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Bangkok – A city of diversity

Thailand-Bangkok 020

Random photos of our last two visits to Bangkok, Thailand…

Teatime in Cameroon Highlands, Malaysia


The bus was creeping up the mountains trough dense lush rainforest and high green covered mountains. Hairpin curves near deep ravines that would have us grabbing our seat if it wasn’t for the mesmerizing view.

Villagers are building houses out of palm leafs on the side of the streets and stalls selling fresh fruit and juice are setup in front of almost every hut. The highlands feels very rural with tiny settlements scattered all over this big mountain area, roughly the size of Singapore. The exception is the small towns that houses food markets, convenient stores, hostels and hotels, everything you need to get by with your day, no more, no less.

After 5 hours we arrive in the sleepy town of Tanah Rata. Strolling trough town towards our hotel we are met by the scent of pine trees mixed with the scent of moist rainforest and freshly cooked Malay, Chinese and Indian food from the many hawker stalls. The air is fresh and cool and it feels great to be able to breathe again after weeks of heavy pollution in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The sun is setting over the mountains and we fall asleep almost instantly after arriving at the hotel after a long day on the bus.

The next morning we are picked up by a minibus that is taking us to the Boh tea plantation and other various excursions like a strawberry farm and a buddhist temple. We where later joined by a retired couple from Canada who sold there house to go backpacking around the world. I love to see wanderlust in all forms and ages. Hope that i’m keeping up the traveling at that age.

The chinese driver was handling the hairpins like a pro but i must say that the honking before every turn was a reminder that fellow drivers might not be as cautious. One of the Canadians asked the bus driver what the green bushes by the side of the road was. His response was ”tea plants”, we were getting closer to our destination. Boh, tea plantation.

After the next bend we were met by an amazing  view of rolling green hills of miles and miles of luscious tea plants. From a distance the thick vegetation looks almost like thick green moss.

Although I’ve been enjoying a cup of tea every morning for years now this was my first encounter with an actual tea plant. Arriving at the plantation we went inside the factory to see the full process from plant to finished tea. It was interesting but the real draw-point was the mountainside of endless tea plants.

The factory itself looked like a modern farm and the scent of processed tea was close to that of wet hay, making you think more of a cattle farm then a tea plantation. I guess it was one of those ”you think you know but you have no idea” moments.

All in all it was a great experience which will probably enrich my experience of my daily cup of tea.

The start of a new journey

Taking off

The sun is shedding it’s first rays reflecting like a kaleidoscope on the glass buildings that seems to go on forever into the sky. Loud chants from the nearby minarets is echoing trough a maze of futuristic buildings, picture perfect gardens and traditional mosques. It’s 6 am in Dubai, and I’ve never felt longer from home.

How I got here started about 5 years ago on a trip around the U.S. We we’re soaring at 10 000 ft. over Los Angeles, heading for New York when it bit me. The travel-bug had sunken it’s fangs. I knew that I had to make time for some extensive traveling and see what the world had to offer. As always, life got in the way. For the next couple of years I did 2-3 weeks of travel a year, meaning some 49 weeks where spent working. Doesn’t sound like the long time travel dreams I was looking for, does it?

In early summer of 2010, on a similar trip, going from Stockholm to New York on a one week vacation to visit my girlfriend Lina, who was studying there at the time, it hit me. If we don’t travel now, it will never happen. We just had to figure out how to transform our thoughts into action.

The rough plan was to spend at least 3 months abroad starting around New Years 2010/2011.

Having a full-time job, which I was enjoying, and Lina being occupied with her second year of social studies at the university with 1,5 years left to graduation, we knew it wouldn’t be easy.

On top of this, some hard earned cash had to be saved up for a trip like this. Blessed with a partner living on a student budget, I was off to a good start. Though it didn’t take me long to realize that this couldn’t be achieved by just crunching numbers and skipping the occasional dining out, or splurging on the next hot gadget. The change had to run deeper then just saving up on little things, my whole perspective on consumerism had to be changed. The constant race to buy myself happier had to stop, or at least be severely slowed down. Suffering from a bad case of Apple- fandom and being an overall tech-junky, it would become quite a challenge.

Having gone vegan, cold turkey, 8 month earlier, I knew that dramatic changes isn’t that hard if you just go for it. Trying to apply the same mindset I used when I turned in a bloody steak for a plate of vegetables, I knew I had to focus on the essential.

What is it that makes me get out of bed in the morning? Is it the material objects I’ve been hoarding over the years, or is it the people I’ve met? The things I’ve done? The experiences I’ve had?

The answer was simple. I had to focus on Doing things rather then Buying things. Seems pretty obvious, but in our modern society stepping outside the box, trying to find a more aware, minimalistic approach to living was for me a major game-changer.

With the support of a great boss and co-workers I was granted 5 months off work and Lina put her studies on a 6 month hiatus. We got the ball rolling…

One thing led to another and in the beginning of february we took off for Dubai to begin our round the world trip.

To end this lengthy post (sorry for the jabbering) I think a proper introduction is in order. My name is Olov and I’m from a small town in northern Sweden. My expectations is to keep this blog updated as often as possible on my quest to live more, travel more, learn more.

Sitting on the porch of our hotel in Manila right now and slowly adjusting to life abroad.

Hope to bring you along for the ride!