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Inspiration, Personal Notes, Travel, Vietnam

Moving to Vietnam

21st May 2017

First of all, let me apologize for being a bit absent from this blog. I guess I needed some time to clear my mind and to settle in a bit. You see, we have moved to Vietnam!

We first visited Vietnam over two years ago and immediately fell head over heels for the country! We couldn’t stop thinking about all the beautiful places and the lovely people that we met during our travels. You know that saying “This place keeps calling me back”? Well, Vietnam did that to us. I never really understood this saying. I mean the world is so big with so many places to explore! But after visiting Vietnam we realized that a place can really creep into your heart very quickly.

Di Linh Vietnam

Di Linh Vietnam

Never give up on your dreams!

Fast forward to the present moment and I am writing this post from our house in Nha Trang. We just spent the morning at the beach and went for a lovely drive along the coast. I can also tell you that we had some of the best coffee in the world and we will probably pick up some street food for dinner.

You are probably wondering what happened in our lives over the past few months? Well, here is a little update. We both found great jobs. AJ is working hard on his dreams and teaching English in the evenings and I am a preschool teacher at an international school. When we are not working we are doing volunteer work at an orphanage. (More about this later) When we have some free time we go for a swim at the beach or drive around the countryside. Life has been really busy and I have so many things to tell you! So I promise to keep you updated on a regular basis!

One thing I have realized is that if you want something in life, work hard at it! Focus on your dreams and do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do it. Dreams don’t just happen. YOU need to make it work.

When we were living in Hong Kong we knew that we wanted to return to Vietnam one day. So we worked hard and built up a safety net for ourselves for when we were ready to take the leap. It wasn’t always easy. Even though we really enjoyed working and living in Hong Kong, some days got the better of us. We got frustrated, we worked long hours and the busy hustle and bustle of the city was tiring at times. But we kept going. We worked extra hours to add to our savings and never gave up on our goals.

“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy – I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.” – Art Williams

Nha Trang

Nha Trang

People always tell us that they wish they could be like us. They wish they had the money to travel and to explore the world. “You guys are so lucky!” they will say.
Well let’s get really honest here for a bit. Before we moved to Hong Kong we were quite broke. I think we had about 2000 USD between the two of us to buy plane tickets and to survive for a month. For our first month we lived off the cheapest meal you can get. (AKA MacDonalds! We really don’t recommend eating junk food for a month! YUCK!) We had to make sure our money lasted until our first paycheck so our budget was tight! But somehow we made it work.

What I am trying to tell you is anything is possible! If you want to travel the world, start a business, buy a new car or spice up your wardrobe make sure you set mini goals for yourself. Think of ways on how you are going to achieve it. (If you want to know how we saved up for our backpacking adventure you can read more over here)

Moving to Vietnam didn’t happen overnight. It was hard work but I am proud to say that we made it.

Inspiration, Travel

Affordable travel and learning new skills

27th January 2017
workaway

You have probably read thousands of articles with headlines such as “Affordable travel”“How to travel the world for free!” or “Quit your job and travel the world!”. Ok, let’s get serious about these topics. Traveling for free is not going to happen to everyone. Last time I checked a plane ticket costs money. And affordable traveling doesn’t mean that you will stay in a hotel that charges you 15$ per night? I am sure that you would like to know how some people can travel on a small budget? Well, the good news is that there is a way to do it!

Workaway

Relaxing after a hard day’s work

In this blog post I want to share our own experience of affordable traveling with you!

Have you ever heard of Workaway? If not, let me tell you more about how this works and how it can help you stretch your travel budget.

Workaway is a site that connects you to people and organizations, from all over the world, who are looking for volunteers to help out with tasks and projects. This can be anything from teaching English, working in hostels, farming, gardening, teaching yoga or even being a surfing instructor! The list is endless! Basic working hours are 5 hours a day, 5 days a week. In exchange for your work you will receive free food and free accommodation. (Just make sure to check out your host as everyone doesn’t offer both)

There is a small fee when you sign up as a volunteer, but once this is done you can create your profile, add your experience and contact your host directly. On the site is a calendar to help you plan your trip and to let your host know when you are available for work.

Workaway

Daily tasks around the farm

We decided to use workaway when we traveled through our own country during October 2016. We were on a limited monthly budget and wanted to see more of our surrounding areas. By traveling this way, we explored more of our country and saved some extra money in order for us to spend Christmas with our families.

What is an average day doing Workaway like?

Firstly, you need to figure out what you would like to do? Would you like to teach or would help out in a hostel? Choose the work that you would enjoy learning about. We wanted to learn more about sustainable living and found a great farm, and awesome host, just outside of Cape Town. Just a side note, we have never farmed before and had no clue about sustainable living! Below is a basic outline of what our daily schedule looked like:

6:30am:     Wake up and make coffee
7:00am:     Feeding the animals and milking goats
9:00am:     Breakfast
9:30am:     Work on the daily tasks.

