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My name is Lydia Tomkiw. I grew up in the suburbs of Sacramento, California, where I ate all the Mexican food I could. In the fall of 2009 I studied abroad in Paris and started this blog as a way to keep in touch with family and friends (thus the “Ma Vie” title). Since graduating from Wesleyan University in 2011, I’ve traveled and written from different parts of the globe. I spent 15 months in Indonesia on a Princeton in Asia journalism fellowship. Most recently I spent a month reporting in Ukraine. NYC is my current base where I am a graduate student in international affairs at Columbia University.

This blog continues to document my travels, treks, and tales (and very importantly, the food along the way). I have an obsession with macarons and good food and a desire to travel as much as possible. Hopefully this blog will entertain you a little bit and distract you from some real work. To contact me about freelance work or the site try lydia dot tomkiw at gmail.

Visit my professional site here.

34 Comments Post a comment
  1. I love your site. Keep it up !

    March 30, 2009
  2. Great blog, it reminds me of the times I spent when I lived in Indonesia a few years ago.

    Don’t forget to visit Krakatoa, Bogor, and the Ijen Crater while you’re in Java, not to mention Komodo/Rinca, Flores, Sumatra…


    May 16, 2012
    • Lydia #

      Krakatau is high on my list. Hope to get there soon. Thanks for checking out my site.

      May 17, 2012
  3. madeis #


    May 16, 2012
  4. What an awesome blog! I love your stories about Indonesia and I commend you for going local :) Thanks for sharing. Happy travels.

    May 17, 2012
  5. Hi Lydia! Love reading about Jakarta from your point of view!!! Great pics!

    July 7, 2012
    • Lydia #

      Thank you, Ana! You’ve got a great site too.

      July 12, 2012
  6. Hi Lydia! Thanks for checking my blog. It’s good to know that you’ve spent a good year in Indonesia. Even for me as an Indonesian, there are still so many places in this country that I haven’t explored yet (hoping to do that within two-year’s time). Good luck with more travels!

    September 17, 2012
    • I look forward to reading your posts on Indonesia. I had an amazing year there and still have many places and trips to post about.

      September 17, 2012
      • how long have you been in Indonesia ?

        December 12, 2012
      • I lived, worked and traveled in Indonesia for 14 months. Thanks for visiting my site.

        December 12, 2012
      • you’re welcome, and may i know what is the best place in Indonesia that have you ever visited ? :-)

        December 12, 2012
      • That’s a hard question to answer! My favorite volcano was Mount Bromo. My favorite beaches were on Gili Trawangan and my favorite cultural trips were to Flores and Toraja. Such an amazing country — it’s hard to pick only one.

        December 12, 2012
      • yes you’re true, there are many cultures & tribes in my country. Try look my photography in Bromo in here

        December 12, 2012
  7. It touches when people from around the world comes to Indonesia and actually gets involved in it. I’m from Indonesia myself and i’ve never seen any Toraja funeral before. Please stop by to the Baduy Tribe in West Java, I will happily assist you

    December 11, 2012
  8. I think you should visit some beach in Gunungkidul, special district of Yogyakarta. and tell us your story later.. :)

    December 13, 2012
  9. techietalk #

    I loved this blog.

    December 13, 2012
  10. Yanti #

    i love your blog. its very usefull for me….. and it would be nice if we can know each other as a friend. i think we have the same hobby. travelling :-)

    December 18, 2012
  11. You have a great blog here. :)

    January 12, 2013
  12. Thanks for the follow! I love your blog and look forward to reading more!

    April 29, 2013
    • Thanks. I look forward to reading about your adventures in France. I am itching to get back there.

      April 29, 2013
  13. Hope you can visit the Philippines as well ;) specially the Tubbataha underground River located in Palawan which was won and included in 8 wonders of the world.

    May 15, 2013
    • I hope so too! I would really love to explore the Philippines one day. I have really enjoyed all the Filipino food I’ve tried in the US, really like lumpia.

      May 15, 2013
      • that’s great, lumpia is one of Filipino’s delicacy although it was not originated in the Philippines I think ;) I’m will wait your story about it. Thanks

        May 15, 2013
  14. wish i was there!

    June 1, 2013
  15. Lydia: Great posts on SE Asia. It’s like I’m re-living my trip all over again. Thank you for following 4feet2mouths!

    July 2, 2013
    • Thanks for following. Really enjoy reading about your travels, especially all the food posts!

      July 9, 2013
  16. Hi Lydia! I’ve really enjoyed following your adventures (especially the most recent one!!) so I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger award! :)

    July 14, 2013
  17. JiN #

    I recommend you to go to Siberut and Nias Island, and then West Papua as well as Banda Naira. Your natural eyes will be flourishing with cultural wisdom. I eager to go to New York and Los Angeles.

    August 29, 2014
  18. rudy hahn #

    I have just discovered your blog and will read all the rest of it – I worked in Indonesia and now retired, return every few years to explore new islands and areas of this lovely country, and meet more of these friendly people. You are correct in that it would be hard to name the one favorite place; friendly, helpful people abound, adventures everywhere, good food all along the way.

    From riding on top of a bus on Flores {instant AC plus great photos} to being invited to participate in a Toraja funeral {always come with a gift} to someone taking me by the hand when my Indonesian and his local dialect meant he had to take me to an ibu who fed me the finished product of what he was selling [aha: palm tree dates become fried chips}, and on and on….

    If I may suggest this: because I love bargaining [refined that skill in over five years in Kinshasa, Congo] I do bargain over ridiculous [for us!] amounts – but then give a tip/gift. What I love with Indonesians is that mostly, they will not renege on an agreed price, even after realizing that, for example, wheeling a big bule (white man) up a hill can be very tiring. Then I give the same amount of the fare again as “uang rokok” – smoking money. Some people have refused payment when they were just being nice, but “Please buy something for your children” will work. For us these little amounts, ten cents, one dollar, should be nothing; they can mean a day’s food for the family.

    It’s good to be aware, as you appear to be, of the price of our money – as travelers, especially to less visited areas, we can help, we can also create inflation and rising expectations. But gifts I feel are universally appreciated.

    I wish you continued enjoyable travels, en France ou bien ailleurs. Kembali k Indonesia!

    December 4, 2014
    • Thanks for reading! Hoping to travel back to Indonesia some day soon.

      December 4, 2014
  19. februaralfian #

    You are the luckiest lady to have chance stayed longer in the true paradise on earth. I hope you lucky turn into me soon .

    August 13, 2015

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