When our long-term travels through Asia ended so abruptly in early 2015, I never quite finished documenting each of the places we visited. Despite it being nearly two years later, I’ve decided to continue writing about each of the destinations we visited – primarily for my own personal satisfaction and memories. This post about Xi’an has been sitting in my drafts for quite some time, so it is about time to press the publish button…hope you enjoy!
It was a long five hours, the train from Luoyang to Xi’an.
We had opted to take the cheaper slow train instead of the high-speed train that can whip you between the cities in less than two hours.
Our seats were in different compartments and while Alan lucked out with a upper berth where he could relax with a couple of movies, I was on a lower berth where my blonde hair and fair skin meant I had plenty of company! Continue reading
Oh, hi there!
Gosh I’ve missed this place.
It’s been 18 months since I’ve written here. Sure, I’ve visited it from time to time, scrolling back through the archives with a sensation of faint familiarity. Sometimes I remember the things we got up to like it was yesterday, other times I wonder if this life we had was all but a dream.
Oh hey there! How’s it going? Good, I hope.
I guess its about time for a little update. If you have still been popping by, you might have noticed that I haven’t been hanging around here lately.
Where on earth am I? What happened? What’s going on?
I really didn’t expect to ever have to write a post like this, and to be honest, I’ve been putting it off tremendously. But, I feel like these words simply have to come out before I can carry on.
WOW. Today marks exactly six months since Alan and I packed up our little home in Christchurch, New Zealand, prepared to spend all our savings (eek!), and set off to travel through Asia. In many ways it feels like we have been gone for so long, though in other ways it feels like just yesterday that we left.
As this six month milestone whizzes by, I’m feeling reflective on whats changed in my life over the past half year. It’s been an absolute whirlwind – I have learnt a lot about the world, about myself, my values, my hopes and dreams, about the kind of life I want to lead. In many ways I have gained a lot of clarity, but in other ways I’m more confused than ever.
Don’t you love it when you have little expectation for something and it turns out to be AMAZING? That’s what happened to us when we visited the Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang, China.
To be fair, it wasn’t so much that we had low expectations – more that we didn’t really know anything about them. We had planned to stay in Luoyang so that we could visit the nearby Shaolin Temple, so after our research what else to do in the area kept popping up with the nearby Longmen Grottoes we figured we should make some time to visit. And I’m so glad we did!
“It’s not here,” I panicked. “The hostel isn’t here!”
It was pitch black at night and after arriving into Luoyang an hour ago we had already missed our bus stop, backtracked in a taxi for ten minutes to the address of our hostel, and anxiously walked up three flights of stairs in an abandoned building with broken tiles, dust and glass fragments strewn everywhere – at the exact address our hostel was supposed to be. This building seemed like no one had graced it’s stairs for a number of years.
We all make mistakes, and when you’re on the road it is easy to make a lot – I know I sure have! But as the saying goes, we learn from our mistakes, so in this post I am going to share with you five travel lessons I have learned the hard way.
China was added to our itinerary months ago because we had a wedding to attend! We decided to make the most of it while we were in the country and take a three week tangent from our route through Southeast Asia – an interlude from the heat and instead layer on the winter woolies to beat China’s glacial mid-winter temperatures.
To be perfectly honest, I was a little nervous about travelling in China. Of course I had heard plenty of good things, but on the flipside, I had also heard that the language barrier can make it a particularly tough country to travel. I’m always up for a challenge but after spending four months in the well-trodden tourist paths of Southeast Asia, China was beginning to feel particularly scary. Southeast Asia was so easy (well, most of the time), what on earth was ahead of me?
Although the internet has many posts about renting a scooter in Southeast Asia, I still feel compelled to write a comprehensive guide of my own as we have learnt so much about this topic along the way!
This post is not trying to convince you to give up on renting a scooter, in fact my intentions are quite the opposite. We have rented scooters a number of times now in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, and will no doubt rent many more as we continue our travels through Asia. Our favourite destinations seem to consistently be when we have the independence of a scooter.
Money, money, money! Wanna know how much baht I spent during my two months in Thailand? Read on for a little insight into my wallet…