Every Sunday, we post a quick little extra for those of you who, like me, love to peruse the blogosphere on a Sunday afternoon.
You might be interested in…
Souvenirs– when to buy them, how much to spend on them, where to pack them in an already-full bag, even whether to get them at all– they’re one of those tricky aspects of travel that everyone does differently.
I’m the kind of traveller who has high hopes of buying something amazing for every single person I know yet is brought crashing down to earth when I realize that I’ve already spent all my money on my own adventures.
M. is the best at balancing me out in these times. On our last trip, he said to me, “No one expects you to bring them anything.”
He’s right! No one does expect anything, so there’s no point in trying to meet expectations of lavish gifts that no one actually has. Our friends and family know us– they know we travel fast, cheap, and light, and they know we often have to ship their presents across oceans once we do buy anything for them.
But when we really want to buy a little something for a close friend or family member– and we do, because exploring little markets and souvenir shops is part of the adventure for us– what kind of things can be bought that won’t break the bank or the backpack?
I’ve been gathering documents this week for the final stage in my quest to finally stop giving my hard-earned money to Immigration: dual citizenship! Many thousands of dollars and about a half dozen police checks later, I’m finally going to be done with the anxiety of not having security in Australia. M. is in the same boat, with only his swearing-in ceremony left to go.
This doesn’t mean that we’ve decided to stay here forever (who knows what they’re going to be doing forever, anyway?) but it does make me reflect on the last 5.5 years in this sunburned country.
What I have I learned? Lots of positive things, for sure. But I’m going to start with a few regrets in hopes that others can learn from my mistakes.
On our way to Mongolia this July, M. and I opted to spend 2 very whirlwind days in Hong Kong on the way.
Exploring the mega-cosmopolitan city was a great way to transition between a stressful month of work and an adventure in the wilds of Mongolia– we got to get in a bit of shopping and eating delicious food before we started roughing it for a fortnight.
We’ve begun to make a bit of a routine of exploring our layover stop. Coming from Australia, you almost always endure a 20-40-hour-straight journey through airports, so cutting that in half with a bit of exploring becomes key to saving your sanity.
For us, though, it’s become a way of squeezing an extra destination and some different experiences into our short breaks from the daily grind.
Our travel mantra could probably be summed up by the phrase “Walk til you drop,” so keep that in mind when you read our itinerary below. You may want to take things a bit slower than we usually do; but then, we do tend to see a lot when we’re roaming around a city non-stop!