We met in Paris, then met up in Scotland, we took holidays in Jamaica, backpacked through Asia and we are now settling in America. Our relationship has been shaped by discoveries of new cultures and places. Like everything else in life, travel comes with less glorious moments. I gathered here some of these stories. I must say though that even if we gave ourselves good scares, we never found ourselves in life-threatening or other really bad situations.
We knew Japan would be expensive so we initially had a budget of $95 per day. We quickly decided that we didn’t want our trip to be entirely dictated by a budget so we kept it loose, without going crazy either. We were able to more or less stick to it, spending close to $110 per day (or $55 per person). We were surprised to notice that we spent almost the same as in Hawaii, where we flew from, but without restricting ourselves as much.
Since we’re travelling as a couple, the averages described below are for two people per day and are actually rounded up.
During our long-term journey last year, Thailand was one of the destinations that we were looking forward to the most. After Hawaii, Japan, Hong Kong and Vietnam, we spent an entire month there in July and August, which is the rainy season. We never experienced really bad weather and were always able to do what we wanted.
We stayed in cities but we chose to spend most of our time in the Thai islands, which was still a great mix and allowed us to discover the culture of the country.
Vietnam is a wonderful country that we can highly recommend to other travellers. We took 6 weeks to explore it and enjoy life there. Although we have many more, here are a few stories that punctuated our stay.
Kyoto was the first city that we visited in Japan and it became our favourite too. We were lucky enough to arrive just before the end of the cherry blossom season which gives the town some magical tone. We were also especially struck by how kind people were with us. It happened more than once that locals came to help us when we were lost (in public transportation among others!) although they didn’t speak a word of English.
Japan is famous for Buddhism and tofu but it’s definitely not the best destination for vegetarians. When we arrived in the country, I very quickly felt frustrated that I was missing out on Japanese specialties. It happened several times that my lunch ended up being a slice of cake because that was the only thing without meat on the menu and I might surprise you but even I, sometimes, need more than sweets!
If you have read this blog before, you might remember that we didn’t exactly fall in love with Hong Kong. After a month in Japan, where the streets are clean and people are kind and helpful (even though they don’t speak English), we ended up in the crowded and dirty streets of Wan Chai where I felt uncomfortable and stared at. It wasn’t our favourite destination but we would still encourage other travellers to go and experience it by themselves. Although we met people who share our point of view about the city, a lot of people actually love it there and expats are countless.
When we started planning our long full-time trip through Hawaii and Asia, China was on our list. But after some quick research, we realised that getting visas as American and French citizens was going to be a hassle. Not only were we supposed to apply in our respective countries, but my visa would be valid only if I entered the country less than 3 months after applying. We couldn’t make it work with our other prior plans to visit Hawaii and Japan.
We arrived in Sri Lanka without knowing much about the food there except for the idea that I should be ok as a vegetarian. Well, it is absolutely not difficult to be a vegetarian in Sri Lanka. Unlike in other countries, I didn’t have to spend time researching vegetarian restaurants in the areas we visited, if such restaurants even exist. I knew for sure there would be several meat-free options wherever we would go. The country is actually so vegetarian friendly that when we took a cooking class in Ella, we were surprised to see that all dishes were vegetarian by default.