“In Myanmar, there are times when you don’t see any other tourists. You feel immersed in the culture and what’s going on in daily life…It’s also the land of five million trillion pagodas!” – Sophia Iaquinta
You are listening to Part 1 of 2. Listen to Part 2.
Sophia Iaquinta (@smiaquinta) joins the Edge of Comfort podcast during her exploration of Myanmar.
Originally from Nebraska, Sophia attended university in Minnesota to earn a dual degree in Nursing and Sociology & Anthropology. She stuck around Minnesota after graduation to work as a nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) of a hospital.
Throughout two years in the MICU, Sophia often worked 12-hour night shifts for six to seven days in a row.
After deciding she didn’t want to spend her career in a hospital, Sophia looked for other alternatives. Ideally, alternatives that combined her love for traveling with nursing.
This led her to look into joining the Peace Corps. She applied to volunteer with them and was accepted mid-summer 2017.
Starting February 2018, Sophia is spending the next two years in Guatemala working as a maternal and child health specialist.
After quitting her nursing job, she had a four-month gap between the end of her lease in Minnesota and the Peace Corps start date.
She decided to pack her bags and embark on a solo trip around Asia.
Exploring Myanmar & More
Sophia and I met October 2017 in Hiroshima, Japan. After a few days here, we went our separate ways exploring Japan and other Asian countries.
Sophia went to Thailand where she saw the Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai. She then crossed the border to Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), where she is during our conversation.
Myanmar is a country not many people know about or can find on a map (including myself). This makes sense considering the country only opened its borders back up to tourism five years ago after a 50-year closure.
The country’s appeal hasn’t hit the masses among southeast Asia travelers yet. This means it might actually be the perfect time to plan a trip to Myanmar before it gets overcrowded.
Sophia provides a lot of great information on Myanmar and what to do, as well as some of the history and layout of the country.
Some of the topics we discuss in Part 1 include:
- Deciding to visit Myanmar despite high political tensions
- Surprising beauty and landscapes in Myanmar
- What to actually do in Myanmar
- Chiang Mai (Thailand) Lantern Festival
- Being a “cultural” traveler
- Attempting a technology detox
Scroll down for links and show notes…
I apologize for some of the connection issues at the beginning of the episode. You will likely hear a few glitches or sped up audio.
This only happens a few times before clearing up. If it’s bugging you, hit the “15-second fast forward” button once or twice.
Thank you for listening and enjoy!
QUESTION OF THE EPISODE: Have you changed travel plans to stay in an area or country longer than you first planned?
Please leave your answer in the comments.
Want to hear another conversation with a solo-traveler?
Show Notes and Links
- Exploring Asia for four months. [8:00]
- Choosing to visit Myanmar despite heavy political tensions. [10:15]
- What is there to do in Myanmar? [18:15]
- Attending the Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand. [27:45]
- Learning about new cultures. [34:00]
- Must-have apps for travel. [37:20]
- How do you maintain your well-being while on the road? [42:10]
- Trying to take a technology detox. [46:30]
Edge of Comfort
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