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    Boracay, Philippines: First Impressions & Expressions

    We spontenously decided to fly to Boracay for my Birthday. I fell in love with the idea of spending the big 3-0 on a small island – the sort of island you always see in Maldives or Seychelles advertisements. I had heard from a lot of travellers that the Philippines was their favourite destination – so I was intrigued to see what they meant. The Philippines was not planned. And I’m so glad we came.
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    Laos: First Impressions & Expressions

    I fully understand that the tourism in Lao, and Cambodia for instance, are very new – not many speak English – making it very hard to communicate (unless you speak the language). But, I constantly felt like I was a nuisance to them. As if I was not overly welcome in their country. Lao rarely smile. Never really talk much. Which I later learnt is a cultural thing. I actually enjoyed the ‘silence’ intrinsic to their day to day lives. I could very much relate to that and thought it was a refreshing and welcome change to the European ‘compulsively having to chat non-stop’ mentality. But, signalling your dislike for conversations and being plain rude, are two pairs of shoes.
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    Vietnam: First Impressions and expressions

    Three months into my perpetual traveler existence and these feelings never surfaced in Nepal nor in India. So, when I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon as it is still called by many locals), I was disappointed. I had read so many great things about the city – I was not blown away. It would never be a city I would consider to live in. Like ever. Yes, the street food is yummy and there are some cool streets here and there – but other than that: it is dirty and extremely noisy. There are an estimate of about 6 million scooters buzzing around in Saigon. Unsurprisingly, it is called the motorbike city. Whatever it was that attracted people to live an expat life out here…I don’t know.
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    First impressions of Bangkok – coming from India.

    After five weeks in India, where sensory overload is a daily occurrence, Thailand was a breath of fresh air. Don’t get me wrong – I loved travelling through India – the best local encounters happened there. I have so many wonderful memories – they outweigh the negative aspects by far (noise, people trying to sell you stuff non-stop, Tuk Tuk drivers trying to rip you off etc.). But… I fell in love with Bangkok right from the start.
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    What is an Open-Minded Traveler?

    If these are the criteria to have an open mind, then I’ve failed more than once. Does this mean I am a bad traveler? I’m not sure. What I know is, that when I went on holidays in the past, I crossed the line and found myself to be more like a traveler than a tourist so many times. And vice versa, while I’m now travelling the world perpetually and nomadically, I sometimes have the attitude of a tourist. But this relates particularly to one specific aspect:
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