I’m back in the land of smiles!

This time around, I am traveling with my boyfriend for two months in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. And Vietnam if we have the time. We have been planning this trip since August, and I am so beyond happy that we are finally here, on a beach in Koh Tao.

We are currently on our ninth day in Sai Daeng Resort, which initially was a four day birthday present from me to Eirik. We loved our remote beach bungalow so much that we are just adding nights over and over because we do not want to leave. We have set the limit on ten days, so these are the last days in paradise before we are headed to a simpler and more backpacker-ish place.

However, this is not merely a fun, chill – on – the – beach – type of holiday. Yes, we have a couple of weeks here and there with fun, but our main purpose of this trip is to visit the beautiful village of Phonsawart in Laos. I am so eager to meet Aay again, and see if we can help him with the learning project he wants to start for his village. I have to admit that I am very nervous for the task ahead of me, but I am trying to learn as much as possible at this moment. My philosophy is that what I don’t know, I gotta learn!

At this point, I am not skilled enough to be the main force behind a start up in Laos, so my focus is that I need to talk to people who can help Aay in Laos. Already, the chief of the village, the school and even a monk is eager to join Aay’s project, and I am looking forward to meeting them and discuss the plans. The chief will grant us a room at the school, and the school will help us with communicating the project to students who want to learn more. I’m not entirely sure what the monk will do, but it’s always good to have a monk! No, honestly, I’m just kidding. Any help, from anyone, is so so so appreciated, and I am so thankful that we have such a wise voice with us on our project. It means a great deal that a monk believes in our mission and wants to help Aay. It gives me strength to believe that Aay will teach his first students about English, IT, equality and simple business in just a few months time…

The main force behind the project is the village and Aay, but Eirik and I, and everyone interested, are more than welcome to join and help out with plans, finance, organization, lesson plans and volunteering. So my main objective is this: Plan and organize the project with the village and hopefully get in touch with businesses or other non for profit organizations who can help. Eirik will set up a webpage, and I will take pictures and make a video to promote the village to future volunteers and visitors. We will try to collect enough money to rent a project house for three years, and if this works, Aay is pretty much set up for a small project he can run in Laos with my help from Norway. Hopefully. Fingers crossed. Toes crossed. It would mean the world to the village to get a project like this. I want it to work, but they need it to work.

BUT, this post was actually going to be a “hey look how beautiful Koh Tao is” – post, so I’ll finish it up with some mood pics from our trip so far:

 

 

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Cozy Kingsston

A trip with a red double-decker took us to Kingston. Crowds gathered around the food halls, the the town was noisy and the air was filled with spices from every corner of the world. We bought a small buffalo mozarella pizza from an italian guy with a stone oven integrated in a truck. We strolled down to the riverside and had pizza while the sun set. v aa xaaa

Eirik doesn’t want to hear any of it, but often he looks like he’s modeling for a men’s magazine without knowing it. That’s just how it is, I guess, he looks good in front of the camera, whilst I’m more confortable behind it. Or maybee? w

… Haha, it was a good pizza though. aaaa    y

I’ve always been the one with the camera. The lady that takes waaaay to many photos of everything. I’ve always felt real bad about it. Thought about what people might think about it. Considered the fact that I might miss out on real moments when I’m looking at the world through my camera or my phone. Thought about what these photos of beautiful scenery, beautiful happenings and beautiful people represent. Do they represent real life? Of course not. Do they give a full picture of my life? Hell no. But imagine how amazing it will be when I’m 99 (Yes, I’m planning for a long life), and I can look back at all these happy memories? I’m already showing early signs of Alzheimers (…bad joke), so I think I’m being really proactive with all these photos.

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Nah, I’m just doing what I love, why questioning it when it makes you feel good.

back in time

Finally, it was time to go back to London. Even though the time went by way too fast, it was a great trip on so many levels. The good thing about not being a resident in London any longer is that I explore the city more, and this weekend started off on the right foot, abso-frickin’-lutely.

Proof:

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… Even better proof:

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I finally booked the right tickets for Sky Garden in the city.

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We had sushi in Soho – and we could buy beer from the local corner shop and bring with us (Our table was filled with beer and a guy donated two beers to our table so we totally felt like alcoholics). We went shopping, and I finally bought a pair of matte dr. Martens! When I was drunk! With my mastercard!! What!? Ooooh well.

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The view from Sky Garden was absolutely beautiful at day time, but the fog that slowly entered around 6 pm gave the us the pitoresque view of London that I oh-so-love.

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China Town

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Kingley Court

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We felt tempted to try for dinner number two at this place, but decided that we definitely could not afford that luxury, haha.

