Our 2013 in Instagram
Our first year as globe trotting digital nomads is now behind. And what a year it was! So much has happened, that we decided to break our reflection into three parts. This first one is a taster of the year in the form of short story and Instagram photos (as a part of Instagram Travel Thursday). The second post concentrates on our travel experiences, and has tons of pictures, a map of our destinations and some memorable moments. The third post covers the digital nomad aspect, our learning about working on the road.
Most bloggers have already published their reflection posts, but we didn't want to do them before the year is actually over. You never know what's gonna happen on the last days... Well, you'll find the truth at the end of this post.
Hopefully you still have the energy to plunge into one more (or three more) 2013 post. I personally do love these kind of posts, since they give me an overview, fill my head with ideas and help me find more to read. I follow (or scan) about 500 travel blogs, so it's easy to miss on some good stories. These recaps help me to catch up.
Before we get into the biz, there's a tiny glitch. We only started Instagramming in July. Oops. So our pre-Instagram part of the year is covered without photos.
Here we go...
The first couple of days of 2013 were spent franticly packing and sorting our lives ready to go. On January 4th we said goodbyes and hopped on a plane. While all roads lead to Rome, ours started there. Few days of history, food, and starting to figure out how to work from the road. And almost missing our flight to Kuala Lumpur. Almost.
Kuala Lumpur (or as we affectionaly call it, KL) was hectic, hot, and humid. So many new things; food, work, people, culture... We liked it! After week of city life we changed the scenery to the island of Koh Samui in Thailand. Warm sea, amazing Thai food, and learning to ride a scooter in a bit different kind of traffic than what we're used to in Finland.
Next up, a month in the digital nomads' favorite destination, Chiang Mai. We were sold, and will be back. The narrow streets of old town, the incredible food, the smiling people. Who could resist? We also did a short trip to Chiang Rai, mainly to hop over the border to Burma for a visa run. Burma was a kind of let down, probably because we just saw a tiny tourist-filled part of one town. Chiang Rai was excellent, because both of our accommodations were top-notch on their own ways.
Second time in KL we stayed in a suburb and mainly ventured out for eating and some shopping. Five days in Singapore was all we could afford in this one and only organised part of South East Asia. Loved the zoo, liked the food. Would have been a shopper's paradise, but when you are carrying all your possessions in a backpack, buying more things isn't really on top of our list.
KL third time, this time with a dear friend. Although on all our KL stops we hooked up with some friends living there. But this particular friend would be with us for a whole week. First eating our way through KL, then exploring the magnificent temples of Angkor in Siem Reap, and finally plunging more recent history in Phnom Penh.
After a few hectic weeks of travel we were ready to slow down for some time. Otres beach in Cambodia was perfect place for that. We had our own beach front hut, breakfast was served on our front porch, the place offered excellent Italian food, and the wi-fi mostly worked. We took on a habit of waking up early and taking a long walk on the beach before it got too hot. And we started a tradition of Sunset Beers. What an excellent tradition!
Next up, Ho Chi Minh City aka. Saigon. Loved the plentiful cafes of the city, the street stalls for food, and the lively feeling. We had a possibility to work in a co-working place here, which was excellent for getting things done and meeting some other entrepreneurs.
Hint: Our 103 days on the road post does a good job on recapping the first part of our journey from Rome to Vietnam.
Bogor, Indonesia was our home for almost a month, thanks to a courtesy of a dear friend living there. In Bogor we marveled the (almost) daily thunder storms, learnt a few words of the language, and had adventures with local mini busses and our friends scooter. An overnight trip to Anak Krakatoa, a living volcano island was a once in a lifetime experience. Whoa.
For Gili Trawangan we took a week off, didn't even bring our laptops with us. We tried scuba diving, Antti even got the certificate while Mirje was happy mostly snorkeling among the colorful fishes and giant turtles.
We had spent four months exploring South East Asia at this point and it was time to head back to Europe. Few days in Istanbul were filled with historical sites (oh the Hagia Sofia!) and great Turkish food. A short plain ride south from Istanbul was Kusadasi, a popular vacation spot. We spent five days with my parents and nephew in an all-inclusive water park hotel. A very different experience...
