Welcome to our monthly series of the Journey Update where we keep you clued up on where we are, what we are up to and the highs and lows of the month. You can find all our other updates here.
Where are we now?
In hot and stormy Hanoi, Vietnam
Where have we been?
1 night in Tam Dao.
2 nights in Hong Kong.
2 nights in Pu Luong Nature Reserve.
3 nights in Danang.
1 night near Cuc Phuong National Park and the rest of the time in Hanoi.
Oli also spent 2 nights on Quan Lan island and 1 night in Hue with Ben.
What have we been doing?
After 3 months in Vietnam it was time to take our first visa run and we are so happy we chose Hong Kong. What an amazing city.
We travelled so much this month because our bestest, most awesome friend Ben came to visit! We really wanted to show him just how special Vietnam is and I think we did a pretty good job. It is always so special to spend quality time with people when they are on holiday and, while I had to work, Oli took time off to take him on as many adventures as possible.
I also spent a good portion of the month rewriting my CV, planning for and attending job interviews because…
I GOT A NEW JOB!
More in the highlights below 😉
Showing my cousins a little of Hanoi, and having a throwback to being a backpacker on a hostel bar crawl, was great! The British Gap Year lives on!
We really fell for Hong Kong in the 48 hours we spent there on our visa run where we ate tons of delicious food and did all the touristy things. We hiked up Victoria Peak, took the Star Ferry to Kowloon and took in the atmosphere with 7/11 beers on the sidewalk. It was great and made even more special by spending it with two of our favourite people from Hanoi.
Spending 2 whole weeks with our friend Ben was the highlight of the month. We are so lucky to have such wonderful friends and to live in a country that entices them to fly halfway across the world to see us!
Our first weekend with him was a spontaneous one, having taken some travel advice from a new friend the day before, and it turned out to be our favourite weekend away yet. Pu Luong Nature Reserve just completely blew us away. From the beautiful drive there, to the dramatic scenery within the park and every little detail in between (like swimming under a waterfall and finding an underwater cave), we couldn’t believe that this little corner of paradise could be so little known.
We didn’t do much with Ben in Hanoi but we did take him to the free beer night at Sidewalk both Fridays he was here and we had all of the fun. Oli and I may not know much about the nightlife in Hanoi but we do know where the best free beer and drunk food spots are!
For Ben’s second weekend we flew down to Danang and he treated us to a fancy apartment stay on the beach. It was fantastic to have a little luxury, of course, and it was also so fun for Oli and I to rediscover a place we’d visited together 6 years previously. Wow, this area of Vietnam has changed!
And, of course, my new job… I am so proud to say that I got picked to work for Buffalo Tours in Vietnam as their new Content and Social Media Team Leader. I wasn’t looking to break out of teaching but when a friend told me about the position, and put my name forward to the company, I knew I had to at least apply. Talking about travel everyday? It’s the perfect job for me!
I am super excited and super nervous and I start next week!
It really was a month full of travel discoveries because on the last day of May we took a last minute trip back along the Ho Chi Minh highway and found the most amazing waterfall we’ve ever seen. Again, there was no one else around and I’m still reeling from how beautiful it was. More to come on where you can find it…
Something we forgot to mention in the last journey update was that Oli bought me my own bike but sadly for the longest time it would not stop falling apart! It made me hate it for a while but on the bright side we found an amazing mechanic.
It was a little sad that because of work and visa run timing I couldn’t spend much time with my cousins who came through Hanoi on their South East Asia travels. I would have loved to have taken a trip with them!
Oli may have reaped the rewards of freelancing taking time off to be with Ben but he is also experiencing the pitfalls having still not been paid for his biggest job yet. Fingers crossed it comes through in June.
Telling my schools that I was quitting was really sad and even though I’m so excited for this new opportunity, I know I will miss teaching.
Top Instagram of the month
There was a clear winner on my Instagram this month which means you must love mountains as much as we do! This was taken in Pu Luong and shows just a little of the magic we discovered there.
Oli’s most popular photo is the incredibly photogenic Hong Kong skyline. We sat on the Kowloon side for hours one night, just taking it all in.
2016 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge, Month 5
This year I’m trying out the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge to read 41 books, from a series of uniquely different topics, in one year. In this monthly journey update, I will let you know which books I read that month and what categories they filled. I’ll also give handy Amazon Kindle links so you can get them yourself, just click on the pictures below to buy.
Sadly it was another slow month but I am a good way through Bill Bryson’s ‘A short history of nearly everything’ which is something!
Here’s what I read in May.
A street cat named Bob by James Bowen
- An autobiography
The light between oceans by M L Steadman
- A book that’s becoming a movie this year
Oli’s got a lot of projects on the horizon and I start my new job on June 6th so it’s going to be all about work for the both of us in June. We are actually really looking forward to it!
Until then, keep enjoying the journey…
x JOli x