Bali Vlog (Part 1): Exploring Ubud!

MY THIRD VLOG: EXPLORING UBUD!

On my YouTube Channel Lilly Out And About!

Don’t forget to go and subscribe to it to support me 🙂


MON TROISIEME VLOG : J’EXPLORE UBUD !

Sur ma chaîne YouTube Lilly Out And About !

N’oubliez pas d’aller vous abonner pour me soutenir 🙂

Advertisements

Merry Christmas 2018 on The French Hat!

Sending you Merry Christmas wishes from Bali, where I’m spending my 2018 Christmas leave!

Merry Christmas to my family in France!

Merry Christmas to my friends in France and abroad!

Merry Christmas to my colleagues in Paris and Singapore!

Merry Christmas to my lovely readers & subscribers!

The Ultimate Travel Tag: 50 Questions

Tag: noun. Internet term referring to a list of questions to answer, designed to get to know better the person answering them.

Created by people on the internet for other people on the internet, a tag usually has a theme which can revolve around general or more specific topics such as food, friendship, culture, movies, seasons, travel…

Usually, a person answering a tag will take that occasion to create some new questions, and ask other people to answer the tag on their platform as well, in view of spreading the tag.

Has been seen on: YouTube, blogs, Pinterest, Twitch, Instagram, Twitter…

Derived from: To tag: verb. To link a person to a picture or video on a social network.


MAP OF THE WORLD

1. How many countries of the world have you already visited?

I’m originally from France, and so far I have been to Ireland, England, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, the USA, Japan, Singapore and at the time this blog post will go up, I’ll be spending Christmas 2018 in Bali, Indonesia! So, 10 countries so far! 🙂

2. Which destination is the number one of your bucket list?

Oh my Gosh, this tag is already getting to hard to answer… Well, in fact my bucket list was all reshuffled after this summer 2018, because I went on a world trip with my parents for my 25th birthday/ end of studies/ life turning point and got to visit the USA and Japan, which were ex aequo my two ABSOLUTE number one destinations on my bucket list! You can read all about this mega-trip here 🙂

Therefore, now that two of my absolute dream destinations have been crossed off the list, I would say the number one on my bucket list now is be Australia. I’m actively looking at prices on Sky Scanner to see when it would be the best time to go there from Singapore!

3. 3 other places at the top of your travel bucket list?

Well, I’ve already written about the 10 Incredible Destinations I Want to Hit Before I Kick It, and from this I will say the other 3 are:

  • China
  • Egypt
  • South America

4. What does the ideal holiday look like for you?

Ummmmm… Let me think about it.

It would for sure be long, a month or two, and it would include discovering a new country and experiencing some kind of a culture shock. Visiting cities, but also incredible untouched sites, with preserved nature. And it would be either with one loved-one, or alone.

5. Favorite picture you’ve taken during a trip?

The two pictures I cherish the most are those two shots that my mother took of me in New York this summer…

20180714_152007

 

empire view

Both those shots are absolutely perfect to my eyes, and bring back so many memories of us being in New York, me for the first time ever, my parents for the first time in 27 years: they spent their honeymoon there before I was born…

It was my absolute dream to go there, for as long as I can remember, and both pictures represent the fulfillment of this dream of mine and make me remember how lucky I was then, and how lucky I still am to be able to continue fulfilling my dreams now.

6. Have you had to travel for work so far? If so, where?

Yes, I have had to travel for work on several occasions: when I was on internships in law firms during my law studies, I have had to travel to other courts or tribunals in France, for court hearings.

Since I’ve graduated as a lawyer in France, I’ve been working as a junior legal counsel for the Singaporean office of a big french company. So for my first job, I actually moved abroad, to Singapore.

20180802_131831

7. With who would you like to go on a vacation sometime?

With each of my loved-ones. Where? I don’t know, where the wind will take us 🙂

8. Who or what would you take with you to an uninhabited island?

For the person it would have to be a loved-one, and for the object it would have to be a knife, because I believe you can achieve anything with a knife (fire, create a shelter, make clothes, prepare food, etc.). But the real answer would be something intangible: knowledge about how to survive and nature in general.

