Let's Get Personal // Taipei, Taiwan


“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber

Sleepy Dragon Hostel is located in the Songshan District of Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. This was one of the highest-ranked hostels on Hostelworld.com, so we were excited to see if this was going to match up to the reviews.

As soon as you go up to the seventh floor, you can already feel the fun energy of this hostel. It's owned by a husband-wife duo with the cutest love story! When he told us he was from Illinois, we asked him how he came to Taiwan to own this hostel. He replied with a small smile, "I chased a girl."

*Love story time!

[He said him and his wife (then acquaintance) met in Japan. She was studying Japanese so she could understand the Japanese dramas without subtitles...how cute is she?!

After her visa expired, she returned to her home country, Taiwan. He said, "I contemplated my love for her for over a year, and then decided to go after her and I married her. She always wanted a hostel, so...I built one for her."

I think my heart was about to burst when I heard this story. I'm such a sucker for sappy love stories like this, so knowing a little bit about the history about this hostel made me appreciate it that much more.]

The space is vibrant, friendly, and comfortable. The owners built it from the ground-up, from the floors, bar, even to the stickers in the bathroom telling reminding visitors to not, "throw away...paper towels, garbage or your hopes and dreams in the toilet." You can tell they have a great sense of humor!

One of the best amenities is the fully stocked beer fridge. The beers are labeled by where they are from, so you can choose which type of beer you'd like to try. If no one is at the front desk, they use the honor system so you can pay the next day. It's one of the many things I love about this hostel. I truly felt like I was a part of a trusting community, and feeling safe in a foreign country is an obvious must!

The walls are decorated with so many encouraging and funny placards, mostly talking about beer and local sites to visit. There are free group tours each week day, which is amazing if you're traveling on a budget!

There were already people in our room, so out of respect for their privacy I opted out of taking pictures. They are very clean, spacious, and private because each bed comes with a privacy curtain so you can be completely in your own space while sleeping. They also provide a huge locker for all your belongings, sheets, and pillow case.

The shared amenities are also super thoughtful and easily accessible. They include: two computers with fast wifi, a self-help water station (comes with complimentary tea), and the showers come with shampoo and body wash. This hostel has everything you could need if you're packing minimally!

Outside the balcony, there is a washer and dryer that were very easy to use. If you look at that view, it is absolutely stunning! Taipei is literally laid out in front of you.

If you’re traveling to Taipei, you HAVE to try beef noodle soup. While I don’t know all of the ingredients that go into the soup, what I do know is that it is one of the richest, deep, and flavorful broths you will ever try in your life.

Take the bus or walk to Tao Yuan Street, and go to Tao Yuan Street Beef Noodle Shop right on the corner. People…this meal is one of my favorites I’ve had the entire time I’ve been in Asia, and I’ve had a lot of good food.

The way the soup warmed me inside and out reminded me of the tuna-katsu ramen I had at the Yokohama Ramen Museum in Tokyo, Japan. Click here for more details!

Beef bones are simmered to create the most delicious broth, and then thick, flat noodles are added. The orders only take minutes to cook and you can slurp to your heart’s content. The meat literally melts in your mouth…seriously, you don't even need to chew.

We also ordered a side of pickled cabbage and beef on the bone steamed with rice. The pickled cabbage with vinegar was a great complement to the rich soup, cleansing your palette before diving in again for the broth.

The beef with rice pulled off the bone with the slightest touch of your chopsticks, and was lusciously fatty. This is a hearty meal that will leave you wondering how you haven’t discovered more of Taiwanese cuisine prior to this.

For dessert, head over to Myowa Cafe. Bus #671 takes you right to the cafe entrance, where you are surrounded with many green tea goodies.

The pubic transportation system is so easy to use in Taipei, and small details like this alert button truly shows how safe and thoughtful Taiwan is.

I ordered the summer sundae, which came with green tea jelly, green tea ice cream, crunchy cereal flakes, sweet red bean, rice cakes, and a waffle crisp. The ingredients are not overpowering or too sweet, so this is the perfect dessert that is light and cooling.

For another yummy green tea dessert I tried in Seoul, South Korea, click here!

Because this was pretty much all we did this day, I’d like to take a second to slow down the pace for this post. Something I learned at the half-way point of my trip is that no matter how exciting the next venture in your life may be, it's okay if you want to chill.

In other words, listen to your own voice and try your best to disregard the rest.

(Are you liking this so far? Click here to read about the first time I've had this realization in Split, Croatia!)

I mean, it makes sense, right? But, this is so hard for me to be okay with lately.

Even in summer time we experience “FOMO” (fear of missing out), or constantly feel like somebody else is doing life better than we are. Or maybe this applies to your professional life, school work, personal life, etc. etc. etc.

Because I’m traveling at the moment, my mindset is that I want to “check off” everything in each country’s To-Do List. While I’m proud that we’ve done so in Japan and Korea, I’ve noticed how tired I am getting and that my body and mind is literally screaming at me to chill.

Here are some tips that I’ve accumulated that help me slow down and appreciate the small but important moments in life, especially while travellng:

1. Journal

Whether that means you write your stresses down in a notebook, voice-record a memo on your phone, or share your experiences on a blog (yours truly!), taking a few minutes each day to work through your thoughts can be super helpful to decompress. Even if you think you don’t have the time to do this, try incorporating this into your routine for just 5 minutes.

2. Nap

I know it sounds silly to tell you to nap, but taking quick power naps when I can has saved me on this trip (in addition to taking a daily multivitamin, vitamin C, and B12 supplement every morning). Your body needs rest and people today aren’t getting as much sleep as they should. A peaceful 20-minute nap can do wonders for your mood, health, and spirit.

3. Take a walk

Sometimes, you just need a change of scenery to break things up. If I’m cooped up in one place for too long but too tired to go do something, a nice walk allows myself my mind to wander. You never know what realizations will come to you when you change your environment and get some fresh air.

4. Treat Yo’self

A little retail therapy never hurt anyone, and it should never if you don't get carried away! For me, I love eating food and trying new restaurants, so sometimes it just takes a sweet boba drink or my favorite snack to make me realize that the little things in life can make me happy. You have to allow yourself to believe that small actions of self-love build up over time to make you a happier person overall.

5. Talk to Others

When I say talk to others, I mean push yourself out of your comfort zone and strike up a conversation with someone in your hostel, or an acquaintance you keep bumping into if you’re not traveling. This is probably the most eye-opening experience for me, because sometimes all you need to get out of your funk is someone telling you a perspective that challenges your current views. While talking to people who know you is also great because they understand you, sometimes the different perspective is what you really need to hear.

Wherever you are in the world, I hope this can be a little reminder that it is okay, normal, and necessary to listen to yourself and do what you want to do.

Remember: Living your best life means you live on your own conditions, and not based on unrealistic expectations. Even if you are the one who set those expectations, understand that it is just that: an expectation, a goal, a standard that you have set for yourself. Nothing else.

I love you all for reading this! Please let me know you're out there and subscribe (scroll down and input your email) to the blog! If any of this resonated with you, please write me a comment as well. I'd love to develop an open community where we can support each other on this complex but truly beautiful journey we call life. For more updates, also follow me on Instagram (@la.vita.vivi)! Also, check out my style, beauty and lifestyle blog, La Vita Vivi, if you're into that fun stuff.

Love love love,

Viv

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