Our 100 Things List is finally full!

It’s taken 2 years but we’ve finally completed our 100 Things List. And by completed, I purely mean every blank space has been filled – it’s going to take quite a bit longer to actually complete every task. We first posted the list with about 60 items on it – most were pretty easy or things we knew we would be doing in SE Asia or shortly after arriving in the UK.

But the travel we’ve done, and the people we’ve talked to, have opened our eyes to much more exciting things than going to a U2 concert (sorry, Bono). This is evidenced by our list getting more and more exciting and complicated as you read through it. To be honest, I don’t know how we’ll manage to cross a couple of those new items off, but we’re going to try!

So we’ve filled our list, but we also went back and tweaked a few that no longer excited us. What was ‘Go to a U2 concert’ is now ‘See orcas hunt sea lions on the beaches of Punta Norte Peninsula Valdes, Argentina‘. I still want to go to a U2 concert, but seeing orcas hunt? Infinitely cooler.

Photo Credit: Björn Kleemann

Most of you are probably aware of a little event that recently took place in Brazil. And if you’ve been following us for a while, you’d know number 17 stated that we wanted to go to that World Cup. Obviously, it didn’t happen! So now we’re just going to settle for a World Cup, anywhere that works out (though likely not Qatar!).

We ticked off riding a camel while in Egypt and after my experience, I don’t need to do it again…in Morocco, or ever. We would, however, love to say that we’ve stayed overnight in the Sahara desert so that’s now number 25.

As much as I love hockey and will hopefully still see Modo play live, number 59 has been switched to ‘Climb up to Taktsang Palphug Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) in Bhutan’. Another country, hike, and who doesn’t love monks?

Photo Credit: Wilderness Travel

We plan on going back to New Zealand and will definitely visit Milford Sound so number 72 is now ‘Stroll through the illuminated full size buildings made from blocks of ice at the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival‘. Take a look at some of those sculptures…amazing!

Photo Credit: Ice Festival Harbin

Feel a little bit bad for this one but we’ve taken off trying to find some of Matt’s relatives in the UK. I think our future holds quite a bit of time in the UK so this is likely one we’ll do anyway. Besides, the only way I’m going to ‘Go volcano boarding in Nicaragua‘ is if it’s on this list. Fun but scary!

Photo Credit: A Wider View

While eating toblerone in Switzerland was nearly good enough to keep as an item itself, we tacked it on to our train journey and replaced it with ‘Swim to Hidden Beach on the Marieta Islands in Mexico‘. Any excuse for margaritas in Mexico!

And finally, we removed the Georgia Aquarium from our list. I love going to aquariums but I’ve been doing a lot of research lately about responsible travel (something I’ve always tried to do but not necessarily well). While I don’t have a problem with little fishes teaching kids about nature, I am not comfortable with large animals such as Whale Sharks being kept in captivity. So, fittingly, we’ve changed it to ‘Hang out with penguins in Antarctica‘. I’d much rather see animals in their natural habitat.

Now, can someone buy me a plane ticket to all these awesome places?

Have you been to any of these places or the new ones at the bottom of our 100 Things List and have any tips? Do you agree with our choices or do you have better ideas that maybe we haven’t hear of?

 

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Our 2014 Plans

We’ve been neglecting the blog a bit lately due to a combination of being busy, a little lazy and generally not having too much happening other than ordinary London life.  Multiple tube journeys and trips to the grocery store don’t tend to make an interesting read.

Our last trip away was to the Christmas markets in Vienna which was obviously too long because we got serious itchy feet.   I just got back from a weekend in Edinburgh for Craig’s stag do (couple of nice blurry phone photos below) but all this sticking in one place was getting to us.

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So before I went to Edinburgh, we managed to forget that we have a wedding this year and instead Dayna and I spent all our money on travel again.   In short time we filled up most of our spare weekends so we now have all of the following to look forward to:

