Thursday, January 27, 2011

the end

i am writing this last post while i am waiting at singapore airport for my flight back home.

it is pretty hard to describe what i am feeling right now. of course i am looking forward to coming back home and seeing everyone again, having my own apartment, ... but it seems kind of unreal. for me my trip just started and all of a sudden it is over again? it seems just like yesterday that i packed my bags and started this journey to see all these new places and to also get a new perspective on life and my future. so much has happend in those 5 months that it will take some time to process everything and what it means to me. although i don't want to travel anymore, going back home doesn't feel right either. because of this and a couple of other reasons i am sad to go back home. mostly i am able to think about the things that await me back home, but then i hear a certain song or see/read something and then i just wish i could go back in time. i am also a little bit scared. a new chapter of my life is about to start and i have yet to figure out what it will be... coldplay says it perfectly:

Nobody said it was easy - it's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy - no one ever said it would be this hard
Oh, take me back to the start
my experiences over the last months made me realize that it is important to really live the moment and not think/worry about the future. i am sitting in the lounge surrounded by business men whose world couldn't be further apart from me right now. although i am soon gonna join this treadmill again, it will be with a different mindset. travelling truly changes a person and things that used to be important just aren't any more. i now rather live a life that expresses who i am than try to fulfill the expectations of society and please everybody. i guess some people might say that is selfish, but i don't care anymore what people think about me. life is too short and i now truly understand that. i hope i'll be able to keep all this in mind and not get sucked in my "old" life and habits again.
now a few stats about my trip:

  • 5 months
  • 9 different countries
  • 37.500 miles flown (60.338 km)
  • 4.021 miles travelled in a bus (6.470 km)
  • countless hours waiting at airports
  • more than 120 new friends on facebook
not to mention all the impressions and amazing experiences i had, like learning to surf (still a lot to be improved), bungee jumping, sky diving, new years in sydney, halong bay, hiking the great wall, chilling on fijian beaches, ... most importantly the people that accompanied me along the way and made the trip so amazing. i was able to learn something from each one of you, and i am really grateful for that.

things i am looking forward to back home:

  • my own apartment
  • my own bed
  • my family & friends
  • not to have to lock my stuff away
  • not living out of a suitcase
  • good bread, bread at all
  • no more rice or instant noodles
  • cooking and baking
things i am not looking forward to:

  • being by myself again - not having people around me constantly
  • the cold
  • having to dress "properly" again
  • having a routine again

since i've never been good at goodbyes, this trip has taken it's toll on me. i had the pleasure of meeting so many great people, but usually was only able to spend a very short amount of time with them. of course there are a few very special ones, from whom it was especially hard to say goodbye (you know who you are). although, in my experience, you mostly don't stay in touch, i hope this will not be true for certain people. hopefully i'll see at least some of you again. you definitely are always welcome in vienna (no matter how much time passes)!!

so i guess this is it and i'd like to close with a quote from dr. seuss:

don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

fiji

well there is not much to say about fiji, other than that it is awesome! almost two weeks just relaxing on the beach, getting tanned and having fun with great people!

the resorts usually have a beach to themselves, so you get a nice castaway feeling. there is literally nothing else there. i better let the pictures speak for themselves:



















i'm in sydney now and trying to figure out what to do for xmas and new years. seems like most of the people will be in bondi at the beach for xmas and in the city for the amazing fireworks on new years eve. also have a lot of catching up to do with the people i met over the last couple of months. sydney just seems to be the place to be ;)

you probably won't here from me until next year, so: a merry christmas and a happy new year!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

kia ora

the last couple of weeks have been very busy and exciting. with the kiwi experience we've been in different places every single day - which means packing every morning and usually getting up around 7.

on the north island we had activities lined up every day: black water rafting (abseiling in a 37 m deep black hole, flying fox in pitch black dark, tubing,...), sky diving, white water rafting, to mention only a few. due to this the first week seemed as if it was a month. we were a great group of people and went out every night. after the first week i felt exhausted! unfortunately a lot of people stayed extra nights at places, so we had a totally different bus crew on the south island - it just wasn't the same :(

things quieted down on the south island - we've done most of the adventure stuff already on the north island, so i finally had the chance to relax a bit. i'm staying in queenstown for 6 nights - it's good to be in a place longer than one night, gives you a homey feeling. must exciting and adrenaline fueled activity i've done was the 134 m bungee jump (highest in nz). i can't describe the feeling, so you better watch the movie:

video

in general the landscape looks a lot like home - mountains where ever you look, of course different plants and trees (like palm trees). but the area that is uninhabited is vast, you can drive for quiet a while without seeing any houses.

all this in only a nut shell. if you want further details contact me - it would be to excessive to write down everything here. but be assured: new zealand is a great country and full of adventure and nature activites!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

first new zealand pics


orca family

auckland

andrea & david @ 90 mile beach

sand boarding

tasman sea

light house @ cape reinga (northernmost part of nz)

pacific ocean


light house @ cape reinga

fish & chips with an awesome view

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

what a change

after more than two months i had to say goodbye to asia and made my way to new zealand. for the first time the journey was pretty exhausting. although i already had a couple of overnight journeys, this one was the worst (only in matters of being tired). when i finally arrived in auckland i barely was able to stay awake. nonetheless i stayed up till after midnight, just to beat the jetlag (i was up for 36 hours).

