Unbelievably, it’s been three years since we touched down in our first Asian country: Indonesia. Although we went on to spend over two years travelling and living in South-East Asia, I’ll never forget the strangeness and excitement of that first week in Java. I remember the intensity of the sounds and smells; the beeping throngs of traffic, the humid wall of heat, the spicy food, ornate temples, smoking sticks of incense and huge spiders. Continue reading
It feels strange to have finally left Asia after spending almost two years there. For us, travel has been inextricably linked with this part of the world. When I think of backpacking my mind conjures up images of long, cramped bus journeys and never-ending terraces of rice, gold-carpeted beaches and heaving cities full of motorbikes and street markets. I think of wading through soupy, humid air, the smell of citronella insect repellent, incense from temples, and spices from road-side food stalls; I hear beeping horns, crowing roosters, prayer calls and the lapping of the sea. Continue reading
Causally throwing a banana chip into my mouth I leaned out of the stationary tuk-tuk and craned my neck up towards the cave above, waiting for the million-strong swarm of bats to flood out of its entrance into the gathering dusk. A boy of about eight or nine, bare-foot and messy-haired, wandered past our vehicle and I smiled as our eyes met. My banana chips captured his attention and for a moment I began to stretch my arm out to offer him some before remembering: we’re not supposed to give things to kids, especially not here in Cambodia where child-begging is such a problem. Continue reading
It’s nearing the end of the year and like most people, Andrew and I have been reflecting on what we’ve achieved in 2013 and looking forward to what 2014 holds. This year was very special for us because we finally got out on the road and started travelling full-time; since leaving the UK in March we’ve had the most incredible, extreme ten months of our lives – it’s been tougher yet more rewarding than we ever imagined it would be. Here’s a look back at the places we’ve visited in 2013 and what we loved about them. Continue reading
When some poor travel planning and a surprise twist of fate left us with a chance to completely change our travel plans we were left with a dilemma – should we stay in Indonesia as planned or head off somewhere completely new? Here’s what we decided.
After an idyllic couple of months in Australia and New Zealand we headed to Indonesia where travel well and truly got tough. We were slapped in the face with culture shock when we arrived in Jakarta, had a hard time negotiating our way through Java, suffered severe bouts of homesickness and struggled to balance work with travel – but we did learn a lot in the process. Continue reading
We were looking forward to getting to Asia after more than two months and over £7,000 spent in Australia and New Zealand. Before we arrived we had set ourselves a budget of about £30 per day for backpacking Indonesia (along with the rest of Asia – a little naïve no?). So, we were ready for our costs to dramatically drop from here-on-in but how much did it really cost to travel Indonesia? Continue reading
I knew full-well when we set off on this trip that I’d have to confront many issues that morally outrage me such as the global sex trade, homelessness and animal cruelty. These issues are prevalent enough in so called ‘developed’ countries like the UK but we found that as soon as we hit Indonesia they became even more visible; in particular we were struck by the plight of Indonesian street animals.
Compared to Australia and New Zealand, we found travelling in Indonesia a bit of a challenge. For a start, we were dealing with a completely new language that neither of us spoke; we were travelling huge distances by often dubious public transportation, coping with strange new foods and an unfamiliar currency – that’s all part of the fun when it comes to travel though, right? When you are heading to a new country though it’s nice to have some insider tips; if you’re planning to travel Indonesia we’ve put together some tips to help you make the most of your trip.
After realising just how tough long-term travel can be, we felt ourselves sliding into a depressed state in our hotel room in Kuta. We knew we needed to change things up, fast, so we cleared our workload and headed to Lombok and the Gili Islands for what was supposed to be a relaxing, soothing couple of weeks in the sun. Continue reading