Our daily tasks where weather dependant. If it was too hot we did indoor tasks such as beer and cheese making, or just relaxed around the farm. It it was a cooler day we worked outside planting, harvesting vegetables, fixing fences and more .

12:00am:    Lunch and free time

In our free time we explored the farm, chilled in the hammocks, read books, drove to the nearest town and relaxed!

16:00pm:    Finishing tasks and feeding animals 

Playing with the goats

We really loved working on the farm! We met some amazing people and made some new friends. Even the animals crept into our hearts! I never knew goats had so much personality! 🙂
On the farm we learned how to make our own cheese and beer, improved our cooking skills, learned about collecting rain water and making compost! We have a new respect for all farmers out there! It’s hard work, but so rewarding!

Honestly, workaway wasn’t just a way to travel more affordably, it was also about broadening our life skills and learning to live more simply.

More fun on the farm

 

Inspiration, Travel

16 Of Our Favorite photos from 2016

11th January 2017

2016 Was an amazing year for us! A year full of BIG changes and lots of new experiences! We would like to share 16 of our favorite photos from 2016 with you.

These are some of our favorite moments. We traveled to new places, moved to a whole new country and made so many new friends! “My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.”
Steve McCurry

 

1.Watching the sunset in El Nido (Philippines)
Over Chinese New Year we had the chance to visit the beautiful island of Palawan in the Philippines. I still remember this moment as we sat in awe watching the sky paint beautiful colours on the horizon. There were kids playing on the beach and everyone was out and about. This was one of those moments where you had to pinch yourself to make sure your not dreaming!

Sunset in El Nido

 

2. Boats in El Nido
We took this photo as a storm approached the island. (This was more or less during the same time an earthquake struck Taiwan). The sky turned into this purple colour and it was a beautiful scene as all the boats came back to shore.

Boats in El Nido

“A dominant impulse on encountering beauty is to wish to hold on to it, to possess it and give it weight in one’s life. There is an urge to say, ‘I was here, I saw this and it mattered to me.” – Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel

3. Small Lagoon (El Nido)
Ok look, we just cannot help it! Palawan is really beautiful especially the little islands surrounding it! When you are there you are surrounded by beauty and maybe this really is paradise after all!

The small lagoon in El Nido

 

4-6. More photos from Palawan
So as you can tell, Palawan was one of the big highlights for 2016!

Palawan

 

7. Hong Kong skyline
Hong Kong has one of the most famous skylines in the world and can be seen in movies such as Blade Runner and The Dark Knight. At night, you can watch the Symphony of Lights from Victoria harbour. The best place to view this magnificent skyline is from the highest point at Victoria peak.

Hong Kong skyline

 

8. Cycling in Hong Kong
There are so many amazing places to explore in Hong Kong and Tai Mei Tuk is one of them. It’s a popular place for barbecues and cycling. You can cycle all the way from Taipo, where you can rent a bicycle, to Tai Mei Tuk. On the way you will find some interesting little restaurants and ride through villages.

Taking a break at Tai Mei Tuk

 

9-12. Hong Kong
From eating pigeon for the first time to visiting beautiful gardens, Hong Kong is any photographers dream! This buzzing city has so many hidden pockets of little places to explore.

Hong Kong

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” – Anita Desai

13. Taiwan
Taiwan you beauty! What an amazing place to visit! We found this little church hidden away in the mountains as we went searching for waterfalls. We got really lost but this view made it all worth it!

Yilan, Taiwan

 

14. Taking the train to Yilan
I absolutely love this photo from when we took the train to Yilan! These people were all very friendly, even though nobody spoke English, and this photo really sums up life in Taiwan.

Taking the train to Yilan

 

15. Blouberg beach, South Africa (Home)
It’s always amazing to come home after a long journey and clearing your head a bit. One of our favorite spots is Blouberg beach to watch the kite surfers. We love seeing all the beautiful colours and watching these guys ride the waves.

Blouberg beach

16. South Africa
When we came back home in September last year, we had the privilege to take a road trip through our beautiful country. Once again we were blown away by the beauty of this place! Africa is in our blood and this will always be our home.

Watching hippos in St Lucia

“Adventure should be part of everyone’s life. It is the whole difference between being fully alive and just existing.” – Holly Morris

Whatever your plans are for this new year, hold onto it. Find ways to make it happen and do the things that moves your soul! We cannot wait to share more of our adventures with you and hopefully, we can inspire you to travel more! Cheers to 2017!

 

 

Asia, Hong Kong, Travel

Camping in Hong Kong

22nd December 2016

It sure is beautiful out there and camping in Hong Kong made us realize that this place still has an untouched wilderness!

If you are looking to get away from the city why not pitch your tent in the soft white sand and wake up to the beautiful views of Long Ke Wan.

