Ever wanted to quit your job, hock your belongings, and travel around the world full-time? We introduced you to Kim Farrell and Mady Johnston who are brazenly doing just that for the next 18 months. IN Kansas City is following the adventures of these two travel buddies from Overland Park.
Since we last checked in with Kim and Mady, they’ve been rounding out their final days in Vietnam. They have trekked through sand dunes in Mũi Né, rode a rollercoaster to a waterfall in Đà Lạt and shimmied through the Vietnam War Củ Chi tunnels in Ho Chi Minh City.
What adventures have they had? First up, read up on some quick stories and recent travel highlights—and look out for their next globetrotting update in the coming weeks.
Kim: “Beach time! One of our new, favorite hobbies. It was our first day in Phú Quốc and we quickly became friends with a Canadian who asked us if we wanted to go to the beach. Of course we said yes, so we piled on to a motorbike and headed out to a remote beach about 60 minutes away. We’re a mere ten minutes out and excited to soak up some rays, when we came up to “road” that was under construction and we couldn’t pass. Not a problem since this island is full of beaches, so we pull up our map and find the next closest beach only eight minutes away from where we just came.
We pull up to the beach and quickly get off the motorbike. As we get the beach we notice one thing: it’s filled with trash. We decide to walk further down hoping it would get better and to our dismay the trash only got worse. We decide to head back into town and check out one more beach. We make our way down with not much hope left and finally found a beach! It only took us around two hours to find a beach that ended up being only a five-minute walk from where we were staying. Sometimes going on a whim to try something off the beaten path pays off and, well, sometimes it doesn’t.”
Mady: “A few days ago, we flew from Ho Chi Minh City to Phú Quốc. Although we’ve travelled quite a lot so far, this was actually our first time back on a plane since we arrived here from the U.S. We weren’t kidding when we said we had fully adopted the Vietnam sleeper bus life.
Before I start this, I want to admit I was unorganized when we arrived at the airport that day. And for whatever reason, I thought it would be okay to shove my loose passport in an open bag between going through security and beelining for the airport lounge. You can see how this is going to end.
We landed in Phú Quốc, de-boarded from a pull-up ramp and jumped in a shuttle to go inside the airport. Once inside, I had a weird gut feeling that I should check to make sure I had my passport. And my gut was right, because it was nowhere on me or in my belongings. Great. I turned to run back on the plane. But since we didn’t de-board off a standard jetway, there was no way to run back on the plane. Cue panic.
Security wouldn’t let me back through to check the plane myself so I had to put full faith in the Vietnamese correspondence going back forth via walkie talkies. (It didn’t sound promising.) After 45 minutes of the airline staff repeatedly telling me to ‘please wait’ and ‘hold on,’ a man emerged from security with my passport. Hallelujah!
I ended up really lucky and feel so dumb to have broken one of the most important travel rules—keep your passport in a safe place. My brain fog is thick right now, so I’ll need to work on clearing my head so I don’t find myself in that situation again.”
Currently in: Phú Quốc, Vietnam
+12 hours ahead of Kansas City
Learn the Lingo:
Một hai số ba dzô! (mo hi ba zo): One, two, three, cheers! The traditional toast before a drink!
Last thing you ate?
Mady: “Um, eight piña coladas. Judge us. After this, we decided that we’re jumping into ‘sober October’ a little late to the game and are going on a full alcohol ban until Halloween. Ho Chi Minh City got the best of us and living the island life in Phú Quốc isn’t doing our livers any favors. Life, man.”
Last thing you bought?
1 pack of laundry detergent – ₫10,000 VND ($0.42 USD)
Kim: “An unexpected perk at our current hostel is that they offer free laundry. The only catch is that you have to do it yourself and buy/provide your own laundry detergent. Once we learned this, we had our sleeves rolled up, sorted our clothes and began to wash everything. It’s been a long eight weeks. Laundry always makes for a wild Friday night—and I’m sure it made both our parents (and our budget) proud.”
Learn the Lay of the Land:
Kim: “During our trip to the Củ Chi Tunnels, we learned about the symbolic meaning behind the Vietnam flag:
Red: Symbolizes the uprising and the blood shed during the war.
Yellow: Color of the Vietnamese skin. They are very proud of their skin color and try to keep it as pure as possible. This is why we usually see the Vietnamese completely covering their skin from head to toe, even when it is burning hot outside.
Star: Represents the five different social statuses of population and how they all come together to serve their country: Farmers, Soldiers, Businessmen, Workers and Intellectuals.
Last Night’s Stay + Cost:
9 Station Hostel– $7 USD/night
Mady: “Easily the nicest hostel we’ve ever stayed in. Looks like a boutique hotel, has a boujee bar in the lobby, is located right by the beach and after seven weeks of traveling, it’s exactly what the doctor ordered.”
Wizard of Oz Tally: 39 (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.”
Kim: “While we were consuming our eight piña coladas, we met three lads from London. The conversation began with same five questions most introductions include: What’s your name? How long have you been in Vietnam? How long are your traveling for? How do you know each other? Where are you from?
After sharing that we’re from Kansas, one of the lads says, ‘Well, we aren’t in Kansas anymore.’ We’ve become so numb to the response that we didn’t say anything and just stared. So he proceeds with ‘Did you get it? We aren’t in Kansas anymore … it’s from The Wizard of Oz … a movie based in Kansas …’ We all shared a good laugh after we let him overly explain himself.”
Mady: “We’re spending the next few nights in Phú Quốc—a Vietnamese island off the coast of Cambodia. This quaint resort town getaway recently got a lot of attention due to a secluded starfish beach on the coastline. Word on the street is that if you time your trip with the right weather and low tide, you can see the whole shoreline covered with starfish?!
After our time here in Phú Quốc, we’re finally leaving Vietnam and either headed to the Philippines or Malaysia. Any thoughts on what our next move should be?”