22/11/14
The Turtle Pagoda in Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi

Lake Life

Through the early-morning haze, against a backdrop of exhaust fumes, beeping horns and music piped through loud speakers, you can spot the morning exercise crowd gathering around Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi. Shuttlecocks sail back and forth, runners diligently circle the water’s edge, groups of lycra-clad women bust out aerobic moves and bizarrely, couples can be seen practising their waltz. For lack of green space in this city, Hanoians have made the lake into their oasis of calm amid the chaos of life in the Capital. Continue reading

15/11/14
Vietnamese Student

Why take a TEFL course?

So, you want to teach English abroad? In that case you’re probably wondering what kind of qualifications you need, which country you should move to and how you’re going to find a job, right? At least, these were the things I was most concerned about when I decided to step into the world of English teaching. One of the first decisions I made was to take not one, but two TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) courses – here’s why. Continue reading

7/11/14
egg coffee

Standing Still and Relishing Routine

No matter which corner of the world you call home or what type of life you lead, we are all constantly moving forward through the pages of our own story; movement is the very essence of life, but this is quite literally true if you’re a traveller. The kind of freedom I experience when we’re on the road facing everyday afresh, often in a brand new place, is exhilarating. I crave that freedom but strangely, I also fear it. A part of me constantly longs for routine, familiarity and the chance to stand still and pause for breath – right now we’re taking the opportunity to do just that here in Hanoi. Continue reading

31/10/14
The School Kids we Teach in Vietnam

What’s it actually like to Teach English in Vietnam?

When we set off to travel the world in 2013 I never imagined that I’d end up teaching English to five-year-old kids in Vietnam. Back in London I worked as an online writer and continued freelancing during the first six months of our travels through New Zealand, Australia and Asia. I am more used to offices and computer screens than noisy classrooms and the feel of chalk on my fingertips, so just how did I end up here? Continue reading

25/10/14
Fruit stand in Hanoi's Old Quarter

Hanoi Old Quarter in Pictures

Built over 1,000 years ago, Hanoi’s Old Quarter is perhaps the most famous, historical area of the city.  It certainly seems to attract the most tourists, particularly around Hoan Kiem lake, where you can catch Hanoian’s exercising every morning and evening.  We live just a 15 minute walk away from the Old Quarter and go there often, mainly to eat in our favourite cafes or pick up some groceries from one of the delicious French-style bakeries. Continue reading

16/10/14
Children having an English class at the Language Center in Vietnam

Teaching English in Vietnam – Pay, Visas and Finding a Job

When we decided to teach English in Asia we had a lot of decisions to make. Which country did we want to live in? How easily could we find a job? How much money would we make? What qualifications and experience did we need? We wanted to choose a country we felt we’d enjoy living in but with our travel fund running low we also had to consider where we could earn the most money and take into account visa issues. Continue reading

13/10/14
Me ready to go on the motorbike

How to ride a motorbike in Hanoi, Vietnam

It was late at night on a quiet Hanoi street (yes, such a thing does exist) and I was learning how to ride a motorbike. As I practised turning in the road Mr Nguyen, who’s renting me my slightly battered 125cc Yamaha for just £25 a month, advised me: “Make sure you use the horn so they know you are a bad driver!” The next comment was just as surprising: Continue reading

9/10/14
Visa Stamps in Passports

Changing Direction – Travel Plans for 2015

Yes, I know what you’re thinking, isn’t it a little bit early to be deciding where we’ll be this time next year? Not for me. I know that some people enjoy going with the flow and making spur-of-the-moment decisions but I’m not one of those people. Andrew and I have been making travel plans for 2015 ever since we moved into our apartment here in Hanoi and we’ve come to some surprising decisions about where we want to go next. Continue reading

29/09/14
Mango Shaved Ice in Taipei

Taiwan Travel Costs for 25 Days

Taiwan was the last country on our initial 15-month adventure; we’d heard many good things about the country so we were anticipating a great finale to the first leg of our travels. During our time in Taiwan we checked out the impressive National Parks and the beautiful scenic areas as well as exploring the night markets and geothermal hot springs. Here are our Taiwan travel costs for three and a half weeks. Continue reading