Happy 2 year anniversary!

I can’t believe it. It has already been two years since I started this blog. It all started with a trip to Bolivia, to see my best friend from my all-consuming, incredible and once in a lifetime experience in Oklahoma. The journey to Bolivia was my first ever solo trip and it made me learn so much about myself and the world and experience South America’s beauty for the first time. Another continent crossed off my bucket list! We ventured around La Paz, spent some days at the Salar de Uyuni salt flats and I took an overnight bus trip to see Sucre on my own.

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Sucre, Bolivia

The rest of the summer was filled with trips around Germany, a week in Ibiza and a long awaited trip to Santorini, one of the most heart-warming, dazzling and enchanting places on this earth. Exploring this tiny island by hiking from one end to the other and enjoying utter tranquility and the natural beauty of the island just left me breathless.

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Galatia Villas in Santorini, Greece

Then it was time to prepare for another adventure: a year in Wales, finishing my Master’s degree in Cardiff. Little did I know that I would find my soul sisters, two incredible souls that I know will never leave my side, wherever life will take us. We share something real, something that is beyond words, beyond this world and even beyond my imagination. Definitely changed for good! I finished off the year with a trip to Dublin, Ireland to spend some time with my dear friend Susann to ring in the Christmas time.

Besides meeting incredible friends from all over the world, I got to experience that Wales is a truly underrated country. The landscapes, cities and people in Wales are so much more than beautiful, I cannot wait to come back this summer! I also got the opportunity to go back to Greece and see Athens, Cape Sounio and the Kaisariani Monastery. Despite being robbed my adventurous spirit made me make the best of it!

During my time in Wales I was lucky to travel to Canada for my best friend’s wedding. I definitely left my heart there and hopefully I’ll be back rather sooner than later to go and collect it. I can’t wait to be back in Alberta, meander windy roads around the Rocky Mountains and just LIVE.

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On our way to the Glacier Skywalk.

2015 got even better once I handed it my dissertation and left Cardiff for good. I jumped on a plane to Southeast Asia with my best friend and soulmate Nicole to start our first backpacking trip around Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. It is safe to say that I more than fell in love with backpacking and taking the day one hour at a time, truly relishing the bliss of having the day at your disposal and enjoying a time off without responsibilities.

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Bali Bliss.

The incredible and eventful year wrapped up with a huge surprise. I got invited to go on a roadtrip through Japan! Never would I have imagined to get the opportunity to travel even more that year. I will forever be grateful and humble for this opportunity and wouldn’t want to miss the experience for the world. I got to admire Japanese architecture, eat carefully crafted dishes day in and day out and experience the craziness and mind-blowing size of Tokyo.

Nara, Japan

Nara, Japan

The new year started on a more slow note. I am incredibly happy to have found a full-time job and I even got to take a little trip over Easter, recharging from the craziness of everyday life in the Netherlands.

I am more than positive that this year and this life has so much more to offer and I cannot wait for all the experiences to come and to share them with you! Happy Birthday on wanderlust!

 

 

Bali Bliss.


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That’s what we did – made new friends, Nicole caught waves, we drank some Bintangs (the delicious Indonesian beer!), had a great time, took a break. And we definitely look back on the incredible time we had in Bali! I have never seen a place like Bali before in my life. You do find the typical tourists but more than that you find expats, yogis, surfers and those – like us – that just relished each day.

You might think it must have been hard to choose a top three for my favourite spots in Bali. While there are numerous places and activities that I could recommend you, there are three that really stand out:

1. CANGGU

This lovely spot is still rather unknown and thus reserved for expats and surfers who stay on the island a bit longer than the typical few days. It is almost impossible to describe the unique atmosphere that surrounds Canggu. The town is a collection of one of a kind shops bursting with clothes and jewelry, “cafes for days”, as well as restaurants and bars exploding with the smell and taste of mouthwatering dishes. Each with a unique little touch. My ABSOLUTE highlight will forever be the Crate Cafe on Batu Bolong. It solely opens for breakfast. Breakfasts that are out of this world – steaming hot piles of scrambled eggs on the perfect golden french toast, the rich flavours of a flat white coffee or the infamous breakfast bowls – acai, blueberries or freshly shredded coconut are just some of the incredible ingredients they use day in and day out.

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If you ever go to Crate – look out for the on wanderlust logo on one of the tables inside the cafe!

2. MOUNT BATUR

As I said on Instagram, sunrise hikes are the best hikes! The most jaw-dropping and goosebump-evoking experience of all the four weeks in Southeast Asia was our hike up Mount Batur. It is a truly mesmerizing experience to escape the bustling life in Bali to hike up a mountain during the middle of the night. Imagine getting up at 2am just to hike up a volcano while it’s still pitch black outside equipped only with the light of torches. Just at the crack of dawn you get to your destination – the top of the mountain. Sit down and take in the stunning views the sun conjures while rising up the sky and the beautiful golden light it provokes.


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3. ULUWATU

This place is located at the southern tip of Bali. It’s an enchanting place because it combines natural beauty with the best sunset party on the whole island. Start off your Sunday with a trip to Greenbowl beach, a stretch of the coastline that lays hundreds of steps down from a cliff, which take you to white sand stretches, clear blue waters and hidden away caves.

