Summer 2017 #3 : Dalat

If you’re only here for some travel tips or want to read about/look at pictures of what me and Alice got up to on our summer travels, please skip ahead and ignore these first 1000 words or so.

If, however, you’re happy to sit through and read a little about myself and my life/thoughts right now, then go ahead and enjoy this intro into my 3rd instalment of my Vietnam travel posts!

 

Overwhelmed.

That’s the only word I can think of, to describe how I’m feeling at the moment. In literally every aspect of my life, I feel like I’m struggling and at risk of drowning if I let things get on top of me too much.

That may sound slightly dramatic (and it most definitely is, BUT) I’ve been lucky enough to live a very fortunate life with few/no issues or problems, so I guess that’s made me soft to hurdles when they do present themselves and stand in my way… It’s just little things really, like work, colleagues, feelings of isolation and distance, too many unknowns in my immediate future, a serious lack of direction in my life, and to top it all off, a mouse problem in my teeny tiny kitchen…

Most of the time, feeling overwhelmed is a terrible, terrible thing, which causes you to struggle and to simply get through the day and figure things out as you go. There is one thing which has been overwhelming me recently, but in a crazy crazy good way: my memories of summer and Vietnam. I’ve been looking back through my photos, journal and going over everything we managed to do and experience in 4 short weeks… and quite frankly, it’s fucking insane. I’m totally stunned by the fact that I was able and lucky enough to be given that opportunity. How did this happen? How the hell did I manage to be in a position where I can spend 4 weeks of a 6/7 week holiday travelling such a beautiful and unique country… I seriously don’t get it. If I sit and think about it too much, I start to freak out.

Am I doing enough to take advantage of this life I’ve been given?

Did I really see and do as much as I could/should have?

Do I deserve this life of adventure and excitement that I’ve been dealt?

It’s strange to think that Continue reading

Summer 2017 #2: MuiNe

Sorry guys, no time for an introduction, I’m about to head out and drink some wine and eat BBQ food, enjoy my 2nd post about my pretty awesome summer!

MuiNe:

Arrived: Fri 14th July [Day3]

Departed: Sun 16th July [Day5]

Hostel: LongSon MuiNe

 So, we’d booked this place while enjoying one of our free beers at Hangout Hostel in HoChiMinh. We’d not really had any recommendations from people for MuiNe, and to be honest, hardly anyone we’d spoken to had even bothered to go there. We were trawling through Hostelworld when we found it, and we booked it in a second. The reason? For both of us, for one night, ON THE BEACH was 1 USD… WHAAATTT?! 1 USD is roughly 75p. 75 pennies for the both of us to stay on a beach, in Vietnam. Erm…YES PLEASE. We couldn’t believe it. Sure, we were going to be staying in a tent, with no AC or fan, in an Asian country in the middle of summer, but, it would be totally worth it right?….Right?!

After we got off the bus in the strange little nothing town of MuiNe, we dragged our bags into a restaurant where we sat for a little while, trying to figure out how we were supposed to get to the hostel. It was hot, really hot. We were hungover, really hungover. And we were about 15km away from our destination… We spoke to a few taxi drivers and they all gave us an extortionate price, because “it so far! Very very long way. You know how far?! Very far!”…. We eventually Continue reading

Summer 2017 #1 : Intro & HCMC

I did it… for the first time in my life I managed to keep a journal/diary of my WHOLE summer! Ever since I was a kid I’ve been told, pushed and encouraged to keep [at the very least] notes of any holiday or adventure I go on. I remember having to complete holiday books/diaries for school and it always felt like such a chore… As I’ve mentioned in many posts, I’ve never been a writer. I’ve never been one to keep a wordy documentation of my life… I keep bits, things and photos, but never words… that is, until this blog came along.

My Granny and Grandad Parker have done more than their fair share of travelling in their life, and my Gran could tell you which restaurant they went to, where they sat, and even what they ordered, from a place they visited anywhere between 20 – 50 years ago (don’t quote me on those numbers). This is not only down to incredible memory, but down to her piles and piles of travel journals. She’s always been so committed and dedicated to them; I was both envious and (shamefully) judgmental towards her books when I was younger. But now, after hearing her speak to my dad (about his recent trip to Canada with Nat), I can see how beneficial it’s been, how it’s made those adventures into part of who she is. Those memories haven’t faded, they’ve stuck there for who knows how many years… and I want that. I want to be able to sit down one day, talking to my children, niece, nephew (no pressure Sam & Dean), friends, grandkids, whoever… I want to be able to answer their questions about the beautiful countries I’ve been so damn lucky to visit, to be able to engage them in stories, and maybe, just maybe… even inspire them.

