KIM + MADventures #2

Ever wanted to quit your job, hock your belongings, and travel around the world full-time? Last month we introduced you to Kim Farrell and Maddie Johnston who are brazenly doing just that for the next 18 months. IN Kansas City is following the adventures of these two self-proclaimed “travel buddies” from Overland Park.

Since we last checked in with Kim and Mady, they’ve been “chasing summer” through Northern Vietnam. Their trek began with tourist hot spots like Hanoi and Halong Bay. The duo then jumped on a motorbike to reach some places off the beaten path like Ha Giang, Đồng Văn and Quản Ba.

They’ve whittled down the first two weeks of their trip. Here are some of the highlights:

Currently in: Hanoi, Vietnam, +12 hours ahead of Kansas City

Learn the Lingo:
“Xin chào!” (Yin chowl) = Hello!
“Rice wine – Vietnamese moonshine that’s a byproduct of fermented rice. The abundance of rice fields in Vietnam means that you can find rice wine at all the local convenience stores. Alcohol potency is luck of the draw. Take a shot!”

Last thing you ate?
“We’re obsessing over Bahn Mi 25, a small street stand unanimously voted the best bahn mi spot in Hanoi by locals and tourists alike. Best part, these bad boys only cost ₫25,000 VND ($1.08 USD) per sandwich. We are stopping by here daily and that is fine bahn mi.”

Last thing you bought?
Handmade flower crowns: ₫10,000 VND ($0.43 USD)
“We spent the last four days on a motorbike journey through Northern Vietnam, riding through mountainside towns. In Đồng Văn, a group of village girls approached us with beautiful flower crowns for sale. Their delicate craftsmanship put our latest festival gear to shame. Without hesitation, we each bought a flower crown and wore it for the rest of the day.”

Learn the lay of the land:
“There are two different currencies in Vietnam. (What the pho?!) Turns out the Vietnamese have a fake currency used solely as an offering to their ancestors in a burning ritual done on the first of the month. Local street vendors have been known to give this as change to tourists who may not know the difference. How did we find out about this? Please learn from our mistake.”

Last night’s stay + cost:
“We’ve been hitting the snooze button at Vietnam Backpackers, a hostel chain with locations scattered down the coast between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. We average about $7.25/night here, but last night we caught some zzzz’s on a sleeper bus. Sleeper busses are the optimal way to travel around Vietnam as you can cover a lot of ground and don’t have to waste precious daylight hours travelling. We’ve already spent two nights on a sleeper bus and will be logging quite a few more nights of beauty sleep in these bad boys as we make our journey down the coast.”

Wizard of Oz Tally: 8 (and counting)
“While we know Kansas City has a lot to offer, the majority of the world immediately affiliates us with one thing—The Wizard of Oz. We’re keeping a real-time tracker of all the Dorothy, Toto, and tornado references made to us along the way.”

Next up?
“Sapa—known for mountain trekking, waterfalls and rice fields. We’ll post up here to soak in a bit more nature before headed down the Vietnam coastline.”


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