9. Would you rather go to an amusement park or a zoo?

Anyone who knows me well knows I absolutely love amusement parks. For example, I have been to Disneyland Paris more than 30 times (I’ve had a One-Year Pass allowing me to visit for free).

20180623_204859

I also like going to zoos, but it really depends on the zoo, and I’ve visited a lot of zoos in my life actually, I’m guessing 20 different ones. In France, Ireland, Japan, the US and Singapore.

In France, you can have really nice open-air ones, where animals live freely in reserves, and most importantly not caged. I especially think about a bird park I absolutely love in Villard-les-Dombes in South-east France (website). I also remember visiting a domain where wolfs lived freely but were fed by humans, which allowed visitors to see them during lunch time. This is the kind of “zoo” I like, but it depends on what you’re calling a zoo really.

All I know is that when I see an animal caged and obviously looking like it’s gone mad, turning in its cage, desperate, it brings tears to my eyes. I can’t handle it.

10. Mountain or sea?

Sea. I’m a beach girl, have been going to the south of France and the Mediterranean sea for all my holidays from 0 to 17 years old.

11. Which country(ies) will you visit this year?

Well, 2018 will end in one week, but in fact I still have one country to go to this year: I’ll spend the last week of 2018 on the Indonesian island of Bali 🙂

I cannot say anything about 2019… you’ll see 😉 but stay tuned for my adventures to come, because 2019 will probably be the year I visit the most places, ever!

12. Where would you never visit?

Well, never say never, but I can think of places where there is a war going on, or countries under dictatorship. I can say I’ll probably never go to North Korea.

13. Which place did you think was so special that you wished to come back to it immediately after leaving it and still want to revisit now?

Kyoto, Japan. 100%, didn’t even need a minute to think about it. If you’ve never been, PLAN YOUR TRIP RIGHT NOW.

20180728_181032

14. A place you’ve been to where you would not go back to and why?

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Will not go back unless forced to, and you can read all about the reasons why in this blog post: Why Las Vegas Was A Downer & Discovering Sin City | World Tour #8

15. What was the last country you visited?

Well, it was Singapore, because we ended our summer world tour with Singapore, and three months later I was back: now I’m living there 🙂

16. What is your favorite place on the planet that you have been to?

Japan. 100% again. Hands down. Not joking. If you’ve never been, PLAN YOUR TRIP RIGHT NOW!

20180731_174714

17. Favorite place in your home country?

Wherever I felt safe, at home, and with the people I love. It has never been attached to a place in particular.

18. You’re in an airport, and you know you can choose whichever destination to board a plane right now: which part of the world would you choose?

This situation only happens in movies… how nice it would be though! Well, to be really honest with you, I’ll go back to Japan, so the destination would be Tokyo, Narita Airport.

19. What’s your cup of tea – tropical island getaway, snowy ski break or city exploring trips?

Either Tropical island getaway (which will be what I’m doing for the last week of 2018, going to Bali) or City exploring trip!

20. What are your top 3 hand-luggage must haves?

A water bottle, a book and a blanket. It’s only with those 3 things that I can survive a 14-hour flight.

21. What 3 things would you take on holiday/travelling if you could?

All my books, my piano, and really nice camera gear.

22. Any travel tips to share?

Don’t prepare every single thing in advance of a trip: allow yourself to get lost, to explore whatever you wish to and to be surprised!

23. What is your most pleasant trip memory?

What I felt arriving in New York City for the first time in my life. I almost cried of happiness, feeling like the luckiest person ever.

24. What is your most unpleasant trip memory?

Being sick for two days straight in Tokyo, not being able to get up.

25. Most surreal travel moment?

The moment I left France again, to go and live in Asia. I cried, and in fact I’ve filmed it: you can watch my departure vlog here!