although i really enjoyed my time exploring the asian culture, i am glad to be in a western country again. it couldn't be more different, as you can imagine.
first everything is "expensive" (european standard) again, whereas in asia i didn't have to think twice about buying stuff.
second no one is pestering me anymore - sweet!
third no excessive honking in the streets - my ears love it :)
fourth the hostels have kitchens - i finally can cook again or even just make a sandwich (you'll appreciate that once you haven't had a kitchen in a while and only ate out)
fifth of course everyone speaks english
sixth there are traffic rules - really need to stop crossing the street "vietnam style" (start crossing the street and just make your way across through the traffic)
seventh internet is not as easily available as in asia, at least not for free - even in the most remote location in asia (!!) you had free internet/wifi access

there are plenty of other differences of course, but those are the most prominent ones.

the weather here is like late middle european spring - about 18° and mostly sunny. hope it gets warmer soon, but latest in fiji (in about a month) i'll have plenty of sunshine and beach time. auckland seems pretty nice so far- relaxed, mellow city.

i'll start my kiwi experience tour of the north and south islands on thursday (exact route see here http://www.kiwiexperience.com/whole-kit-and-caboodle-nz-pass.aspx). along the route i will probably go bungee jumping, white and black water rafting, hiking, maybe sky diving and all sorts of other adventurous stuff. my first stop will bring me up to the bay of islands. hopefully get one beach day in there.

so much for now, i'm off cooking my first meal in months :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

vietnam pics


eating banh xeo (crispy pancake) at the market in hoi an




first scooter ride


saigon - onslaught of scooters

first broken tire on the bus ride to mui ne

self made banh xeo

sand dunes in mui ne


fairy spring

beach @ nha trang

wonderful beach @ hoi an



halong bay

halong bay

awesome crew @ halong bay trip

wake boarding @ castaway island (halong bay trip)

vietnam

it's been i while since i last posted, sorry.

i'm having a great time in vietnam. just came back from a 3 day boat trip to halong bay. it was amazing. although i was a bit concerned since this particular tour has the reputation of being a booye cruise, it was not that bad. we were a great group of people and even the cold weather (yes we were freezing for 2 days) couldn't keep us from partying. i finally was wakeboarding again, after neglecting it for 5 years. surprisingly i didn't have any problems and even learned how to do a 180 switch!

what happend in the last 2,5 weeks? my vietnam trip started in saigon, where i only stayed for 1,5 days. i couldn't stand any big cities anymore so i made my way up to mui ne. i took the bus and that was a real adventure. our journey should have taken 4,5 hours, but lasted 7 hours because the bus broke down twice (both tires in the back exploded!). when we finally arrived in mui ne, i was just glad to get to my hotel. mui ne is a very nice town, though a little bit quiet. just found out there that it is low season... but i enjoyed the quiet time (and my private bungalow with sea view) and relaxed at the beach and took a cooking class.

nha trang was next. total change of scenery - finally a "real" hostel and tons of people. met up with james again (met him in saigon) and we had a great time at the beach, waterpark and the famous boat trip to islands around nha trang.

the night bus to hoi an was just terrible - they booked us on a local bus instead of an open tour bus that only tourists take. so our bus was full with vietnamese people, which in itself is not bad, unless your bed is in the middle and people sit in the aisles on both sides next to you. one could get a little bit claustrophobic, so i switched to a bed "upstairs". as if that was not enough we stopped about every 5 minutes in the beginning. we also had tv screens with a vietnamese movie running. unfortunately those aren't really good. the driver seemed to have it on the highest volume so my ipod wasn't able to drown out the noise. when the screens were finally turned off, vietnames music played all night long... poor james was sleeping directly under one of the speakers so he had a pretty bad night.
but surprisingly we arrived in hoi an on time in the morning. the first thing we did (after getting some more sleep) was of course going to the tailors to order clothes. two canadians recommended a very good tailor - bee (it's good to have a recommendation since the whole town seems to consist of tailors only). i ordered quite a lot of stuff - just downloaded some pictures and bee made them. to my astonishment everything fit perfectly the first time i tried it, only little alterations needed to be made. in the end i paid 235 dollars for 13 pieces!
hoi an is the nicest place i've been to in vietnam. the little town is really pretty, probably due to the fact that it is a world heritage site and the houses are well kept. we rented bikes and just cruised through the streets. i also did another cooking class, which was even better than the first one. i'm starting to like vietnames food now, at least when i prepare it myself ;)

due to the floods north of hue, we decided to take a flight from hoi an to hanoi. so far i haven't seen much of hanoi, since i arrived in the evening and left for halong bay the next morning. will explore the city in the next couple of days. but what i've seen so far, i like it pretty much. way better than saigon!