Vietnam: Wrap Up

We spent a total of 18 days in Vietnam. We were seriously looking forward to this leg of the trip, as it was previously one of our favorite countries in the world. We’ve changed our minds.

Okay, that is a little dramatic. We really did enjoy most of our time here. It completely paled in comparison to our 12-day trip that we took last year though. This is because last year we were vacationing, and money wasn’t a really problem. Last year we took one of the most expensive cruises through Bai Tu Long Bay (still cheap by American standards though). We signed up for street food tours that were $30. Each. It wasn’t a big deal then because we were on vacation.

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Foggy Cat Ba Island. Last year the weather was amazing and so our expectations for Vietnam were set high.

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Soul Searchin’ in the Land of the Long White Cloud

New Zealand packs a lot into a tiny corner of our universe. Because it is so geographically remote it offers such an array of wonderful diversity.  It’s a rather new country, comparatively speaking. America was fighting the Revolutionary War around the same time that Europeans were discovering New Zealand. The late discovery combined with the geographical remoteness means that nature has taken the front seat. There are less people living in the entire country of New Zealand than there are in the state of Florida alone.

Glenorchy, South Island
Glenorchy, South Island

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Our Top 5 Day Hikes in New Zealand

You might have picked up on the fact that we’re nearly obsessed with New Zealand. This is because it is basically God’s gift to nature lovers. The Department of Conservation (DOC) manages about 30% of the land in NZ (don’t quote me on that, I stole that tidbit from wikipedia). That’s a lot of land! They have done an excellent job of preserving and protecting the natural habitat yet still making it accessible to hikers.

Kaikoura Coastal Walk
Kaikoura Coastal Walk

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The North Island, NZ: Part 2

We spent a total of 4 weeks in the North Island of New Zealand. After touching down in Auckland and getting our bearings we hit the ground running driving through the island and seeing as much as we could squeeze in during our four weeks. We didn’t see it all; we had to cut out both the west and east coast of the central section due to a cyclone that hit New Zealand while we were there. While this put a damper on things (no pun intended) it didn’t hold us back too much.

Here is Part 2 of our time spent in the North Island. Click here to read about the first half of our North Island adventures.

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North Island, NZ: Part 1

We spent a total of 4 weeks in the North Island of New Zealand. After touching down in Auckland and getting our bearings we hit the ground running driving through the island and seeing as much as we could squeeze in during our four weeks. We didn’t see it all; we had to cut out both the west and east coast of the central section due to a cyclone that hit New Zealand while we were there. While this put a damper on things (no pun intended) it didn’t hold us back too much.

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Our Favorite New Zealand Wildlife Encounters

In New Zealand it seems that you are never far off from a wildlife encounter. While New Zealand has no native land mammals (besides two species of bats, which I don’t count because they fly), it has more than enough birds and sea animals to make up for it. The lack of native land mammals is actually pretty cool…. there are no predators for humans. While over in neighboring Australia it seems that everything is out to eat you or sting you, New Zealand only has animals whose greatest threats are humans.

One of our favorite hikes in NZ... we saw seals and dolphins and the scenery was just stunning.
One of our favorite hikes in NZ… we saw seals and dolphins and the scenery was just stunning.

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Hong Kong and Taiwan: Wrap Up

Geez, it feels like forever ago that we immersed ourselves in the unique cultures of Hong Kong and Taiwan. I think it’s safe to say that these two places are like China-lite. I have heard that travel in mainland China is one of the most challenging types of travel; English is not commonly spoken and customs and cultures are very different than what we westerners are used to. The western influence hasn’t quite reached China like it has the rest of the world. Sound like an intimidating and maybe fun challenge…?!

Our original plan was to head over to Hong Kong in order to apply for Chinese visas. It is quite a difficult and tedious process for Americans to get visas to enter  mainland China. China was also experiencing a cold front with freezing temperatures, and we just didn’t have the clothes for that. The difficulty and overpriced visas combined with the freezing cold temperatures made us change our mind about entering China.

Hong Kong park
Hong Kong park

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Oh, We Have a Blog?

We seemed to have forgotten that we manage a blog to keep our devoted readers (all three of you) up to date on our lives and where we currently are in the world.

Fear not fellow friends, because we are back in the land of decent wifi and might actually be able to post more frequently. But first, let’s get you caught up on our latest travel adventures.

Beautiful Mai Tai Bay in the North Island, NZ
Beautiful Mai Tai Bay in the North Island, NZ

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All That and Dim Sum

One thing you may not know about me is that dim sum is one of my favorite foods, ever. It is such a shame because I think there is only one place that sells it back home and it doesn’t even taste good.

So, you can imagine my delight when I realized that I was heading to Hong Kong, the dim sum capital of the world! Robert and I soon made it our mission to gorge ourselves silly on those cute little dumplings until the cravings went away (note: they never go away).

a dim sum sampler plate
a dim sum sampler plate

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Three Months In and What Life is Like

We can hardly believe that we have been living a nomadic lifestyle for three months now. It seems like forever ago that our first plane touched down in New Zealand and we hit the ground running. Ironically, exactly three months later, we find ourselves back in this beloved first country of our trip, with a cute little van and a whole lot of wide open spaces to explore. It almost seems as if nothing has changed in those three months.

But who are we fooling? A whole lot has changed.

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