It’s been a while since the last post, which doesn’t mean we haven’t been enjoying ourselves but more that we haven’t done much worth writing about. After leaving Thailand, we spent 3 months in Vietnam. The last 10 days we were in Hoi An and fell in love with the place – Next time we go back we’ll definitely spend longer there.
Now we’re in Cambodia, Siem Reap for a month before heading back to Australia via Malaysia (5 days) and Bali (1 month). So we’ll be meeting up with our camper again around mid June and we’re really excited about it.
In the last 5 months we’ve celebrated “New Year” 3 times: First our own in Bangkok then, when we were in Ho Chi Minh City we saw in the Chinese Year of the Rooster and finally in Cambodia, the Khmer New Year was welcomed in with 3 days of water fighting (very welcome in the hot temperatures).
In March we celebrated our 34th (😱) Wedding Anniversary whilst in Hue, Vietnam in one of our favourite hotels “La Résidence”
It’s hard to believe that 2 years ago today, we left work for the last time and headed to the airport for the start of our new Life. As with anything that’s new and unknown, we had no idea whether we would be happy living this “homeless” lifestyle long term. So glad to be able to say that we’re still loving it and don’t yet see it coming to an end.
We still have no idea where we might eventually want to settle down though we love the lifestyle of Bali. The houses are built for outdoor living and the climate is great as is the food. Though it’s not possible for foreigners to buy property – it can be leased for 25-50 years (that should do us😎). It’s possible to get a retirement visa there though it’s not as good as the one we have for Malaysia. Medical facilities aren’t great and corruption is rife – but despite all this we love it and Bali tops the list at the moment.
Another alternative might be the island of Langkawi which makes more sense as we already have a retirement visa for Malaysia. We’ve visited there but never with a view to staying long term. The general consensus seems to be that it may be too quiet and remote. We’ll have to check it out for ourselves at some point.
The last 12 months have seen changes in our travelling style, changes in ourselves and many new observations:
- We enjoy spending longer periods of time in places – weeks and months rather than days (visa dependant). In the long term it’s not a lot of fun packing and unpacking every few days and continually staying in different hotels bring its own confusions – waking up in the middle of the night and not having a clue where the toilet is!
- We’re much better at negotiating hotel prices and extras like breakfast and laundry. We use sites such as booking.com to find hotels, but then contact the hotels themselves. Prices are always better when you miss out the middle man. We also have more success when we actually go to the hotel and negotiate face-to-face. And of course it’s always easier to get big reductions when you stay for longer periods.
- Travelling light is overrated – I hate to admit it, but we finally capitulated and swapped our 40 litre backpacks for 60 litre wheely bags. Having only carry-on luggage was great but unpractical in the long run. I’m no longer the minimalist I was a year ago and enjoy having a more than 2 outfits, wearing perfume again and even the occasional mascara!
- I’ve developed a penchant for hotel sewing kits (well, I always had it, I’ve just expanded on it – Dave calls it a sickness 😡). It’s got to the stage where I rate hotels by the quality of their sewing kits. Needles must be pre-threaded of course!
- 33℃ now seems like a pleasant temperature. 20℃ is bloody cold.
- I have recurrent dreams of missing flights, forgetting to pack, forgetting my passport and hubby flying off without me!
- My tolerance for very spicy food can match that of any Asian!
- Cockroach, rat and other rodent sitings are no longer worth a mention. Spiders are another matter though.
- Throwing toilet paper into a bin rather than the toilet still doesn’t come naturally to me.
- Nobody takes photos and selfies like the Asians. They have the poses, the smiles and the pouts down to a T and, without any sign of embarrassment will spend inordinate amounts of time getting that perfect picture: The humble spontaneous snapshot is a thing of the past.
- It’s wonderful no longer having to take long flights (think Europe to Asia). We’re rarely in the air longer than 3.5 hrs and Asian flights are such good value that we’ve started flying business class whenever possible – That really is the height of luxury!
- Fitness has become very important to us (we need to do something to deserve our beer) so we tend to pick hotels with gyms or choose places where we can go for a run. Exercising is so much more fun when you don’t have to try and squeeze it in between work and other stuff.
With the exception of friends there’s not really much we miss from our old life in The Netherlands. We’ve pretty much got accustomed to not having a home though the idea of one day getting our small box of possessions out of storage in Kuala Lumpur is very exciting – It’s been 3 years since we said goodbye to our stuff !
Food-wise; Well for me it would have to be:
and for Dave:
Oh, and add fresh asparagus and brussels sprouts to that.
In conclusion, I think that during the past year we’ve made the transition from feeling like we’re only on an extended holiday to the realisation that this really is our Life now and that we never need to go back again. For that we are eternally grateful.
Next post from Australia!