26. Most embarrassing moment abroad?

Well I can’t remember one in particular, but it always has to be with not understanding what a person is saying to me, usually talking in English but with a strong accent from somewhere.

27. Biggest disappointment?

Las Vegas, again. You can read all about the reasons why in this blog post: Why Las Vegas Was A Downer & Discovering Sin City | World Tour #8.

28. Nicest surprise?

San Francisco, California, USA! I’d never really thought about this place, but staying there and exploring this city was actually so nice! I’ll definitely go back to California in the future.

29. Favorite food discovery during a trip?

Well, this is a hard one because I’ve been eating food from all other the world since I was a child so for the moment I didn’t discover any food during a trip. However, I recently discovered Chinese Bao, at the Yam’Tcha teahouse in Paris, the small restaurant of Adeline Grattard’s husband, as seen on the third episode of Netflix’s Chef’s Table: France.

I loved the baos I ate there, and I’ve seen lots of restaurants specialised in baos here in Singapore, so I’ll definitely eat some baos again!

yamtcha-the-1200930o

30. Why do you travel?

Probably the hardest question of this tag. I will give the short answer, because I’d really like to extensively express my deepest thoughts on this topic in the future, on this blog.

I guess I travel because I’m looking for something, which I haven’t found yet. A place, someone, peace within, answers to my questions, truth? I don’t know.

31. Have you picked up any phrases from travelling?

I’m already getting so used to Singaporeans “Lah” to mark the end of their sentences, and “Can” or “Cannot” instead of answering yes or no, I’m sure I would have picked those in about a month!

32. Your dream travel companion?

A special someone I haven’t met yet.

33. Favorite city or country?

City: Kyoto, so far. Country: Japan, forever. (repeating myself here, am I not? Have you booked your trip there yet? What are you waiting for?)

34. Best item purchased abroad?

All the hats I own. They’re from all other the world, and I love them all.

35. Advice for those who want to travel but think they can’t?

If it’s a lack of money, then take time to look at all the budget travel tips available on the internet today: you won’t hesitate after doing that.

If it’s a lack of time, then really think about it: I am 100% sure you can find a way to take some time off whatever is keeping you from traveling (work, family, life in general).

And if it’s a lack of courage, which probably is the main reason for everyone, then meditate every day over this quote:

In the end, what you will regret aren’t the things you did, but the things you never had the courage to do.”

36. Travel accessory you always pack?

Taking aside the obvious (identity papers, phone + charger and money), I would say a travel guide or a physical map.

37. Your most treasured passport stamp?

My passport stamp from the US.

38. Can you recite your passport number from memory if asked?

Oh yes. Along with its expiration date.

39. Preferred method of travel: planes, trains or cars?

Cars, 100%. I’m all about road trips, even though I absolutely love planes and trains as well. I also cherish boats, and buses. Any kind of transportation really.

40. Hostel, hotel or AirBnb?

Hotel or AirBnb. Sharing a bathroom and a bedroom with strangers is my idea of hell on Earth, so hostels are NOT for me.

41. Are you a repeat visitor or do you explore new places?

I’m both. I want to go to all the places I’ve never been to, but also come back to my favourite places.

42. Do you read up on your destination (culture, history, safety) or do you wing it?

I read a lot about the destination, its culture and history, but I don’t plan the exact things I’ll be exploring or doing when I get there.

43. Favorite travel website?

I don’t really have one. What I’m all about are vlogs on YouTube, from youtubers like Louis Cole (Fun For Louis) who’s been to almost every country on Earth. I’ve been watching his vlogs around the world for almost 7 years.

Otherwise, I look at travel guides, and read travel blogs when I need information.

44. Where would you recommend a friend to visit? Name city and why.

Tokyo, Japan. Because anyone from anywhere in the world will for sure be getting a huge culture shock in Tokyo. This place is absolutely incredible, and it can be everything you wish it to be.

20180730_172551

45. To which destination did you first take a plane to?

Dublin, at the beginning of September 2011, when I was 17 years-old, to go and live there for 2 years.

