Gap Year Update #2

 

GAP YEAR | Experience & What to do

GAP YEAR UPDATE + THANK YOU!

It’s almost a year ago that I found out I wasn’t accepted at the school that I wanted to go to. I remember I was a bit sad, but also happy that I had some more free time, but mostly I was scared. Because not going to college, would mean I had a gap year. It freaked me out not knowing what I had to do with my life. There were some things I wanted to do, but I didn’t know how. Eventually, now I think I made some great decisions. I grew and had the time of my life.

One of those great decisions is, of course, starting this blog. I am so happy that I had the courage to write about my life. In the beginning, this blog was mostly for myself, a space where I could write about my feelings and my ideas for this gap year. Just as my first blog post, I immediately throw in the fact I have a gap year. Blogging was all new to me, and when I look back now at my posts from a year ago, it is so different from what I post now. My blog went from bucket lists, get to know me’s to MOTD’s, OOTD’s and travel diaries. I remember I was so happy when my blog hit the 100 followers! Now, my blog is still growing and growing. It already hit the 400 followers! Thank you all so much for all the love! I never expected my blog to be this big, and I am really proud that I achieved this. Even though my gap year is almost over, I will keep blogging. I admit I barely post sometimes because I am not feeling like writing, but I think that’s normal. I think it’s better to write when you want to, instead of doing it because it’s required. The best posts are the ones you put the love in.

Even though I had the time of my life this year, I will be talking about that later, it wasn’t the easiest. I had to find what I wanted to study next year, how to fill my free time, think about doing something special. There was so much to do and think about. I made some “gap year resolutions”, all things I would like to do. I remember I wanted to learn a language, a skill, do volunteer work, travel the world and more. Trust me, it looks like you have loads of time, but eventually, you don’t. I made the decision to travel, but of course, I needed money for that so I worked more. Luckily I got the chance to work more at my part time supermarket job, and save all the money I needed. I even had the opportunity to take two months off to leave for Asia!

I also come across a study I wanted to follow, Optometry. I had to make an entrance examination. And again, they only accepted around 100 people. Luckily I am one of them, what means I am finally going to college in September! I’m very excited to learn again.

The gap year was also full of learning. I had to learn to make decisions, to get responsible, more confident and do things on my own. Even though I never mentioned it on my blog, because I didn’t feel the need to throw it out on the internet, I had to go through a few setbacks as a breakup of a 2.5 years long relationship and, not going backpacking with my best friend.  When I look back, I am really happy both things happened. Especially the breakup, because I wasn’t happy and I became myself again. It’s weird how one person can change you, but I am so happy I am myself again. Asia definitely helped me with it. I finally saw that that person I used to be 2.5 years long, wasn’t me.

My backpack adventure to Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia is the other amazing decision I made this year. I had the best time there, saw so many beautiful views, met amazing and lovely people who will stay in my memory for ever, I saw the world from another perspective and I experienced so many new things. I could keep talking about my travels, but I already posted loads about it! If you want to read it, the start of all my diaries is from this post. You can read the recap here. There is also a film on it’s way, but it’s so much to edit, and the motivation is not really here yet. Have to work on that!

Yes, I am thankful for all the opportunities I had this gap year. I saw amazing places as, London, Bangkok, Hanoi, Angkor Wat, Berlin and Budapest. I became myself again. And I had so much fun already blogging, and there is still loads to come! If you’re in doubt to take a gap year, do it, it’s amazing. It was the best decison for me.

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TIME TO GO HOME | Travel Diary

After almost two months of travelling in South East Asia it was time to go back home. Wednesday April 19th 2017 was the day I left Cambodia. I flew early in the morning from Siem Reap to Bangkok. There I had to wait for 8 hours for my flight to Singapore from where I eventually would fly to Amsterdam.

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It was a long day and flight. The only thing that made me really happy was that I got two times dinner. The love for food is huge. And I had an amazing seat in the airplane with loads of space for my legs.

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At 7 in the morning I arrived at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. My mom and dad were waiting there for me, I was really happy to see them! 🙂 I’m really happy to be back home safe and see my family again. It’s also so weird to be back, it seemed like everything was changed. Probably just because you haven’t seen it in so long.

While I’m writing this, I’m already home for longer than a week. It’s cold in the Netherlands and I miss the warmth of Asia, but I’m happy that I can see my family and friends again when I want to. I love travelling, and it is one of the best experiences in life, but (really cheesy) home is where the heart is.

As a nice ending of my trip I would like to share my favorite photos I posted on Instagram. I don’t know why, but I just like scrolling back in my Instagram and see all the great things I experienced and seen there.

