14/03/2018

Thingyan Water Festival Myanmar: what you need to know

Myanmar (Burma)
You may have heard about the Songkran water festival in Thailand, but have you heard of the one in Myanmar. I suspect you haven’t unless you’ve been and experienced it for yourself. I didn’t even know it existed until we were a week into our trip and glanced at a calendar in the hotel reception. I didn’t even consider that it might be similar to the one in Thailand and completely forgot about it until it actually began.

One positive of the Thingyan festival being a lot less famous than the one in Thailand is that if you choose to involve yourself in the festival it is nowhere near as touristy or hectic as the Songkran festival. I’d still very much like to experience this one and was a bit disappointed that our route meant we were missing it but I’m so glad we still got the experience in Myanmar. 

Obviously, the festival will vary depending on which areas of Myanmar you are in during the festival period. We met people who had been in Mandalay and they told us that it had been quite intense, the streets had been flooded with water and you couldn’t go anywhere without being soaked.

We experienced it in a quieter area of Myanmar; Bagan. Still very much a big part of the tourist path in Myanmar but a much smaller town Bagan seemed like the perfect place to experience the festival. Not that we’d chosen it, it just so happened to be the next stop on our route. 

Now I’ve experienced it for myself and knew very little if anything before my trip I thought it would be useful to others to put together a post about the key things you should know about the festival and what you should expect. 


Myanmar water festival

 

09/03/2018

In a nutshell: February

United Kingdom
Well, February went a lot quicker than January. Like, super quick. Blink and the month is done. I did manage to fit quite a lot in but I'm looking forward to March and hopefully some slightly warmer weather.

FEBRUARY ROUNDUP


February in a nutshell 2018 post


I went to Copenhagen


Yes, I finally got to visit Copenhagen after a few failed attempts. It was cold but a lot of fun. I went with my mum and it really nice to have a mother, daughter trip. Although we did have a few minor arguments, including one that involved my mum moaning that I was taking too many pictures. Sorry, mum.

I did a lot of research for this trip and booked a few restaurants before we went so expect a post on where to eat. 

I visited a friend in London


Considering we've been friends for four years this was my first time visiting her in London. We lived together at uni and did some travelling together last year. Since then I haven't seen her very often so I hopped on a train one Sunday to have a day of eating in cute cafes.

We went to Elan Cafe which seems to be the new insta cafe. After reading some reviews online I was a bit worried that it was a place just for cute pics rather than good food. However, I was wrong. The brownie I had is up there in the top brownies I've ever had. And trust me, I've had a lot of brownies. I opted for the white chocolate and raspberry one and our waitress asked if I wanted to be heated up and I'm so glad she asked as it was so good. It must have looked good too as the girls on the table next to us ended up ordering after seeing me eat it.

Elan Cafe London


I booked a one-way ticket to Hong Kong 


Ok, I might have booked it on the 31st of January at about 10pm so it was practically February, right?! 

Anyway, the day of booking doesn't matter that much. I mean, I booked a one-way ticket to a country I've never been to before. I wrote about this in more detail in my here's to new adventures post so I won't bore you with the details again.

Lucky Charm latte Elan Cafe

I cut my hair!


It was a bit of a last minute decision. Well, I had been thinking about it for a year or so but the actual cutting of hair was last minute. I woke up, waited for my mum to get home from work and asked her to cut my hair. Yes, I got my mum to cut my hair. No, she's not a hairdresser. But I was only having a cut nothing fancy so I figured she could handle it.

I went from waist length hair to hair just below my shoulders and you know what? I'm actually so glad I finally cut it. I was a bit worried I'd regret it, especially the horrible grow out. But so far I'm very happy with my decision.


I had a movie night


Yes, a good old-fashioned movie night. With pizza and cookies. My friend and I try and have a get together at least once a month. This time instead of going out for dinner I asked her if she fancied coming over to mine for an evening of movies and food! I love eating out but having a movie night allowed us to have a better catch up. I also got that Dominos I'd been dreaming about for the last month!


IN RETROSPECT: FEBRUARY GOALS


1. Keep reading 


I'm happy to report that I am still reading. Not quite at the same pace as I was in January but I'm still doing a lot better than last year when I read five books in the whole year. Although, I now am reading two books at once which is never a good idea!

2. Get through my to-do list


This is also something that's being done but rather slowly. In really exciting news my new external hard drive arrived so I've been able to transfer everything over to that. I've also booked an appointment at the bank to talk about credit cards which makes me feel like I'm adulting but in reality, I'll probably have no idea what they're saying to me.