So, now let’s finally get down to it… The last few weeks at work were both crazy busy and insanely boring. We socialised a fair bit, doing a few fun things (HK Camping #2, River Trek #2 & floating down the aqua duct, Mojito parties, beer pong tournaments, comedy nights, quiz nights etc etc.), and generally wrapped up the year saying “goodbye” to friends/students. Work officially let out on Sunday the 9th July, when a Continue reading

Things to come

[Picture: my first view of the incredible beach we are lucky enough to camp on in Hong Kong – excuse the poor quality]

In two weeks I’ll be heading to Guangzhou airport, driven by Sam-the-man (our trusty driver guy), and I’ll be on my way to start my busy summer holiday…

(I so almost wrote vacation then, lord help me…)

I’ll be taking an early morning flight to Ho Chi Minh where my childhood best pal, Alice HD will be waiting for me in Hangout Hostel after embarking on a very long flight the previous day. So far, we have no plans. We’ve booked to stay at that hostel for 2 nights together (Al will have been there for 3), so we plan on spending that first day we’re together planning, organizing and getting SOME sort of idea together about all the places we want to definitely hit on our trip. We have roughly 4 weeks to make it from Ho Chi Minh to Bangkok. That’s a pretty solid length of time, especially as we don’t plan on doing Thailand itself. (Alice has never been there though, so we’re going to fit in a couple of days in Bangkok if we can!)

We were stuck for ages trying to decide whether to go North to South (the original idea), or South to North… in the end we decided to start in the wetter area of Vietnam (the south), and head for drier times and days at the end of our trip (the north). SO, after comparing flight prices, weather reports etc., we chose to start in the south (Ho Chi Minh) and head north to Hanoi before we have to make our way to Bangkok (either by crossing through Laos on land or flying over.)

My research for this trip has been minimal to say the least… I’ve skimmed over a few blog posts describing others routes and suggestions, I’ve stared at a Continue reading

Let’s get back to it…

[Photo: a glimpse of my time on Lamma Island, HK, while sipping a Fresh Lemon Soda and writing in my travel notebook]

The other day I got the notification telling me that I’d been a member of the WordPress community for a whole year… a whole year of finding my feet in this never-ending online world of blogposts. I had two overwhelming feelings: pride, and disappointment…

Anniversary w. WP

I felt proud that I’d stuck something out for that length of time, something semi “creative” too. Over the past year, this blog has changed quite drastically in content, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I mentioned this in an earlier post somewhere; my posts started off very personal and a way to help me understand and work through things (the Trainee Medical Photographer position), and then when that was over, it was just somewhere for me to tap away during my office hours, drawing inspiration from the Daily prompts, and I really enjoyed writing those; it was fun and interesting to see where my mind went and where I’d end up at the end… but then came the Continue reading

Day 6: Tokyo – Asakusa, Tokyo & Ikebukuro

The day had come… our final morning, our final walk to the bakery (just to find out it was closed), our final trip to Burger King…

Check-out day.

A day Kyle was not quite ready to see. “This is so sad, I don’t want to leave! Is it always like this when you travel?!” Answer: yes and no. Yes I’m always sad to leave somewhere that I’ve only been able to scratch the surface of, but also, I’m [mostly] always ready to move on to the next place and see what else is out there. As much as I’d loved Tokyo and had had an amazing time, I was definitely ready to get on a plane and explore somewhere new. Before we could do that however, we had the majority of the day left, and after we’d packed up, checked out and put our bags at reception, we headed on over the bridge to walk around the big market area by the temple in Asakusa which we’d seen on the first day.

A guy who spoke very good English offered us a ride in his cart thing that they pull and run with (like a horse drawn carriage, but drawn by one poor bloke), he promised to show us the sights of the “oldest streets in Tokyo”, and as Continue reading

Day 5: Tokyo – Asakasa, Shibakoen & Roppongi

I would say that I can’t believe how behind I am on this blog series, but the truth is, I can believe it. The scrapbook/photo album that I have all the prints and bits and bobs for is now a full year out of date. I used a valuable amount of weight in my suitcase bringing it all with me to this end of China, and I’ve done maybe 8 pages in the 8 months I’ve been here. Each Sunday I say to myself that I’ll stick on one of my go to movies (Lost Boys, Bill & Ted, Rocky Horror, Pulp Fiction, The Boat that Rocked, Waynes World etc.) and I’ll smash it out… I never do.

So, anyways, let’s get back on track and head back in time to Tokyo, Tuesday 23rd January 2017.

Oh would you look at that, lazy morning is the first thing I had written down in my notes for this day! We were out of the hostel after 12, and we’d done a little research into somewhere we could find ourselves a cooked full breakfast (British style, it’s been waayy too long since either of us had a sausage or some proper bacon), so onto the metro we went heading for Asakasa, via a change of lines. We made our way to the Hobgoblin (yes like the beer), just to find out it was closed… by this point, we were both starving, and just ready for some food. We looked at the menu of a few other places close by (including an Indian), and settled on a place called CoCo Curry House, which is a Japanese curry restaurant and I’d actually had before in Suzhou. It wasn’t quite the full breakfast we’d hoped for, but it was pretty good! It’s like a variation of chip-shop-curry sauce, but better, with rice/potatoes, and some form of meat, depending what you fancied. It was a good meal and it set us up for the day.

Back onto the metro we went to Shibakoen, which, from what we’d read, was Continue reading