46. Suitcase versus backpack?

Backpack. So much more convenient.

47. Is there something you do on every trip?

I always go out of the place I’m staying at, choose a direction, and walk or take transportation in that direction not knowing what I will find. This is how I’ve stumbled on amazing sites, discovered amazing restaurants, met locals, etc.

In fact, this is probably the best travel tip I could give to anyone, but to do this you’ll need to be absolutely care-free.

48. When traveling do you talk to locals easily?

Yes, and I make a point out of it. I need to connect with locals, because this is how I like to travel. Otherwise there would be no point to explore the world for me.

49. Do you feel like you’re different when traveling?

Yes: this is the time when I’m most feeling whole and complete, and not wishing to be somewhere else. I live in the present and am fully aware of the peace I’m feeling inside.

50. What is the greatest travel-dream you would like to accomplish before hitting your next big life-turn?

I would like to experience 3 to 6 months of living and working in different places, in one country or many… and I can’t tell much more because nothing’s settled yet. 🙂


Until next time,

Keep Calm & Travel!

Lilly,

aka The French Hat

I Left France For Singapore! | J’ai quitté la France pour Singapour | Expatriation #2

MY SECOND VLOG: I LEFT FRANCE FOR SINGAPORE!

On my YouTube Channel Lilly Out And About!

Don’t forget to go and subscribe to it to support me 🙂


MON SECOND VLOG : JE PARS SEULE A SINGAPOUR !

Sur ma chaîne YouTube Lilly Out And About !

N’oubliez pas d’aller vous abonner pour me soutenir 🙂

10 Incredible Destinations I Want To Hit Before I Kick It | Bucket List #1

Bucket Listnoun. informal. A number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.


Writing down this list, and choosing from my many dreams wasn’t as easy as I had thought, but here it is. This is my heart put on the table here, my highest dreams, as this summer I’ve been able to cross out going to New York and travelling to Japan.

1. Ascend Mount Fuji – 富士山

1306_fuji_main

There is a very old Japanese proverb saying that:

「富士山に一度も登らぬバカ、二度登るバカ」

“He who climbs Mt. Fuji is a wise man; he who climbs twice is a fool.”

This may well be my highest hope, and my oldest one at the same time, the one trip I shall never forget in my life. This may sound stupid to some people, but I intend to experience this almost religiously. To me, ascending Mount Fuji at daybreak, sleeping at the top, and waking up at 4 a.m. just to be able to witness the world’s earliest and most incredible sunrise will be a dream come true. Ephemeral yes, but that’s what makes it an absolutely unique experience, and most of the best things in life usually are ephemeral anyway.

I know this won’t be an easy ascension, I’ve read and heard so many people talk about how difficult it was, and how prepared you should be before doing it. But all of this seems little trouble compared to the amazing feeling I will have when at the top of the most famous volcano of the world, I’ll be able to watch the sunrise in the actual Country Of The Rising Sun.

I plan on doing it next time I go to Japan, hopefully with my best friend. Hopefully next year, during August.

2. Walk On The Great Wall Of China – 长城

628766_great-wall-of-china-wallpaper

3 facts that should make you want to go and see it too:

It this still doesn’t interest you, let me tell you this fortification is 21,196 kilometers long (13,171 miles) and runs across China, from east to west. It stretches from Shanhaiguan, on the Bohai Sea, to Lop Lake in the Gobi Desert.

It was initially constructed at the command of the first Chinese Emperor, from 221 BC, and was a combination of the various protective walls that had been built by the smaller states which he had conquered and merged to form China.

This wall is a direct link with legend: it reflects on how powerful China’s emperors once were. Its beauty and “incredibleness” cannot seriously be grasped in only one trip, and I’m planning on experiencing it over at least 10 days of travel, going from one end to the other, staying at the numerous hotels alongside it – you can even sleep in a watchtower!

