Halong Bay is one of those places that freaks you out (in a good way) just from a Google image search. Mollie has even had a photo of Halong set as her iPhone background since July. We finally made the executive decision to skip the $200 Halong Bay “party weekend” through Hanoi Backpacker’s Hostel (just felt a little too Spring Break-y for us), and did a two night, three day cruise through a local travel agency instead. Disappointment came over us when we boarded our “boat,” as we seemed to be three of the only young people aboard. Our attitudes changed drastically, however, as we made some of our greatest friends (that we’ve met on this trip) on our Halong Bay cruise; Sergio and John—two awesome guys from LA who always travel the world together—and the Van Dyk family from Australia: possibly the coolest family I have ever encountered. (Side note: the Van Dyk’s have been traveling SouthEast Asia for three weeks with their three kids; Josh (7), Gabbie (10), and Ryan (12). They are the smartest, most mature children I have ever met. And, they are VERY well-cultured; they have experienced: landslides on the way from Laos to Sapa, 12-hour night trains in Vietnam, a homestay with a Hmong family in Sapa (where they slept on the floor of a “house” that was more like a barn), and much, much more. Derek and Vicki have always loved traveling, and they want their kids to see the world. These not-so-ordinary family trips have definitely made these kids well-aware of how privileged they are to live in Australia. This family is awesome). Our three-day Halong Bay adventure included: all of our food, a cabin on the boat for the first night (I shared a room with Mollie, and obviously we took […]
Our wish came true! We were meant to only have a 3.5 hour layover in Kyiv, on our way to Beijing, but we received a text while in Stockholm that our second flight was changed to 21:55 (9:55pm), leaving us 8-10 hours to go explore Ukraine. AND, we are such lucky girls, because Mallory’s family friends, Patty and Dave, have lived in Kyiv for a year now, so we took a taxi to their quant apartment in the “Upper East Side” of Kyiv. As soon as we arrived, Patty opened us with welcome arms; we had a delicious lunch, she guided us through the markets and to see St. Sophia’s Cathedral, St. Andrew’s Cathedral, and St. Michaels Cathedral (where I bravely allowed pigeons to touch me), and then we all got to shower and have dinner before we took a taxi back to the airport.
“Would you like a GPS or a map?” asked the guy at the car rental. “Nah,” replied my dad without even thinking. If you ever want the grand tour of Northern Ireland (I’m talking the traditional pubs, the most amazing country-sides, and hanging with the locals) then there is no better person to call up than Alistair Roden. Seriously. My dad can take you to any place you’d like to go in Northern Ireland, and that is what the first few days of our trip included. As we pulled out of the Dublin airport, we headed north to cross the border into Northern Ireland where my dad is from, and where my family still lives. So many Americans do not realize that Ireland and Northern Ireland are two separate countries. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, and they fly the flag of Great Britain. So now everyone reading this blog has those facts straight. Every time we make this trip across the pond, we always make our way up to the Hamilton’s farm within the first 24-hours of being on Irish soil. My dad grew up with Andy, and his two sons—Joe and Bob, who are 14 and 9 respectively—have been good friends of my brother, Will, ever since Will’s first trip over. I can’t even begin to describe the Hamilton’s country house and their farm, which is filled with horses, chickens, pigs (and piglets right now), dogs, cows, donkeys, etc. Joe threw Will and I onto a buggy that he had a pony tied up to as soon as we arrived, and we went out onto the road (yes—the road for cars) for an evening ride. I don’t think you’d ever see a horse and buggy trotting down Newtown Pike. Joe and Bob are always out riding […]
As a recent college graduate with a severe case of wanderlust, a one-way ticket to travel the world seemed like the best idea at this point in my life. Especially with two of my best friends. As I sit here in the Lexington airport writing this first post, it is amazing to think about how much work and preparation we have put into this trip and theQuest. This blog will be for my stories, and photos of us, while theQuest will be more like our “job” while traveling. theQuest will shoot street-style fashion and do interviews with the people that we encounter, and we have also started The Silly Bandz Project. Packing for a trip when you don’t know how long you will be gone is tough. You can see in the photos below a photo of me in the J&H store, all excited to have my new backpack. You can also see two photos of me on the day that I thought I was leaving (that would be yesterday), trying to squeeze every little thing possible into the tiny space. I eventually had to throw out a lot of what I wanted to take, detach my smaller backpack from the larger one, and I am now rolling my larger one and carrying the smaller one on my back. Ironically, this is the least amount of luggage I have ever had while traveling, and this will be the longest trip I have ever taken. I guess that’s how it’s supposed to be when “backpacking.” It’s hard to say goodbye to people when you have no idea when you will see them again. St. Christopher and a really awesome journal are now joining me on this trip, thanks to two very special people in my life. I hope to share thoughts, […]