10 days in Berlin was a way too short time in this captivating city. We ate and drank more than we should have, visited tons of museums and other sites and just enjoyed a familiar way of life. We stayed in a room owned by an art collective and loved working in their next door cafe.
After five months on the road we returned to enjoy the summer in Finland. Since we no longer have an apartment we were staying with friends and relatives. Thank you all! And with so many people to visit, there wouldn't have been much time to spend in our own place even if we would have had one.
...And then Instagram entered our lifes. Hello pictures!
In Finland we enjoyed the nature and summer nights filled with light and laughter.
In Tallinn we rented a beautifully renovated apartment for a month and enjoyed trying to get lost in the narrow streets of old town, taking daily walks to the Kadriorg park, and having many visitors from Finland.
At the end of August we returned to Finland to do some house and pet sitting. The early sun peaked through the mist in the mornings and made everything look magical.
We wanted to get even closer to the nature and spent few days on a cottage by a lake. No running water, no indoor toilets, no showers. But the views of the lake and the autumn colors, so peaceful and just perfect!
Our apartment in Paris had a Nespresso machine. Score! Other highlights of Paris were the d'Orsay museum, walking along Seine in the evening and spending almost a whole day at a picnic on Canal St. Martes.
In Dublin we participated in the TBEX conference and met so many cool bloggers. And we learnt how to craft a perfect pint of Guinness. A skill for all travel bloggers to master.
We took part in many interesting tours annexed to TBEX, but fascinating things were also around every corner, if you just kept your eyes open. Like this huge painting on a building wall.
We road tripped to the Wicklow Mountains. A-m-a-z-i-n-g scenery!
Lisbon captured our hearts with its casual atmosphere and tile-decorated beautiful houses. We are so glad we had decided to stay for a whole month!
We saw many spectacular sunsets while sipping on vinho verde. Or sometimes just cold beer. The warm evenings wrapped around us and the conversations went on for hours.
From Sintra we found a fairytale world, transporting us back in time.
In Porto we walked up and down steep hills, indulged in port wine and marveled the pretty colorful houses.
We did another short stop in Finland in November to repack and visit dear ones. One night, we soaked in an outdoor hot tub.
Barcelona treated us to some sunshine, plenty of good food and some incredible architecture.
The world definitely needs more Gaudi.
We spent 15 days on a cruise ship crossing the Atlantic. Life was easy and peaceful, and the views something to remember.
We were excited to rock the stage as zombies. After days of practise we got to perform Michael Jackson's the Thriller at the big theater of our ship.
Arriving back to steady land, we took a tiny rental car around Louisiana. Alligator spotting on the Creole Nature Trail wasn't a huge success, but otherwise the walks were great.
This year could be dubbed the year of beautiful sunsets, so many we have seen. This one is from Lake Charles.
At the Oak Alley Plantation, there was an actual Oak Alley. Go wonder. And wonderful it was the whole plantation, oozing charm. Although with a hint of sadness from the times of slavery, luckily long past here.
We ended the year house and pet sitting in New Orleans. Plenty of walks in a pretty park and enjoying living in a big house with all comforts. Rare treat for us these days. And a little bit different Christmas.
And then the New Year's Eve, the main reason we didn't want to post this recap before the year is over.
It rained, it was cold, it was difficult to get to the center without public transportation. So we ended up staying home and watching the celebrations from tv. Did open a bottle of sparkling though.
What a year! It will be quite hard for 2014 to top this, but we'll do our best.
More of our 2013
Our 2013 in Travel
Our 2013 as Digital Nomads
This post is a part of Instagram Travel Thursday. a gathering of Instagram related blog posts every week. You can find a list of other participating posts, or add your own post, at Destination Unknown, Skimbaco Lifestyle or at many other hosts sites.
We are Mirje and Antti, a 30+ digital nomad couple, entrepreneurs with restless feet and passion for experiencing the world. more »