Using the smugglers route to cross from Vietnam into China

In May 2016 I visited Lung Cu all the way up the most northern part of Vietnam but this is not what this story is about

After Lung Cu I thought it would be cool to see the border here. I’m drawn towards the border because I’m intrigued with the idea that a border to a country as closed as China would be completely unsupervised. I’ve always had this idea of a completely remote border, you know, without even a border control post where only shepherds roam somewhere deep in the mountains.

As I drove out the road the pavement suddenly stopped and before me was about 6 motorbikes and a tiny dirt path along the ridge of the mountain. It looked like something you would only want to walk and the direction took you straight towards China. This is it I guess – the border.

I could see pretty far ahead and it looked like at least a 15-minute walk down along a very muddy path before anything would change so I decided to opt against it. However, as I turned around a little bit I noticed a definite path going up the mountain, not towards China, so I figured it would be safe to go up there, at least for the view over the valley.

When I got up I saw several road marker stones with skulls on them all over the area. Skulls, just skulls. Frightening.

Thoughts of land mines and stuff like that popped up in my head and I was about to turn around. Enough is enough.

But when I was about to turn around I saw a shepherd with two cows on a definite path, albeit small, meaning that at least it would be safe, landmine wise – and so I continued towards him.

Around the corner I saw a paved road pop out in the middle of nowhere, Chinese signs and more skulls. I’m pretty sure this was the border. I walked up on the pavement, talked some with the farmer – who was Chinese! – and walked back to my bike.

On the way out, with mud all over my shoes, I got some concerned looks from locals who could only wonder what I’d been doing out there. I’ve heard from other people that the area is used for smugglers as well – which would make sense since it’s so easy and remote.

I climbed Mount Taranaki in New Zealand

“All I can say is that I’m now yet another singer in the choir of people that praise New Zealand to high heavens.”

After a few months in Australia of mostly working I figured it was time to go out and explore a bit again. I always wanted to see New Zealand and since my good buddy JJ (whom I met in Vietnam on my motorcycle trip) was a kiwi I figured now was a good time as any to go and visit him. He lived near the beach in Ohope and even had a spare bedroom! I booked the plane tickets with a return 3 weeks later and off I went.

After an extremely pleasant trip hitching from Auckland to Ohope with beautiful roads all the way and locals going out of their way to help me, I arrived. The last ride I got, which took me directly to my final destination, was a couple named Jono and Kelly from #rallylife and they even offered me to stay in their house while I was in town! If you read this Jono and Kelly – thank you – you have no idea how much I appreciated it.

thank you jono and kelly
Thank you Jono and Kelly!

As JJ was working I spent most of my time hiking, working from my computer or going to the beach. That itself doesn’t sound too bad but JJ pushed me to go a bit out of my way and explore some more. On the last day, this took me to the Agrodome where I witnessed a sheep getting sheared live in front of us at a farming show.

agrodome farming show in new zealand
A one hour show at the Agrodome, presenting a selection of 19 types of sheep being farmed in New Zealand. The Merino sheep in the top middle is my favourite

It also took me to Hobbiton (the Lord Of The Rings movie set). I’m glad I did both of those things!

hobbiton movie set new zealand
A rabbit hole, I mean Hobbit hole in Hobbiton. The amazing movie set used to film the Lord of the Rings series

However, the highlight of the trip was a 3 day camping trip (+ roadtrip) across the north island to New Plymouth with JJ and his dad. We did a ton of hiking (or tramping or mountaineering) as well as climbing Mount Taranaki. It is the biggest volcano on the North Island and even has snow on the top! It is also looks a lot like the more famous Mount Fuji in Japan.

climbing mount taranaki new zealand at 45 degrees angle
This mountain was no walk-over. It was very steep . I don’t know the actual angle but from this picture it looks like 45 degrees

It took about 4 hours to make it to the top. We spent an hour up there enjoying it. And it took 3 hours to get down so it was a full day experience. JJ’s dad swore that it was the last time he would climb this mountain but that’s also what he said last time, so who knows.

climbing mount taranaki in new zealand
The top of Mount Taranaki near New Plymouth, New Zealand. It was a rough climb but as always – worth it in the end!

This is a short summary of my time in New Zealand but so much happened and I had such a good time that it would be pointless to write it all down anyway. All I can say is that I’m now yet another singer in the choir of people that praise New Zealand to high heavens.

showcasing new zealand scenery new plymouth
New Zealand is beautiful!

