Murder, Mayhem & Mrs Christie on the English Riviera – Torquay, England, U.K.

Murder, Mayhem & Mrs Christie on the English Riviera – Torquay, England, U.K.

52 Weeks

Bust of Agatha Christie Bust of Agatha Christie

Not many of you may know, but I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie.  She got me hooked on the genre and a few years back, I went to a festival which is devoted to her, her writing and her home in Torquay.  Just pulling into the station feels like you are in another world.

Torquay Our train driver to Torquay

Now, I said that things are changing on the blog and this is the start to part of that change.  I thought I would share more of my travel stories and this is one that came up recently, when I was having one of my ever endearing teas

Agatha Christie My Christie themed tea with a friend – John loves Poirot – wants to get a cane like his!

with a friend who had just been there, so we got to talking… and, to be honest…

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Tip for seeing the best of what Hanoi has to offer

One of the most memorable days we had while travelling in Vietnam was to do a Hanoi Kids tour. Being the sceptical, cynical bloke that I am when my wife said there is a tour where university students take you around Hanoi for free. My response was whats the catch. There was none. We met a lovely woman who tailored the day we wanted and took us around explaining the history of different spots we visited. She also took us to a lovely spot for lunch. We did pay for her lunch, the taxi rides and gave a donation at the end of the tour to the organisation that runs Hanoi Kids, but you are under no obligation to do this.

If you’re in Hanoi then contact Hanoi Kids. There is a reason that they consistently get five-star reviews on trip advisor. Check out my review of Hanoi Kids and others of our time in Vietnam at kiwiinbrighton or specifically for Hanoi Kids at http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g293924-d1752779-r269631182-HanoiKids_Tour-Hanoi.html

Vietnam tip for the day

If you are from NZ or Australia and have an ANZ bank account your in luck. In Hanoi and Saigon there are ANZ ATMs. Withdrawals are free. That’s right you can take out millions of dong without paying a fee. If you do not have an ANZ account the ATMs allow up to 5 million dong withdrawals which is still a saving with many ATMs having limits of 3 million or less. 

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.