This Is Why We Love Village Hopping

Village hopping near mountain northen India

What Is Village Hopping?

Village hopping is an excellent way to discover small villages and get more insight into local life. You might wonder, what exactly is village hopping? And what are the benefits of trying it out?

Village hopping means to discover villages for a shorter period, from a few hours to a few days. Sometimes it includes visiting several places during one day. It is a way to get a glimpse of local life but also a way to get some adventure.

Being Spontaneous While Doing Village Hopping

True adventure while traveling includes being flexible, spontaneous and let curiosity guide you. When doing so, you will meet interesting people, see new places and create memorable days. Village hopping offers it all, with the unique charm, closeness to nature, and local life. It doesn’t have to be a small village, suburbs or the outskirt of a city can also have a smalltown vibe.

These places can often be found in the more remote end stations on metro lines or buses. It is a refreshing feeling to step out of the bus and having a fixed plan on where to go. A fun and exciting way to explore a new area is to follow your gut feeling or go after visual clues. Some example of visual clues can be a mountain, a walking path or a house that looks interesting. If you spot something you are curious about, let that be your direction. During your way look at things you find interesting, notice small details. In most cases this approach is safe, but be aware of where you are in and the current situation. Not all countries have the same security and if not village hopping is better to avoid.

Interact With Locals and Learn About the Culture

Smiling is a universal language, most people respond and smile back. Being kind can open up for conversations, making new friends and get closer to the culture.

From earlier travels, village hopping has led us to amazing experiences. Some of them are making new friends, sharing a cup of tea and learn about local plants. This lets us see coffee plants, black pepper trees, and pineapple plants in the backyard of new friends.

We have also joined many different local festivals, for example, the women’s day in Laos, when a few local women invited us to join their celebration. It all happened because we got curious, followed the sound of music and then found their place. We didn’t talk much since we didn’t share a common language, but for sure it was fun to dance and laugh together. Meeting people like this helps to stay humble, feeling connected, and increase tolerance. Our cultures and beliefs can be different, but in the end, we all want to be safe, happy and have a good time.

Get Some Perspective by Slowing Down

Village hopping is not only about connecting with people. Sometimes, it can be about getting a bit of perspective, a place to think or connect with nature. Spending time in green areas and slow down helps to bring harmony into life, making it easier to be in the present moment and enjoy life. I like to find a sit under a tree, strolling around or go to a local café and observe daily life.

 

Village Hopping Is for Everyone

This travel approach is for everyone to apply, no matter your age, travel experience or language skills. There are many adventures waiting ahead or you! By being spontaneous, open and trying something new is a great way to invite adventure into your life.

Chocolate Paradise to Be Found in Lviv – Ukraine

Lviv city, chocolate paradise city

Chocolate Paradise, Lviv

The Unknown Chocolate Paradise

I remember the first time we passed Lviv, it was back in late spring three years ago, on our way from Kiev to Warsaw. We only stayed in Lviv for two days but fell completely in love with the city that’s full of life, colors, and chocolate. After that first time, we actually returned to Lviv twice and the second time to stay for a month. There are many reasons why we decided to come back and stay for a longer time, one of them was that we found our chocolate paradise.

Ukraine Should Be Famous for Chocolate

I always heard that Belgium is the best travel destination for a person who loves chocolate. I actually haven’t been there yet and are still looking forward to coming there one-day :). Right now, it’s not a big rush though, for being in Lviv has given me such good memories. For a while, I had the challenge to try local chocolate in all countries we visited, I even saved all the beautiful covers. During travels we have also visited chocolate museums, factories and cafés. So far, from all this, Lviv is my number one destination for enjoying chocolate.

My Favorite Choclate Store

The popular store Lviv Handmade chocolate offers a wide selection of flavors. I liked that I also could see how them the chocolate factory inside the store and the café with a rooftop view of the city.
I love staying in Lviv and be able to walk into the store and come out with a few pieces now and then to try out and enjoy:). I’m so happy to share these moments with Chris and find new favorites. Lviv is a chocolate paradise and I’m quite sure this is not the last time that we will come to this lovely city:)

– Nature Is Our Church

Nature is our church, Chris looking out over mountains

 

Importance Of Nature In Our Lives

To compare nature with a holy place like church highlights the importance of nature in our lives. Treating nature as a church is for sure a great idea. Nature brings calm, relief from stress and is a place to get things into perspectives. Science also shown that increased memory, lower blood pressure and improve the mood. Even though this is something we all are aware of we still don’t take enough time in nature. How could we change this? For starters, one way could be to think more about the positive benefit nature gives us. Second we could make sure to make it a prioritiy to find ways to connect with nature. Connecting with nature dosn’t only mean to get out in the forest.