3. Enter The Pyramids Of Giza – اهرامات الجيزه

158664

Should I really introduce them to you?

Those pyramids are located on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, in the actual desert. The complex is more than 4,500 years old. It includes the three Great Pyramids (Cheops/Khufu, Khafre/Chephren and Menkaure), and of course the Great Sphinx. The Great Pyramid of Cheops or Khufu counts as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Who hasn’t flipped through an atlas or an encyclopedia during childhood, and wished they had been able to see the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World invariably listed? Of all those amazing wonders, the Pyramid of Cheops is the only one still standing, which is absolutely incredible as it also is the oldest one. The Great Pyramid remained the tallest man-made structure in the world until the advent of modern skyscrapers.

Now, if that still doesn’t convince you to go and see it as well, I will tell you those pyramids still hold mysteries we haven’t been able to unveil these last 200 years. And you can actually visit the insides of the pyramids, although it requires some planning and a good amount of money.

4. See The Salar De Uyuni With My Own Eyes

8e136b2640af394ee0f39e267c6577f1
©National Geographic

When I first saw a picture of this site, I just couldn’t believe my own eyes.

This massive salt flat located in Bolivia, South America, formed by several ancient lakes, is the largest in the world with over 10,000 square kilometers (4,000 square miles). But this is not even what makes it incredible: during rainy season, this salt flat becomes so reflective that it is effectively the world’s largest mirror and is used to calibrate satellites!

For one breathtaking sight, it’s a pretty good one. I don’t even have anything else to say: I just want to see it for myself because this seems incredible!

5. See Inside The Taj Mahal – ताजमहल

the_taj_mahal-1680x1050

Most people don’t know two things:

  • It is actually very hard to get to the Taj Mahal,
  • And you can’t take any picture of what’s inside.

Of course you can find documentaries showing you the inside, but they are still rare. The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum located Agra, India. In Hindi, it means “Crown of The Palace“, and was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan out of love, to contain the tumb of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is now part of the New Seven Wonders Of The World.

If I can go to India some day, I will for sure stop by Agra to see this breathtaking palace, symbol of the One Thousand And One Nights to me. What we couldn’t do for love…

6. Take A Boat Trip In Halong Bay – Vịnh Hạ Long

thumb-1920-753645

As many places I’ve listed here, this bay is here because of the feeling I’m certain I will get while being there: peace.

Seeing the “Bay of the Descending Dragon” (“Ha Long” in Vietnamese) and the beautiful colours of its waters has always been a dream of mine, and can best be experienced on boat. The bay is officially part of Vietnam and is more than 330 square kilometers in size. It also has thousands of limestone karsts and more than 2,000 isles in various shapes and sizes!

Only mountains accept to be old, but Ha Long sea and wave are young forever” – Nguyễn Tuân

7. Travel To The Holy City Of Jerusalem – יְרוּשָׁלַיִם / القدس

jerusalem-wallpapers-28661-8476904

Jerusalem is the oldest city in the world, and is more than 6,000 years old. It has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.

Surely this incredible history goes alongside its place in the holy world: it is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In fact, both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim Jerusalem as their capital.

According to the Bible, King David conquered the city from the Jebusites and established it as the capital of the united kingdom of Israel, and his son, King Solomon, commissioned the building of the First Temple. The Western Wall of Temple Mount still stands there.

According to the Quran, Muhammad made his Night Journey in Jerusalem, ascending to heaven where he spoke to God. Al-Aqsa Mosque now stands in Jerusalem to commemorate this event.

According to the New Testament, Jesus Christ was crucified there, on the Dome of the Rock, where the Church Of The Holy Sepulchre now stands.

Charged with history, this place is arguably the holiest point on Earth, and is also very difficult to reach: you would need a guide to travel inside its walls.

And for all those reasons, it is on my bucket list, because even though I am not a believer in either religion mentioned above, never going to Jerusalem would seem like a terrible fault.

