TL;DR: We all need communities (even nomads) – and there are different ways to solve this. The idea that excites me the most is collaboratively buying land and property together with other nomads – and using that as a base to meet up and collaborate. [Read more…]
Having spent the last 15 months in (mainly rural) Asia, I was aware I may experience “reverse culture shock” on return to the Western world.
But what this would actually feel like was beyond me.
I’m continually impressed by the level of healthcare you can get abroad if you do your research ahead of time. It’s perhaps a slightly western/xenophobic comment to state surprise; so let me qualify it. The particular aspects that surprise me are: [Read more…]
Sapa is quite simply, stunning, and we’ll worth the visit. It’s situated in the North of Vietnam, some 300km from the countries capital of Hanoi.
There are two options for getting ther [Read more…]
Wow its been a busy couple of months! Having started off in Bangkok, Thailand I went south to the islands, then visited a friend in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. From there I flew into Cambodia, travelled the country and crossed into Vietnam. Then travelled south to North and I’m currently in Ha Noi. *Deep breath*
The highlight of the trip, as you might expect, hasn’t been the beaches, architecture, food (well, ok, the food HAS been amazing), or any of that stuff. Its simply been all the amazing people I’ve met along the way.
Fortunately it didn’t take long into the trip before I met a great bunch. In Bangkok, when I arrived, it seemed like every traveller was making the pilgrimage south down to Ko Pha Ngan for the full moon party. Rather than try to buck the trend, I went with the crowd and ended up having an amazing time. Met some awesome people at Nomad House Hostel, and travelled with one or more of them for much of the trip. Props to the guys running the hostel (particularly Yuki & Will) for creating such a great social environment!
Despite this being a personal blog, it would sound rather self centred to describe the rest of the trip in great detail. Instead I’ll try and write a few posts, later, on the highlights, in the hope that this helps someone who stumbles across it.
I’ve become quite the medical tourist in the last few months. First with dental work and now with travel vaccinations. Before I left for Budapest to get dental work I had a number of well meaning friends warn me against the dangers of dental work abroad. Then similarly when I mentioned to a UK travel nurse my plans to get a certain vaccination abroad, she also warned me to be careful.
On both occasions the experience has been more than satisfactory, and hence I’ve felt compelled to share the stories. Its not that these people were wrong to caution me, in fact I’d much rather they did. But it’s because the treatment was so counter to popular perceptions that I want others to be able to share in this.
Before leaving the UK to visit SE Asia I was told about the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine. A nasty virus carried by a specific mosquito that usually resides in rural areas. Pigs are good hosts of this virus and therefore proximity to these animals increases your risk. The chance of infection is low, but it’s there, and infections are serious.
Anyway, the doctor wanted to charge £180 for two doses of the vaccination spaced 4 weeks apart. Probably a reasonable price considering their cost price, but more than I wanted to pay (of course!). But the main issue was that I didn’t have time before my flight. Woops!
After a bit of googling I came across a thread suggesting it was possible to get affordable vaccinations in Bangkok. So it sounded worth a further look.
So a few days ago, having arrived in Bangkok I went to check the place out. It’s called the Thai Travel Clinic and it’s located at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases at the Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University.
It was a pleasant surprise arriving there to find an incredibly modern building. The building was very clean, all the staff were friendly, many with good English, they paid good attention to you, and it was a great experience. I would compare it to private medical care in England, and it certainly didn’t feel anything like the NHS experience.
I ended up getting both the JE vaccination and Yellow Fever (for an upcoming trip to South America) for 1600 baht. At current exchange rates that’s about £30. So a huge saving. Not to mention my clinic in England didn’t have the yellow fever vaccination due to an apparent supplier shortage.
It was possible to arrive there, register, get a consultation with the doctor AND get both vaccinations in about 1 hour. Can’t fault that. If you’re reading this and thinking of going, it’s important you bring your passport.
At this point it’s probably worth me saying that I’m just sharing my personal experience and of course your milage may vary. Exercise your own judgement and common sense and you should be fine.
So that’s it really. A pleasant experience in Bangkok that I really didn’t anticipate.
Touched down in Bangkok yesterday! It’s pretty exciting setting foot in Asia for the first time. Not just that, but being a solo traveller once again has its thrills. The heightened awareness of surroundings brought back familiar memories.
The flight over here began with a bang (or not). I sat next to a pleasant couple, former teachers from Manchester (England), who had retired early and now live off their own land.
The husband had spent 25 years at his primary school! Perhaps the epitome of the ‘job for life’ generation.
Now having done their time in the public sector, they were making the most of their inflation proof state pensions, and looking to travel. However it felt to me like they had delayed this until too late in life.
However in their defence I was quite impressed at their early retirement and current lifestyle. They said that most of the time their meals came completely from their land; meat, eggs and vegetables. That’s got to a dream worth chasing! Or at the very least being able to source food ethically and locally. He said that 3 years into retirement the honeymoon period was over and they were still loving it 🙂
Something that is common amongst travellers is they tend to be very wary of their time on the earth, and want to do stuff ‘while they’re young’ rather than defer it to later.
It’s a key motivation for this trip. At 26 it felt like a crossroads in life. One where you either choose to settle down with a partner and begin nesting, or you choose to explore the world and ‘make the most of it’ whilst still young. The blue or the read pill, to quote popular culture, aka Morpheus from the Matrix.
“This is your last chance. After this there is no turning back. You take the blue pill: the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill: you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
This leads me on to a convo I had with an English guy in Bangkok. He had been brought up by a Dad who told him to make the most of his youth. His Dad was 62 and didn’t have hist first child until 35. This guy was currently living out in Perth on a working holiday visa, his second year in Australia. He was contemplating taking a job with the firm (to secure further time in Oz), versus visiting S. America for 6 months. His dilemma being that if he did that, he wasn’t sure how he would get back to working in Oz. The whole convo really brought home the issues surrounding visas. He talked of people marrying to secure them, plus using different passports.
So anyway, now is the time to explore the city and acclimatise myself to Asia. Looking forward to some more of the food!