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Carnaby Street

For me, nothing is insignificant. Even though a lot around me impresses me, it doesn’t mean that I get impressed easily. There is simply a lot to be impressed by.

(My theory to filling life with joy).

FALL

You know that feeling when you’re laying on the couch, and not a single bone in your body is ready to jump out, get dressed and get out and about? I’m so glad that I managed to overcome that feeling today. DSC_0130

Mari, Pernille and I took the bus from Lillehammer and up to Nordseter, and walked for four hours in this beautiful landscape. Fall has arrived, and I’m welcoming it after a summer filled with sunny days, barefoot walking, long swims and light clothing. It’s time to drink cocoa, watch movies and snuggle with the blanket. DSC_0138 DSC_0144 DSC_0151 DSC_0179 DSC_0192 DSC_0199 DSC_0200 DSC_0207 DSC_0212

london life

A weekend with my love – a weekend filled with delicious food, long walks, sun, beer, theatre and snuggles.

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Dinner at Flat Iron – I’m more of a fish and veggies kinda gal, but this steak was amazing and I’m definitely coming back for more.

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Finally it was my turn to see Les Miserables, and it was as fantastic as I hoped.

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Oh, the struggles of choosing the right beer.

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Prosecco at 2 pm is totally legit

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Mr. Handsome and Tower Bridge

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Piccadilly and awesome light

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Something old and something new

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Kingly Court

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Carnaby

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Toilet paper taken by the wind that reminds us all to check our boobs once in a while!

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Lilyham, I like you

There’s a lot to take in when moving to a new city, and I admit that it has been hard. I had two weeks to mentally and physically prepare myself for this new big step. I had really started to love the daily life in London, my routines (I do love routines), living with my man, walking the cozy streets of my neighbourhood. However, Lilyham has welcomed me and finally I feel a bit at home here. The last couple of weeks have been great, and I have visited the mountains almost every day. Summer gave us a last glimpse for a couple of weeks, and we spent our days outside – working out, barbequing, drinking wine, showering in waterfalls and swimming in a cozy pond. The people here are so inspowering (Yes, it’s a word), so enthusiastic and filled with joy and energy.

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FINAL DESTINATION : SIEM REAP & ANGKOR

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Angkor consists of scors of temples, reservoirs, canals and basins, and is based in the jungle outside Siem Reap, Cambodia. Angkor was the center of the Khmer Kingdom for several centuries, and is now a unique result of an exceptional civilization thinking ahead of its time, but stands at the same time as a witness to a high level of social order and ranking within the Khmer Empire. The biggest temples are Angkor Wat, Bayon, preah Khan and Ta Prohm, and are closely linked in the Angkor area. Aaand, both Mari and I had this beaut on our bucket list! So, there was no point in hesitating; we had to go to Siem Reap to discover the eight wonder of the world (unofficially, that is).

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Sunrise at Angkor Wat

We said our goodbyes to the people at Openmind Projects, and jumped on a tuk tuk with tears in our eyes. Kharn sang me a farewell song, and I promised each and everyone that I would be back. Baah, such a cliché, but it was really horrible to leave that amazing bunch.

We took a night train from Nong Khai to Bangkok, where we slept in bunk beds. Everything was green, super-small and super weird. We felt like we were in a Harry Potter movie. From Bangkok, we took a bus trip to the border to Cambodia, close to Siem Reap. This is the best way to go from Thailand to Cambodia btw. Mari and I probably researched the different routes enough to write a paper on it. There are cheaper routes, but then you have to watch out for land mines and fake visas and stuff. There are other tourist services, but they are not reliable. Just something to bear in mind if you find yourself in Thailand going to Cambodia, anytime soon 😉

Anywho, Sieam Reap was a pretty weird place. I think I kinda shut my eyes and tried to enjoy the last few days in South East Asia, but I could not help but finding it aweful to experience a mix of all the people who had walked on land mines and all the backpackers partying like crazy in the streets, not caring about the history of the country. In and around 1975, the Cambodian population was slaughtered by the Khmer Rouge regime, and the total number of deaths are reportedly 2.5 million out of an 8 million population. How sick is that. All the Cambodians we walked passed in the street must have been affected by this someway or another.

As I said, I tried to enjoy Cambodia despite the sad combination of mass murder and drunk backpackers. And Mari was once again the perfect person to enjoy a new destination again. We were still totally synced after 2 months traveling, and we both enjoyed walking in the markets, eating AMOK FOOD OMG OMG OMG, and chilling by the pool (We opted for a higher standard hotel these last couple of days). It was the perfect end to a perfect South East Asia adventure!

Behold – a picture bonanzaa:

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