  • April – Bristol (this one is a lads trip away for some English tourism for a change), and a train trip around Luxembourg/Cologne/Amsterdam (3 countries in 4 days – I think we might have been watching too much Amazing Race when we booked this one)
  • May – a train trip through the Swiss Alps with a daytrip to Liechtenstein (because, why not?), our friends’ Craig and Gerrie’s wedding in Ireland, and hiking up Preikestolen in Norway
  • June – my stag do (tbc but likely to involve somewhere in Europe that serves cheap beer) and a girls weekend away for Dayna (also TBC).
  • July – Dayna’s hens do
  • August – Vegas, Grand Canyon, Banff and the Rockies, Vancouver, Sunshine Coast, Victoria, Toronto, Niagara Falls, New York…and getting married somewhere in there of course
  • September – Dayna is going to a friend’s hens do in Sitges, Spain
  • October – Octoberfest in Munich, Dayna is staying home for this one (her choice)

So our year of not travelling because we’re saving for our wedding has still ended up involving trips to 12 countries (and maybe more…we’ll see).  We’ve also been discussing making it back to New Zealand in December maybe so hopefully that one pans out too .

In between booking all our trips for this year we’ve also been talking about whether we could do a much longer trip one day. So far our plans for “The Big Trip” haven’t got too far past mapping out some exciting routes but it is exciting to have something to day dream about when neck deep in spreadsheets and tax returns.  We’d love to be able to go for a year or longer but the first step is finding a way to get paid when travelling – any ideas let us know!

The Year Ahead

Happy New Year!

Matt and I rang in the new year with a few of our very good friends in a huge club in Kentish Town. They had two DJ groups, Guilty Pleasures and Ultimate Power, who as you might have guessed played the songs you love to hate and power ballads from the 80s and 90s. It was amazing.

Favourite photo from NYE.

This year will be a busy one for us. We plan on visiting 7 new countries and ticking a potential 13 items off our 100 Things List. In addition to all that, we also get to plan and save for our wedding!

We’ve been asked how we can afford to do all this travel and the answer is pretty simple – we make it a priority. Matt is an accountant, so you know we’ve got an amazing budget spreadsheet to keep us on track. Our income and expenses are meticulously tracked and allocated into different accounts/savings/categories to make sure we are never living outside our means (if you want to get really technical, 19% of our income goes into the Travel Fund).

January

We’ll be spending a long weekend in Belgium in a few weeks. First, we’ll spend a couple days in Brugge before heading down to where Carrie lives to spend some more time with her.

February

Month off – hoping to sort the big wedding To Dos like pick a date and country/location to have it. There’s also a wedding expo on here in London that we’re hoping to go to. Even though our wedding will be very small and laid back, it’ll be nice to get some ideas for it. A guy Matt works with recommended going as he and his fiancée ended up getting a really good deal on their wedding rings at one of these events. We’re always keen on a good deal!

March

Even though I’m an Irish citizen (with a passport to prove it) I have never been to Ireland. So we thought it would be fitting that my first time there would be for St Patty’s Day in Dublin! We’ll take in the St Patty’s day Parade, go on a tour of the Guinness factory and hopefully catch up with a few friends.

A couple weeks later is Easter weekend and with 2 days of public holidays we knew we had to plan a trip somewhere. We had a few options on the go – training through the Swiss Alps, Vienna (Austria), Prague (Czech Republic). Matt was working from home on Friday when his systems crashed so he used the time to look into booking one of those options for us. He called me at work to let me know the details on flights to Prague and even though they were a bit expensive we had pretty much decided to go for it.
About 15 minutes later I got an email from Matt containing our booking confirmation:

“So a little different than we talked about but we’re going to Denmark!  And Malmo in Sweden is a short train ride or car ride too so Sweden too! (at least for a day trip)”

At no point was Denmark ever talked about but flights to Copenhagen were cheap and we’ll be able to get to 2 new countries!

April

Long weekend in Paris – we’ve been to Paris before but only in transit so we haven’t done any of the touristy things. We’ll also get to tick off ‘have a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower’ off our list (hopefully the weather’s good for us!).

May

There’s a long weekend at the beginning of May and while we want to go away, we aren’t sure where yet – tossing up between Glasgow/Berlin/Netherlands or somewhere else we haven’t considered yet.

At the end of May we’ll be going on a 9 day Nile tour with our friends, Cath and Jono. I’m incredibly excited about this trip as I’ve always wanted to see the pyramids and float down the Nile. I am a little concerned about the recent protests etc in Cairo but feel a lot better going with a tour group.

June or July

We’re tossing up which month we’ll do one of these trips in. Matt’s birthday is in June so it would be nice to go away for that but July has better weather: Slovenia to see Lake Bled etc or Portugal (Lisbon&Sintra).

