My Great Leap

Published on October 31st, 2013


My 2 Year “Great Leap” Anniversary

EmptyAptSeattle350x350It would seem appropriate to be writing this post to mark my 2 year anniversary as an expat – whilst sitting at a departure gate, waiting to board a flight to yet another Asian country (Thailand).

Indeed. On just about this date two years ago (29 October 2011), I was likewise sitting at a departure gate. Only then – I’d just shut the door on my (utterly empty) apartment in Seattle, and boarded a one-way flight to the other side of the globe.

In retrospect, that leap of faith seems both lunatic and breathtakingly courageous. Yet at the same time, so easy-peasy that I have to wonder why-didn’t-I-do-it-much-sooner?

At the time I had no way of knowing just how such a drastic life change would turn out, of course. But after two years of exploring ever new lands here in Asia, and gawking at wondrous once-in-a-lifetime sights that I otherwise could only DREAM of, I can safely say…

It was the very BEST thing I’ve ever done.

24 months
10 countries
50+ hotel beds plus more than a dozen gers and couchsurfing couches
47 plane rides, 2 trains, 20 some-odd buses, 9 ferries, 2 jeeps, and 1 horse

And these are but some of the highlights:

(Click on any of the thumbnails to start the slide show…)

For those of you who’ve followed along and encouraged me from the get-go: HUGE thanks for your loyalty and your support these past two years (trust that there’s been times when I sorely needed it).

And to those who’ve just recently joined the TL party: do stay tuned.   For this TravelnLass ain’t gonna slow down any time soon!

About the Author

Off-the-beaten-path travel is my passion,and I’ve always lived life “like-a-kid-in-a-candy-store” – eager to sample as many flavors as I can. Indeed, my life motto has long been: This ain’t a dress rehearsal, folks!

11 Responses to My 2 Year “Great Leap” Anniversary

  1. John Brooke says:

    Hello Dyanne,
    A Canadian senior I left Canada over 2 years ago to complete a Gemstone graduate degree in Bangkok, then lived in Chiang-Mai, picked up a “TEFL” degree and I now realize that my long expired Vietnam Visa had not been used. My idea was and is now to live and teach English in Da Lat, and start bringing in some dollars. Between the running for visa extensions and difficulty working here in Chiang Mai, it has become less for me. I very much enjoyed reading your blog that I came across while surfing the web regarding Ho Chi Minh City and Dalat. I would very much appreciate your feed back in terms of living and teaching in Vietnam (Da Lat, Ho Chi Minh) I saw a photo of you bundled up in scarves winter coats in the the Photo of Tet fireworks in Da lat and would also like to know about the clothes needed there. I have many questions since my preparations are for arriving Vietnam in the middle of December. I will write down my questions and perhaps if you would be so kind, perhaps we could do a Skype to Skype to say hello and firm some things up.
    Muchas Gracias,

    • Dyanne says:

      Thanks for dropping by John – so you’ve been 2 years in Asia (presently living in Chiang Mai?) and… haven’t yet explored perhaps my favorite country on the Planet? Shame on you! 😉

      But seriously, while I too lived in Chiang Mai recently (4 months, left last February) I can attest to the nutso visa regs there (and apparently things are getting worse daily). And yes, I A.DORE Vietnam – lived there nearly 2 yrs, one in HCMC and another in Dalat) and would be there still were it not for the difficulty of those 6 insufferable tones in the Vietnamese language.

      And while I believe you’ll find the long term visa regs in Vietnam much more hospitable (esp. if you can teach EFL and get a contract for a work permit), as I’ve not been there in 8 months (and g-knows visa regs all over the globe often change on a dime), I’m afraid that you’ll have to research that yourself.

      You also don’t say just what sort of “TEFL degree” you have. The Vietnamese favor a CELTA certificate (accredited by Cambridge University) and the best private English schools will require a recognized EFL teaching credential (i.e. a month long on-site program).

      And Dalat. Oh my yes, my own private Shangri-La. But surely not for everybody. For me it’s all about the ever so much cooler and greener climate there (compared to sultry Saigon or even Chiang Mai). I’m from Seattle, and I am happiest when I can wear FLEECE! 😉 So yes, though most the year Dalat is pretty much “springtime” perfection, it definitely can get chilly, and thus the bundled pics at Tet in January. So yes, you’ll need a bit of fleece and a scarf at times, but these you can easily buy cheaply in Dalat – at the daily rummage sale in the central market.

      But bear in mind that the EFL pay in Dalat is less than half what you could pull in (with proper EFL credentials) in HCMC. I was making $22/hr. in Saigon, but had to settle for (at most) $9/hr. in Dalat (and that at one of only two English schools there). It was worth it to me (as I have a small pension and choose only to teach part-time) to be able to live amid the beauty and cool temps of Dalat.

      There’s quite a lot of info here on TL especially for my time in Vietnam (teaching in both Saigon and Dalat), so do explore all (esp. the details on costs of living, the FAQ and my interview of a lass who followed in my “Great Leap” footsteps that likewise taught in Vung Tau, Vietnam and is now teaching in Myanmar). Wander around and check to see if some of your questions have already been answered.

      I’m happy to answer specific questions, but ideally it’s best to ask them here in the comments, so that all my TL readers can benefit from my answers. Skype’s not out of the question, but you’d be surprised how many folks may be lurking here, seeking precisely the same answers as you.

  2. Hi Dyanne,
    I haven’t seen your blog in a long time, and just popped on. I must say it is wonderful seeing your smiling face!! Looks like a beautiful, wonderful, rich, and satisfying life!!!! Glad I can share a small piece of it on your blog.

    Many blessings,
    (from cohousing…)
    Stacy @ Sweet Sky kindly contributed to world literature by posting…The Day Bobo DiedMy Profile

  3. Mary Moss says:

    Congrats on 2 fabulous years. Keep pecking away at that blog cause you never know who will be following those breadcrumbs. I know that I appreciated having a path to follow:-)

  4. Carolyn says:

    Two years already? You really are an inspiration to me.

    • Dyanne says:

      Yes Carolyn, it doesn’t seem possible that it’s been fully two years now. But I’ve had a BOATLOAD of amazing adventures and I honestly have to PINCH myself to be sure it’s all real.

      Hopefully one day I can “inspire” you to skip on over here (or somewhere on the Planet to rendezvous) and we’ll go out and grab a few geoboxes – wouldn’t that be fun?

      Well o.k. – perhaps not as fun as slogging around in the muck at Yost (speaking of time – can you believe that was… nearly NINE YEARS ago!?)

  5. Graefyl says:

    Well done Dyanne. Hope the next 2 years are a good for you.
    Graefyl kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Graefyl’s Stumbling ShakshukaMy Profile

  6. Congratulations! Surely two wonderful years and I hope you have many more!
    Ruth Elisabeth kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Language Links – October 2013My Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Thanks Ruth. Question izzz… when are YOU coming back over here to play again in the Southeast Asia sandbox?

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