Tuesday, February 24

Halong Bay - Misty like Silent Hill

For the weekend booked a car and boat and went out on the sea to see Halong Bay. Had been told that it would be amazing! Chose a horrible day though. It was misty, cold and windy. Could not see almost anything...Except that it was less cool than Krabi. Maybe if it would be warm and sunny and I had an ice cold beer on the deck it could be enjoyable. This time it was not though. The caves we stopped by to see were great though! The rest not so much...well just look at the pictures and you understand. It did give a special element of ghostlike with all the mist though.

Setting out to the sea, the boats look like they are floating with all the mist

 Free like the wind 
Movie like 
 Entrance to the cave
 Cave was amazing! 

 Massive dripstone formations 
 Exit passage on the top 
The 2 chickens 
...and a third chicken 
 Old Quarters bar street, sort of reminds me of Sanlitun 8 years ago
 Sofitel Legend, evening coffee
 Rainy morning, some breakfast from the bike? 
 Chinese new years holiday begins! For the next 7 days will be driving motorbike about 700 km from Dong Hoi - Hoi An. up in the mountains, in the jungles! So looking forward to this! The plane from Hanoi - Dong Hoi still had rotator engines, they were a bit soft but we still landed safe :) 

Monday, February 23

Hanoi Rocks

Where can you find the best coffee and spring rolls in the world? Vietnam! Always have waaay too much coffee every morning, noon, afternoon and evening here. The taste is just totally different from any other coffee. Wondering why Starbucks has not found this yet? Would sell so much.

All around the city people getting ready for the Vietnamese new year (TET), loads of red banners with Chuck Mung Nam Moi everywhere. Loads of flowers and small orange tress sold everywhere for good luck :)

An eerie mist hanging over the city 
 Best way to move around the traffic? Motrobike taxi 
 Local Hanoi dish, pork with dry noodles 
 Temple of Literature 

Evening set

Monday, February 16

Bustling Bangkok

Shanghai winter really starts to bug me, tired of having an ice cold house. Crank up the heat and take a trip to Bangkok. Probably the best time of the year to go because it's just below 30 degrees and not humid at all. For anyone out there who wants Thailand at it's best, now is your time.

At least the air has been good in Shanghai

Had some amazing time with my bro's on Khaosan Road, was the first time I managed to come here. Busy busy bustling with life and people!

Same street has super modern skyscrapers and tons of trash & polluted rivers 
Good morning Sukhumvit
Long live the King & Queen
Best food here, Pad Thai with chicken 
Had a bigger lunch with all kinds of local dishes 
Chillout saturday night 
The best thing with McDonalds here: Dubble BigMacs! 
Endless sales on the streets, you can buy anything here. I really mean anything 
River view
Khaosan road, here we go :D 

Late night snacks 
Not sure if it's normal to find scorpions in the toilet 
 Some street magician failed a bit with his bottle trick and huge stack of Chang beer bottles were all over the street 

Monday, February 9

14 Things that changed life forever by living abroad!

I sometimes keep looking back and thinking with might have been or what IF. Who would I be if I never left home? What would I be doing? Would I be an even happier person with family already? Or what would I be working with? How would my home look like etc etc. Endless questions.

These are questions I will never get the answer to, but I do however have the answers to the change that has happened. What it is to live abroad and how it feels to come home

1. When going back home...everything looks the same and how I lack the words to tell things or have too many while doing so

I go home about 2 times a year. When getting back home it strikes me once again how little or nothing has changed. My life has been going on a non-stop pace like a car on rocket fuel. I'm ready to share and talk about so many stories that happened. But telling a story never really makes it right and I don't think people will really GET it. The thing with living and going to places is the experience you collect and that can never be just "told" in a story. It's also a lot different to talk with my friends back home and the fiends I have here that already lived away a long time. We can laugh at those certain things in Sanlitun that you see every night, that swap thoughts about how great Taobao is or just how awful the pollution was today.

2. That "courage" is a bit overrated

I don't know how many times I've been told that I'm very brave to have taken the decision to move abroad. I don't really remember being scared about leaving home, you don't need to be a knight to do that. And anyway, life decisions are 90% based on what you truly feel in your heart and only 10% is real "courage". However, now after all these years gone I feel like I can do anything, not afraid. Whatever comes in my way, I'll deal with it.

I'm ready to fight the real dragon now 

3. Being free in a different way

I have always been free except for those 9 months in the army. But even freedom feels different now, it's as if there was MUCH more air to breath. The world is my oyster, I been to over 40 countries already and learned a few new languages as well. I feel free to travel much more than before, nothing is "foreign" anymore. Everything can be handled and dealt with when traveling. Take the leap, you will always land in one way or another.