THAILAND

Showering this cute little baby 🐘

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Just chillin'

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Had to fall in the sea first to make this perfect photo 😅🌴🌴🌴

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VIETNAM

Halong Bay with my bae 💕

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Casually posing with pretty lampions🏮🏮🏮

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Me and my coconut on the beach☉☉☉☉☉

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About last night 💃🍸🍸🍸gonna miss these girlies❤❤❤❤ @paaulien97 @josie11_

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CAMBODIA

I tried, and failed. Oh well…

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Travelling through SE Asia was amazing, I had the best time there. It felt like home, the people were so kind and I met the most amazing people there from all over the world. I learned a lot, I got a lot of new and great experiences and I made lots of new friends. I’m definetly going to miss it, in fact I miss it already. But it’s good to be home.

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Khmer New Year in Siem Reap | Travel Diary

On Friday I left Phnom Penh to go to Siem Reap. The Khmer New Year had already started a bit and all the locals left Phnom Penh to go back to their families. Most buses were full, but gladly I could still get a ticket. It was a 5 or 6 hour long ride with only locals.

I arrived in the afternoon in Siem Reap. It was already quite crowded and a lot of Cambodians were already celebrating New Year.

In the hostel I met three girls from Denmark, with whom I went for some dinner. We had great streetfood, fried rice or noodles with egg. Afterwards we went to the Pub Street where the New year parties were. On our way we already got a lot of baby powder in our face and water. We found this street cocktail bar, where we had a few drinks and also met some others. There was also this cute Cambodian kid that kept throwing baby powder at us, so cute. It was loads of fun.

I also found these ice rolls that you see a lot on facebook, it was amazing!

Saturday, well… Honestly I didn’t really do anything. I slept till 11 or something, had some banana pancakes for breakfast and then I went to the market where I bought a dress for Angkor Wat and the last souvenirs.

After that I had lunch with the girls and we had a pool day. That was really needed though, because it was like 40 degrees.

In the evening we went for some street food again, trying not to get baby powder over us. Well, ofcourse I ended up being the one full with baby powder. The guy behind the bar at our hostel looked a bit weird at me. Oh well…

The next days I went to Angkor Wat, but I will write another post about that. Angkor Wat deserves to have a post on his own.

Thanks for reading, have a nice day!

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Alone in Phnom Penh | Travel Diary

Tuesday morning I left Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam really early by bus to start my adventure in Cambodia. First time I was travelling completely on my own. Scary but also really exciting.

My bus left around 8.30 am from Vietnam. It would take around 7 hours to go to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 

The drive was really long. The only stops we made were at the Vietnamese border, Cambodian border and in a restaurant to wait for the passports. It was an interesting process. First we had to give our passports to the guide of the bus, with extra money for the visa and him. Then we had to go out of the bus, and just wait. They didn’t tell us anything, no one knew what was going on. We got our passports back and had to go back in the bus, that brought us to the Cambodian border. There we had to leave the bus again and give our passports to a man. Then we left with the bus to the restaurant, and the man with the passports was gone. There we waited for the passports that came by motor bike. After that it was time to go further to Phnom Penh.

I arrived there in the afternoon. I decided to go for a little stroll to a temple, and after that I ended up on after night market where I had some dinner.

On Wednesday I went to the Killing Fields with a tuk tuk. The driver gave me this mouth thing, because there was so much smog. Very Asian.

The Killing Fields were very impressive. It’s horrible, and it was really sad to hear and see everything that happened. 

After a quick lunch, I visited the Tuol Sleng Museum. The old prison from the time the Khmer Rouge was there. Also that was horrible to see. So much pain.

Thursday morning I went to the market where I bought a lot of souvenirs for my family. 

After that I went to the Cambodian National Museum, but I didn’t really like it. It was mostly statues of Buddha’s. 

Sadly it started raining really bad so I decided to go back to the hostel. I had some lunch and when it stopped I went out for a Cambodian ice coffee from a street food market with someone from my hostel. It was really good. We just have a little wander through Phnom Penh. And I finally saw the Royal Palace.

In the evening I went out for some drinks and dinner.

The next day we went for some coffee again with a few. After that I had to leave with the bus to go to Siem Reap. The Khmer new year had already started a bit and Phnom Penh was changing into a ghost city. 

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Ho Chi Minh City | Travel Diary

The last stop of the tour is Ho Chi Minh City. We fly on Friday from Nha Trang to Ho Chi Minh City. Short flight again, nice nap.

I spended my day with Paulien, Josie and Cat. We went to the Note Coffee, yep we found one also in Saigon. The ice cream was so good! I had the matcha green tea and black sesame.  Really nice. 

After that we went for a little wander in the city. We wanted to visit a church, but sadly we were a few minutes late so it was already closed. We also found the old post office, it was very beautiful.

