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Vietnam has been by far the most challenging part of this whole trip.
Even though it's a very beautiful country and interesting in many ways I felt completely lost, especially in Hanoi.
The first homestay I had was also located around 40 minutes outside of the city centre so every day I had to take the bus, which I don't mind, but when everybody onlly speaks vietnamese it's a little bit tricky. And since I had no idea where to go or what to do I just got off at some random place and walked. Kind of interesting to explore a new place that way, but I wouldn't have survived a day without Google Maps!

The second day in Hanoi I actually got to meet a new found friend, Lan Anh! She was so helpful and kind and she took really good care of me. She also took me to see her village close to Halong Bay, which was awesome.

One of the most interesting things I did here though was the Sapa Trekking.
On the 12th I got on a night train from Hanoi to Sapa, which is more north, very close to China.
In Sapa I was gonna spend 3 days, hiking and experiencing a different way of living.
I had a fantastic guide, Chu, who showed me lots of beautiful places in the mountains where her tribe, the Black H'Mong, lived together with other tribes.
Sapa was incredibly cold compared to Thailand and thankfully I had bought a thick wind and rain jacket, a new pair of trekking pants, and a warm sweater in Hanoi before I left, and they were soooooo worth every single dong (vietnamese currency) I spent.
The first night in Sapa I stayed at a pretty simple (but cosy) homestay and when I went to bed I had to put on all of my clothes (including the jacket) and two thick blankets (in Vietnam I discovered that one blanket it about 4 cm thick)! Thought I would die.

The next day we stayed at a warmer home stay, and there I also met some new European friends. It was very nice to hang out with them and we had a great time.

When I got back from Sapa I got food poisoned. Probably at the restaurant the night before, but I had a horrible time trying to survive awful train station toilets, keep myself warm and stay awake since Lan Anh was gonna meet me and take me to Halong Bay.
I ended up at a hotel cafe, forcing myself to drink a half cup of tea while leaning over the table with stomach pain. To my rescue my amazing dad called me and I suddenly felt like 6 years old again. All I wanted to do was to cry and go home! Lord, have mercy! It's funny how much bigger the world feels when you're sick, and how much smaller it feels when you're on Messenger talking to your family. I love you, dad!

But I survived, and here I am, at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, waiting for my next flight back to Indonesia. It's gonna be amazing to meet some known faces again, and this will actually be my last stop before Chapter 2 of this incredible journey begins: Chapter Australia!
I am soooooooo excited!!!

Develop my english, meet my family, psytrance festival, work, travel, New Zealand, new friends, new experiences and wow, you name it! But first, Indonesia!



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Wow! 4 weeks in Thailand has come to an end.
Today is my last day here in Bangkok before my trip to Vietnam and so I'm taking some time to reflect on what's actually happened here. A LOT!!!

When we arrived in Phuket (where the Thai journey started) we were two, first of all.
In Koh Lanta two became one, and it has really been a challenge, but a very developing one.
I'm feeling more and mor comfortable traveling by myself, and just like so many of my friends back home told me: even though you travel by yourself, you will never be alone. There are people to talk to EVERYWHERE! And oh my, how right they were. I've met soooo many wonderful people.

The biggest challenge for me, I think, is the fact that I get to be alone with all my inner stuff going on. I've realized so much about myself so far and that is sometimes quiet scary. But damn, have I learned much until now? Yes! And the thing is that I'm having the time of my life!
Of course I get home sick, of course I miss my family and friends, but then I start thinking about what I would do if I decided to go back home, and I realize that I want to stay.
Thankfully we have a bunch of way to contact our loved ones these days, so Facetime, Skype and Messenger have been my three best friends every now and then, haha.

So, what have been the best things about Thailand?
Well, first I must say meeting all the new and old friends. Wow! I love you!
Second is definitely The Experience on Koh Tao.
Third is learning how to drive a scooter on Koh Lanta (and being addicted to that thing, driving every single day across the island)
Next one is definitely many of the magical "beach moments" we've had, especially during sunset.
Oh, there's so much more, but those are the ones that come up in mind.

What have been the most challenging things about Thailand, then?
Oooh.... I must say to go from two to being one was a real tough one. But, oh, how I learned a lot from that.
Next one must be, like I wrote in the beginning, being by myself with all the weird shit going on inside of me. Personal development, personal development, personal development!
Third is actually to keep the budget we set before we left Sweden. I will improve that one way better from today on. Not that I won't have money for the rest of my stay, but it takes some research to find something that works for your budget I think. Or maybe it's just me being very comfortable ;) hehe

There's probably a lot more but this will do for now.

Oh, and two new things: I got a few dreads and bought a pair of pois! :D Wiiiie!

But over all: Thailand has been amazing! Really, and I'm really looking forward to Vietnam and the 5 days Sapa Trekking I'll be doing from the 12th :D Woohooo!


See you next time!

