For me, first impressions really count and I often know within minutes of arriving in a new place whether I’m going to love or hate it. Take Melbourne for instance, Sagada or Luang Prabang - I fell for them all instantly, whereas I had an immediate and profound dislike for Jakarta. Usually it’s hard to shake my initial feelings about a place so after a wobbly start I was surprised to find that Chiang Rai in Thailand really grew on me.
This time last year I celebrated the holidays with my family in England knowing that there were just a few weeks left till my departure date and a new life on the road – I had no idea where I'd be in a year’s time. Now, here we are in Vietnam after our first Christmas on the road. As we prepare to see in the New Year we also reflect on how far we’ve travelled this year and how much we’ve learned in the process.
While we relished the chance to stop moving for a month and settle down in our Chiang Mai apartment, a couple of weeks into our stay we were starting to get itchy feet again. So, we decided it was time to get back on the road and take an overnight trip to a much-hyped destination: the hippy mountain town of Pai to eat, relax and explore the northern Thai scenery.
It’s nearing the end of the year and like most people, Andrew and I have been reflecting on what we’ve achieved in 2013 and looking forward to what 2014 holds. This year was very special for us because we finally got out on the road and started travelling full-time; since leaving the UK in March we’ve had the most incredible, extreme ten months of our lives – it’s been tougher yet more rewarding than we ever imagined it would be. Here’s a look back at the places we’ve visited in 2013 and what we loved about them.
Feel like getting away from everything? One of the best lessons we’ve learned during our round the world trip so far is that travel doesn’t have to be planned. There’s often no need to book things months in advance or do hours of research beforehand, in fact, some of the best experiences we’ve had on the road have been spontaneous and unplanned. With that in mind, here are some great last minute travel ideas to inspire you.
I can hardly believe that it’s been almost a year since we set off on our travel adventure. The memory of getting on that one-way flight to New Zealand last March with a new, uncertain life of indefinite travel ahead of us is still so vivid to me.  When we first set out I thought that we’d be able to explore the main sites of each country within a few weeks or a month, tick that country off our list of places to go and move on. I was completely wrong; instead we’ve left almost every single country we’ve visited wanting to come back and see more of it in the future.
What with leaving London, visiting family and friends across the UK and completing our final travel planning tasks, blog posts have been a bit thin on the ground lately. This will all change once we hit the road and start writing about our travels but for now we're focusing on getting through these final few days, which are proving to be far more stressful and emotional than we imagined they would be.