How to inspire (internet marketing applied in real life)

I recently inspired my niece (sorry it’s in Danish) to jump head first into a 4 month volunteer gig in Vietnam – that she didn’t land until 2 weeks after she got to Vietnam! She just went to Vietnam, hoping for the best, and succeeded.

Now, I didn’t know I was an inspiration until she wrote an article about it but as you can imagine it made me extremely happy to know I had benefited positively to her life.

Internet Marketing crash course

I’ve recently gotten deep into Internet Marketing and I’ve always been into travelling. In Internet Marketing they tell you a lot about the importance of being an attractive character and targeting the right audience.

If you have an attractive character, you can sell anything. Take Oprah Winfrey, it doesn’t matter what she promotes – she could be promoting a website selling fucking mouse traps and the sales would go through the roof. It’s called the Oprah effect and small businesses could literally go bankrupt because of this extreme overflow of orders they would receive that they couldn’t handle. Being an attractive character is all about building trust.

At the same time, you need to target your audience (unless you’re Oprah). If you preach adventure travel to families with small children, $30000 business classes to plumbers or Justin Bieber tickets to 70+ year olds you’re not very likely to succeed. On the other hand, if you preach internet marketing to established entrepreneurs who already have a product and are looking to expand…. Well your chances of success increase manifold.

The story of my niece

“To my niece, I’m an attractive character. She trusts my choices and she trusts my advice. At the same time, she was the perfect target audience for what I’m preaching”.

I started this post by saying I was an inspiration to my niece. My niece was already planning to go. She had saved up a bit of money, she had ticked off time in her calendar and she had the will to go. Only, she thought it would be much harder, that she would need a lot more money and generally thought everything was a lot scarier than it really was.

I told her all the good things of travelling solo, how everyone helps you and how being vulnerable and in need of help opens your eyes to the complete and utter joy of being in a shitty situation and coming out on top. How grateful you feel when a complete stranger goes out of his way to help you for completely selfless reasons (part of why I like hitchhiking but that’s another story).

She wanted to save up for over half a year but I told her she didn’t need to do that. Just a few months to have 1500$ in your bank account, just in case, and off you go.

She wanted to have the volunteer organization set-up beforehand but I told her all the big organizations are often scams and charge you to volunteer! Ridiculous amounts of money – like $3000 for 3 weeks – AND you work for free. Just go to Vietnam and find something while you’re there – it’s a lot easier when you are “on location”. Worst-case you can work as an English teacher and you’ll do good by teaching English and pay the bills while you look around for real volunteer work.

After two weeks in Vietnam, she found it. She got to live with a host-family that paid everything for her for 4 months. She didn’t pay anything to volunteer, other than her time and her skills, of course. That’s how volunteering should be. She was fully submerged in the Vietnamese life. A once-in-life-time experience. Had she gone with 20 other white teenagers to a YMCA workcamp at $1000/week… well… it wouldn’t be the same, would it?

How my niece and internet marketing fits together

As I listen to the webinars and online classes of internet marketing and they’re telling me these things I’m thinking about how this applies to real life and how absolutely true it is.

To my niece, I’m an attractive character. She trusts my choices and she trusts my advice. At the same time, she was the perfect target audience for what I’m preaching.

I’m preaching “Just do it – quit your job – travel – live your life – what are you waiting for”. What I’m preaching, is what she wants to hear and she wants to hear it from someone who’s been through it all and someone who used to be in her shoes and understands her. About to travel solo for the first time, nervous and insecure.

As a result, I became an inspiration to her. That simple.

My realization from this

I’ve preached left and right to anyone who cared to listen (or just didn’t have a way to escape) about how they should just give it all up and go travel. See the world. I preach how it’s possible even on a low-budget as that’s what most people say are holding them back. But I mean, if you’re not even interested in leaving – you’re happy – what do you care if it’s possible. You don’t want it. I’ve completely missed my target audience. I can talk all day about it and it would never have an impact, at least not positive. As in real life, so it is in internet marketing.

Why am I writing this down? Because even though this stuff is quite simple, really, it’s still important and by writing it down it will help me remember better and if someone out there, known or unknown, finds this interesting and reaches out I will have expanded on my network and maybe it will lead me to further interesting realizations.

For anyone interested, I’m doing the 100-days affiliation bootcamp of ClickFunnels and it’s an eye opener. Note: these are affiliate links so you’ll be supporting me if you do it but I genuinely would still recommend it even if I got zero commission.