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Around the World in 580 Days – Part 1



Every now and then (especially when it’s cold and dark outside) I find myself looking at the photos from the year and a half long trip I did with three friends back in 2007-2009. We spent around five months travelling in Russia, China and South East Asia, a year working and travelling in Australia and another couple of months or so travelling in Fiji, New Zealand, Mexico, New York and last but not least London. (Who knew three of us would find ourselves living in London two years later?!)

I’m so grateful for having had the chance to go on such an amazing adventure and experience so many incredible things in so many beautiful countries – and share it all with three of the bestest people!

This trip taught me so much and forced me to grow up in many ways, and made me a lot more humble than before. This trip has also given me peace of mind now – I feel content knowing that I’ve done all that and seen so much. Not that I don’t want to travel anymore – don’t think I’ll ever get rid of the travel bug!

Travelling with three other girls was challenging at times, with stupid little arguments due to tiredness and hungriness – but mostly just super fun and crazy (in a good way). If our parents knew everything we got up to they would never have let us go ha ha. But it’s all a part of growing up and testing your limits, isn’t it 😉 Looking back, we were so free and carefree – which I guess we’ll never get back…

Here are a few photos I selected out of thousands. Most of the photos are not taken by me as I was the only one without a camera, so the credits go to my friends. Get ready for a whole bunch of pics that might cause travel fever…

Our first stop was Moscow, in front of St. Basil’s cathedral here. We then jumped on the trans-Siberian train, and stopped in Irkutsk to visit Olkhon island in breathtaking Lake Baikal. We had to hitchhike with a Russian farmer to get to the main town, Khuzir. He stopped all of a sudden, took out the vodka bottle and made us all take a drink and sacrifice a part of it to mother earth. We were definitely in Russia! (Looks like we’re jumping off the edge of a cliff – but don’t worry; no Finns were harmed in this photo shoot.)


The train took us through Mongolia, so we stopped in Ulan Bator for one night only. It was freezing and snowing and we didn’t have enough warm clothes – and the city was quite depressing too. To be fair, we didn’t even give it a chance – we were too cold!

China was a positive experience in many ways, the people were so nice and helpful and there was just so much to see. We did the obligatory 10 K hike on the Chinese wall, saw the terra cotta soldiers in Xian, cycled in the Chinese countryside, swam in caves, went rock-climbing in the limestone mountains (that’s me climbing a massive mountain on my 24th bday), did river-rafting with our bikes, visited the rice fields and the longest hair village in the world, went to restaurants where we had no idea what we ordered as no one spoke English, and so much more!

Vietnam wasn’t as friendly as China, but still an incredible and so interesting place to visit. We did a two-night cruise to Halong Bay, experienced a typhoon in Nha Trang (where we went to lie on the beach…), found myself a new job in Hanoi (I used to love those pants…), visited the war remnants museum in Ho Chi Minh, did some beautiful posing in the purple forbidden city in Hue, saw several floating villages and finally left the country to travel to Cambodia by boat on Mekong river.

I’m proud to say that we didn’t get a single flight until we went to Bali. Before that it was all never-ending train journeys, over-night buses and boats. Laos was all about tubing down the river (where Jo’s camera still lies), drinking buckets of horrible spirits, green, lush nature, smiling locals saying sa-bai-dee (hello), fresh fruit and sunshine. Recommend!

In Cambodia we got to visit Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world, spend relaxing time on the beach in Sihanoukville (and take our Xmas photos for our travel blog), see loads of buddhist monks, visit the genocide museum and the killing fields in Pnom Penh, visit more floating villages, and so much more I can’t remember right now!

Thailand was six weeks of party party, diving (and becoming certified scuba divers), snorkelling, beach, friends, good food, full moon party, friendly people, lazy days and sun – would kill for that right now!

Kuala Lumpur and Singapore were nice, but it was so different to be in massive cities all of a sudden – after sandy beaches and stress-less living, so we only spent a few days in KL (don’t know the guy in the photo – can’t even begin to count how many times random people wanted to take a photo with us in Asia) and five days in Singapore – mostly shopping…

We soon found ourselves back on the beach on the beautiful island of Bali. We went diving, ate a lot, travelled around the island, saw amazing sunsets, visited loads of temples and saw even more monkeys, endured the rain season every afternoon and partied a lot as you’re supposed to on Bali. Three weeks later we were on a plane to Melbourne and a more civilised existence with job and house-hunting ahead of us. Five months of laziness was over, but that’ll have to be a another post – I’m exhausted after going through all these photos!

To be continued another day…

x Nina x

Nina Äikäs

<p>I’m a Swedish-speaking Finn who left Finland for the lovely and thrilling London town in 2011, but after meeting an equally lovely and thrilling Scotsman I somehow now find myself in the beautiful city of Edinburgh. In February 2015 our gorgeous little girl arrived and made us a happy family of three. Follow my blog and get to know us!</p>

  • freebutfun

    That looks like so much fun, and reminds me of the backpacking trips I’ve made, none of them quite as extensive as yours in one go though! You’ll have great memories to look back at when retired. Btw, I am pretty impressed you travelled for so long 4 together! I find that usually there is some point were people want to do a bit of different things, and then catch up later again. Good pics to look at in the Finnish winter too 🙂

    November 30, 2013 at 11:54 am
    • ninaaikas

      Great memories for life (and cold winters)! 🙂 We did actually separate and do our own things on several occasions, so we weren’t all together the whole time…And we had other people join and leave us throughout the trip as well, but as I said – there were bound to be a few minor arguments 🙂

      December 1, 2013 at 10:32 am
  • Anonymous

    Jag är säker på att resan gav dig minnen för livet – och ett extra plus är att den fortfarande ger dig ro i sinnet – men för mig är en viktig aspekt också att du kom levande ur den!

    December 2, 2013 at 8:04 am
    • ninaaikas

      Jag antar att detta ar din kommentar mamma…:)

      December 2, 2013 at 12:17 pm
  • Anonymous

    Javisst, det var inte min avsikt att vara anonym, åtminstone inte när min identitet var så genomskinlig …

    December 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm
    • Monica Äikäs

      Varför anonymt fortfarande? Prövar en gång till.

      December 2, 2013 at 1:29 pm
      • ninaaikas

        Du har varit anonym tidigare ocksa – kolla att du ar inloggad pa ditt WordPress-konto.

        December 2, 2013 at 4:25 pm
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