • Railay, Thailand
  • Koh Lipe, Thailand
  • Langkawi, Malaysia
  • Malacca, Malaysia
  • Singapore
wedding

Chris and I at the alter!

Highlights

Obviously these last two months went pretty well for me. Here are some of my favorite moments!

I Got Married!!

Yay!! Chris and I got married in Bellingen, Australia on October 5th. We had a small-ish wedding of 70 people who flew from all over the world to see us get married at Cedar Bar.

The wedding was amazing, and I can’t believe after all the planning it’s finally over. I had such a great time celebrating with all my friends and family who could make the trip, and I’m so thankful that so many people could fly all the way to Australia to celebrate with us.

We had a full wedding weekend of activities from a rehearsal BBQ and pub meetup, to a beach day after the wedding (which we had to relocate to a new beach due to high wind! whoops).

I can’t wait to get all the photos and the wedding video back so I can share them with you! I’ll also definitely fill you in with a blog post or two about what it’s like to plan a destination wedding, along with how our wedding actually went!

Honeymoon Langkawi

Our overwater bungalow

Amazing Southeast Asia Honeymoon

After the wedding weekend, Chris and I left for a 3-week trip to Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore! We spent a few days at a nice resort on Koh Yao Yai which had the most amazing view and beautifully carved wood architecture. Then we took a boat to Krabi where we went island hopping to Koh Hong and took a day trip to Railay Beach.

From Krabi, we spent a very long day traveling all the way down to Koh Lipe where I finally got to do some diving! Then it was off to Langkawi where we stayed in an overwater bungalow (for the first time in my life!). We then traveled to Malacca where we ate all the food and ended the trip in Singapore. I’d never been to Singapore before, so I had a great time wandering around, catching the sights, and grabbing all the food at the Chinatown Hawker market.

The honeymoon was amazing, and I will definitely be writing about it for all of you!

wedding Bellingen

Me with two of my bridesmaids!

My Dress Disaster Solved!

You may remember from my last monthly recap that the entire bottom of my dress was really messed up… Well, the weekend before the wedding we drove 6 hours down to Newcastle to get my dress back and the alterations lady had completely fixed it! Whew!!

Basically in an attempt to shorten the dress, the tailor I went to in Vietnam made it TOO short (and uneven), so a tailor in Newcastle had to lengthen the lace back out with scraps from other dresses.

My dress looked amazing on the day, and no one knew the painstaking effort that went into fixing it. The woman also gave me a $300 belt that someone left with her because they didn’t want it!! Whaaat? Well, it went perfectly with my dress and I was happy to leave her the original cheap belt I bought so she could give it to another bride who needed something to spruce up her dress.

Promised Land Wedding

The bridesmaids and I before the wedding

Challenges

Of course with a wedding and honeymoon, there’s bound to be a few minor disasters. Here’s what didn’t go perfectly this month.

Wedding planning is stressful!

Wedding planning is never easy, especially when you’re doing it in another country! With only a solid 1.5 months in Australia before the wedding, it really was cram-time to get everything done. I spent hours designing name tags (TWICE), handwriting on chalkboards, researching guest books that could actually ship to Australia (more on that later), etc. etc. etc.

While I thought I had finished everything before I left for Bellingen, I was so wrong. There were so many little things I had forgotten. Someone’s nametag disappeared, I forgot to print out a photo of my grandparents for our memorial, there was a bunch of stuff I forgot to bring, my makeup artist got sick the day of the wedding, I never practiced dancing with my dad… whoops.

I was so stressed out right before the wedding that I started to get really run down, and was popping cough drops like they were going out of style. Thankfully the wedding went great, and no one noticed all the little things that weren’t perfect (or they’re all lying to me, who knows).

Cedar Bar wedding

My family at the wedding rehearsal

Online Shopping in Australia is horrible

If I were planning a wedding in the US, I would just order everything I needed on Amazon, no problem. But online shopping in Australia is HORRIBLE. HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!

