Worse travel blogger in the history of Earth

Ok I might be exaggerating a tad. However, after a year of blogging I have decided that I am not that good at getting a sizeable following. I have tried all the usual avenues of pininterest, instagram, twitter and a link to a Facebook page at JohnanddebbiesRTWadventures. I think the name of my blog was probably my first mistake. I mean kiwihove.wordpress.com what was I thinking! I also think my blogs must be a bit on the mundane side judging by the number of views I get, although who knows how right are the wordpress gremlin counters.

My wifes blog has 3706 followers versus my paltry 172. Her blog is called 52 weeks, Letters I have written. She wrote a letter each week and sent it to people from wherever we were in the world. I must say we did get to visit lots of different post offices on our travels.

I am not going to give up but over the next few months will have a look at the site and blogs to see where I went wrong! I did have visions of generating an income from the blog but that seems a distant dream. I have read lots of other blogs and how to generate income but keep coming up short. I still haven’t figured out to do the shared affiliate thing. I am sure there are literally thousands of other bloggers in the same leaky boat as me. My wife also likes to point out that my grammar needs to improve and she is completely correct. My other great weakness is understanding IT and making things easier. My next step is to try doing a course and whether I want to change from a com to a org and perhaps rename my site that is something to do with travel might help!

Musings on travelling around the world for a year

I appreciate the opportunities I had this year in being able to travel around the world with my lovely wife Debbie. We had some fantastic experiences, saw some wonderful sights and met lovely people along the way. It was nice to catch up with her side of the family in Canada and meet some new ones. It also was good to see my brother and his wife in New Zealand along with my niece Courtney and nephew Sean. Reconnecting with old friends from the past and recent ones was also very enjoyable.

What we did travel wise?

One month in Canada
four months in the USA
One month in NZ
One month in Australia
Three days in Singapore
One month in Malaysia
One month in Vietnam
one month in Thailand
Three weeks in Cambodia
One month in India
Three days in Dubai

It seems a lot looking back at it, a year of our life. Lots of highlights such as Columbian icefield, Blizzard in August in Calgary, Yellowstone Park, swimming with a manatee in Florida, Yorktown, Arizona, Tombstone and that is just North America having hardly scratched the surface. New Zealand we caught snapper and walked the Tongariro crossing as well as stayed a night on Tiri Tiri Matangi and saw kiwi in their natural habitat.

Did it change me?

I read lots of blogs about how travel makes you a better person, broadens your horizons and inspires new adventures. I must be the exception. I am happy about how I was before I travelled and it has not changed me. It has inspired me with ideas of new adventures, but I do not think it has broadened my horizon. It does make me appreciate my nationalities and privileged upbringing compared to many of the countries we visited. I always found something to appreciate or marvel at every country we visited. The USA with its great horizons, New Zealand and the unique bird life, Australia and its weird marsupial beasties, SE Asia for the food, Angkor Wat and the ease of travelling around from place to place. India with the Taj Mahal and my now favourite Indian city Udaipur.

We chose to do this adventure because we had an opportunity and we are not getting any longer. I backpacked before in my youth, this time we did not and I have to say I enjoyed it a lot more. We did not get sick once on our travels, the people we met were fantastic and the places we stayed great. I would say that trip advisor for me was my most valuable asset in making our plans on what to see, where to eat and stay. In the past it was always random for me which was part of the fun. However, as you get older it is nice to know you are not going to wake up with bed bug bites, get food poisoning or be overcharged for a tour you could have done yourself for free. I hope some of my reviews under the plume de nom kiwiinbrighton has made a few other people’s visit to places easier.po

My main take home from a years travelling is that wherever you go in the world there are wonderful sights to experience and people to meet.

I am interested in other people’s experiences about travelling for long amounts of time and would love to hear your thoughts?

Back in England

After a year travelling we are back in England. I write this blog watching the rain fall outside my window. It is odd to be home after being on the road for a year. Our last few weeks in India went smoothly and we visited Udaipur and then back to Delhi. We flew out to Dubai for a few days and then hit the ground running when we got back to our empty house. I am hoping to finish a few more blogs in the next few weeks about our last weeks in India and three-day stopover in Dubai. Thanks to everyone that has followed the blog and I do intend to keep blogging and happy to answer any questions about our travels or for anyone looking for any tips. A few photos below from our wonderful year of travel in the USA, New Zealand, Asia and a few other places.

