Hey everyone! Welcome to Miles of Smiles To Go. I'm Ilyanna and I'm currently living in Thailand as an English teacher. I am hopelessly addicted to traveling, soaking up new cultures, and living life to its' greatest capacity, which I believe is best done by seeing the world. Born and raised in the dry and sunny desert of Tucson, Arizona, I decided a couple years ago that it was time for me to change up the scenery and lifestyle that I had been used to my whole life. What better place to do that than China, right? Long gone were my precious forks and mountainous landscapes. Chopsticks and smog-filled cities had replaced the former and everything I thought I knew about myself, the world, and simply living was harshly flipped upside down. Despite the smell of stinky tofu, my irritating inability to communicate with 99% of the Chinese locals, and the frequent lack of edible-looking food, I fell head over heels in love with China and with traveling… and thus my unrelenting longing to travel more began.
Since my first international experience in China in 2015, I've had the blessed opportunity to visit a few new countries and states within my own sweet country. Watching the sunrise in the Philippines, eating all the Mickey waffles at Hong Kong Disneyland, and exchanging kisses with a dolphin in Mexico have been some of my most unforgettable international travel moments.
Volunteering to teach English in China for a semester was without a doubt the best decision of my life– so much so that I decided to do it again in Mexico and now in Thailand. By actually living in each country for an entire semester at a time, I'm able to fully immerse myself in the country's unique cultures and ways of life. I now have homes in Changzhou, China, Celaya, Mexico and Phitsanulok, Thailand.
So why do I even have this blog? The purpose of Miles of Smiles To Go is firstly to my share my own travel experiences; the good and the inevitable bad, from both my domestic and international travels. The second purpose is to give readers recommendations, tips and advice about all things travel: things to do, places to eat, packing, budgeting, cheap airfare, etc. Thirdly, I want to inspire others to travel more. By traveling more, you will learn things you couldn't have ever possibly learned if you had stayed home and within your comfort zone. By traveling more, your mind indubitably opens up to the different cultures and ways of life around the world.
Here's your invitation!
What: A new blog post.
Why: To read up on the experiences I share here, to get inspiration for your next adventure, to open your mind, and to check out travel recommendations, tips & advice.
Following this invitation, I offer you a challenge: to get away from your own comfort zone and to travel somewhere new. Immerse yourself in a completely foreign place and uncomfortable situation. Get away from what you've been used to your whole life. The best things in life are on the other side of fear.