Top Three Favourite Moments from My 25th

The past year, I have been trying to be more appreciative of all the good things happening in my life. And what a better way to do it then to look back at the top three favourite moments?

Let’s be honest – so often we take so much for granted. I decided to put gratitude on my list of things to improve.

The last twelve months have been the most adventurous and educational yet (plus the 2 months before when I left for Asia, but I’m not counting that here).

During that time, I feel like I’ve learned more about myself than I have in years. This is not only due to the places I’ve been lucky to visit and live in, but thanks to the people I met along the way and the experiences that came with both.

I finally started to believe in myself.

Myself as in ME, and not someone who isn’t sure about not belonging somewhere 100%. I decided to follow my desire for adventure instead of monotony, and not base my life on the constant worries of not following the rules of our society.

And I feel good about it.

I also decided to take a bit of time off from writing and editing, as I needed a break to look at things from a different perspective. And now I am ready to get back to it. Properly.

During my birthday dinner, my friend Hana asked the question:
“What are your favourite three moments of this past year?”

Oh no.. are you kidding me? Like, actually kidding?
I sat there and thought, sat and thought & sat and thought..

Three? How can I possibly choose only three?

My friends staring right at me waiting for the answer and my mind was going a thousand miles per hour, trying to decide.
I’ve done so much in the past twelve months, that I didn’t even know how to narrow it down.

All I could think about was the fact how incredibly lucky I’ve been to experience so much.

But, I finally did. Somehow I narrowed it all down.

And here are my :

Three Favourite Moments From My 25th

And trust me, I am writing about them with the biggest smile on my face.

 

Trekking in Shan State, Myanmar

 

Visiting Myanmar in general, has been an absolute dream. It was nearly impossible to narrow down to one favourite moment as every single day was an experience in itself, putting me out of my comfort zone one by one.

But I think it has to be the opportunity to trek around the mountainous Shan State.

Besides the fact that it was pretty much the biggest challenge yet, I was trekking with a sport’s obsessed person, a couple that has just finished hiking all over Iceland and the trek guide himself.. My fitness levels were nowhere near the same to my buddies.

Walking roughly 25km a day up some ridiculously steep mountains (which, I didn’t think people would hike up in the first place). I refused to show any weakness as I didn’t want the others to slow down because of me.

Saying that, on day one I was already thinking to myself about finding someone with a motorbike and convincing them to give me a ride back.

But I didn’t. And walking through the tiniest villages I’ve ever seen plus the people occupying them have created some of the best memories from my travels. The fact that the locals were not used to seeing foreign faces due to not many guides knowing about this specific route made everything more special.

We were getting invited to their homes, kids were running out of their schools and houses and run after us until we left the village completely.

 

We stayed in those adorable villages – in people’s homes, eating delicious brekafast, lunch and dinner prepared by the families who looked so happy even though their lives are nowhere near being the easiest.

Waking up to views of the Shan mountains and the fresh air is so clear in my head as it was just yesterday. Same as taking a shower in a longi, outside with two bamboo ‘walls’, out of buckets, but with the coolest landscapes around.

That was definitely an ice breaker when I met another girl there, and we ended up having to help each other wash our hair.

The whole experience was made possible thanks to Mitch – our trek guide. Most of what I know about Myanmar is thanks to his incredible stories during our long walks, I would ask an endless amount of questions and listen to each and every answer with my mount wide open.

The thing that makes it even more special is the fact how lucky I was to do that specific trek, as it’s not possible anymore to head that far into the mountains, especially if you are a tourist due to the political issues.

 


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Spontaneous boat ride with locals
to a tiny island, Philippines

 

In December, I decided to head to the Philippines for a few days. I planned absolutely nothing and decided to go with the flow completely.

In fact, I went ‘with the flow’ so much that I nearly ended up with nowhere to sleep on my first night in Panglao, until a hostel owner agreed to let me use the mattress and sleep on the floor.

Within a couple of hours however, I met some girls staying at the same hostel (absolute party legends) and we ended up chilling on the beach with the locals they met a night earlier.

Drinking the ridiculously cheap (but still tasty) rum, playing on their handmade Conga drums, laughing and singing until sunrise (8am to be exact). No need for that mattress in the end.

 

 

Next thing we knew, we (five girls) were on a small boat with about 10 guys who I knew for less than 12 hours, drinking rum, having an absolute blast.

Then realising midway through that the guys could potentially be some kind of pirates. Taking us to an island we knew absolutely nothing about.

But, I decided to trust my intuition and just enjoy myself. First of all, it was kind of too late to do anything and second of all, it’s usually those kinds of situations that turn into epic memories right?

And guess what? Together with chilling on the most beautiful island, introducing local kids to Snapchat and snorkelling (plus getting stung by a huge jellyfish) – it ended up here, on the TOP THREE MOMENTS OF MY 25TH.

 

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Songkran, Chiang Mai

 

If you’ve met me since I first came to Asia, you’ll know that I see Thailand as my ‘Asian home.’

A country that I originally planned to visit only for a few days (the north part), and ended up staying for three months while volunteering, travelling and having some of the most incredible and life-changing times.

A country with so many smiley faces that will leave you absolutely baffled. The most incredible landscapes, food, culture and atmosphere.

It’s impossible not to love it there.

That was one of the reasons why Songkran (the Thai New Year) was on my bucket list for a while, besides the very fact that it’s the biggest water fight in the world.

I decided to visit my Asian home in April when the festivities took place. I didn’t really know what to expect, I had an idea but didn’t want to read too much about it online, and decided to find out for myself.

 

 

 

Now let me tell you, our New Year has absolutely nothing on the Thai New Year. No joke.

Songkran was the best New Year celebration I have ever witnessed. Without a doubt.

I have never, EVER seen SO many happy faces. I didn’t know it was possible. Thai people are so incredibly happy to celebrate the New Year that even thinking about it now puts the biggest smile on my face. And the best part? They love sharing it with foreigners.

It’s impossible to put the experience into words, but just imagine walking out of your hostel/hotel and getting water chucked on you within seconds from the people waiting on the sidewalks, the cars driving past or even from somewhere on the roofs.

Some of the water is freshly melted ice.. very refreshing for sure. And most of the water is from the moat.. yup. Maybe slightly less refreshing.

It was the first time in my life, witnessing that kind of atmosphere. The best way for you to see what I mean is to simply experience it for yourself, you can also watch the video I made (below) hopefully getting a bit more of an idea.

The celebrations weren’t the only thing that made that trip so special. It was again, the people that I was lucky to meet and celebrate with.

All in all, as much as I loved Chiang Mai before – this time it exceeded any of my expectations and I fell in love with the country even more.

Watch my experience below :

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I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all of the people that I’ve met in this past year, you really have changed my life whether slightly or a lot.

And here’s to another year of incredible adventures!!

{ PS. Thank you Hana for inspiring me to write this <3 }

 

Places visited :

Thailand
Myanmar
Taiwan
Philippines
Hong Kong
South Korea

 

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