August

Trip to Spain – starting in Barcelona for 2 days before travelling down to Valencia for the Tomatina Festival. We’ll finish the week by partying and lying on the beach in Ibiza.

September

Sailing around Croatia in a 9 person yacht for a week and hopefully making a short side trip to the Plitvice lakes beforehand. We managed to book out the entire boat with all our friends so needless to say, I’m most excited for this trip!

October, November, and December

Unfortunately, we would’ve used most of our leave (and travel budget) by this point which means we won’t be able to escape London much in the winter. We may try to go to a nearby country for the Christmas Markets though (Germany or Austria being the most likely). These months will also probably be full on with wedding planning.

So that’s the general outlook for our year ahead! If you have any tips on the places we’re going, we’d love to hear them.

Distracting Myself with Travel Plans

Sunset

I have been struggling lately. I miss New Zealand immensely, I feel extremely unsettled, and (without going into too much detail on this public blog) a major aspect of my life is making me very grumpy (not Matt, just to clarify, we’re GOOD). Hopefully a change is on the horizon…

I’ve also started feeling like I have to do a lot of the things I want within the next couple years or I’ll never get around to doing them. I don’t know what brought it on but perhaps it’s because I’ve been putting them off for so long already or that my birthday is coming up and I always get all ‘AHH, I’VE JUST LOST ANOTHER YEAR!’

As usual, I have a plan/list and I’m going to start focusing on things that make me happy instead of sad.

One thing I will put on the London ‘pro’ list is that there is so much to DO here. Classes! Concerts (Florence and the Machine in December)! Comedy gigs! Canadian Thanksgiving dinner at the Maple Leaf pub! Cupcake decorating! And the list goes on and on. Weekends and evenings are quickly filling up and I’m loving it. Never in my life have I had so much going on that I’ve had to use a diary to keep track of it all (thanks be to Google calendar).

By now, you are aware of our 100 Things list. Just had a look at it again myself and had yet another ‘HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET ALL THESE THINGS DONE’ moment. We don’t even have 100 things on there yet! For some reason, I thought we had done more of them than we actually have.

Anyway, we have started to chip away at it and by the end of this year, we should have another 9 or 10 completed!

Our first Europe trip is a mere 6 days away. Unfortunately, it’s not to visit my cousin in Belgium cause we left it too late for tickets and she’s also busy with trips of her own! Hopefully early next year (how’s your 3rd weekend in January looking, Carrie?).

This will be the first of what I’m sure will be many trips to Italy. We’ll fly into Pisa and spend one night there before catching a train to Florence for 3 nights. Did you know Michaelangelo’s David is in Florence? We didn’t anyway. We plan on seeing that for sure and we’ve heard that biking around the area is really fun too. Plus it’s a good way to work off all that yummy Italian food and wine!

As I mentioned earlier, my birthday is coming up and we’ve got a group together to play paintball. I’m blissfully unaware of how much it’s going to hurt…

In October, we will be checking ‘drinking Champagne in Champagne’ off the list by spending a long weekend in Reims, France. We’ll be catching a train from London which I’m sure will be a beautiful trip. Still lots of research needed to figure out what else there is to do there but definitely looking forward to it.

November, we’ll be flying to Tromso, Norway to try our luck at seeing the Northern Lights. I’m probably the most excited about this trip cause there’s so much to do there! Ice fishing, dog sledding, and waiting around in the snow with a hot drink for the lights to start flickering.

Did you know that Norway is really expensive? Like, $12 USD for ONE small beer expensive. And we’ve also heard that the food isn’t very good so we’ll be living on the 2 minute noodles we brought with us, I think.

Christmas plans are still up in the air. Originally, I wanted to go to Canada for a visit but flights at that time are expensive (and Matt has to work) so we’ll probably end up having a stay-cation. Depending on what our flatmates are doing, I’m playing with the idea of hosting a Christmas dinner with our friends who aren’t able to spend it with family. Never made Christmas dinner so it may be a bit of a challenge!

So those are the big things for us over the next few months. We’re already looking at things we can do next year as trains and flights are usually cheapest if booked 3-6 months in advance. There definitely is a bit of pressure we’ve put on ourselves to get quite a few of these things done, but the motivation is not just to tick items off the list. There are events besides travel that will come up in the next couple years (like getting a place to ourselves) and impact on our disposable income so we need to sort out the timing of these trips so we can accomplish them all. Plus, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of pressing the ‘Book Now’ button.

