travel tips

Twin trees in autumn colors

A Comprehensive Guide to using a GoPro for Travel Photography

Last month I bought a secondhand GoPro Hero4 Black and since then I haven’t left the house without it! It is now my go-to camera for photos and video. I plan on using quite a bit on my trip this year to Australia and Southeast Asia. Here’s a guide that I put together as I was learning to use my GoPro for travel photography. I’ve added plenty of example photos (both edited and unedited), and will update with new photos from my GoPro travel!

Updated: January 2017 from my travels in Australia.

Disclaimer: I am by no means a photographer. I’m a scientist. I work with numbers and stuff. But for me, the process of learning how to take photos is the same as the trial and error process in research. Here’s the information that I’ve gathered and some of my observations and suggestions for others who are learning to use a GoPro to take travel photos. I’ve linked to other resources where necessary so you can look them up as you go!
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Check this map before your next trip

If you are concerned about getting an infectious disease while on your travels, there’s is an easy tool called HealthMap to track current disease news around the world. You could find the travel health report from your government, but on this website you can see all the reports that have been released on a pretty map!

The global map

HealthMap main page

HealthMap main page

This is the main page of the website where you can see pins for all of the current reports for disease cases this week. This includes many different categories of diseases, which you will find in the box on the right of the map.

Disease categories

Disease categories include vector borne diseases, respiratory alerts, animal alerts, neuro alerts, and others.

You can click on a disease category to see the locations of reports, or you can click on each disease name to find data for that specific disease. You can also click on the time series button in the menu in the upper right to see the chart of cases over time.
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Being an auntie from abroad

I’m going to be an aunt times two! Whoa!

My sister is about 3 months along with baby number 2! She is due in March 2016. This means I’ll have to plan a trip to go home to New York around that time. But this also means another little person is going to be in the back of my mind, nagging me to go home more often.

This is a recent photo of me and my nephew in New York:


Me and L on a walk

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Growth through travel

The past few years have really flown by. I feel like I’ve changed as a person, and as a writer too. Why travel blog? So I can follow what I’ve seen and how I’ve changed over the years!
my 100thblog post v2 credit to wyman H

How I’ve changed as a person

What I love about travel is that you challenge yourself. You can challenge your beliefs of what the world is like, what other people are like, and who you are. I’ve grown the most through traveling, and much of this has been because I’ve gotten to know myself better. Instead of floating through life living on a routine, travel has broken it up by giving me new experiences, exposing me to new cultures, and making new friends. It’s also forced me to think about what is important to me.

I’ve learned that I love being around different languages, and that I can be braver than I thought I could be.
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Art display at the Esplanade in Singapore

Dear Charmaine…your email was not spelled correctly

Hi Charmaine,

The email address you entered was not going through, so I hope you see this! This is in response to the questions you sent through the contact me page. I still wanted to answer your questions, so I’m putting it all in this post! Continue Reading

Tips for moving to the USA from Singapore

Considering moving to USA? Here are some general tips and thoughts.

Since a lot of traffic has come to my blog from searches for moving to USA from Singapore, I thought I’d actually do a post on this topic. For reference, I grew up in New York City, so a lot of what I know is what I’ve experienced there. I don’t know much about the middle of the country except that it is very flat and there is a lot more space with less people. Though I have spent some time on the West Coast, I mostly know New York City and the East Coast. I moved to Singapore from the US in January 2013.

#bleedinghearts street art in Freemans alley in Manhattan New York

#bleedinghearts street art in Freemans alley in Manhattan New York

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Moving to Singapore from USA: general tips and best/worst

Moving to Singapore from USA was a big deal for me, since the climate is so tropical and it is really far from home! Here are some general tips and my list of best/worst decisions I made when making the move. Hopefully they’ll be helpful for your move if you are planning one! You can find more resources on this page. (Updated 09 November 2016)

If you are instead interested in moving to the USA, check out my other post on that topic. You’ll also find more general tips on my resources page for moving to Singapore. Continue Reading

Reasons why I’m not living on campus

I chose not to pursue on-campus housing at National University of Singapore (NUS), mostly for personal reasons. I could probably get by living in dormitories, but I feel like I have already outgrown it a bit and below are some reasons why I’m so happy living off campus. I do have to pay a bit more for rent, but I think for me the benefits outweigh the costs. Continue Reading

Graduate student expenses in Singapore (updated monthly budget and sample spreadsheet)

I made a preliminary budget a few months ago, and now after having settled in and miscellaneous moving costs have been covered, I am going to aim for this budget and track what I spend. I was tracking my spending at home too in NYC, but now it is even more important for me to do this because my income is lower and I have more expenses. (FYI, I receive a monthly stipend of SGD$2000 from a scholarship to cover living expenses. This would increase if/when I pass my Qualifying Examination…) Continue Reading