Life in Laos through the lens of a diplomatic wife raising twin toddlers.


One of my earliest memories was flying on a trans-Pacific flight from my birthplace in Bangkok, Thailand, to the United States when I was six years old. Ever since then, it has always felt natural for me to criss-cross the globe. So after growing up in the northeast of the US, my life, my work and my curiosity have taken me to over 35 countries.

This blog picks up from where I began blogging nine years ago, documenting my transformation from an international investment banker into a Peace Corps Volunteer into a humanitarian aid and development worker. In some ways it is a celebration of my 10th-year anniversary of taking those first steps to change my life, steps which have led to great things for me, not least of which is meeting my husband while in the Peace Corps, and becoming a mother of two wonderful twin children (boy & girl) who are now two years old. My husband’s career takes us to a foreign country every two to three years so as a family we’ve already lived in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and will be moving to Vientiane, Laos later this summer.

My global adventures continue now with three people in tow and with a lot more luggage but still with the same wanderlust passion to experience the world.

I’m currently in the US studying Lao and preparing for our overseas move. I’m also researching possible development jobs in Laos for when I get there. During my down time, I’ve been writing a lot about my previous travels and experiences overseas. These memories have been resurfacing as I conduct my job search and begin to look forward to future travels in Asia. In some ways I’m really procrastinating from job seeking and doing boring packing stuff, but I allow my mind to wander as a way to open up my world looking toward our new life in a new country and reflecting on work that was very important to me.

I hope my posts are worth reading and I welcome input from others who may be along a similar path or share common interests. It’s always nice to meet kindred spirits.

Along the way, I’ve dabbled in travel writing at The Transit Cafe, and One World Journey. I’m a regular contributor to World Mom’s Blog and have contributed photography of Namibia at One World Journeys, and Mongabay. I am also a member of AFAR Experiences.

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75 comments on “About

  1. Laura
    October 29, 2019

    Dear Dee,

    I am writing to follow up on our invitation to include your blog in the Expatriate Archive Centre’s (EAC) Blog Archiving Project. We are a non-profit and independent archive that collects and preserves the life stories and social history of expatriates. We are looking for insightful and articulate blogging to build a digital collection of high-quality expatriate blogs. We believe your blog would be of value to researchers and academics working on expatriate studies and therefore, a valuable addition to our archive. Your blog no longer needs to be active to participate.

    You can find more information about the project on our website: https://xpatarchive.com/initiatives/eac-blog-archive/

    If you have any questions about the project or the EAC, please do not hesitate to send us an email at: blogs@xpatarchive.com

    We look forward to hearing from you!
    Kind regards,


    • Wanderlustress
      November 4, 2019

      Hi Laura,

      I am happy to consider this. However, the agreement is quite lengthy and I will need time to review it and get back to you.

      Thank you for being in touch.

      Best regards,

  2. travellingcolognian
    October 11, 2013


    I stumbled upon your blog a few months ago and started to follow you in June, so I thought I’d just say hi. I have been to Laos twice and highly enjoy reading your posts about your life in Laos. I have a huge love for Asia and started my own travel blog http://travellingcolognian.wordpress.com/ a while ago.

  3. Miss Pip
    April 21, 2013

    Hi Dee, I hope you are enjoying your Antipodean Travels. I have nominated you for a “versatile blogger award” For more information just pop over to my site.

  4. Michelle Ross
    April 4, 2013

    As a RPCV turned EFM, it’s great to read about someone else who shares a similar set of abbreviations! 🙂

  5. Chas Spain
    January 31, 2013

    Great blog – I think I will also follow all your followers – what an interesting gang they are.

  6. allthingsboys
    December 16, 2012

    Congratulations! I’ve awarded you the Blog of the Year Award 2012! Check it out here: http://allthingsboys.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/second-star-from-the-right/

    • Wanderlustress
      December 5, 2012

      Sorry for the delayed appreciation of your award! Thank you thank you thank you!!! I’ve been terrible about awards and obviously not getting any better. THANK YOU!!!

  7. Michael Brooks
    October 14, 2012

    Thanks for the insight into your world – really interesting!

  8. Lilit Arabyan
    October 11, 2012

    Hi, I’m so happy to have found your blog. I share similar interests in humanitarian work and diplomacy. You provide such a wonderful spin, by creatively weaving your professional and personal passions; so empowering to women everywhere… I will be visiting your blog often.

    I am just starting off on a similar path of growth, in pursuit of work in international development.