A bit of a Q & A

We are now down to only 21 days before we leave –  crazy!  I am also down to only 39 things on my To Do list.  That’s exciting news, trust me (it used to be a much longer list).

The last few months have been a bit of a blur of moving, packing, sorting through stuff, throwing out stuff (I had no idea I had so much stuff!), selling things on Trade Me (for those not in NZ, this is sort of our Craigslist…just a better version), setting up bank accounts, saving money, planning and booking things for our trip.  All while trying to make the most of our time here before we leave.

It has been pretty full on.  So full on that I have at low points (like whilst struggling with the bureaucracy of UK banks!) started to wonder: wouldn’t it be easier just to move in to a house here and then never move again?  But then I quickly get over that and remember why I’m going through all this hassle.

Dayna wrote in her last blog about some of her motivations for doing all this and why she wants to travel so much so I thought it would be good for me to do so too.  And I thought I could combine this with answering a few other questions that I have been asked lately.

So why do I want to move to the UK?

This question actually doesn’t come up in NZ too much because it’s pretty much a rite of passage here to move to the UK for a couple of years at some point.  The big Overseas Experience (“OE”).  If I tell someone here I’m moving overseas about 80% of them would answer with “moving to London are you?” (the other 20% would guess Australia).  But for people not based in NZ, it might not be quite so obvious why the UK is so attractive.

The main reason for me (and a lot of Kiwis) is because the UK is the perfect launching pad for travelling around Europe.  I found a fun new game the other night on this Skyscanner website looking at how cheap it is to fly from London to various places.  We will be having a lot of weekends away once we have jobs!

New Zealand, on the other hand, is so isolated that travelling to most places takes days and is prohibitively expensive.  For example, a trip to France takes a few days of travel each way and costs several thousand dollars.  One of my sisters (living in London right now but unfortunately leaving before we get there) just went on a day trip to Paris to do a bit of sightseeing and have a picnic by the Eiffel Tower.  A day trip.  And for a lot less than the several thousand dollars it would cost to do it from NZ.

Another big reason for the UK is that there are a lot more opportunities there for work.  Dayna and I both have EU passports as well so there won’t be any issues with visas for us!  Good opportunities on the work front will also help us afford all the travel we want to do too.

As stupid as it sounds (considering we are moving to Europe), we are also moving closer to Dayna’s family.  We’ll be in the same hemisphere, the cost of flights will be halved and we’ll get a much better exchange rate on Pounds than NZ dollars so trips to visit Dayna’s friends and family in Canada will be a lot easier.  And hopefully they’ll come visit us in Europe too! *subtle hint*

So all up, a pretty good move for us right now.

Why do you want to travel so much?  Couldn’t you just watch Discovery channel?   

OK, no one has actually asked me this.  But maybe some people have thought it and Dayna did sort of answer it in her last blog so I thought I would too.

The simple answer is that nearly all my best memories have been travelling.  Helicopter rides over the Grand Canyon, eating tacos in Mexico, hiking up Mount Tamalpais in San Francisco, sitting around a campfire in Monument Valley, late night speedboat rides to Koh phangan, cruising around floating villages near Siem Reap.  I could keep going for awhile but there wouldn’t be too many non-travel related memories that make the top 100 (although a few certainly do!).

I have had to put my travel plans on hold for quite awhile though.  It took 7 years (including 4 at University) to become a Chartered Accountant so that made travelling a bit difficult.  But I am now lucky enough to enjoy my work (most of the time) and CAs are thankfully employed all over the world so it will be perfect for travelling.

Waiting so long to be free to travel as much as I want has only made me want it more!

So why don’t we backpack around the world non-stop if we both love travelling so much?

I think Dayna and I have similar thoughts on this one but I’ll just answer it from my perspective (she’s out getting her haircut so I can’t ask her anyway).

Although I love travel, I do also love having a home of some sort to come home to.  Living out of a suitcase indefinitely has never appealed to me.  I feel like if I travelled for a year or more non-stop I wouldn’t enjoy some of it as much as if it was part of a shorter trip.  I never want travelling to become like a job and take it for granted.  This is backed up by conversations with people who have done long trips away and struggled towards the end (6 months+).

