Welcome to my travel blog!

I'm Charmaine Arellano-Chua. I first started Charmaine's Travel Chronicles in January 2017, right before embarking on an exchange semester at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. I had so much fun chronicling my experiences across Europe that I decided to continue blogging about all my travels thereafter.

What did I know about Switzerland before I left in 2017?
  • • It's really expensive.
  • • It's super clean and safe.
  • • Cheese and chocolate.
  • • Mountains!
  • • Also, it's apparently warmer than Canada, so what more could I ask for?

About this site

Initially, I created this blog by repurposing an old website portfolio hosted on Siteground. I had purchased a three-year shared hosting package, but the portfolio became superfluous based on the industry in which I chose to recruit. As the three-year package came to an end in August 2018, I realized I didn't want to lose this first-hand account of my travels, but I also didn't see enough value to justify a $150/year shared hosting plan anymore.

Thankfully, my good friend and housemate Alex told me about Github Pages. This led to a deep-dive where I explored options available to me. In July 2018, I finally settled on powering this blog as a free(!) static site through a combo of Gitlab, Jekyll, and markdown-based blog posts. The comment section (via Disqus) continues to elude me, but otherwise, I'm pretty happy with the result and the overall experience (it took me approx. 2 days to fully migrate from a Wordpress-powered blog with THOUSANDS of images!). I'm tinkering with the idea of using forestry.io for CMS as well.

As someone who has never taken a computer science course and had only learned rudimental HTML/CSS a decade ago for my Neopets pet pages, this process turned out to be a lot better than expected. Feel free to contact me if you're considering starting a blog of your own or want to liberate yourself from expensive hosting or blogging platforms.