Time In Nature Helps Create Clarity

We all deal with difficulties in different ways. In one episode of the TV show Gilmore Girls, the main characters, Lorelei stands at a crossroad in life. She needs clarity and plans for a long hike inspired from the book Wild. Even though she didn’t end up doing the hike she still got time in nature which was transformative for her. She got insights on how to continue her life and where to go from where she was at the moment. Even though this was a TV show I still thought this was such a beautiful story. Many of us should turn to nature when things are difficult and we need some space.

Reframing The Word Nature To Nature Is Our Church

By reframing the word nature to nature is equals holy place, it helps to show the impact and importance. This reminder encourages us to get out in nature more and focus on taking the time. Nature brings us so much happiness and calm. Small actions, for example, notice to the blue sky or finding a favorite tree to sit under helps to bring that calm. Which small things could you do to connect with nature, starting from today?

 

Trying Out The 72-Hour Visa-Free Transit In China

Long Time Since Our Last Visit

It had been two years since I and Chris visited China last time. We needed some space after traveling mostly in China and spend some time in between discovering other countries. Each time I have entered China I have had different emotions and experiences around it. For example, first time was the romance, second time was more of the reality check  and the third time I started to see the bad sides. After that I felt I needed a break and discover other countries for a while.

Problems Faced When Entering China

Now, two years later we thought it was perfect to try the short 72-Hours Transit Visa during our travels in Asia. At first there was  a bit problem to enter the country. Since we had forgotten to print out our next flight we had no prof of transit flight. And we didn’t have it online and couldn’t get any wifi. Anyhow, we were able to solve it with some help. If we hadn’t forgotten to print the ticket it would have worked very smoothly.

Space Helped Us See What We Missed In China

When coming back, Iunderstood how much I had missed some sides of China. There are so many things I like: my friends, the awesome food, and all the contrasts. We ate lots of dinners, stayed with our friends and their family. It was warm feelings coming back seeing all again. During our time we also discovered old areas  that was going to be demolished and could document it. Like always in China we also made sure to get lot´s of time in the parks. The parks are really bursting with life. There are flying kites, people dancing, singing, playing an instrument, painting, drinking tea, playing games and lots more. The garden is like the living room!
I can totally Imagine stop over with the 72 hour visa again. To be be honest, now I really long for a longer period again. It would be amazing to spend some more time in the province Yunnan and a month of two in Shanghai hanging out with friends.

If You In Travel Asia, Don’t Miss China

For us this visa-free stay was perfect and I can Imagine that it will give lots of fantastic experiences for other travelers too.  China has so much to offer, it is worth traveling just for the food itself. There are plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans too. If doing things right, the 72 Hours Transit Visa is really smooth.
Why not make a visit to China on your next trip to Asia?

 

193 Documentaries & Countries – Fiji


We have been to countless of markets around the world and yet seldom we considered how far the vendors been commuting only to get there to sell their products. This is obviously a problem for many people living in remote places around the world, and for some places in Fiji this is true too. This documentary gives some light for a village called Nasau and this based of a UN project on how to improve the situation for the women enduring harsh condition only to be able to sell their products. After see this film we’ll definitely consider vendors moren and further our investments in charity and micro finance organisations such as Kiva.

193 Documentaries & Countries – Andorra


Andorra is an interesting and a very small country. Being so small it also means there a limited amount of videos on Youtube. We decided to see a video on winter sports in Andorra since that was what we found when we sorted out documentaries on Andorra’s size or general “travel to Andorra” documentaries.

Chris really love skiing and seeing this documentary grow his wishes to ski soon again. We also learn something pretty cool we didn’t hear about before the sport is known as speed flying. Who would have guessed that you could combine skiing and jumping off steep slopes in Andorra?
Well, not us!

Doing Something For Others

giftChristmas and New years have been great and we have spent lots of time with family and friends. Christmas time is also normally a time where we give each other gifts to show affection and that we care.