3. Reach 900 twitter followers


Just about! Right at this moment, I have exactly 900 followers. Whether that's still the case in a day or two, or even an hour or two remains to be seen!


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I've decided not to set my self any goals for March, I have a massive to do list to sort before going to Hong Kong but I really don't think I need to bore you all with it.

I hope you all had a lovely February and are enjoying March! Personally, I'm loving the fact that it's still light after 5pm!

Sophie 



23/02/2018

Here's to new adventures

Hong Kong
If you keep up to date with my posts you may remember that, long ago, I mentioned wanting to teach in Vietnam. This was soon forgotten both on the blog and in real life. Then I came home from travelling and started to hint in my monthly summary posts about sorting out my plans for 2018. 

Basically, I needed to get my shit together. But that took quite a while. However, I did start to do this and even hinted about making progress with project sort out my life. I was very vague and totally one of those people who say they have exciting news but don't tell you what it is. Except I didn't actually say I had exciting news so maybe I'm not that bad.

Moving to Hong Kong blog




07/02/2018

In a Nutshell: January

Around the third week of January I started to feel like the month was going on forever, maybe it's just me I thought. Nope. Seems like the whole of Twitter was thinking the same thing. 

I actually quite like the fact that January went on forever, partly because February is going to fly by because it's such a short month. And partly because I have a countdown to something and still have loads to do for it so a slow month has made me feel a little less stressed.

JANUARY ROUNDUP


January round up blog post  

31/01/2018

A five week Interrailing Itinerary

Europe
Travel itineraries are very subjective. Each person has their own personal preferences. Those who like hiking will make sure their itinerary includes the best hikes in the area they visit. Beach lovers will choose to prioritise beach days.

Having said this I, personally, love reading other peoples itineraries, especially before I head off on a trip to the same destination. It's a great starting point for creating your own itinerary or for picking out the key sights to see. 

In today's post, I thought I'd share my Interrail itinerary with you. Hopefully, it will inspire some of you to go and explore Europe or help you if you're already trying to plan one. I visited both Eastern and Central Europe, we tried to see some more off the radar places, ones that we wouldn't necessarily visit for a weekend away and decided we'd sacrifice places such as Rome and Berlin as these are good options for weekend trips. My trip lasted around 5 and a half weeks and I'm surprised at how much we managed to fit in. Sometimes we were moving to a new place every other day or so but I didn't feel too rushed or tired out and I like to have lots of rest time!

Of course, my itinerary isn't perfect. I don't think any itinerary is. Because of this, I've also included changes I would make at the end of this post including where I felt we needed more time. Again, this is subjective but may be useful if you're trying to finalise your own route.


THE ITINERARY


Split: 3 nights 


interrail itinerary Split Croatia




17/01/2018

Goals for 2018

United Kingdom
I guess you could say that this post is a little late. But better late than never right?

I very nearly didn't bother with this post. I have a tendency to choose some goals and then forget them until the last week in December when I decide to have a look at them to see if I actually achieved any. 

But this year I'm determined to firstly, remember my goals for the whole year and secondly choose goals I can actually achieve. 

Sometimes I think it's good to have goals that are a bit more ambitious, however, this year I've decided that personally, I'm going to stick to realistic goals. Well, ones I think are realistic at this point in time! 

2018 goals




13/01/2018

Travelling for the sake of it

United Kingdom
I had plans to leave the country at least once more before the end of 2017. At one point I even thought I'd be leaving twice. I was planning a birthday weekend away and a weekend to Vienna to visit a university friend. The birthday weekend was postponed, somebody already had that weekend off work. No big deal. I'd go another weekend.

when you travel for the sake of it






08/01/2018

2017, in travel

United Kingdom
This post is a little late going up but I still wanted to post it to document my 2017 travels more for myself than anything else. 

Part of me feels like I didn't do a lot of travelling, especially when I compare it to 2016 where I went on four separate trips, three of these being backpacking trips.

However, I've actually done a lot more travelling this year than I realise.

I mean I spent four months this year backpacking Asia. That's a third of the year I spent travelling. So when I look at it this way I think it's safe to say that 2017 was a good travel year!

I visited seven countries in 2017. Three new countries and four revisits.

Myanmar


Myanmar was the first country I ever visited in Asia and also the first country I ever backpacked. I went back there during my trip to Asia because the friend I was travelling with had not been and also because I didn't feel like I'd seen enough of the country the first time around.