Firstly, Australian Amazon is basically a joke. There’s no selection, everything is overpriced, and there’s basically no point. You used to be able to order US Amazon to Australia if you paid extra for shipping, but now they WON’T LET YOU DO THAT. I discovered this after I had already selected all of my bridal jewelry and accessories…. so that’s cool. I ended up sending it to my mom to bring over.

Most people in Australia shop in the store (but Chris’ family lives in a rural area making that difficult) or on eBay, but the reviews on eBay are really bad. Firstly, you can’t upload photos, and they also cap the amount you can type to about one sentence, so everything is “arrived on time”, “better than expected”, “a little too big” and that’s it. It was super hard for me to feel comfortable buying things for the wedding if I couldn’t see how it would look in real life.

Finally, Etsy is a wonderland for wedding planning, but getting stuff shipped to Australia… don’t even get me STARTED. You’d find something that ships to Australia but it would either take 2 months to ship, or the shipping was more expensive than the item itself. Seriously!!!

Let’s just say I have to really thank my mom and my Maid of Honor Sarah for bringing a bunch of stuff from the US to Australia for me…

Koh Hong island hopping

I was THAT GIRL

Packing for the rest of my life before the wedding

So not only did we decide to go straight from the wedding to the honeymoon (whoops), we are also not heading back to Australia for OVER A YEAR, so we needed to pack all of our stuff for the next year as well. Yeah… that was dumb.

Cue one suitcase for the wedding, and another large suitcase for the next year, which happens to contain my honeymoon stuff. I had no time to see my big suitcase until the day after the wedding when I had to repack all my bags at the beach in front of everyone. I then realized my bag was too heavy that evening, so I had to leave a grocery bag of random clothes and beauty products at our hotel front desk for Chris’ family to drive 30 minutes out and pick up that next morning… whoopsies.

Then, of course, our honeymoon was not round-trip, so I needed to lug a 50 lb suitcase off of tiny boats on sandy islands. I was THAT GIRL and it was so embarrassing. I wanted to say to everyone looking at me, “I’m traveling for a year! I’m heading to the US in winter! Stop judging me!”

I have now officially decided that for my 5-months in Europe/ possibly China/ possibly Tanzania, I will be traveling with one backpack and a capsule wardrobe. I’ve been reading a lot of Travel Fashion Girl and I think I’ve got my 5-month winter/spring Europe/Asia wardrobe complete. However, if I end up going to Tanzania I may have to make a few adjustments… Wish me luck.

Koh Yao Yai

Our way more relaxing public infinity pool in Koh Yao Yai

Our Private Dinner Disaster in Koh Lipe

Since Chris and I don’t really need a bunch of “things” (where would we put them?) we did a Honeymoon gift registry instead. One of the things that people donated towards was a private beach dinner, which we organized for Serendipity hotel in Koh Lipe.

Chris and I were super excited about this hotel that we splurged on for 2 nights. It was a small boutique hotel, and our room had a private plunge pool! Our plan was to relax in the pool during the day and do our private dinner in the evening. However, it poured down rain all day, so the hotel offered to have our private dinner on our little veranda by the pool, which we said was fine.

We purposely kept the curtains closed so we would be “surprised” when we saw the decorated veranda, which admittedly was super cute with lots of candles and lights. However, when it came time to eat, the waiter just dropped off our starters and left… didn’t ask us if we wanted drinks, water… nothing.

FORTY-FIVE MINUTES LATER (after I’d already gone down to search for someone) he comes back with our appetizers, mains, and desert. He plops them all down on the table like room service and then seems shocked when we try to ask him to order a drink.

Castaway Koh Lipe

Our budget eco-resort in Koh Lipe that was nice

I think this could be a whole blog post in and of itself, but long story short, we ended up talking to the guest relations manager about it because we had actually paid quite a lot of money (approx $185 USD all up) for the private dinner, and they treated it like room service. We weren’t getting much of a response from the manager, so we decided to go back up to the room and just go to bed.