8. Bathe In A Hot Spring While Watching Aurora Borealis

bca1a1487d302bd743332e6bcf3ee222

Visible 8 months of the year in Iceland, Aurora Borealis are still a very rare atmospheric phenomenon that you would have to track down to be able to observe.

I’ve read you should go to Iceland for at least 5 days during the right season to maybe catch a glimpse of one during a Black Night. But it sure is worth the trouble: to be able to see one with my own eyes would be unbelievable.

And do it while bathing in a hot spring would be an absolute dream. Me? Too greedy? Don’t know what you’re talking about 😉

9. Ride A Camel To The Rose-Red Hidden City Of Petra – البتراء

thumb-1920-503886

Maybe I’m desperate for real adventures or maybe I’ve watched Indiana Jones one time too many, but I’ve always wanted to see it. And if I do it, I’m going to do it right: riding there by camel seems like the perfect and sensible thing to do.

This incredible sight is again one of the New Seven Wonders Of The World, and is actually on the verge of becoming inaccessible because of the Jordan authorities.

Petra, or Raqmu, is a historical and archaeological city in southern Jordan. Petra lies on the slope of Jabal Al-Madbah in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah valley that run from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Petra is believed to have been settled as early as 9,000 BC, and it was possibly established in the 4th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataean Kingdom. – Wikipedia

You need another reason to go and see it as well? Well as you can see on the picture I’ve chosen, this city was directly carved into rose-red stone using a technique we still aren’t able to understand!

Take a moment to read this unbelievably beautiful poem by John William Burgon, on the hidden city of Petra and its colour:

It seems no work of Man’s creative hand,

by labour wrought as wavering fancy planned;

But from the rock as if by magic grown,

eternal, silent, beautiful, alone!

Not virgin-white like that old Doric shrine,

where erst Athena held her rites divine;

Not saintly-grey, like many a minster fane,

that crowns the hill and consecrates the plain;

But rose-red as if the blush of dawn,

that first beheld them were not yet withdrawn;

The hues of youth upon a brow of woe,

which Man deemed old two thousand years ago,

Match me such marvel save in Eastern clime,

a rose-red city half as old as time.”

John William Burgon

10. Walk The Golden Bridge Of Da Nang – Cầu Vàng

main-bridge-2-1533218944

This list cannot be in a right order and this site doesn’t deserve the 10th place here, but it is actually impossible to rank all those places.

This breathtaking bridge is located in Bà Nà Hills, Da Nang, Vietnam, above the clouds: it was built at 1,400 meters above sea level in Thien Thai Garden and opened in June 2018! It was only designed to provide a scenic overlook and be a tourist attraction, but it way too beautiful not to experience!

Bonus. Spend Time At Tianjin Binhai Library – 天津滨海新区文化中心图书馆

Tianjin-Library-MRDV-azure-magazine-05

I’m a bookworm, have always been. So when this absolutely incredible library opened in October 2017, I immediately put it on my mental Bucket List. Nicknamed The Eye, Tianjin Binhai Library is a located in Tianjin, China. It holds 1.2 million books, and features floor-to-ceiling, terraced bookshelves, as well as a large, luminous sphere in the center that serves as an auditorium with a capacity of 110 people. It is nicknamed The Eye because the sphere, which appears like an iris, can be seen from the park outside through an eye-shaped opening.

I’m hoping to go to China several times, because one time will definitely not be enough to see all the great places this country has to offer, holding arguably one of the oldest cultures of the world.


Collect memories, not things.

Maybe one day, I’ll have done all of these things. Will that make me happy? Not per se, but I’m a great believer into the richness of memories, not things. Having great experiences to share, and something to tell to the future generations, that’s something every single one of us should aspire to.

So go, don’t be afraid, make your own list, go crazy with it, who knows. Maybe writing it down will inspire destiny to give you what your heart truly wishes.

But remember: you can cheat destiny as well, by never forgetting your goals and work towards them, always.

I hope this post has inspired you and has made you dream with me…

Signing off for today,

Lilly, aka The French Hat