-V



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Wow, I realized that I didn't post anything about the festival. Reason for that is that I've been traveling for over 24h in total, BUT: The Experience Festival was one of the coolest and craziest things I've ever done! Psytrance festival, on top of a mountain in pure nature.

Once again I met up with Andreas and Johannes and it was so much fun! It's actually thanks to Andreas that I went.
I also met Stephanie (Andreas girlfriend), Carro, Vanna, Lucas, Peter, Michelle, Adam, Erik, Robin and many more! We had so much fun together and I feel so grateful for all the new friends that I got.

Like I've said, the coolest thing I've ever done! People from all over the world had gotten here to dance to the psychdelic music and just disappear into a great trance like state that just made you wanna keep going all night. Nothing like going to regular clubs, I tell you! If you ever get the chance to go to a psytrance festival: DO IT!!! :D haha

Thanks to ALL of you who made this experience the best ever!


Now I'm spending a few days in Rayong together with friends and family from home. It feels just fantastic! Love you!

-V

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A BIG happy new year to all of you!
I hope you're having a great day so far, and that this is just the beginning ;)
I'm having a blast here in Koh Tao at The Experience psytrance festival. It's probably one of the coolest things I've ever done.

But new years eve... it's always something special about this day I think. To me at least.

A few years back I remember my dad asked me and my sister during this day what we thought had been the worst and the best experience of the year. We thought about it for a while and ended up discussing those events and I remember feeling very grateful for what I'd been through. Then he also asked what we hoped for the next year to bring.
Ever since we did that it has become sort of tradition in our family, and especially with mom and her family. I really like to reflect a bit on the past, what I've learned and so forth, and I love the excitement it brings to think about the upcoming year. I really do believe that anything could happen, if you're open minded.

So why am I writing this exactly? Well, I thought I'd challenge the ones of you who'd like to give it a go, and myself of course, to take some time during this day and actually think about:
- What moments during this past year are you most grateful for?
- What moments during this past year did you find most challenging? And did you learn something new from them?
- If anything could happen in the next year, what would you be most excited about?

Whatever pops up in your mind is OK, and if you can't come up with anything, that's perfectly fine too!

So!! I hope you're all doing as good as possible and once again, I wish you the best year yet!

-V

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I just realized it's been a while since I posted anything here. Lots has happened during this last week but I'm probably not gonna tell all about it. It's gonna take too long.
But to make some kind of summary this is it:
Vero decided to go back to Sweden on the 22nd, so I'm traveling solo at the moment. It was kinda weird at first and it took me some time to get used to the thought. I've never been this far from home by myself, so that was a challenge itself. Funny thing though, the same night I was chilling in bed starting to feel hungry. The plan from the start was to meet up with two friends and go for dinner but we were all too lazy, so I decided to go myself.
I managed to get down to the lobby and put my shoes on, ready to leave, when a guy threw me a comment (don't remeber about what). He was sitting with his friends, drinking beer, chatting and laughing. They seemed to have a really good time. I replied to his comment and ended up being invited to their table. His name was Matt, and I introduced myself to the rest of the group. Matt, Matthew, Joe and Laura. They asked me if I wanted to join them for their evening plans and I was quick to say yes. Ended up having a great time!!
We spent some more time together the next couple of days and I feel very grateful for having met them.

During my time by myself I've also been addicted to the scooter I rented. Made a few trips around the island, exploring, chilling on some beach, had a few great meals, tons of ice coffee, met a few other people, and OH!! I met my friend and old colleague from work, Helmer! That was sooooo nice!! He's currently living here while taking his diving master something something :D seeing hom again was just wonderful! He is such a lovely person!

What else...?
I managed to hurt my foot yesterday from running so last evening I could barrly walk. Nothing serious at all, just a few wounds, and today is much better.
Today is also my last day here on Koh Lanta. I'll just spend it on the beach I guess. Get a massage and what not :)
Next stop will be..... KOH TAO! :D and "The Experience" festival. Wow, I'm really looking forward to it! :D

I'll keep you guys updated!

Til next time!
Peace

-V

And also, here is what I learned:

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Yesterday was a great day too!
Vero and I took a trip to a big Tesco Lotus to do some shopping. Vero bought a pair of shoes and I got a hard case for my sunglasses.

When we came back we headed to the beach to meet another beloved friend and old colleague of mine: Andreas! :D
We used to work together in Oslo and had so much fun. He would usually walk in to my area, have two bananas and chat about life for a few minutes before he took off. It was great seeing him again! And he had his friend Johannes with him. He was also such a nice guy. I've never met him before but all four of us had a good time at the beach! Next time we meet will be in Koh Tao at a psytrance festival called The Experience. I can't wait!

Later the same night Vero and I headed to Patong to meet up with a girl I started talking to on Facebook. Her name was Elin and she had asked in a FB group if anyone would like to go out for a few drinks in Phuket. I replied and we ended up having a really good night! Started off at Hard Rock Cafe and finished with a lovely Irish/Baileys Coffee and Singha at Two Chefs.
Shared a taxi back home and laughed the whole way. Poor taxi driver, haha!