A great gift, that we both have got, is to support Kiva and become a lender of a microloan. Kiva focus empowers people by lending out money. It is without returned interest and rather an act of doing something for others and help to change people’s lives:). The money from the loan can help to start a small business and give someone a chance for change.

We started with lending out money through Kiva last year and already got the money back. We have been able to reuse the money it and support a new person which feels pretty amazing!

By the time,  we hope to help people from around the world to be able to create a better life. Maybe it’s not that big, but it makes a difference for at least one person.

Photo Credit:
Michael Schwarzenberger

193 Documentaries & Countries – Malaysia


Since we plan to travel to Malaysia this year we thought we should start off with a documentary to learn something different about this diverse country. The terrific internet speed and broadband in Malaysia have played a huge role and that’s one reason why we decided to stay there for a month or two. We need fast internet for working remotely while we travel. Another interesting fact is that Chris also work with fiber optics infrastructure and that makes this documentary more interesting for us. :)

Turns out, that Malaysia has succeeded with introducing fiber high speed internet within 18 months. Having this opportunity plays a major role both for the citizens, the society and to attract foreign investors and companies.
We often talk a lot about how the internet makes it possible for people to work online, to study and to connect like never before and having broadband makes a huge difference.

However.. This documentary is made by and about TM and obviously that is huge disadvantage for the viewer. For more on TM and broadband in Malaysia such as prices read here.

Refugees Volunteering Resources

I’ve had it! I can’t stand reading anymore! Do you feel the same? Here is an ongoing list of activities in Europe for refugees. Together we can unite Europe, the world and humanity. Everyone can do something. Please help me add activities!

SWEDEN
-Become a volunteer for Individuell Människohjälp (IM), donate etc . Click here

-Search for specific volunteering oppertunities. Click here

NETHERLANDS
-Offer your to host a family in your house, and/ or practical things like filling in forms, showing and explaining things about your town, the Netherlands, or just having a coffee.

-Host a Refugee until they get a new home assigned. Click here

-Drop off a backpack with goodies and toys for kids from 0-12 years old in Amsterdam, The Hague, Laren, Zwolle, Rotterdam. Click here

-You want to do something. Donate stuff, your spare room or your skills by filling in a form here and hopefully they can connect you to the right people. Click here

GERMANY
-Have a refugee as your flatmate, they will find a way to pay for the rent: minimum 3 months, if rent is financed by public offices (if you choose to), then minimum stay 6 months. Click here

-Here is a website that provides an interactive map with links to projects all over Germany.
Click here

-Help a refugee with translations (think forms, explaining processes etc). Click here

UK
Lobbying at your local council, Welcome newly arrived refugees with orientation Mentoring refugees to help with integration and accessing public services, Offering housing or hosting refugees. Click here

SPAIN
Madrid:
-Translators in Madrid get in touch with SErvicio de Traductores e Intérpretes (SETI). Uliana Stefanova Tel: 915 232 596.

All over spain:
-This post keeps being updated on local initiatives. Click here

INTERNATIONAL
-You have kids or are a teacher and don’t know how to explain what is going on? Get the UNHCR’s toolkit.

Photo Credit Kai Stachowiak.

Can the impossible become possible?

We are soon leaving Portugal for our 10 days trip to Morocco and our first time in Africa. It feels very exciting and we are both really looking forward to this. We hope to get to know some people in Morocco, visit the Sahara dessert and do a short interrailing from Marrakech to Fez.

Since we are getting closer to 2016, we are thinking more about next year. I think it’s very hard for us to choose one path or another. We want both and be double, Tiny house people and Digital Nomads people who explore the world.

In some ways, tiny house is a perfect match for a minimalist lifestyle. We value experiences and a mindful way of living where we include things that make us happy. We want to live simple and travel in a simple way too. No fancy stuff but choosing things that will give us lovely memories, stories and an interesting life.

Travels are also very minimalistic, we almost don’t bring anything and living in another place for a longer time is another kind of everyday life with lots of new perspectives and lessons. We learn more what we need and what we appreciate in life.

In another way it feels like we are crazy in having this thought, how could we build a house, put effort and money and then be away traveling for many months years, living in other places when we have a lovely home. Still we really love to learn, explore and grow as persons and we feel that we force us to do so during travels. Should we then instead focus all our effort only on travels and don’t make life so complicated?

We don’t have any answer yet but lots of questions and thoughts.

Photo Credits Amber Avalona