Post-graduation trip with Marcel and solo
  • Day40

    Travelers return richer

    November 30, 2018 in Denmark ⋅ ☁️ 4 °C

    That’s Scandinavian Airlines marketing slogan, and it might seem like not more than that. However, there is quite a lot of wisdom behind it, and this statement has been just as true as it can get on this trip.

    The beautiful places I’ve visited gave me a glimpse of what the world has to offer, and how much nature there is to explore. I’ve seen amazing landscapes, beautiful beaches, superb places I didn’t even know existed. My adventures were unforgettable, and what really made me richer were the people I’ve met, each and every one of them with a unique life story to tell.

    I’ve met so many incredible people; people who travel for fun, who travel to find themselves, who travel to explore, to learn, to develop, and some who travel to escape routine and established conventions. I’ve met young and old people from all over the world. I’ve heard fortunate stories of people living their dreams, and unfortunate ones of people trying to end their life when life became too much to cope with.

    I’ve met some locals in the countries I’ve been to - and I asked lots of questions attempting to really understand them, to find out who they are, how they live, what they believe in, and even how they define happiness. I’ve seen extreme poverty and constant happiness, both in the same place, at the same time, rejecting the common Western belief that the more you have, the happier you get. Some people here have very little, yet still find happiness far away from materialism.

    I’v learned that the simple life is the good life - a statement I first read in the great book ​The top five regrets of the dying,​ and then experienced it throughout my travel. I’ve got closer to an already great friend, and made memories for life, memories we will remember long after this trip.

    I got inspired - inspired of how to live my own life, what choices to make, and have been encouraged to do what I believe is right for me.

    While I wish I had more time to travel, more time to see more things, to experience more adventures, to meet more people, ​I do promise myself that I’ll take the time to do this again, to travel for a longer period of time, to not get stuck in a daily life bubble.​ As for now, I think of Eddy’s wise words: good things must come to an end for other good things to start.
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  • Day37

    Luang Prabang

    November 27, 2018 in Laos ⋅ 🌙 15 °C

    Since I extended my stay in Vang Vieng by one night, I only had two more left in Luang Prabang, basically one full day. And I really made it count.

    It started with watching the sunrise from Mount Phousi. Gemma and Cyrille (who I've shared a room with in Vang Vieng) as well as Simon, my roommate from Luang Prabang, joined as well. It was a beautiful landscape.

    After a well-deserved breakfast we hopped on scooters and drove to the Kuang Si Falls, and we're amazed by what we found. This is not just another waterfall, it's magical. A natural beauty in the middle of the jungle.

    We hiked beyond the falls, and found another lonely place that might just illustrate paradise. We had lunch there, chilled for quite a while, and swam in the impressive blue waters.

    We finished off the day with dinner at the local night market, a few drinks in front of a fire at the chilled Utopia Bar, and a round of bowling at the bowling alley (the only place open after 23:30). It was a perfect day.
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  • Day35

    Vang Vieng - the Adventures Continue

    November 25, 2018 in Laos ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    After the jungle party (which wasn't that great, by the way; the music sucked) we actually managed to get up and mountainbike again. The whole hostel room (except Aiden, who was feeling sick) joined this adventure (though we grew smaller after half the trip). It was a fun trip.

    That night I didn't party at all, resisting the temptation of the free whiskey and vodka at the hostel (which we had every day from 7-9pm). I woke up early the next day and rented a scooter, in order to explore a bit more of this amazing landscape. I started at the Kaeng Nyui waterfall and drove on the most horrible road I've ever been with a scooter (not sure you can call that a road, and not sure how my scooter survived the ride). The waterfall was beautiful, but not really worth the painful ride.

    I continued on the other side of town, explored more caves and met Ariff from Brunei. We drove to Blue Lagoon 3 (the cave and viewpoint there were great), ended up at Blue Lagoon 2 afterwards because we drove the wrong way, after which I drove back and even further out of town towards Blue Lagoon 5 (incredibly creative names; at least the naming convention is consistent, though nobody has seen Blue Lagoon 4 🤔).

    Anyway, I finished my adventurous day at the Phangern Mountain Viewpoint, for which I'll create a separate footprint.

    This was my last full day and last evening in Vang Vieng, and I really made it count. After such an exhaustive and impressive day (which I survived on only one sandwich for breakfast), I grabbed some free vodka at the hostel, went out for dinner with my roomies, and celebrated Aiden's birthday with a banana "cake" (we stuck some candles between a banana branch; the running joke was that Aiden has been eating quite a few bananas lately due to some stomach issues 😅).

    I wonderful last day in Vang Vieng, a place that has way more than just parties to offer.
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  • Day35

    Phangern Mountain Viewpoint

    November 25, 2018 in Laos ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    I dedicate a separate footprint for this place because it is one of the most spectacular ones I've seen on this trip. The hike to the top was quite a challenge, and even more so considering that the sun was soon setting, and I had about one hour for a 1:30 hour hike. I hiked at a really fast pace (and looked like I took a shower when I arrived) and reached the top about 5 minutes before sunset. This was one of the most diverse and interesting hikes I've ever done.

