Sven has never traveled to Asia before. Olivier has only visited Japan so far. Of course we just love adventure, but it's always nice to have some good friends who can tell you about their personal travel experiences in Asia and give you some advice. That's why we decided to find some "ambassadors" for every country that we are planning to visit. Below you can see a list of the ambassadors that we were lucky to have found by now!
Chyi was born in Malaysia, but she has been studying and living in Tokyo, Japan for several years. She speaks Japanese very well and knows a lot about the country. Olivier met her in Tokyo on his trip to Japan in May 2007. They became good friends and in March 2008, Chyi came over to Belgium and also met Sven while being there. She already gave us a lot of priceless information on Japan and also about voluntary work in Asia. She's an active couchsurfing member as well who loves to travel and meet people from all over the world. We are happy to have her as a friend and we are really looking forward to meet her again in Japan!
Raj is a mutual friend of us. He was born in Kathmandu, Nepal and currently lives in Gent where he is studying Intercultural Management and International Communication. He's a very friendly, helpful person and also very independent. He lives his life with a lot of passion. He already gave us some great information about trekking in Nepal, offered us to visit his parents in Kathmandu and even taught us some basic Nepali language that will definitely help us when being there! We are both very grateful for all his support and of course also for having Raj as a good friend!
Although she has the Belgian nationality, I don't think that we could find a better ambassador for China than Johanna. She worked and lived in China for about 9 years and she has a true passion for Asia in general. She was very enthusiastic when we asked her to be our advisor for China, and it was just fantastic to listen to all her amazing stories about the country. We will definitely meet her again a few times before leaving to Asia!
Talking about travelers with a true passion for Asia ... Petra is definitely one of those! She has traveled to several Asian countries already and is always looking forward to her next trip. As soon as we told her about our Asia trip, she volunteered to be our ambassador for Laos, which is her favourite country in Asia so far. She made us very enthusiastic to go there by showing her very nice pictures and sharing her great travel experiences with us. Olivier has known her for many years because they used to work together for a famous regional newspaper in Belgium. Since then, they have been good friends and Sven shared that friendship too.
Although we haven't decided yet to include The Philippines in our itinerary, we already know for sure that if we end up going there, April would be the perfect person to ask information to. She was born in The Philippines but has been living in Belgium for many years. If all people on The Philippines are as sweet and friendly as she is, we definitely have to go there! She became a very good friend of us and we always love it to spend some time with her. We will definitely miss her while being in Asia, and it would be very cool to visit her home country and report to her afterwards about our adventures over there! :-)
We heard many nice things about Mahmud and his wife Ruma from other couchsurfers who surfed their couch and spent a really good time with this family in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. That's why we decided to contact Mahmud as well to ask him to be our ambassador for Bangladesh. He sent us a very friendly and enthusiastic reply with a lot of interesting information in it. He knows a lot about his country and I'm sure that he will be able to help us a lot with planning our visit to Bangladesh.
As we heard many wonderful stories about the beauty and the people of Indonesia, we decided to add this country to our itinerary. After that was done, we started to look for an ambassador as well. We wrote a message to Yannie who lives in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. She was very enthusiastic about the idea and agreed to be our advisor for her country. We're looking forward to meeting her there!
Planning our trip, it was an obvious thing to ask Arijit to be our ambassador for India as he was the first person Sven hosted in June 2007. They had a great time back then and it'll be great to meet up again and catch up in his hometown, Delhi. Ari's definately passionate about travelling as he won't lose any opportunity to discover the world... Also, being a cs city ambassador for Delhi, he likes to share travel experiences and make sure his guests are fine.
Nicknack contacted Sven when he was planning to do an internship at the university of Gent earlier this year. They kept in touch through e-mail and during the Gentse Feesten they got to meet. Nicknack is a positive person who likes caring after people, he offered us to stay at his place during our trip, and as Thailand is certainly one of the beautiful countries we'll visit, we asked him to be an ambassador for our project, which he kindly accepted.