In the evening we had our last dinner with the whole group. For the most it was the last day in Vietnam, so we made it a special night. First a nice dinner and after that going out. The theme was shitty shirt night, and there had to be a winner of course. It was lots of fun. Sadly I was still sick so Paulien and I went for a midnight tea at the Note Coffee instead of going out.

On Saturday morning we had to say goodbye to everyone that was leaving. So sad. 
After that I went back to bed, and somewhere around noon I went to the war museum with everyone that was still in Saigon. It was very touching, but good to see and learn. 

In the evening we went to the Glow skybar with everyone, as it was the last night of my girls. So sad. But the view was great, and it was happy hour what made the price a little bit better. 

After that we also had some dinner, in a cheaper place. It was a great night.

On Sunday I went on a tour to the Cu Chi tunnels with the guys. Really impressive and interesting. They showed all the bootytraps they used against the Americans, the clothing and how they made the weapons. We also had the opportunity to crawl inside a tunnel. It was so small and dark, I wouldn’t like being inside there for long. 

You also had the opportunity to shoot with a gun, and as I visited the tunnels with the boys, of course they had to do it. It was cool to see. 

After the tour we went back to the city, and had a last day with Paulien, as she was leaving today. So sad 😦

In the evening I just had a nice dinner with the guys in an Irish pub, so Vietnamese. 

Monday was my last actual day in Vietnam. After a big breakfast/lunch something I went to the market to shop all my Vietnam souvenirs for my family. I’m so bad at bargain prices, but eventually we had some great deals.

In the evening we had some dinner at at fancy rooftop bar, I saw it already from the outside, and all the colorfull light looked so nice. The food was also great, and happy hour again! Always nice haha. 

I also had to go the the Note Coffee for the last time, the people there are so nice and kind. They even recognised me, so cute! 

That were my last days in Vietnam. The next morning I will leave for Cambodia. I’m going from Saigon to Phnom Penh by bus. On my own. Scary, but everything will be okay.

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Nha Trang | Travel Diary 

Tuesday evening we left Hoi An, to go with the night bus to Nha Trang. Interesting experience, especially when you’re getting ill. Gladly I was able to sleep a bit. At 6 in the morning we arrived in Nha Trang. My day started with being forgotten by my travel leader when I got out of the bus. Luckily I was with someone from my group, but still. Eventually he picked us up with the motorbike. With a heavy backpack on a motorbike, not the best but oh well, you see crazier things in Asia. 

After a long nap, I went for breakfast/lunch something with Josie and Paulien. We found this adorable restaurant called Alpaca, seriously if you’re ever there, visit it! The food, interior, how they present the food, just everything is amazing! 

Sadly I didn’t get any better, and my throat started hurting so much I could barely speak. We went to the beach and I got an amazing nap again haha. My day kind of was napping everytime I got the chance. 

In the evening we ate at the restaurant across our hotel, really cheap and I loved the interior again. After that I went straight to bed. (Maybe Paulien and I watched Netflix, who knows)

Thursday, another beach day! This time with our group. And this time a was a bit more active and didn’t sleep the whole day. The sea was lovely.

In the evening I had some dinner with Cat, Paulien and Josie at Alpaca again. I just loved that place, they are so kind. 

After that Josie, Cat and I decided to take a little stroll to the beach. Actually we didn’t really make it to the beach abitnd ended up at a night market. I just love night markets and cheesy souvenirs. (I mean do you see my face on the picture before the last one? yeah) Even though I kind of was in my pyjamas, it was a fun night. And don’t Josie and I make a lovely couple haha. 

On Friday we’re going to fly to Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon. Our last stop in Vietnam. Exciting!

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Beautiful Hoi An | Travel Diary

It is time to finally leave the north of Vietnam and Hanoi and move to the south.

We left Hanoi at 7 on Sunday morning to go to the airport. I had a great nap in the plane. Sadly Da Nang welcomed us with rain. 

Our hotel was amazing, it was so luxurious and beautiful.  And we had our own pool! But first we went for a bike ride through Hoi An, to go for lunch. I carried Josie at the back of my bike, and I don’t know how but we lost the group and out of the nowhere we luckily bumped into them again. We had a great lunch and the city is so beautiful! 

Even though it was quite cold, we still took a dip in the swimming pool. 

In the evening we wanted to have dinner in the old center, but because we were with a big group the tried to let us buy tickets to walk on the streets there. It didn’t make sense. Eventually we ate outside the center and did some drinks at a bar across the river. The city looks so beautiful by night, because there are colorfull lampions everywhere. It was an amazing day

On Monday we went to Mý Son, the old temple ruines. It was really impressive to see. Sadly a lot of the temples have been destroyed because of the Vietnam War. There also were some bomb holes. The stories that our guide told were also really interesting and impressive. I don’t really have words for it.

