Jaillan Yehia

How To Do A 10 Point End Of Tax Year Assessment – Travel Blogger Style

Written by Jaillan Yehia

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Happy New Year

Chinese New Year Sign at Le Creuset, Hong Kong

This week a brand new tax year started, and those in traditional jobs have been running year-end assessments and shuffling spreadsheets left, right and centre.

So I thought I’d do some rather taxing assessments of my own and calculate the 10 best things I’ve done this financial year, and their real value – monetarily and of course in less quantifiable ways.

Here they are, my top moments of the tax year ending April 5th 2013. According to my calculations it was a good one.

1 Snorkeling in a santa suit on Christmas Day

Turns out Santa suits aren’t really waterproof

£ Value? The boat trip in El Nido, The Philippines, costs about 900 Pesos per person, that’s about £15. Santa suits from a 100 Yen shop in Japan (that’s like a Poundland to you. Unless you happen to be from Japan, in which case, well,  it’s a 100 yen shop).

❤ Value? Spending Christmas Day with your friends in 32 degree heat, swimming in crystal clear waters and clambering through rocks to get to beaches hidden inside limestone towers, there’s some serious heartfelt value in that.

2 Riding a camel in Egypt for the first time in my adult life


Neither the kid or the camel look nearly as impressed as me.

£ Value? The camel ride and Bedouin evening including traditional bread-making, dinner and a night of stargazing costs around £30.

❤ Value? Perhaps not as high as other parts of my Egypt trip; nothing could beat visiting Tahrir Square following the revolution and seeing my family for the first time in years, but it was a real personal victory to get a picture of me, an Egyptian, on an actual camel.

3 Writing on Belfast’s Peace Wall

Belfast Peace Wall

My writing’s on the wall

£ Value? The Black Taxi Tour costs £30 for 2 people. Writing your message for peace is of course free.

❤ Value? There was a lot to love in Belfast, from pulling pints of Guinness to seeing where the Titanic was built, but witnessing people in the present day UK separated from their neighbours by a giant wall really tugs at your heart.

4 Getting the perfect perspective shot

The year is over, but it helps to get some perspective.

£ Value? I think I tipped the photographer about £2.

❤ Value? I don’t think I’ve topped Beyond Blighty’s amazing shots but I’m chuffed with the results.

5 Learning traditional dancing at a Khmer wedding

Dancing feet at a Khmer wedding

£ Value? At a Khmer wedding ludicrously loud music and a very specific type of dancing involving lots of movement of the hands and wrists and a rhythmic conga-like forwards and backwards shuffle are punctuated only by being served an embarrassing amount of food and drink until you’re too full to move or you fall over. For the privilege you’re expected to fill a pink heart-shaped envelope with a donation. I gave about $10.

❤ Value? Watching a couple tie the knot. Love all round, natch.

6  Hanging out where Thailand, Cambodia and Laos meet

Hanging out at the Thai Cambodian border at Preah Vihear

£ Value? A day trip to the Preah Vihear temple complex on the Thai-Cambodia border costs from $65 per person if you hire a van and share with around 5 others.

❤ Value? There’s something very heart-warming about being able to see three countries at once, and the troops stationed at the temples around you due to a history of conflict here adds an emotional charge too.

7 Partying to Gangnam style with an entire Filipino Town

The locals in Iloilo sure know how to party. Even on January 2nd.

£ Value? This did not cost a single peso.

❤ Value? My love didn’t cost a thing either.

I just have to think about this and a huge smile breaks out across my face. If getting lost down some dark backstreets then being pulled into a small town family party and given beer and good vibes all night by every generation doesn’t make you fall in love with the world you must be made of stone. And these people danced Gangnam stylelike you’ve never seen!

8 Riding an illuminated bike through the streets of Turin

Riding the art bike in Turin

Looking for Turin Brakes

£ Value? Bike hire in Turin starts from 1 Euro per hour.

❤ Value? The moment I get on a bike the value proposition goes through the roof  – and there couldn’t be a better way to see the beautiful old streets of this Italian city than by bike, zigzagging along with the students and workers like you’re a local. But a local with a pretty cool set of wheels.

9 Getting a kawaii manicure in Korea

My Kawaii manicure

My Kawaii manicure

£ Value? This fruity kawaii manicure cost 90,000 South Korean Won, or about £50.

❤ Value? I’d always yearned to visit Korea and wanted a longer lasting reminder of the cutsey culture than the two days I had set aside, so this allowed me to keep Korea in my heart and on my fingertips for a full three weeks.

10 Staying Somewhere With Only 3 Walls

Bodhi Villa

Where Is The Fourth Wall?

£ Value? This riverside hut with three rattan walls and a curtain instead of a fourth is the ‘floating bungalow’ at Bodhi Villa, Kampot, and costs $12 a night.

❤ Value? An insanely chilled place to spend a few days while lazing about, listening to live music and maybe dancing on the bar. It is probably the most rustic place I’ve ever stayed but I really did ❤ it there.

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