Our last day in Hanoi and I can say without hesitation that it was the most meaningful stop in Vietnam – and without a doubt the reason is the people.
Why we would go back to a sightseeing type of trip, I have no idea.
To live with locals and experience life with them, even for a short period, is where the magic of travels lies. Not in Lonely Planet’s top sights. Not in a hostel
About 5 years ago my Uncle Dennis met a woman named Shanti. They clicked immediately and chatted at length nearly every single day – both of them felt there was something special about the situation.
But there was one minor obstacle to be overcome; Dennis lived in Vermont and Shanti lived in Yogyakarta, the second most populous city on the island of Java in Indonesia…nearly 10,000 miles away.
To make an incredibly long, almost unbelievable story
After finishing our three week whirlwind tour of Japan, our next stop was the only one we had decided to plan before leaving home; a 16-day trek to Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal.
It was supposed to be a dream hike through the Himalayas culminating in the shadow of the world’s highest peak, Mt Everest. We were going to make our way through the storied towns that fans of mountaineering literature (see: Krakauer) knows well.
This was the entire reason we stopped in Hiroshima but nothing could have prepared us for what we were going to experience. As we turned the corner adjacent to the Peace Park Memorial we were greeted with a grizzly scene that set the mood for our visit:
This building, formerly the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotional Hall but now known as the A-Bomb Dome, was the only one left standing near the epicenter of the first of
The Hiroshima Carps! The city’s beloved professional baseball team just happened to be playing the night we arrived and to our further delight, the stadium just happened to be a 10 minute walk from our hostel! Game on!
So we headed off with the hordes of Carpheads (just made that up) toward the field donning a pair of plastic bats hung around our neck (thanks to our hostel staff) meant for clapping together to cheer the
So as we continued down the uber-touristy path set for us by Japan-Guide.com (which is a phenomenal site for a first-time Japan visitor – and whose suggested itinerary I followed almost to a T…) we headed south of Kyoto to the mountain town of Koyasan where we had booked a once-in-a-lifetime, one-night-only, tell-your-grankids-esque stay in a Buddhist temple with a bunch of real life monks! Woo!
Hopefully you’re as excited as I was. If not, then
It’s 4PM and I’m sitting at the same common room table at Singapore’s The Hive Hostel where I was found 7 hours ago. The weather was beautiful today – hot, but beautiful – and we decided to let today go without doing anything one would normally attribute to travel.
Yet what I did today – which was sit, read Harry Potter and drink coffee – is vitally important to sustaining a trip of this length.
See what a did with the title there? It’s scuba and adven…
Alright I’ll stop.
One of the ‘pillars’ we set for this trip (i.e. activities we were okay spending what would normally be an uncomfortable amount of money on) was to dive the Great Barrier Reef. Being the scuba enthusiasts we are (with a grand combined total of 9 dives under our belt) we thought doing a 4-day liveaboard trip that would more than triple
After spending the majority of our time exploring Australia’s more tourist-oriented spots we decided it was time to mix things up a little bit. As anyone who has traveled for more than a week will know – museums, gardens and ‘can’t miss’ spots lose their luster rather quickly having been immersed in them for long enough.
Fortunately for long-term travelers there’s a really cool option to get out of the mainstream called HelpX. It’s a program
There’s an area between Warrnambool and Port Fairy called Tower Hill Reserve and, as the name would suggest, it’s a reserve for all of the area’s wild animals. This includes kangaroos, koalas, emus, echidnas and so many more of Australia’s best known wildlife.
Our hosts, Jennah and Freddie, took us to Tower Hill on our second day in town and we ended up stopping in twice more because we thought it was so cool. It’s just