    My best wishes to you and your wonderful (also wAnderful) journey 🙂

    Lilit Arabyan

  9. Foreigner
    September 13, 2012

    Hello there! Happy to have found this blog, as it relates to my own life on many levels! I work in international development and human rights, and have recently relocated to Bangalore, India, mainly due to my husband’s job. Currently here working for a local NGO in the area of gender equality! No kids yet, but planning on adding them to the mix eventually, so it’s nice to read the experiences of someone who is managing an international career with children 🙂

    I write about politics, gender equality, life in India and living an expat life here:
    http://onforeignground.wordpress.com/ – please do visit if you find the time! One of my good old friends also just relocated to Vientiane to work on an environmental project funded by the Finnish Foreign Ministry, so who knows – maybe your paths will cross 🙂 It is a small world, after all.

    • Lilit Arabyan
      October 11, 2012

      The description of your blog resonates with me on so many levels! Looking forward to visiting your posts!


  10. travelerlynne
    August 28, 2012

    I love following your blog and nominated it for the One Lovely Blog Award. You can see your nomination here: http://onthegowithlynne.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/one-lovely-blog-award/

    • Wanderlustress
      September 6, 2012

      Lynne! I have to apologize and admit outright that I am a terrible terrible gift receiver. Be it things or compliments or gestures, I never feel worthy and rarely know how to reciprocate (as you can see from all the generosity here that I have not responded to). But your kindness nurtures me and soothes the uncertainties that come with being ‘out there’ in this space that is mine but also everyone else’s. So far, we’ve all been sharing it quite nicely and for that I am boundlessly thankful. Thank you friend for your gift of acknowledgement. Please know that I am so grateful.

  11. Hitesh
    August 23, 2012

    What a beautiful blog. Inspiring stuff

  12. Sarah
    July 23, 2012

    You, madame, inspire me greatly. I nominate you:


    • Wanderlustress
      September 6, 2012

      Sara, Sara, Sara. I have missed keeping up with your new endeavors. Thank you for your kind award that I’ve neglected these past months to respond to (my friend tells me that crossing seas is a good enough excuse, yet I feel shamed). But I have felt great gratitude and simpatico vibes here amongst friends like you 😉 THANK YOU!!!

  13. bollychees
    July 18, 2012

    Great blog! 🙂 Traveling the world as the spouse of a diplomat isn’t all that easy as some think it to be…hence kudos to you! 🙂 Like you, we love traveling and are addicted to the wanderlust bug 🙂 Will be following your blog from now on 🙂

  14. xjgirl
    July 11, 2012

    Hi there! I have also nominated you for the Sunshine Award! 🙂 Great blog…I love it! Check out my blog post to find out more about the award…Congratulations!

  15. stasiaalexa
    July 8, 2012


    I’ve nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award.

    Go here – http://stasiaalexa.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/one-lovely-blog-award/ – to see what to do next. It’s really fun and easy.

    Thanks for sharing your awesome blog!

  16. island traveler
    June 19, 2012

    You travelled to the most beautiful and exciting places. You have a passion for adventure and seeking life’s pure gifts. Hope you can join this Wednesday’s Image of Life challenge. Your photos are amazing. Thanks for sharing them.

    • Wanderlustress
      June 20, 2012

      I will check out the challenge. Thank you for the invitation and for visiting my blog!

  17. Dani
    June 18, 2012

    Hi There! Just started reading through your blog and love it. As a former non-profit (or as my org liked to call it “citizen sector”) person turned diplomatic spouse, I’ll be rooting for you in your job search and can’t wait to see what kind of work you’ll end up getting to do!

    • Wanderlustress
      June 18, 2012

      Hi Dani, it was great to come across your blog and meet you, too. In fact, our husbands are currently in the same class together. About working in Laos, we don’t have a bi-lateral work agreement but I’m hoping to still volunteer and get involved again with ngo work. We’ll see. Hey, I LOVED your recent post about first impressions. I have so much to say about it that I could write a cohesive comment!

  18. Ana Gaby
    June 10, 2012

    Hi! I’m also a fellow traveler with two little ones in tow.We are currently in Jakarta. My older boy, 2 years old, was born in Bangkok. I still miss living there and I consider it my third home. I look fwd to reading about your adventures.

    • Ana Gaby
      June 10, 2012

      By the way, I was born and raised in Mexico. Never been to Juarez, though. I know it must have been interesting with the little ones there. Sawadii Kha!

  19. veg-ease
    June 3, 2012

    Travelling with children makes travelling so different but so rewarding to see a new country through their eyes. How does your child deal with new and unusual experiences?