I also think that you need to live in a place to really experience it.  It makes a big difference seeing a place through the eyes of a local over those of a tourist so hopefully we get to live all in a few different places.

I have a theory that there is a golden period where a trip away feels like a holiday for the whole time and you only feel like settling down at home right at the end.  This would differ between people and I haven’t figured out a time frame for mine yet – my rough guess right now is 4 months.  We will have 2 months in SE Asia and I’m betting that will still leave us wanting more by the end of it – luckily we finish the trip in the UK ready to jet off to Europe when we feel like it!

How long are you going to be away from NZ for?

I’ve been asked this by a few people now and my answer is slightly different each time as I don’t really have a solid answer for myself yet.  But there’s a long list of things I want to do while living in Europe and I would really love the opportunity to work in one place for awhile if I found the right job and company so the UK may be our home for quite a few years hopefully.  Whether that’s in one city or several is still up in the air.

And then there’s after the UK.

At the moment, I have a lot of ideas of places I want to live but the one that has a very high likelihood of happening is Canada (for obvious reasons).

So rather than sit on the fence and say “I dunno” to everyone who asks, I’m going to give the closest guess that I can at the moment – about 10 years.  Although I might have to add a disclaimer to say “final time spent away from NZ may be significantly more or less than the indicated time frame” (I’ve worked with too many lawyers obviously).

Let us know if there are any other questions you guys have for us!

I’m going to go get some packing practice in (we’re off to Timaru tomorrow for Easter weekend to see my Dad for the last time before we leave).  Wish us luck too – we’ll be flying on a small-ish plane since Timaru has a small airport and we’ll be taking off in “fresh southerlies” (pretty sure that means gale force winds in Wellington).

Happy Easter everyone!

 

Our 100 Things List

The idea of “bucket lists” or “life lists” is a pretty old one and Dayna has even gone so far as sharing a life list on her old blog. I had thought about putting a list like this together before but had only ever got as far as scribbling down some things I would like to do.

But being in the process of moving countries has been a good motivator to focus my thoughts on what I actually want to do and I also recently discovered Sebastian Terry’s story at www.100things.com.au which helped on the motivation side of things as well (this is where I got the term “100 Things List” which I prefer to other names just because it sounds so simple).

The result of my increased motivation is that I have finally committed to putting it all down and sharing it.  I think that sharing it will really help in actually ticking off all these things as well. It’s like if someone is trying to lose weight then that person is supposedly more likely to succeed if they tell all their friends about it right? Or is it the other way round and they should tell no one? Oh well, either way I’m sharing the list.

Dayna and I decided we would do a combined list since we will probably be doing all these things together and our individual lists would be very similar anyway. Plus it’s nice to have things on the list that I wouldn’t have thought of myself but am now really excited about doing.

Putting together a combined list has encouraged a healthy debate on a few items but we’ve compromised and settled on 50 things so far. Our main criteria for something to make the list is simply that we both have to be really excited about doing it with a focus towards difficult or challenging things, things that we might need to go out of our way for and those that will help one or both of us overcome a fear or phobia.

However some things are just fun stuff that we haven’t done and want a good excuse to make sure we do it. A good example of this is #30 Go paintballing – Dayna convinced me to keep this one on the list in case anyone is curious. You can also see Dayna’s influence on the list by the number of shark related items.  She is obsessed.  I’m surprised “live with sharks” or “get a pet shark” isn’t on the list to be honest.

And yes, we have noticed that the current list does not have 100 things on it. YET. Our plan is to add to it as we think of new challenges we want to do, new places we want to go, and as friends and family suggest other awesome things to add. Half the items on our current list are from what friends and family have done and a lot of others are inspired by other people so feel free to suggest anything else we should do! We can even make it our 200 Things List if we came up with enough although I think even just the first 50 will take us awhile.

We’re going to use the list as a motivator if we find ourselves having a hard day at work and need reminding of why we are saving money. And if we are short on travel ideas then we can always look back at the list to see what we’ve still got to tick off.

We’ll blog about all the things we cross off the list as we go so hopefully we build up a few good stories to look back on too!

Our full 100 Things List is going to live here but the first 50 are below (in no particular order). Let us know if you’ve done any of these and can give us some tips on how/where/when or just tell us how amazing it was!

