7.1.15

Vietnam Diaries: Hoi An



Hoi An

Yellow brick walls. Thin rusty bicycles. Fragile, crumbling gates. Fine curling alleyways. Luxurious food. Fairy lights and lanterns.

Hoi An is the gem of Vietnam, understated and authentic. Classic detailing and beauty. The town is a intricate replica of the perfectly tailored clothing it is notorious for. Nothing seems out of place in a very shabby-chic, underdone precision.

To do:
Shop. Eat. Play beer pong at the bars across the river and squeeze two people in a rickshaw made for one in the rain.

To Buy:
Everything you’ve ever wanted. Google your most prized designer pieces online, take images, measurements. Pick a store. Pick a fabric. Quote a price and buy an extra suitcase to fit it all into.











6.1.15

Moments #1



I'm feeling nostalgic about my travels so I thought I'd do a post in memory of that wonderful time. A simple photo, a memory that I shall never forget.

Here sits a monk, solitary, reading his book with not a care in the world about the thousands of tourists walking past him. Many didn't even notice he was there. In his world, he was alone, looking out onto the beauty of Ankgor Wat as the sun rose in the sky.

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia, November 2014

3.1.15

Vietnam Diaries: Dalat





Five hours from Mui Ne to Dalat in a painfully cramped bus (the only unfortunate leg of our 7 stop trip however), and we found ourselves in Dalat, a quaint mountain side town in the hills of southern Vietnam. Complete with an Eiffel Tower (I’m still unsure why but it’s there, on a miniature scale), blooming gardens and flower markets we wish we could have spent more time here.

Canyoning
One of the more adventurous and thrill-seeking parts of our trip were to be done in Dalat – namely Canyoning.
For a mere $20 we were taken up into the forest with a group of 20, strapped into life jackets, helmets and harnesses and sent down a trail bouncing off trees for safety.
Practice session first, before a quick easy jump backwards over a 10 meter cliff to make sure you knew how to do it. A walk through the forest, and you find yourself at small, gentle waterfalls.

Oh, you lie on your back and slide down bumpy rocks and hope you don’t hurt yourself too. (You actually don’t, but make sure you lie straight back. It’s hard to do once you’re moving and if you don’t, you will smash your lower spine. THAT HURTS. It was the first – not the last – time that day that I heard screams from the rest of our group for my safety.)

Next station is the ‘25-metre challenge.’ Leaning backwards over a waterfall, the rocks are insanely slippery. There are three parts to the challenge – first you make it down to the ledge. Then over the ledge and down through the currents of water whacking you in the face. Next you run out of rope. So you must let go, like a maniac, and leave your fate to your Vietnamese guides with questionable English/safety skills.  My experience involved falling flat on my face in the first ledge, panicking, sliding to the ledge, regaining my footing and falling flat on my face again. Almost drowning and praying to god when I let go as we ran out of wall/rope. Thank you man who was on the wall at the same time as me. Without you I may have drowned in a panicky-waterfall-mess. Ripped t-shirt and bloody elbow to match may I add.

Then we have a 10 metre cliff jump into the water. What the hell, I survived that last bit, may as well battle this fear of jumping once and for all.

Finally, we have ‘The Washing Machine’. A seemingly harmless waterfall which is in fact a very narrow gully of water in which you fall to your death, holding your breath and getting spun every which way with no control out into the river. How we didn’t do damage I have no idea.

Then for the long, painful climb back up the hill to the minibus, achy, cold, wet, and exhilarated.

Because for all of my clumsy, uncoordinated accidents where I seemed like exactly the kind of girl who shouldn’t be doing these sorts of trips, I loved every single second of it. It was an adrenalin rush like no other, but also a real challenge for me. Physical activity, extreme sports – they aren’t natural to me. So to come out of one, having struggled through it and loved every second was exactly what I needed. I’d jump back down those waterfalls in seconds.

We chose Highland Holiday Tours - fantastic team, very safe and an incredible price at around $20



Note: It’s damn cold up in Dalat compared to the sweltering heat of Ho Chi Minh and Mui Ne – bring a pair of jeans and be excited about the fact you can wear them!








1.1.15

WELCOME 2015


Started 2014 underneath a tree at Falls Festival. Spent time with family and finally saw wild kangaroos on a road trip around Tasmania. Moved to an outback pub and learned to play pool. Reunited with my Melbs family before heading to Brisbane to meet the best bunch of people I can imagine. Worked in a hostel bar before become so broke I had to scrub kitchen floors at 11pm every night for accommodation. Sold Dental insurance for 1300 SMILE and worked in a restaurant that was shut down by health and safety two weeks in. I lived on a farm where I drove a tractor, welded things, shot things and learned to butcher/castrate sheep (not one of my lifelong dreams but you take what you  get). Off to another outback pub where, again, I met the best people in the world, people that will never leave my life. Sadly, it burnt down. But I had already left by that point. I explored the Sunshine coast, Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise, Byron and partied hard at Listen Out before a week in Darwin for tropical storms and suffocating heat. Next stop was Bali, for rice paddies, temples and peaceful Ubud. I saw sunrise at Angkor Wat, spent 3 days on a desert island in Cambodia, lived a few days of the Arcadia life with my cousin in Kampot. Travelled south-north Vietnam, stopping for tailored clothes, to abseil some waterfalls and sail around Halong Bay. I cuddled tiger cubs, washed elephants and held snakes. I shopped HARD in Bangkok. And here I am, exhausted after working a Heavy Metal Hawaiian NYE party in Mackay. It’s been a bizarre year of adventure, bucket list ticks and stunning beaches. It’s been emotional, hard and I’ve often wanted to give up and come home. Never easy, but always making it through. Thanks to all the people that made 2014 what it was – you’re all amazing.