A traveler who sets out alone is like a bird pushed out of the nest and obliged to take flight on its own. Travel solo, spread your wings, and soar above and beyond your greatest hopes and dreams.
My purpose wanting to travel South East Asia, wasn’t just to travel. I wanted to connect with different cultures, people and places on a more personal level, which I have been blessed to be able to do and I’m only a month into my trip!!! As much as I value my experience living away from home in London for 5 years, I also have as many good things to say about the spontaneity of life from a backpack.
It’s as easy as it comes – you only have to rely on yourself; you can do what you want at your own pace and you can choose to hang out or travel with people as you please – or not. I take value in traveling with friends that you have built prior connections with, too, but there is something special about a trip that is uniquely yours.
When you travel alone, you are opened up to an entire world of interesting and like-minded people that you might not normally connect with. I can confidently say that I am learning as much from fellow travelers I encounter as I from the places I am visiting and the locals I talk to.
I have not been lonely at all on this trip and that was the one thing i was worried about. But i am also learning that i do like to be on my own, to sit and read up on the places i am going, the places i want to go, the history etc. Often people show up at a place and take lots of pictures not knowing any information about that place at all….i used to be one of those people, but not anymore.
Everything taste better, shines brighter, and seeps deeper into your bones when all you have are your thoughts and a notebook. You become a sponge, absorbing every detail and sensation of a new location. The intensity of your aloneness magnifies this privilege.
This trip was not about me discovering who i am or looking at my inner self and all that jazz….I’m definitely not one of those people…eat pray love….definitely not me…that was the last thing that this trip was about. BUT when you are riding in the mountains for 2 hours, just you and the wind blowing past you, or running through a foreign town in a foreign country, you have all the time in the world to think and evaluate. To think about the future, what i want, how i want to move forward in my life and who i want in my life.
My emotions have been all over the place since I’ve been travelling, there are many occasions where i almost want to burst into tears with happiness. I know you are thinking tears??? but i shared this with a fellow traveller and he said that he had been feeling the same way. I just feel so greatful that i can experience all of this. Not many people have the opportunity to quit their job and travel for 4 or 5 months. And as much as i know i am blessed, i also know i deserve this trip…i have worked hard to make it happen and it has been a dream for 3 years!!!
Ok enough on the serious side!! What i have also realized so far on this trip….
Yes travelling towels are a great invention for a backpacker but this towel doesn’t even cover my one ass cheek!!!! Gone is wrapping the towel around you after a shower and curling up on your bed for a bit. It doesn’t even wrap around my hair, i have to clip it around my head to stay in. And this is the large towel….hate to know the size of the small.
Man oh man….be grateful for toilets….squatting is not fun!!! i will never complain about public toilets ever again after the toilets in Asia. Oh and to flush the toilet…. you scoop water from the bucket and pour into the toilet until ur business disappears. oh and just so you know, toilet paper is a privilege, not a right!!!! Also most of the toilets i have been to, even in hostels, smell and look like they have not been cleaned in days…disgusting!!!
3. Thai fisherman pants
You aren’t a proper backpacking traveller until you own a pair of ugly Thai Alladin pants!!! And yes i now own a pair!! They are the most unflattering item of clothing i have ever owned but the best item of clothing you can have for travelling, especially when you have a 32 hour journey ahead of u and you need something comfortable to wear in the heat.
4. Eye mask and pillow
Best thing i ever packed. I was given the travel pillow as a going away present when I originally left South Africa, i have never used it. When i was packing up my belongings in London i figured I’ll pack it for Asia and if i don’t use it i will just bin it….this pillow has saved me on many long bus trips and i know I’ll continue using it!!!
4. Street food
If it looks enticing, or just enticingly weird, I say go for it. Street food is the best food because it’s always cheap, local and delicious. Some of the more memorable meals I’ve had lately have been sitting on a hard plastic stool out on the sidewalk. Some people seem genuinely afraid of food poising but I think that if you are so deathly scared of a little diarrhea that you deny yourself Asian culture you are definitely missing out. I found my favourite Thai dish by taking a chance!!
That’s it for now…keep reading and keep the messages flowing… love you all and i look forward to entering my second country on this adventure………LAOS!!!!!!!!!!