    • Wanderlustress
      June 3, 2012

      I have twins and they are generally very flexible and curious, so we’re excited for them to experience a new country. Thanks for visiting!

  20. studiofreeagent
    June 2, 2012

    Hello, I really enjoyed reading your blog and will be following your adventures.

  21. Jean
    June 2, 2012

    Keep on blogging! You’re doing great. May you always learn something new every few days wherever you are, take photos and share with anyone.

    • Wanderlustress
      June 2, 2012

      Thanks Jean! There will be so much to discover in Laos. I can’t wait!!!

  22. Robin Jean Marie
    June 1, 2012

    I love your story, your energy, and your attitude! (Your writing is quite good, too, and that scores big points in my book! 😉 )
    I look forward to “following” your journies–past, present, and future.
    And by the way–I’m a mother of twins, too. So, I’m doubly impressed!

    • Wanderlustress
      June 3, 2012

      Thank you for all your compliments Robin! How old are your twins? Boys, girls, boy/girl (like ours)?

      • Robin Jean Marie
        June 3, 2012

        They are teenagers, fraternal boys. They don’t even look like brothers, much less twins! (Interestingly enough, they could each be the “twin” of their older brother and sister! Guess we can make “two kinds”! 😉 )

  23. Kristin Duncombe
    June 1, 2012

    Greetings from France,
    An acquaintance directed me to your blog. I am a former Foreign Service Kid and have recently published a memoir about the years i spent in East Africa wih my Doctors Without Border Husband. It seems that we have similar interests and life paths, so would be great to make contact!
    Kind regards

    Trailing: A Memoir by Kristin Louise Duncombe

    Something unexpected occurs when Kristin Louise Duncombe moves to New Orleans to begin her adult life as a psychotherapist: She falls madly in love with a Médecins Sans Frontières doctor, abandons all of her plans, and follows him on a medical mission to East Africa. Faced with the dual culture shock of Kenya and life with the MSF team, Kristin struggles to craft a new existence in a context of mishap, witchcraft, and the life or death stakes of the MSF world. Just when she has managed to establish a life for herself in Nairobi, a violent carjacking catapults her into a state of acute post-traumatic stress, and her life thereafter devolves into a world of intense anxiety that permeates every aspect of her existence. Forced to examine questions about her relationship, career, and personal identity, she struggles to save her marriage while facing the most difficult fight of her life: saving herself.

    Duncombe’s debut, as humorous as it is harrowing, provides an insider’s view of an MSF marriage and the humanitarian crisis in East Africa. Probing deeply into her tumultuous search for identity, she captures the essence of the experience with extraordinary authenticity and honesty. An altogether life-altering journey to the core of the human soul, Trailing: A Memoir is a compulsive page-turner, as fascinating as it is life affirming.

    Find it on Amazon (US or European) immediately, or at all bookstores mid-summer, when the Kindle version will become available as well.

    • Wanderlustress
      June 1, 2012

      Hi Kristin, so nice to meet a kindred spirit. Your memoir and your work look very interesting! Thank you for visiting.

  24. 5th Grade Teacher
    May 31, 2012

    You’re both so lucky to have found each other, a kindred wandering spirit. I’ve recently been nominated to go to Asia in Jan. I’ll have to check out your first posts.

    • Wanderlustress
      May 31, 2012

      Asia is great! North or SEAsia? Nominated for what? Now I’m intrigued.

      • 5th Grade Teacher
        May 31, 2012

        I don’t know more specifically than Asia, unfortunately. It’s for the Peace Corps in January. I’m definitely apprehensive, but I expect it will be amazing. I think your experience turned out wonderfully. May I be as fortunate!

      • Wanderlustress
        May 31, 2012

        We LOVE Peace Corps. How exciting for you. I know for certain it will be a spectacular experience. Everyone gets something out of it, and you always take away more than you feel you can give back I wrote a lot when I was in Peace Corps Uzbekistan so if you want a little insight or you’re bored and there’s no good TV and interesting blogs haven’t been updated yet, you can see it here, http://noughsaid.blogs.com/. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.

      • Wanderlustress
        May 31, 2012

        I met my husband in the Peace Corps. He was in my group. How exciting for you. I know for certain it will be a spectacular experience. Everyone gets something out of it, and you always take away more than you feel you can give back I wrote a lot when I was in Peace Corps Uzbekistan so if you want a little insight or you’re bored and there’s no good TV and interesting blogs haven’t been updated yet, you can see it here, http://noughsaid.blogs.com/. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.

