31/03/17

Visa Run to the Thai Embassy in Hanoi

Our final Thai visa run took us back to our former home in Vietnam’s hectic capital, Hanoi.  We relished the chance to hang out in our old city while painlessly applying for our final Thailand tourist visa before we head to Nepal in May. Here’s everything you need to know about applying for a visa at the Thai embassy in Hanoi, including the address, cost and what documents you’ll need. Continue reading

3/03/17
Sapa in the Fog, Vietnam

Travel Fails and the State of Sapa

Sapa, Northern Vietnam. The very words conjure images for me of green-yellow tiers of rice, towering peaks, buffaloes wallowing in mud pools, Hmong women in brightly-patterned headscarves and the smell of fresh alpine air. However, in the two years since we last visited Sapa, the town has transformed into a giant construction site. Diggers crowd the streets and the air is filled with dust and the sound of drilling and hammering. What’s more, during our visit last week, Sapa was cloaked in freezing fog so thick we couldn’t make out a single mountain view. The trip was a total travel fail. Continue reading

24/02/17
Motorbiking through Hanoi's narrow streets

Revisiting Hanoi: the good, the bad and the crazy

Welcome to Vietnam,” says the khaki-uniformed soldier with a broad smile, while he casually shifts his slim black rifle from one shoulder to the other. He must have clocked the camera around Andrew’s neck and assumed we’re tourists, which I suppose we are now. Except, instead of coming to see a monument or museum, we’re here to revisit our old home in Hanoi. Continue reading

10/02/17
Skydiving over Abel Tasman, New Zealand

Our Cheapest and most Expensive Travel Experiences

As time speeds on here in Chiang Mai, a slow itch is returning to my feet. It feels like an age since we got a real taste of adventure, so lately my thoughts have been occupied by our upcoming trip to Nepal and Sri Lanka. I can’t wait to hike in the Himalayas and explore UNESCO sites in Sri Lanka. That being said, I’m also slightly anxious about how our budget will cope when freelance work takes a back-seat to travel. With that in mind, I thought I’d take a look back at some of our cheapest and most expensive travel experiences over the last four years. Continue reading

10/01/17
Venkat Ganesh with his Vietnamese students in Hanoi

TEFL advice from a Non Native English Teacher

Do you long to teach English abroad but worry that you won’t find work because you’re a non native English teacher? Well, don’t despair. I get a lot of messages from aspiring teachers who aren’t native English speakers and here’s the good news: there are non native English teacher jobs to be found in Asia. In this post, Venkat Ganesh from India shares his story about teaching in Vietnam and gives some excellent advice about how to find TEFL jobs for non native speakers. Continue reading

31/10/16
Hanoi street vendors in Vietnam

Hanoi Street Vendors from Above

Street vendors are part of the everyday fabric of life in Hanoi. When I lived in the city I’d pass dozens of these women every day. They’d be dressed in conical hats to ward off the sun while they tirelessly pushed heavy bicycles laden with colourful fruit and flowers through the city, from dawn till dusk. I didn’t stop to think about just how beautiful these vendors were until our friend Loes launched her Hanoi street Vendors from Above photo project. Continue reading

2/03/16
Hannah and her Vietnamese Students in Hanoi

Teaching English in Hanoi Q&A with Hannah and Ben

As Andrew and I search for teaching work in Madrid, I can’t help thinking back to our first experience of teaching abroad in Hanoi. I’m hoping the lessons I learned from those exciting, turbulent months in Vietnam’s crazy capital city will help me cope with the challenge of starting afresh in Spain. Are you thinking of looking for jobs in Vietnam? Asia is a great place to cut your teeth as an English teacher; in this post I talk to British couple Hannah and Ben about their experiences of teaching at a language centre and an international school in Hanoi. Continue reading

10/02/16
English Teacher Melissa in Hanoi, Vietnam

Vietnam English Teacher Q&As, Part 2

Are you considering teaching English in Vietnam? I remember well from my own experiences in Hanoi just how daunting the whole process can be. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a million questions about everything from finding jobs in Vietnam to deciding which city and area to live in, how much money you can earn and what kind of qualifications you need. To help you figure things out, I’ve put together this series of Q&As with teachers currently living in Hanoi, Vietnam. Continue reading

28/01/16
Vietnamese students and their English teacher

Interviews with English Teachers in Vietnam

After writing about my experiences teaching in Hanoi, I often get questions from readers about how to teach English in Vietnam. So, to help you guys decide whether you could live and work in Vietnam, I’m publishing a short series of interviews with teachers who’ve lived, or currently live, in Hanoi. In this first edition I talk to Emma and Loes about everything from teaching highs and lows to pay rates, living costs, visas and teaching English if you’re from a non-English speaking country. Continue reading

17/12/15
Our Sapa Selfie

2015 Travel Round-up

2015 has been a year of two very different halves for us; the first spent in Asia, the second in America and the UK. We lived in Vietnam’s crazy capital city, Hanoi, where we saved over £14,000 (and nearly lost our minds!) by teaching English. We relaxed on beaches in Thailand, house sat in London, toured South Wales and took the best road trip ever through New England in the USA. As we prepare to celebrate Christmas in Blighty for the first time in nearly three years, here’s our 2015 travel round-up. Continue reading