Today we're off to Koh Lanta :D more adventure!!!

-V

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Two days ago it was time for us to actually go on an adventure! We had booked a full day tour to Phi Phi Islands including speedboat, snorkeling and beautiful views. It was extremely nice to be on the ocean for a while, enjoying bumpy waves and the fresh air.
We got to see Maya Bay, the Viking Cave, Monkey Beach and a few more beaches. Vero snorkeled for the first time, so that was also an experience :D

Took lots of pictures! :)

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And we're in THAILAND!
After 31 hours of traveling we finally ended up in Phuket. Both os uf were extremely tired when we arrived because of less then 4 hours of sleep. The benches at Jakarta airport weren't the comfiest and I think I even bruised my right hip, haha!

Anyway, we're here and it feels so good!

Our first day here we actually met two of my old collegues, Herman and William.
We ended up hanging out at the beach here in Kata, having a few beers, listening to music, talking, swimming in the ocean and what not. It felt so good to meet people from back home!

Since the best thing about traveling is to be spontaneous we decided to go out the same night. We took a taxi to Patong Beach and checked out a few bars. There's a lot of crazy stuff going on here. I don't know how many times I was asked if I like marijuana by the people promoting their bars and clubs. We also saw a christmas "parade" consisting of pretty girls wearing nothing but tiny tops and shorts.

Eventually we found a club (White Room), had a few drinks, danced a bit and then decided to head to the beach and swim. It was sooo nice to do that during the night, underneath a starry sky and a huge full moon! I had a blast!


Thursday

Yesterday was an adventure too!
Herman and William had rented scooters to explore Phuket. I joined them for a tour and we drove a long the coast for a couple of hours. What a great feeling of freedom to just drive around like that, stopping wherever you want to, going wherever you want to go. There are sooo many beautiful things to see here.
First of all we got lost and ended up at a harbor like place that was so cosy! A little beach with a few boats floating placefully in the water.

We kept on driving until we reached a place called Laem Promthep. Stopped here for a while to check out the view, and damn it was beautiful!

After this we had a light meal and continued our journey. Saw more lovely view points, elephants, cosy bars, temples and what not. I'm so grateful I joined the guys! We had a great time.

-Vicki

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Hi! :D
Vicki here.

I hope everyone is doing good.
I feel very positive today actually. I spend some time alone by the beach Before, and it was sooo nice to feel the sun on my skin, hear the sound of the ocean and enjoy the soft breeze while listening to some really nice music.

Weird thing though, as I lay there, some random people came up to me asking if we could take pictures together. I have no idea why, but yeah sure why not? They left and after maybe 10 minutes three other people did the same thing. Maybe that's just normal, I dont know? I felt like a tourist attraction.

Anyway...
I took some photos of Jerry swimming, using the fish-eye lens I got from my dear friend Magnus back in Oslo. Thank you sooo much for that one! I love it :D I think they turned out pretty nice, so I'm definitely gonnna use it more often.

Today is our last full day here on GIli T and at Wonderland. I am gonna miss it soooo much!
I Think we'll both miss Dika and Bonni 'cause they have been so nice and sweet to us. Couldn't have had any better hosts and I'm so glad that Vero and I decided to stay here at Wonderland for the rest of our stay on Gili T.
We've met a lot of nice people here. People from Italy, Finland, the Philippines, England, and I'm actually starting to understand why traveling is so great.

Next stop: Thailand!!!

-V


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It's been quiet for some time here on our blog, and to our defence we've both been sick for a couple of days. BUT, we are currently staying on Gili T at an amazing place called Wonderland. It's located about 200 m from the beach, bars, restaurants etc. It's a very backpacking-ish atmosphere here, very easy going and relaxed. A great way to make new friends also since we usually spend a lot of time out in the common area.

Oh, and one of the best things about this island is probably the fact that it's carfree!!! The only type of transportation we see is either by bike, horse or foot.

The hosts here (Dika and Bonny) are two great guys, very friendly, welcoming and helpful. And most of all, funny! (Btw Dika is the real Mowgli, we swear!) The first night we stayed here Bonny invited us to join him and his friends to have a few drinks and play some music, and so we did.

And since we like it here so much, and haven't booked any other room for our last Three night we decided to extend our stay here, and thankfully it wasn't full so we got another room ;)

Another thing that is great about Gili T is that we FINALLY got some sunshine! We've had time to stay at the beach and chill, and yesterday we also decided to explore this place a bit more. We ended up walking across the island to the sunset swings (though it was broad daylight), took some photos and walked along the beach back home.


Our stay here has been very nice so far (despite being sick...) and it's actually a shame that we have to leave soon. Anyway, still three days more to enjoy!

And for real, if you're planning to go to Gili T and want an awesome place to stay, we would highly recommend Wonderland! If we go back here again in the future, this is definitely where we're gonna be! No questions asked!

Okey, see you later!

-V&V


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