Village tour around Jodhpur and the Mehranghah fort

Jodhpur

Jodhpur is known as the blue city and famous for the Mehranghah fort that towers over the city. At our home stay we have a great view from the rooftop of the fort especially when it is lit up at night. The fort is over 500 years and survived battles and sieges. Gates with cannon ball indentations are still visible. There are also in one of the arches of the gates outlines of the hands of past widows who committed suicide after the death of their husband. All this adds to the atmosphere of this wonderful historic site. The fort is slowly being restored and the work done so far is excellent. We came up the back way of the fort which meant a short stroll to the entrance for the 500 rupee ticket which included the audio tour. The audio tour is brilliant and the best one I have come across so far in India. There are 33 stops on the audio tour with some clumped together. Several of the rooms in the Palace are extravagantly decorated.

Village Safari

On our second day we booked a village safari. We spent a great day out seeing wildlife and traditional villages. The morning tour began at the clock tower with a short drive to the countryside. Once there we were lucky to see on our way to the first village some vultures, a mongoose and several deer.

During the day the tour stopped at a sheep and goat herders village and a Bishnoi village where we saw an opium ceremony. Later we visited our guides weavers home. Here we had a lovely vegetarian lunch cooked by out guides mother and saw his home stay bungalows. If we had more time we would have stayed for a few nights. We enjoyed watching the carpet weaving and pottery making demonstrations. We also ended up buying a carpet which will decorate our home when we get back in a few weeks. Great value for money to with the tour costing 800 rupees each including a tasty lunch. The name of the company and link to the tour is Village Safari Day Tours.

This tour is off the tourist trail. I would highly recommend it for people interested in traditional Rajasthan village life. It was nice to get out of the city away from the hustle and bustle of Jodhpur.

An idiots guide to a safe and comfortable trip in Vietnam

John:

Just thinking about the great time we had in Vietnam and for anyone heading there hopefully these tips might be useful

Originally posted on JohnandDebbieRTWadventure:

Having survived a month in Vietnam I thought it might be useful to give people a few tips on safety and comfort. The traffic and especially all the scooters is a bit daunting at first, but there is a method to the madness. I always liked to time my crossing the road with another Vietnamese pedestrian and follow their lead or to just go boldly forward albeit slowly and not stopping. I never felt unsafe in Vietnam during our trip and of course you take the usual precautions, not leaving phones on tables at restaurants or bags unattended. Keep your bag close to your body when walking around or strapped in front as my wife does with her purse.

Transport

We found that Vinasun taxis were the best to use. Never had a problem with meters being turned on and the drivers were all polite. The taxis are in Saigon…

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Some useful tips when visiting Angkor Wat

Siem Reap

The city of Siem Reap is not going to win any awards for style or beauty. It is basically at the moment a huge building site in many areas. We had a lovely time there and most of the restaurants we ate out at were fine. There are a few places to visit and I would suggest if you are in Siem Reap make your first stop the Angkor National Museum to get a good introduction of Angkor Wat before visiting it.

Last month we spent 9 nights in Siem Reap. We stayed at the Privilege Floor at the Lotus Blanc Resort. Easily the best hotel we stayed in during our three and a half months in South East Asia. I have put a link above to my trip advisor review if you are looking for a bit of luxury when you are in Siem Reap.

Our goal in visiting Siem Reap was visiting Angkor Wat and the other temples. Below I have written several tips to make your trip to Angkor Wat easier and more effective.

Tips to visiting Angkor Wat

First tip is decide on what pass to buy. There are three types of passes. The seven day US$60, three day US$40 and one day US$20. We bought a three day pass which is valid over one week which means in the hot weather you can break up your touring with rest days if your there a week or five days. The ticket seller photographs you for the photo pass. One thing we found out later is that you should get a free map of the temple area. We did not. If you buy the pass late in the afternoon it allows free entry to Angkor Wat at sunset and you still get three days to visit it again and the other temples.

Second tip visit the Angkor National museum in Siem Reap before you go to Angkor Wat. The museum gives you background information on the different eras, mural, history of the sites and an insight into the history of the area.

Third tip is visit Angkor Wat at 5am for the sunrise viewing and make sure you buy the ticket the night before.

Fourth tip is go across the West Gate entrance causeway to the inner area. We went to the right side small lake for the sunrise and photos. It was fine and not as crowded as the left side.

Fifth tip use a guide if you can and make sure there a real one and accredited. We paid US$45 for a whole day. Money well spent. Tuk Tuk for the day costs between US$18-25. Depending on how much distance you cover. They have the mini tour and the grand tour. We did both.

Sixth tip is drink lots of water or fresh coconut juice. Lastly just enjoy the experience. Best bits for us were visiting the less popular temples and exploring them by ourselves.

I have written reviews on each of the temples we visited during our time at Siem Reap and the link below are further tips about the entire site.

Angkor Wat archeological Park