Camping at Long Ke Wan Continue Reading…

Inspiration, Personal Notes

A Hidden Language

16th December 2016

There is this hidden language when we travel and this, my friends, is called kindness.

It’s probably around 8pm. We are standing at the train station in Jiaoxi trying to figure out what time the train will arrive back to Waiao beach. Everything is in Mandarin. The ticket, the signs and the map. Not knowing where to go we hand our ticket to an old couple sitting on the bench at the platform.

“Excuse me sir, can you tell me what time the train will arrive?” I asked. He looked up and smiled. “Young man! Young man!” he says. He calls a young guy entering the station and hands our ticket to him. They both start to speak in Mandarin and before we know it, three other people from the other side of the platform are called to assist. They are all speaking mandarin pointing to our ticket and their phones. Eventually the man comes over, gives back our ticket and points to his watch. “30 minutes” he says. We say thank you and he just laughs while he walks away. “No English” he says as he walks back to the bench shaking his head.

Somewhere in Yilan

This is the language of kindness. A Language spoken not in words but in actions.

These are the things that we treasure and hold close to our hearts. Little acts of kindness spoken to us in this universal language. It always amazes me how friendly strangers can be and this is why I love sharing these stories!

Stories about how our concierge came and fetched us on his motorbike, while we were walking the streets of Siem Reap at night. He drove up and down looking for us as he was afraid that we got lost somewhere. Or that time when we met a random couple and were given a free guidebook as they heard we were headed to Vietnam. Maybe I can sit and talk to you about the time that we met this amazing tour guide who we are still friends with today? Or the elders that came to greet us in the village? When I think about all these stories I want to burst through my skin from happiness! It gives me goosebumps knowing that there are people out there who care. The ones that put our faith back in humanity.

2016 May not have been the best year with all the bad news going around, but I promise you that there is still so much good in the world! I want to share all these things with you. This language of kindness that we can all understand. Maybe this will be my goal for 2017, to bring you more positive stories. Real stories from real experiences. I want to remind all of us that we are human, all of us trying to survive in this crazy place we call home.

In the end, if there is one thing this year has taught me, its that kindness costs nothing and a smile goes a long way.

Hong Kong

 

Asia, Taiwan, Travel

5 Days in Taiwan

9th December 2016

If you live in Hong Kong, as we did at the time, it’s really easy to travel to another country. In April this year, we booked a little trip to Taiwan to break away from our crazy schedules. I know what you are thinking, “breaking away from one crazy city to another?”. Well, not exactly. Yes, we had our return flights booked to Taipei, but we ended up exploring Yilan as we are suckers for beaches and mountains!

So, if you want to explore Taiwan a bit more or need a little break from the hustle and bustle, below is a little breakdown from our 5 day adventure in Taiwan. (*insert drum roll here*)

Continue Reading…

Hong Kong, Travel

Photos from Hong Kong

5th December 2016

When people ask us what is was like living and teaching in Hong Kong, I cannot find the right words to describe it.

How do you explain the smell on the streets? Or the old lady that always smiled as she packed up her flower shop after a day’s work? How do you explain walking around, on a Sunday, with Filipino ladies sitting in their cardboard cubicles singing songs and cooking food?
Because Hong Kong is such a crazy city with mini escapes, temples in the middle of the mountains, botanical gardens, hidden restaurants, tiny flats and huge skyscrapers, it’s probably a bit easier to try and sum up our experience visually. (You can also check out our Hong Kong video over here) Continue Reading…

Asia, Philippines, Travel

A trip to Palawan

28th March 2016

Where is the sun???? We have been working in Hong Kong for six months and it seemed like our bodies completely forgot what sunlight felt like. Back home, the weather was warm and we got so jealous seeing photos from our friends and families on their beach vacations. It was about time that we went searching for islands again.

We knew that we wanted to soak up some sun, go somewhere tropical and not blow our budget. We both love snorkeling and after doing some research online, it seemed like Palawan was our best bet. Continue Reading…

Inspiration, Travel

2015 And new adventures

8th January 2016

2015 Was quite the year! We crossed dodgy borders, took overnight busses, rode motorcycles, found new jobs, tried loads of new food, walked till our feet ached, danced in the desert, got inspired by the universe, got TEFL certified, made new friends and best of all…..we moved to a whole new country!
Wow! Cheers to 2015 and all the new adventures that are lurking on the horizon!

travel

All the new places we visited in 2015

Continue Reading…

Asia, Travel, Vietnam

Top ten photos that will make you fall in love with Vietnam

4th December 2015

There is so much more to Vietnam than Halong bay. It is a place where you will find the best coffee and food in the world. (According to us anyway) A place that will take your breath away. A place where people instantly become your friends.  Vietnam is a country that you have to experience for yourself. If you ever wondered if you should go, we hope these photos will make you buy that plane ticket.

Here’s our top ten photos that will make you fall in love with Vietnam:
(Ok, so it’s more than ten photos but we couldn’t help it!)

Continue Reading…