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Don’t stay too long though. Make sure you leave the beach just in time for the famous Sunday party at Single Fin bar. It is a bar/restaurant/club built into a cliff and consists of various levels and decks. On Sundays, the Single Fin bar turns into a magical place that unites the happiest, most gorgeous people on the island just to celebrate the sunset, be thankful for the day spent and look forward to another incredible day in Bali.

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It still gives me the chills thinking about my time in Bali. I urge you to go there – whether you are a yogi, aim to catch some waves or just enjoy yourself – everything is just a little more extraordinary than usual in Bali.

Packing for Southeast Asia.

It’s now been two weeks since I left for my backpacking trip to Southeast Asia. By now I will most likely have realised how well I packed – did I take too much? Are there some essential items missing that I wouldn’t have ever thought of?

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It is my first backpacking trip so I wanted to be as prepared as possible. I decided to go for the J53 backpack from Gregory, it holds around 50-55l. It is super lightweight and easy to handle and fits my body well. What I really love about it is that it has a “CrossFlo Suspension” along the back, a mesh area that keeps your body cool. I feel like this will come in handy when I walk through the hot and humid weather in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Here’s what’s inside my backpack for my 4.5 week trip:

Clothes:
Nike Free runners
Black Roxy flip flops
Black Birkenstocks
2 jeans shorts
2 lightweight and loose cotton pants
1 pair of leggings
1 black cardigan
1 blouse (long sleeves to protect against mosquitos at night)
1 dress (can be worn during the day or at dinner)
1 long skirt
7-8 tops and shirts (mixture between cotton and synthetic fabrics, mainly in white, navy, black or beige colours to be combined easily)
2 regular bras
1 sports bra
7 undies
2 bikinis
1 pyjama (basically a hotpants and a shirt that can also be worn elsewhere)
1 lightweight scarf

Toiletries:
Sunscreen (SPF 30)
After Sun
Shampoo and conditioner
Comb
Bodywash
Razor
Deodorant
Tissues
Tampons
1 Nail polish + remover
Cotton balls
Make Up
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Nail file
Small scissors
Tweezers
Lip chap
1 Lipstick
Hair ties and bobby pins
Contact lenses + solution
Disinfectant (spray, gel and wipes)
Microfibre towel

Medication:
Advil/Ibuprofen
Different products to support the digestion (i.e. a type of bacteria you take daily to prevent traveler’s diaorrhea or electrolytes)
Band aids (also for blisters)
Steroid cream for itchy rashes
Healing ointment
DEET-based mosquito spray
Malaria antibiotics

Travel/Miscellaneous:
Passport + several copies of it
Vaccination record + several copies of it
iPhone + charger
Portable iPhone charger
Camera + charger
3 memory cards (between 2-16 GB)
Additional battery for camera
Lonely Planet “Southeast Asia on a shoestring”
US dollar for the visa at the Indonesian border
Book “A House in the Sky”
Sunglasses
Big black purse (hand luggage and for the day)
Mosquito net
Sleeping bag inlay
Notebook and pen
Flight cover for backpack
Inflatable neck pillow
Several compression bags (1l, 9l and 20l)
Pocket knife
Flashlight

I’m super curious how this packing list will prove its worth. I will definitely write a review once I’m back. It’s always interesting to see what people decided to pack but it’s even better to know what they really used or what they were missing during their trip!

Travel Planning…or not?

Here I am sitting at my desk with a pile of uni-stuff to do but my head is somewhere else. As usual, I am dreaming of being far away – my favourite way of procrastinating. This time my thoughts take me to Southeast Asia. I have been dreaming of visiting this mesmerising place for such a long time and now it is finally happening!

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The plan is to get lost – again. Not getting lost on a road and not being able to find my way back to where I was heading. It’s about getting lost in the bliss of travelling. Indulging in every second of being abroad and taking in every experience that comes across. For me, this can only happen if I give myself the freedom to not plan every detail of my journey. I need space to breathe and to align myself to the vibes of a place and get into the groove of that particular culture. I am not a fan of these vacations that are thoroughly planned day in and day out. Some people say that’s a weird coincidence because that’s exactly how I live my everyday life. I like plans and I like them to go well. Maybe that is why I enjoy travelling so much. Suddenly it feels okay to loose control and to just “go with the flow”. Only this way I can discover all the enchanting places that are hiding away in Asia. It is about taking my time to to unravel their secrets and giving myself the space to decide right there and then how much time I want to spend in that place.

Don’t get this wrong, a vacation has to be planned out somehow. Especially when you’re travelling on a budget like I always am. My goal is to acquaint myself as much as possible with the different countries by rifling through all the travel guides I can put my hands on. You need a rough idea of what you think you want to see, right? And then, once there, this will give me a path I could follow. But I don’t have to. My dreams are currently circling around Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Bali. Maybe more of Indonesia? Maybe Malaysia?

Are there any places I simply cannot miss? A jaw-dropping beach, a dazzling street market, a unique and mouth-watering dish in a tiny restaurant?