When we came back from the temples, I just took a nap and then went to the ancient town to get some lunch. It also started to get dark and a few light sculptures were already there for the festival. So beautiful! 

In the evening I had dinner with als few and I went to the night market to get some souvenirs. After that I went to the bar to meet the others and we had als fun night!

Tuesday Beach day! Paulien, Josie, Henry and I hired a bicycle to go to the beach. I think it was and 20 minute ride and the weather was so nice! 

The beach was beautiful and so wavy. We had a lot of fun in the big waves. And ofcourse I had to get a coconut and make this cheesy hipster instagram picture. After a delicious lunch it was time to get back to the hotel. We had to catch our night bus that would bring us to Nha Trang. Sadly I was also starting to get sick, but everything will be fine. Hoi AN was definetly one of my favorite places in Vietnam. I loved it! 

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Last days in Hanoi | TRAVEL Diary

On Friday we left Sapa to go back to Hanoi. We arrived in the evening. I went for dinner with a few and after that we went out. It was loads of fun!

On Saturday I slept a bit longer and after that I met up with Josie and Paulien (after having amazing  american waffles for breakfast). Of course we ended up at the Note Coffee and we also had a little spa date. I decided to to a pedicure, but I got a whole foot treatment out of the nowhere. It was nice though. 

In the evening we went for dinner in this super cute restaurant with the whole group. It was amazing! 

On Sunday we are going to leave Hanoi really early in the morning. I liked Hanoi, but after three weekends it’s time to leave it behind and go to a new destination! Hoi an here we come!

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Sapa | Travel Diary

In the second week of my adventure in Vietnam we went to Sapa for a few days.

Our trip started on Monday morning, we got picked up for the bus and had this 5 hour drive to Sapa. It was really long an tiring. When we arrived in Sapa, the wheaten was really bad. It was raining and really cloudy, you couldn’t see a thing. Also it was so cold, but luckily we had a heat pad in our mattress. I didn’t really do anything that day, expect playing pool.

The next day we left the hotel to go for a hike to the home stay. We first visited Cat Cat village, where you have this amazing waterfall. It was really brown though because of the weather. We also hiked through and over the rice fields. The weather was still a bit rainy and cloudy so the ways were really muddy. In the afternoon we arrived in the homestay were we had and nice dinner and made some springrolls. The people in Sapa also make their own rice wine, so we had to taste that. I don’t recommend this to anyone, but it’s fun to try.

The second day in the homestay we went for another hike. This time to another waterfall and the view was amazing! Sapa is so incredibly beautiful. It was finally a sunny day so after the hike it was the perfect weather for laying outside. For dinner we made some springrolls again and in the evening our guide wanted to play drinking games with rice wine. Lots of fun, but rice wine is still horrible.

On Thursday we went with the bus back to the town. I just hade some lunch with my girls and we wandered a bit around. In the evening we had dinner with the group and went to a cocktail bar with a few. It was a fun night.

Friday was our last day in Sapa and our tour guide went to a cultural museum with us. Very interesting too learn about there culture. After that we went to a big market. A few hours later it was time to go back to the bus station and go back to Hanoi. There we would spend another weekend. 

Even though Sapa was quite cold, it was a great experience that I would never forget. I loved the nature, the hikes and the views. It was amazing.

Thank you very much for reading! I have some free time now, so I will try to catch up with my blog. I haven’t written in a while, because I didn’t really have free nights and great Internet.  Right now, I am in Pnohm Penh in Cambodia. I just arrived today and it’s really different to be all on your own, because the other 5 weeks I travelled with a group and there was always someone you could go to. I’m not feeling lonely though, I love doing activities all along and I’m really proud of myself that I arrived safe in my hostel all by myself. It’s a great learning experience, it already was, but now being all alone will be too. I will keep you updated!

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Adventures in Tam Côc | Travel Diary

After a few days in Hanoi, we left the city to go to a small village near Ninh Bình. 

March 22th
Early in the morning we left Hanoi with the bus to go to the village. It was a really tiny bus, but they use every space there is. Great if you’re a bit ill, but I survived.

After we arrived we made a little hike through the rice fields to a temple.  The view and mountains were so beautiful.

March 23th

Today we went for a bike ride to this view point.  The hike upstairs was so heavy but the view was totally worth it. It was amazing! After that we rode our bikes to the river to take a little romantic boat trip. We also went into this bat cave. Didn’t really like I though, bats are scary. 

March 24th
In the morning we had some Vietnamese cooking lessons, we learned how to make spring rolls and decorations. Really cute.

In the afternoon we went back with the bus to Hanoi. In the evening we had some dinner with the group and at night some drinks and a little party. It was lots of fun. We’re in Hanoi for the whole weekend. 

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