  1. Drive on the Autobahn in Germany
  2. Swim with Whale Sharks
  3. Cage dive with Great Whites
  4. Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  5. Trek up to Machu Picchu
  6. Volunteer at an Orphanage
  7. Visit Salar de Uyuni – the world’s largest salt flat in Bolivia
  8. Go to a U2 Concert (Dayna’s never been)
  9. Hand feed sharks in the Bahamas
  10. Visit the house Dayna’s Grandma grew up in in Glasgow
  11. Snorkelling in the Red Sea
  12. See a sunrise over Angkor Wat
  13. Go Ice Fishing
  14. Throw a Dart at a Map and visit the country it lands on
  15. Drive the Pacific Coast Highway in the US
  16. Swim in the Devil’s Pool on the edge of the Victoria Falls
  17. Go to the 2014 football world cup in Brazil
  18. Swim with Dolphins
  19. Go to Oktoberfest
  20. Fly somewhere in business or first class
  21. Spend a night in an underwater hotel
  22. Ride the Trans-Siberian railway through Russia and Mongolia
  23. Walk the Siq to Petra
  24. Go on a road trip around Iceland
  25. Ride a Camel in Marrakech
  26. Float on the Dead Sea
  27. Stay in an Ice hotel
  28. Have a tomato fight at Tomatina in Spain
  29. See a Great White shark breach in South Africa
  30. Go paintballing
  31. Visit Dayna’s cousin in Belgium
  32. Do some research to find and visit Matt’s UK relatives
  33. Grab a last minute deal for an unplanned international trip
  34. Go to Iguaza falls in Argentina
  35. Hike Cinque Terre
  36. See the Northern Lights
  37. Go to Atlantis resort in Dubai and ride the Leap of Faith slide (goes through a shark tank)
  38. Go on a Safari in Africa
  39. Drink Champagne in Champagne
  40. Trek the rainforest of Madagascar
  41. Do a Polar Bear swim or ice swim
  42. Go skydiving
  43. Visit the Arctic
  44. Visit every continent (South America, Antarctica, Africa, and Europe to go)
  45. Eat Gelato in Italy
  46. Go snorkelling in the open water in Thailand (and not completely freak out)
  47. See the Great Pyramids
  48. Swim in Ha Long Bay
  49. Go sailing in Croatia
  50. Trek along the Great Wall of China

Duels and Pools

This is just a short update – not used to having a blog again and need to get back into the habit of writing!

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I feel I should explain my Dad in order for everyone to understand his past few comments. As a Dad of 9 (yes, 9), I believe his inclination for Dad Jokes/puns has grown exponentially with every child he’s had. Factor in the growing (albeit at a stalemate for now) number of grandchildren, and well, I guess I’m trying to say that he just can’t help himself. So when Matt challenged him to a Pun Duel in this post, there was NO stopping Dad.
Poor Matt had no idea what he had gotten himself into…

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We’ve been keeping ourselves busy the past couple weeks. We don’t get up to too much as most of our money is ear marked for exciting things in SE Asia, and of course, surviving our first few months in the UK. But, we have gone to a couple of cricket games.
Last week was a Twenty20 match which the Blackcaps won, and this past Saturday was a one day game which we did not win. I did, however, get a bit of sun stroke as well as food poisoning from the Stadium’s fish and chips – guess I should consider it ‘practice’ for SE Asia.

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I should also ‘practice’ bringing my camera everywhere! I’d have many more stories to post if I had photos to make them a bit more interesting. Another ‘To Do’ item to add to the (very long) list.

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And FINALLY, accommodation for Langkawi is BOOKED! It took us ages to decide on a place to stay here. All the nice places were really expensive and the reasonably prices places had really scungy bathrooms. Eww.
Anyway, we finally settled on a place that doesn’t cost too much and has lots of good reviews on TripAdvisor.com (which I highly recommend for finding accommodation). We will be staying 5 nights and I can guarantee you I will rarely leave the side of our pool.

 Holiday Villa Beach Resort & Spa Langkawi, Langkawi,  Malaysia
This means that the first 2 weeks of our trip are locked in for accommodation and flights. For the rest of the trip, we’ll probably keep a list of 3 places we’d like to stay in each town (besides Hanoi as we’re most likely staying at a hostel my sister recommended) and check them out before deciding. This is pretty easy to do in SE Asia anyway and usually means we can haggle on the price a bit!

Only 57 days to go!