OVER 30 MINUTES LATER they come upstairs with a bottle of cheap champagne as an apology gift, but when I opened it, it was totally flat. I then awkwardly went downstairs to give it back, and the restaurant manager basically told me I should drink it anyway (it tasted awful) until their guest relations manager intervened and gave me a new bottle. By this point, it was like 10:45 pm and it was a little late to be drinking a whole bottle of champagne, but we at least could enjoy a glass. I was kind of thinking they’d give us a partial refund, but I guess an $8 bottle of wine was all they could do…?

The next morning when we tried to enjoy our pool before we had to check out at noon (since it had rained the whole day before), they sent a team of two guys to basically occupy our whole balcony taking down all the decorations. Umm… wtf. After a solid 45 minutes of them camped out there I asked them if they could come back and do it later after we checked out, they refused and stayed for another 30 minutes right up until it was time for us to check out.

Honestly, I’ve never been so mad at a hotel before. I rarely ever complain about anything at a hotel, and I had to go down and complain multiple times (which made me feel super awkward). I honestly don’t know what is going on with their staff. It’s a very small hotel with tons of staff running around, but for some reason, they managed to botch everything they touched when we were on our honeymoon staying in their nicest room buying their most expensive dinner so… that’s cool I guess.

What I Created These Last Two Months

I don’t have much to show from these last two months (sorry!) but I do have a new Youtube video to share with you!

In case you didn’t already know, I have a new Youtube channel where I talk about living and working in China! If you’re at all interested, be sure to check it out.

Best Instagram Shots

Just a sneak peek from our engagement photoshoot in Coffs Harbour!

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Guess who’s getting married this weekend?!!! Only a few more days to go!

A post shared by Richelle (@adventuresaroundasia) on

Our only photo from the photographer so far. Can’t wait to see more!

Shinesty thong

Photo by Shinesty

Travel Products I Can’t Live Without

I had to do laundry a few times on my honeymoon trip where I wasn’t able to head to a local place to get it done, and I have to say, I’m so thankful for my Shinesty travel underwear! Not only are the designs super fun, but they’re also very comfortable, and dried in a matter of hours when I washed them in my hotel sink. I noticed they now have some really awesome Christmas themed COUPLES UNDERWEAR so I may have to grab a few pairs to gift myself Chris for Christmas.

I backed the Kosan Go Travel Dress on Kickstarter forever ago, and my dreams of a travel-friendly adjustable travel dress finally became a reality! This dress is wrinkle, UV, and water-resistant, has hidden and zippered pockets, and adjusts to be long or short with snap buttons. I’m a huge fan, and I’m definitely considering ordering another one in a different color!

Ao Nang Thailand

On our way to Ao Nang!

Best Reads of September/ October

Here are my favorite blog posts from the last two months!

The Importance of Digital Detoxing – Be My Travel Muse

I finally got my digital detox during the honeymoon, and this is definitely something I want to continue to do every once and a while for my own sanity!

How to Visit Antarctica Responsibly – Divergent Travelers

How to go on the adventure of a lifetime without doing damage to this incredible continent!

How to Make Friends in a New City– Ashley Abroad

Making friends in a new city can be super hard, especially if you’re in a relationship!

What I’m Watching

I died watching this fake travel influencer video. I definitely have respect for people who make videos that look this unattainable because they are beautiful, but sometimes you just need to poke a little fun at the industry.

What I’m Up to in November

Well… November may be half over (whoops) but I do have some major things planned. Firstly, Chris and I are on an episode of House Hunters International which I will be sure to tell you all about next month! We’re also spending November in California with my parents to celebrate the holidays. Finally, we’re taking a quick trip to Vegas to see my brother perform with Sabrina Claudio!

What its like to plan a destination wedding in Australia and a Southeast Asia Honeymoon! Its the freedom life, my life as a digital nomad! #wedding #honeymoon #destinationwedding #southeastasia #travel

Pin Me!

What its like to plan a destination wedding in Australia and a Southeast Asia Honeymoon! Its the freedom life, my life as a digital nomad! #wedding #honeymoon #destinationwedding #southeastasia #travel

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About Richelle

Expat, traveler, and spicy food lover, I've spent the last few years living in China and traveling around Asia. In my spare time I enjoy salsa dancing, exploring night markets and stuffing my face with street food.

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