A couple of years ago, Jeremy and I were sitting on the balcony of a restaurant in Hanoi drinking beer as the sun went down. We were musing, as we often do in South East Asian locations, about what life would be like if we didn’t have to go home and back to work a few days later. Could we live in Vietnam? Could we leave our comfortable Brisbane lives behind? What about our friends and family? A lot of other questions followed and when we returned home, we started to seek some answers. In about six months we had researched and gathered enough information to convince ourselves that, logistically at least, living in Vietnam was possible. By this time we had honed in on Hoi An as our destination of choice.

Fast forward to December 2014 and we have been away from home for 11 months. We spent the first eight months living in Hoi An, and getting to know Vietnam on a different level. I worked for a non-government organisation supporting children in need, and learnt a huge amount about the NGO sector. I also helped some people out with their websites, and took a huge number of photos. After leaving Hoi An, we have spent time in Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos and Thailand. I have been able to run in all of the locations we have visited, and the maps from my satellite watch are great souvenirs that don’t take up any luggage space. We fly back to Australia on 26 January 2015 to begin preparing for our next adventure!

Six ways to contact me

  1. Leave a comment below
  2. Send an email to clairecandraw@gmail.com
  3. Add me on Skype – clairemichellebackhouse
  4. Find me on Facebook
  5. Follow me on Flickr
  6. Bookmark this website www.clairebackhouse.com

This is a photo of Janine and I after the School of Education won the Green Office Commuting Competition in 2013. I’m on the right.


7 Responses to About

  1. Gary says:

    Got to agree with you, we have just relocated from Coffs Harbour and have just moved into our rented house in Hoi An for the same reasons, the people, the lifestyle.

  2. claire73 says:

    Great to hear, Gary. We love our new lives here.

  3. Nicola J Quan-Leach says:

    Hi Claire,
    Just roughly, could you give me an idea of the number of expats in Hoi An. What age range are they? 30-50 or 60-70?
    Am thinking of coming for a visit with a view to staying long term.
    Thanks. Nicky

    • claire73 says:

      Hi Nicky
      Thank you for making contact!
      There are lots of expats here in Hoi An, and even more in Danang. Some people are working for NGOs in Hoi An, and others have businesses here. We have met singles, couples, families – people from all walks of life. I have no idea of numbers, but you can be confident of meeting great people if you end up staying.
      Best wishes

  4. Celeste says:

    Loving your blog and photos. We left our home in California to start our travels early March, but after packing and unpacking every few days/weeks,(have been through the Philippines, China, Indonesia) we too fell mad for Hoi An and have decided to stay a bit and rented a house. So far really enjoying our neighborhood and generally our time here in Hoi An. We’ve met our neighbors and some friendly travelers just passing by…do you have /can you recommend places in or around town that you particularly enjoy, good for meeting other expats? PS Thanks for your post about the Big C bus, looking forward to a trip there for some provisions!

    • claire73 says:

      Hi Celeste, Hoi An is difficult to go past for a lovely lifestyle! I know a lot of expats go to Mia Coffee on Phan Boi Chau. There’s also Soul Kitchen at An Bang on a Sunday afternoon/evening. Visit Michele at the new Dingo Deli Café on Hai Ba Trung as well – she knows everyone! Where are you living? I know there are several expat households around the Ba Le market area. We might see you on the Big C bus soon as we need to do a provision run ourselves. Sometimes we get the Big C bus in, then get Mr Bill to bring us home in the car with our groceries.
      Best wishes

  5. michelle says:

    Hi Claire!
    It would seem Hoi An has a magical effect on several travelers! We are a family of 5 and have been traveling around Thailand and Vietnam for the last 5 weeks. The kids are done going at such a fast pace and so are we. We are currently making plans to stay put in Hoi An for the next 4 months. Your blog has been a huge help and it is only two days into our transition. I’m going to email a few questions but wanted to give a heads up here!

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