      • 5th Grade Teacher
        June 1, 2012

        I will check this out. Thank you.

  25. Christina
    May 2, 2012

    Is your husband in the FS? Looking forward to reading about Laos!

    • Wanderlustress
      May 9, 2012

      Hi Cristina, yes he is in the US Foreign Service. This will be our second tour after Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

  26. Expat Alien
    April 25, 2012

    I have nominated you for an an award. See my post here:


  27. The Feists Great Escape
    April 25, 2012

    I’m really enjoying your blog and made sure other people know about it by linking it in my post.

  28. The Wanderlust Gene
    April 24, 2012

    Can’t wait go to back to Lao with you. In the meantime I can see I’ve a feast of reading about what you’ve been up to in the past.

  29. larkycanuck
    April 11, 2012

    you must write a post on what you think about Bill Gates foundation efforts in humanitarian aid in Africa

    • Wanderlustress
      April 12, 2012

      Thanks for this Larkycanuck and for your suggestion. My response would be a dissertation in itself but for the most part I think an a strong privately funded organization like Gates is able to take a longer-term view of addressing a problem, devote a lot of resources into research and planning to come up with effective, sustainable programs. They are not subject to the annual fiscal cycle of sovereign aid funds like from USAID, or short-term relief funds like from OFDA that most aid organizations are dependent on.

  30. travelladywithbaby
    April 2, 2012

    I enjoy reading your blog. You bring such a flair to your experiences and it’s fun to read about. That’s why I would like to present you a with a Liebster Award. Please go to my page to see the details http://travelladywithbaby.com/2012/04/02/liebster-award-a-big-thank-you/

  31. You have some beautiful photography. Come by some time and see if you are a match for our photography group/online gallery. The tie that binds is that we all have experienced at some point or been touched by depression or other mental health issues, so its not for everyone. But if it is a fit, we would welcome a submission from you!

    • Wanderlustress
      April 1, 2012

      Thank you so much for the recognition! I will be in touch.

  32. Expat Alien
    March 31, 2012

    I look forward to following your adventures. Not an easy thing with twins!!

    • Wanderlustress
      April 1, 2012

      I look forward to learning from your experience living an international life with your son.

  33. shantarella
    March 23, 2012

    Sounds like you have a very exciting life. I’d love to have that experience. For now I’m living by my bucket list in Cape Town, South Africa : http://www.shantarella.wordpress.com/

    • Wanderlustress
      March 23, 2012

      Thanks for reading Shantarella. Good luck with your bucket list!

  34. wayfarerwanders
    March 20, 2012

    I’m so happy to have found your blog! I love the post I’ve read. I am perhaps at the begging of a similar journey–I just graduated and am looking into international–meaningful work–possibly the Peace Corps. Your blog inspires me. Thank you.

    • Wanderlustress
      March 20, 2012

      Thank you and welcome! I loved Peace Corps and really believe in it. Let me know if you ave any questions about it and I would be more than happy to discuss them with you.

      • wayfarerwanders
        March 21, 2012

        Thank you! I will keep that in mind as I move forward.

  35. mrsbr
    March 15, 2012

    I’ve been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award http://willshegetaway.wordpress.com by http://elladeewords.wordpress.com/
    I have posted the award details at http://willshegetaway.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/versatile-blogger/
    The rules for accepting this award are:
    1. Thank the award-givers and link back to them in your post.
    2. Share 7 things about yourself.
    3. Pass this award along 15 or 20 bloggers you read & admire.
    4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.
    Your blog is amongst the 15 that have inspired, amused, entertained and informed me as I’ve taken my first steps in blogging, so as a token of appreciation, I’d like to nominate you for an award.
    Keep up the good work!

    • Wanderlustress
      April 2, 2012

      Thank you so much! I am still in awe of the support and encouragement from my fellow bloggers through this award. There are so many deserving blogs to pay this forward to.

  36. Travel Thom
    March 13, 2012

    Thanks for liking my story! 🙂

  37. Rebecca Schonebaum
    March 9, 2012

    Hello! Excited to read your posts!

  38. Elena
    March 8, 2012

    Great blog & cause!



  39. Shutter Bug
    March 6, 2012

    Hi. I’m really pleased to find a fellow blogger who’s also into humanitarian/development work. Will be visiting often.

    • Wanderlustress
      March 6, 2012

      Thanks for visiting Shutter Bug! It’s a great way to experience the world while (hopefully) leaving it a better place.

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