Our Top Four Travel Gear Items for 2019

After almost seven months of intense travel through Asia in 2019, we’ve figured out what travel gear we absolutely can’t live without. There are four items we find ourselves continually reaching for, day in and day out. We feel that these are so crucial to our daily routines that we can’t imagine traveling without them–at least on a trip like ours. We wanted to share them with you!

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Reflections: Six Weeks into Our Life Sabbatical

It’s been about six weeks since we left the comfortable confines of DC for the exciting, exotic, and unpredictable world of our life sabbatical. In that time, we’ve traveled through much of northern Vietnam—including Hanoi, Sapa, and the Ha Giang Loop—and are now heading through the southern part of the country. We’ve eaten strange foods, most of which we’d eat again. We’ve met a number of people doing similar things (most from Europe and Australia). And Daniela and I have learned a good deal about each other and how we travel.

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7 Days Off the Beaten Path in Hanoi, Vietnam

How to travel like a local in Vietnam’s capital city

Hanoi is one of those cities where you can immediately feel the pulsing energy. When you step out into the city air, it assaults your senses. The sights, smells, sounds, and feel of the air around you come together to create a wonderful rush of excitement. After a week spent immersing ourselves in Hanoi, we think the best way to experience this city is to venture off the beaten path.

Hanoi is a city full of tourists with a thriving hostel culture, so if you wanted, you could spend a week only hanging out with Westerners and eating hamburgers and French fries the whole time. Don’t get us wrong–sometimes we definitely want our creature comforts! But for this trip, we wanted to experience local Hanoi to the greatest extent possible. Here are some ideas to help unlock the richness that Hanoi has to offer.

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How does it feel a week after stepping off the proverbial cliff?

It’s now been a week since we stepped off the plane and into the drizzling mist and humidity of our first stop: Hanoi, Vietnam. We’ve spent a week eating, drinking, and wandering our way through Hanoi’s top sites and fascinating nooks and crannies. But the question remains: how do we feel about the fact that we’ve upended our lives to travel on a life sabbatical for the foreseeable future?

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Why we decided to quit our jobs and travel the world

Earlier this year, after months of weighing the pros and cons, Daniela and I looked at each other and agreed: we were really doing this. We were going to quit our jobs, pack up our things, rent out our home, and travel to Asia with little more than two backpacks and a cocktail of fear, anticipation, and excitement.

But why, you may ask? And that’s a question we’ve asked ourselves many times. After all, we’re both in great, satisfying jobs with successful career paths ahead of us. Why take the risk given the unknown that awaits us? It came down to a few key reasons, and the more we have time to reflect on our decision, the more we’re sure it’s the right one for us.

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