Welcome to our monthly series of the Journey Update where we keep you clued up on where we are, what we are up to and the highs and lows of the month. You can find all our other updates here.


Where are we now?

In Hanoi, Vietnam!

Where have we been?

The first 10 days of February were spent at home before flying out to Vietnam! We popped by Ho Chi Minh for an airport meal and then we’ve spent the rest of our time settling in to lovely Hanoi and our new home.

What have we been doing?

Saying goodbye, moving to Vietnam, apartment hunting, job hunting and eating at least 4 meals a day! We’ve also been coffee shop hopping, finding the best Caphe Sua Da and wifi that Tay Ho has to offer.

To get around, we rented a scooter together and Oli bought a motorbike. We love taking both out around West Lake and, after a few days of white knuckle riding, I am finally getting comfortable riding myself to work.

Speaking of, I settled on a job! Well, actually I settled on 3 and counting. I decided to go with part-time freelance teaching with 3 different language centres. Due to having a trip home booked in July and the fact that I want to be flexible with my schedule when we have friends come to visit, it made the most sense. Right now I only have 16 hours of teaching a week, but as classes open up I will get more. It also means I have 3 days off, which is, of course, lovely!

And Oli? More on that in the Journey Highs…



Journey highs

We had tonnes of fun in London for our ‘see you later’ party in Dinerama. Awesome food, awesome atmosphere and awesome friends.

Arriving in Vietnam was so exciting and Oli and I walked around in a daze for days, with huge grins plastered on our jet lagged faces. It’s so crazy to come back to a place where you were once a backpacker, now as a newbie expat. We’ve discovered so many cool spots this time round and love being in the very Tay (westerner), Tay Ho.

Apartment hunting was really fun and we are so happy with our big, bright home with plenty of character. Plus an ant or two…



Teaching again has been a blast! It was 100% the right decision for me to try my hand at teaching again and I’m excited to see how I develop here in this new environment.

What is even more exciting job-wise though, is that Oli launched his new business! Depaolisdesign.com is now live and ready to take on web and graphic design work. Travel bloggers, reach out to us for an early bird discount. We are so happy to be in a place where we have the freedom, of time and cheap-living, to take on these new projects. It turns out that Hanoi is really fantastic for start-ups and freelancers.

Slowly but surely, we’ve begun to find a little crew in Hanoi too and we love how multi-cultural and diverse our area is. Making friends has definitely made Hanoi feel more like home. We were even taken out for a huge BBQ dinner by a Vietnamese neighbour.

And last, but certainly not least, pretty much every single meal we’ve had has been delicious… if you follow me on Instagram you’ll see that our days revolve around food, food and more food.





Journey lows

My mom broke her thumb! Just a few days before her big 50th birthday celebration my poor mum seriously injured herself and ended up being really drugged up during our emotional goodbye. What a nightmare! She is now on the mend but a millimetre or two down.

Saying goodbye to loved ones is never easy…

Finding a teaching job in Hanoi may have been easy but once I started receiving offers, choosing between them certainly wasn’t! It obviously felt great to be in demand but I really struggled with knowing which of two very different paths to go down.

Hanoi is a rapidly developing city and no matter what time of day or night, we can’t seem to escape the sound of construction. The dogs barking below us doesn’t help either… but we still love our place!



Top Instagram of the month

Your favourite Instagram was mine too! This gorgeous little street scene in Hanoi’s Old Quarter…


Oli’s was me too, having dinner in the famous BBQ chicken street.

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 15.08.19

2016 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge, Month 2

This year I’m trying out the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge to read 41 books, from a series of uniquely different topics, in one year. In this monthly journey update, I will let you know which books I read that month and what categories they filled. I’ll also give handy Amazon Kindle links so you can get them yourself, just click on the pictures below to buy.

Last month I started out brilliantly, reading 4 books. But this month, I’m ashamed to say, I’ve only managed 1. Moving to Vietnam has been busy to say the least. Bia Hoi, the local cheap brew, may also be to blame.

The Little Friend by Donna Tartt
A book that takes place during Summer


What’s next?

More Hanoi exploration is on the cards, as well as a whole lot of work.

We’d love to take a weekend trip at some point too… Any tips for Northern Vietnam?

Until then, keep enjoying the journey…
x JOli x

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