The start of an overland trip through Southeast Asia

Hey fellow travellers, we are Katie and Jake of Untold Wanderlust. We’re an English travel couple currently exploring Southeast Asia for a second time! Over the past three years we have lived and worked in Vietnam. Each summer, from May to September, when we’re not teaching English in public schools, we’re adventuring places near and far, whether that be traversing overland from Thailand to Cambodia or venturing to totally different continents.

We love collecting memories and jumping head first into new experiences. We hope to use this new platform to share with you our adventure; our tips, advice, recommendations, expertise and the twists and turns of travel, both good and bad.

Katie and Jake of Untold Wanderlust

Overland travel is the way to go

Travelling in Southeast Asia couldn’t be more efficient, thanks to the well-connected transport services the locals provide to us tourists year after year. Websites such as Bookaway are a great way to find the perfect transport, whatever your needs and budget demands. Backpacking can sometimes be stressful, yet it’s comforting to know that you can find transport through Bookaway that’s just one click away and incredibly straightforward to use.

There’s no need to make the journey to the bus or train station a day in advance to reserve your tickets, when you can just open your laptop or phone and book directly on the web.

One day we could be in a hammock in Thailand, the next we might be jumping from a waterfall in Laos or drinking beer in Cambodia.  Sometimes we’re spontaneous, sometimes it’s planned way in advance. Getting around Asia and Europe is affordable by airplane, but nothing compares to overland travel, especially when crossing borders between countries.

Bookaway provides overland travel to suit every budget, whether that be private car or public bus. In transit is just as much a part of the adventure as the destination you’re going to. Take it from us, by the end of your trip, you will have a story to tell. In our case, it would be our 36-hour escapade from Laos to Myanmar ending with soaking wet backpacks! Or our 2 days voyaging on an unforgettable slow boat from Chang Rai to Luang Prabang, where we made life-long friends.

Children in Laos
Young children on the way to Luang Prabang, Laos from Chiang Rai, Thailand.

This is how we roll

Our travel style is very much budget; we often travel overland and use hostels to save money on expensive flights. Moreover, we feel it’s important to spend money on unique experiences that will create endless stories to tell. Instead of spending money on fancy clothes or dinners, we prefer to spend it on making memories. 

We love nothing more than arriving in new locations and seeing what the place has to offer. We don’t like leaving any stone unturned, which is why we often hire a scooter or walk every street, soaking up the culture, food and local atmosphere. We believe in taking the road less travelled whenever the opportunity arises.

Doing something that’s not often done is very exciting to us. For example, arriving in Mongolia without any tour organized, meeting fellow travellers and arranging our own unique tour of the country. Ticking off Japan’s tourist hotspots using only Couchsurfing and hitchhiking. Traversing overland through China using only trains and buses without an English word in sight! Also, taking advantage of long layovers in counties such as Qatar and Abu Dhabi and taking a day trip into the city to catch a glimpse of the skyline. 

A mantra that we live by when it comes to travel is: “your money returns, but your time doesn’t,” so seize the day and have fun travelling whilst you can.

Jake of Untold Wanderlust riding a motorbike on Cat Ba Island
Riding a motorbike on Cat Ba Island

Meet Jake & Katie

A quick introduction about me, Jake. Or if you’re one of my students, it’s Jack! 

I finished my criminology degree in 2013 with aspirations of joining the police force. After a series of odd jobs, I was accepted into the special constabulary in 2016. Not long after that, myself and Katie embarked on our first holiday abroad, Vietnam. We fell in love with the country so much, that upon our return to England, I put my career on hold in favor of an equally rewarding profession across the other side of the world. 

What was meant to be a year away from our home country turned into 2, 3, 4 years! Working in Vietnam has allowed us to travel to many nearby countries so much easier than it would if we remained in the U.K. With regular holidays in the school year and a long summer break, Vietnam is a great basecamp to put on our backpacks and explore the world. Within 2 years, we had exhausted most of Asia, hit-up Eastern Europe and began exploring more lesser known countries like Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Moldova to name a few.

Jake of Untold Wanderlust
Jake of Untold Wanderlust

My name’s Katie, a twenty-something outdoors lover. I’ve always had a passion for travel for as long as I can remember. However, it was a month-long trip through Prague, Vietnam and Budapest that really kick started the travel bug in me. After completing my degree in Child and Youth Studies, I wasn’t willing to sit around and wait for my graduation.

So, myself and Jake booked a one-way flight to Thailand the day after handing in my final assignment! Within 2 weeks, we boarded an airplane armed with nothing but our carry-on backpacks and a thirst to explore Southeast Asia. Our plan was simple: Arrive in Bangkok and go with the flow. When I’m not traveling or teaching, you will find me tapping away on my personal blog about our recent adventures or searching the web planning the next trip. In-between all that, I like to sit on toddler-sized stools at the weekend enjoying yummy Vietnamese cuisine and sipping local beer.

Katie of Untold Wanderlust
Katie of Untold Wanderlust

Future plans

We have 8 weeks before we must return to Vietnam to start back to work teaching in September. Until then, we hope to experience Southeast Asia for a second time, from the perspective of being more experienced when it comes to making the most out of our time and money. How will our journey differ from our first visit to places like Cambodia or Myanmar? Have things changed much? Will we enjoy it as much as the first time around? Perhaps we’ll go somewhere new we have yet to discover. Brunei? Philippines? Borneo?

If you decide to join us on our journey and check in with our travels and tribulations, these questions WILL be answered. We hope to provide a personal storytelling blog as well as informative and inspirational content, so that hopefully soon, it’s YOU that’s in the driving seat and learning from our successes and mistakes.

Jake of Untold Wanderlust
Jake of Untold Wanderlust

Where are we heading off to next?

We fly into Thailand, the beating heart of backpacking culture. The perfect Introduction to adventures that await. The best place to meet like-minded people. Thailand has something for everyone. We’re starting in Bangkok, that part is for certain. For how many days, that’s yet to be decided. The big question remains whether to go North towards Chiang Mai and head overland into Laos or go South towards places like Krabi and Phuket, hopping from one island to the next. One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be an eye-opening experience to see how much Thailand has changed in 4 years, since our last visit!

Want to travel across the land and sea?

Get inspired with more stories by travelers, for travelers