I'm so glad I returned as I was able to see things I didn't the first time like the temples of Bagan. We also got to experience the Thingyan water festival which is similar to the Songkran festival in Thailand.

Train to Hsipaw Myanmar




01/01/2018

2017 In a Nutshell

United Kingdom
And so 2017 is officially over.

2018 has begun.

So firstly,

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I hope you all had a wonderful new year however you chose to celebrate. In all honesty, I don't really know how I feel about 2017. Or the fact that it's over.

2017 in a nutshell blog post


 

WHAT HAPPENED IN 2017


I went travelling for four months 


I'm sure you all know about this trip because I certainly talk about it enough. I guess this was the biggest thing that happened in 2017. And by far the most exciting.

Four months seems like a long time until your sat on your flight back to the UK wondering why you're already returning home.

I won't go into too much detail about the trip in this post because I'm writing a post dedicated to my travel in 2017.

I adjusted to life after graduation


Ok so I did this in 2016 as well but 2017 was my first full year out of education. While a lot of my friends were well into their grad jobs I was figuring out my next steps

I learnt a lot about myself


Other than the whole jumping on a plane for four months, I don't feel like I actually did a lot or achieved much in 2017. The rest of my year was either spent planning the trip or mourning the fact that it was over. Oh, and working at a local coffee shop, blogging and doing housework. 

However, I had a lot of time to think last year. I've learnt a lot and I've grown in confidence. I think travelling helped with this, I wouldn't exactly say I found myself but I realised a lot of things and have had time to think about what I want to focus on in 2018.


I read 5 books


Yep, that's the number of books I managed to read in the whole year. Bad I know. I really didn't read much at all whilst travelling especially compared to my two week Mexico trip where I read 8 books. The Netflix app is in part to blame, the times I usually read were filled with Netflix instead.

2017 Summary


DID I MEET MY GOALS?


I set myself some goals at the start of 2017 and have just looked back at them to see if I achieved any. The short answer is yes. But seeing as this is a reflection post I thought I'd also bore you with the details of these goals. 

I set myself 9 goals at the start of the year and I'd say I can tick off around 5 of them. Which I guess is pretty good going. Especially as I had forgotten what most of them were by the end of the January. 


1. Less coffee, more tea


I don't rely on coffee to get me through the day anymore. In fact, I've been drinking less and less. Except while I was in Asia as sometimes I really did need a (very bad) coffee to wake me up. I think I might be becoming a tea person. Which is something I didn't think I'd ever find myself saying. 

I always choose a cup of tea over a cup of coffee in the evenings now. However, I'm still very much a coffee drinker when I'm out and about, especially if it contains caramel syrup!


2. Travel


This was a pretty broad goal. I knew that I'd be doing some travelling in 2017 so this was a pretty easy goal to meet.


3. Improve my budgeting skills


Something that can still be improved but is a lot better. I think travelling for so long helped me be more careful when it came to budgeting. I couldn't just brush something off as a treat because I had a set amount of money that had to last me for the whole trip.


4. Continue to blog and grow my blog


Well, I'm still blogging so I think I can tick this off. The growth of my blog has been slower than I wanted but I did take a four-month break while travelling and haven't been the most active on social media.

5. Be more spontaneous 


This is a goal that's a bit more difficult to measure. It's also a pretty subjective goal, something may seem spontaneous to one person but a normal activity to someone else. I think, personally, I've achieved this goal even if most of the time it was smaller things.


WHAT'S IN STORE FOR 2018


2017 was a year to get back on track with my blog, however, I wasn't as consistent as I wanted to be. In part, this was due to my four month trip to Asia, while I planned posts for while I was away I didn't schedule enough so there was a good couple of months of nothing. 

I want to be more consistent this year and also improve my content. I still have a lot of posts to write for places I visited during my trip so expect to see these over the next couple of months. 

I'm off to Copenhagen in early February so I'm hoping to produce some content for this trip. Also, that thing I talked about in my last nutshell post that I can't say much about yet is a lot more certain now but still not certain enough for me to tell you what it is. But if it all goes to plan I should have a lot of exciting content from April! 

Lifestyle posts are also something I'd like to post more of. I've realised that while travel is very much my focus I enjoy writing lifestyle posts.

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I hope all of you started the new year well. If you have a 2017 summary post then leave a link as I'd love to have a read!

Sophie 

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