    The view was spectacular, I really felt on top of the world (which I guess I was, at least of that world). That feeling you get when you reach the top is indescribable - and priceless. It was worth every single bit of energy I put into the hike.

    There were two huts at the top, one pointing towards sunset, one towards sunrise. On my way back I met a couple in the latter hut, they put up a tent and made a small fire, probably preparing for dinner. I must say this was one of the most romantic adventures I've ever witnessed, and one that has definitely landed on my bucket list (given I return to Laos at some point, which I think I will). The atmosphere was just perfect, and maybe I was even slightly envious in that moment, imagining myself in such a setting.

    I hiked back in complete darkness (prepared with a head torch, of course 😏), which reminded me a lot of the hike I did by night at Mount Warning in Australia, in order to watch the sunrise. A really fun adventure!

    To put it shortly, this was an absolute highlight of my journey.
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  • Day33

    Vang Vieng - Lagoons & Caves

    November 23, 2018 in Laos ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    “It’s just a party city”, that’s what a lot of people will tell you about Vang Vieng, and some even skip it for that reason. However, there's so much more to this place, as my pictures clearly show it. Yes, the parties were great, but so were the landscapes. Exploring caves and swimming in lagoons are just two of the countless activities Vang Vieng has to offer.

    I rented a mountainbike and started exploring the surroundings, together with one of my roomies (Cyrille) and Tobi, a great guy from Germany I met the night before at the hostel. On the way to the lagoon we encountered some remote places, one of it being the Nam-Borkeo Phabua Cave. There was nobody but us, we had this entire magnificent place for ourselves.

    And that was just the first day, but there's so much more to explore.
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  • Day30

    Vientiane

    November 20, 2018 in Laos ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    I’ve never really heard anything about Laos, and was quite curious to see what the country would be like. I arrived in the capital, which doesn’t really feel like a capital at all. Nonetheless, it is quite an interesting place. I stayed at Barn 1920s, an amazing hostel where I met really nice and interesting people.

    I was lucky enough to coincidently be there during the That Luang Festival, which is the country’s most important event, when Lao people from all over the countries come to the That Luang stupa to give their offerings to the monks. I also watched some cultural performances on the street.

    On one of the nights I went out to a bar by myself, if we the first time I've ever done this. The night turned into an incredible experience in which I talked to a local Lao person (Lae) and a French guy who moved to Laos four years ago (Yannick). We talked about culture, politics, education, life choices and relationships, which was incredible and inspiring.

    I've also met people of different ages who left everything, quit their job, and went traveling. This is so inspiring and it keeps reminding me that there's much more to life than what we often see (and get used to) in our daily lives.
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  • Day29

    Hai Van Pass

    November 19, 2018 in Vietnam ⋅ 🌙 26 °C

    This was the perfect ending to an amazing adventure in Hoi An and Vietnam. After practicing my scooter driving skills on Vietnamese roads yesterday, I decided to step up my game and drive all the way to the Hai Van Pass. About 200 km later (return trip) I've seen some of the most beautiful landscapes on this trip, drove on some forgotten roads, and ended up in places I didn't even know existed. This was definitely a highlight of my trip, and I'm so glad I did it.

    On my way back I passed Da Nang, a city that looks incredible by night. I drove next to the beach, passing Da Nang Bay. Unfortunately I didn't spend any time in Da Nang on this trip, but it's certainly on my list for next time. The beach is also great for surfing.

    All in all, this was a great last day in Vietnam. Next destination: Laos.
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  • Day28

    My Son Temple

    November 18, 2018 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Hopped on a scooter today and visited the coconut village, vegetable village, and pottery village around Hoi An. They gave me a pretty good impression of local life around here, although even those places are more and more commercialized.

    25km later I arrived at the My Son Temple, a UNESCO world heritage site with impressive ruins. Much of it was destroyed during the Vietnam War (the bomb crates are still there), but there’s enough left to be admired. A cultural show was included in the ticket 👍
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  • Day25

    First days in Hoi An — Goodbye Marcel

    November 15, 2018 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    After a missed flight and a truly local experience in Hai Phong, we finally arrived in Hoi An. We ended up in a beautiful homestay with local people, who were incredibly friendly and made delicious banana pancakes 😄.

    From all the places I’ve seen in Vietnam, this is definitely my favorite one. The town has a special flair to it, and reminds me a bit of Byron Bay in Australia. It’s a chilled, alternative, and at night quite romantic atmosphere. The beach is also beautiful, and it can be reached from the city by bike in 15 minutes.

    Marcel left to meet up with Kira in Cambodia, so I’m traveling solo for the rest of the trips. Our adventures together were lots of fun (despite the continuously recurring bad luck), and I’m grateful to have such an amazing friend ❤️.
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