4. Not only speaking one/two particular languages anymore

When your surrounded by 4-5 languages on a daily basis and learning a 6th everything kinda melts together and becomes "normal". Language is the greatest tool when you live somewhere else than home. Sometimes I notice that I can find much better words for something than in my own native language. There are so many great ways to use the Chinese language! And the fact that I can also read it makes it possible to use it in many ways.

5. Saying goodbye has become very common

People come and go all the time. Beijing and Shanghai are like miniature airports, there are people arriving for their new "exciting" China life and people leaving for different reasons. People are passing by my life, just need to find the right balance between "bonding" and "letting go"

6. Having 2 or more of everything

10 SIM cards, 10 currencies, 2 passports, bank cards and subway cards that work in multiple countries. It's like being a James Bond agent when I open my drawer and have everything neatly sorted country-wise. The only thing I'm missing is multi-nationalitie passports and a handgun that does not get stuck in a x-ray machine to become a secret agent :D

Sometimes I'm a millionaire

7. Lost concept of what is considered "normal"

Living abroad and travelling over 80% of the time feels normal to me. However when talking with others I see how wrong I am. Sometimes It's just something I don't really even think about, I don't really remember how it felt like just living home and and not really being on the move all the time. I sometimes do hear people saying "I want your life". Can you handle it?

Meat market a bit different in Lahore

8. I'm a tourist in my own city

Yes it's true, I have started to go to those "tourist trap" places much more. I also feel a bit strange in small Helsinki. I sometimes talk english in the store for no reason. I like to take photos of the clean sky and clouds. I love it that it is SO clean! Drinking tap-water feels like drinking from the fountain of youth. Taking pictures of anything that isn't like Asia feels like a good idea. How did this happened?
Beautiful blue sky at grannys in Tenala

9. Learning how to be patient and not stress so much

Life in Asia IS different. Many things here don't always work like home, you NEED to be patient or you will go crazy. There are always a lot of people here, that means sometimes waiting in long lines. People don't always say sorry or feel bad if they messed something up. Friendly customer service isn't something you can always except (mainly mainland China & India though). Subway IS packed during rush hour in a totally different way than home. When I'm home I see lot of impatient people getting angry for meaningless things and then I laugh a bit inside. "Haha, you have no idea how good life is here. Please just relax and be quiet. Your order/turn will come soon" Chill!! Take it easy! Life isn't so serious all the time.

10. Overwhelmed by nostalgia sometimes

A movie, food, a song, a smell or some other thing can suddenly trigger a sudden nostalgia from home. I don't really miss the food home like I used to. I have friends in China who always always pack their bag full of home food/candies etc. For me that urge stopped after about 4-5 years. There are awesome other things around the world than the food from home! I do miss all of my childhood best friends back home and just seeing an Xbox makes me think of all those thousand of hours me and Micke + Hede spent with the Nintendo, N64, Game cube, PS, Xbox etc etc! Your awesome guys :)

11. Small pieces of my soul scattered around the world

Deep down I miss dozens of places all at once. But it's not only the place I miss, it's that magical connection that a place has had with a certain memory. That year I travelled and spent it with someone and had the best of time, when I was happy, excited, confused, did something different. There is a tiny bit of me scattered around the world. Sometimes however going back to that place will not be enough to stop missing it. The memory is much stronger than any new experience will ever be.

The food and other things in Singapore, my mind keeps wondering back there very often. 

12. A whole new person

You change! Everyone has heard about these life-changing trips but how many has been on one? Being through something life changing isn't something that happens on a 1 weeks trip to Thailand or Spain. It is something much deeper that shakes you up by the roots and the way you think and interact. Looking back after having had this life-changing trip you will see that you evolved, you cried, you laughed, you changed, gotten scars, you changed, you LIVED! OMG how much you lived to the fullest.

This is how much the change feels like compared to a normal look

13. Can live out of a suitcase

Last year and most of 2013 I lived out of one suitcase. Now I travel with only a backpack or a very small luggage. I don't need stuff anymore. I haven't turned on the Tv on in my house a single time in 7 months. I haven't cooked any food home for half a year. I don't feel any urge to buy things but experiences instead. My life in this way has changed drastically, I used to horde a load of STUFF before. Now I just don't see the use to own much at all. Just the necessary things!

14. There is no turning back

I spent about 1 month home during Christmas, I can't go back anymore. I've been way too long here and too many things happened. With such a huge, endless beautiful world...How/why would I choose to not keep traveling and discovering it? The only reason to settle down home would have to be something that is far more important than myself. Own family.