I am currently on a flight to Melbourne which means I’m half way through my travels now!!
I have 3.5 months left to explore Australia, New Zealand, Thai Islands (which we may replace with Laos) and the Philippines.
Not enough time and I feel like it’s going to speed by.
So let’s look back on the past few months…
This is me October 2014 in Hong Kong:
This is me January 2015 in Kuala Lumpur:
It seems like only yesterday I was sat by myself at Heathrow Airport munching away on a Boots meal deal about to board a plane to Hong Kong. I was worried about what I was going to do when I arrived, having all the steps to my hostel planned and written down.
I was so sick with nerves about the ‘unknown’ and how everything works out here when you live out of a bag! I also wondering what people I would meet and would I make any real friends and how I was going to cope travelling alone and how much I would miss my all my wonderful supportive friends at home.
Reading back on my first China blogs I definitely feel different and probably have changed. I still write long, often cringey blogs but I feel like I’m braver and ballsy, less worried about plans going wrong but probably a bit lazier/more layed back when it comes to organisation.
Now I’ve been a lonely duckling the last few months waddling from one place to another, one friendship group to another. But I’ve realise how much I love the unexpected of being and travelling by myself and I also enjoy the weird and wonderful ways of meeting people! There are soo many stories but I just have a few that stand out…
1. Just last week I was sat in Ubud in a cafe talking to a 70 year old German man just because we were both enjoying coffee alone – we were strangers and after 2 hours he left and I felt really happy to have said hello. He’d really lived and travelled!
2. I will never forget meeting Dean from South Africa in Hoi An. What a gem! He literally walks into a room and if he didn’t know a person he’d politely and confidently walk up to them shake their hand and introduce himself and he’d never forget a name. He was such a gentleman! I really admire him for that as it can be daunting walking up to a group of people and I’ve tried to adopt it where I can even if I do get some puzzled looks!
3. Also meeting my favourite Belgiums in the world, Elke and Maarten. I met them in Siem Reap, by the pool, found out they were going to the same place as me next and immediately invited myself along. To be honest I didn’t know how it would go or if they actually liked me at first (they probably didn’t) but I was genuinely so sad to leave them after Koh Rong and really enjoyed my time with them making dance routines in the sea.
What I love about the people I meet out here is hearing their stories, backgrounds and their journey (I can’t remember the last person/friend I’ve made in the UK that wasn’t through work) I just don’t talk to anyone new and why would I? But why not? I like that it’s so easy to do it when you’re moving about so much here, you say hello even if it’s for a 2 minute chat. I feel like there is a mutual respect that comes with being a traveller, like an exclusive club where everyone is welcome.
I can’t count the amount of times I’ve walked down the street, seen another backpacker dressed like me (traveller pants, no make up, in desperate need of a shower, lost and pissed off face expression from being pestered for a taxi or hotel) then I look at them and smile and they smile back and I feel not so alone. Silly right? I guess to a few (not all) of my friends what I was doing was a bit different, so it’s been reassuring to meet others who also don’t have a clue about what we’re supposed to do!
You might have read my first blog at the beginning titled: The Route, the plan and the travel buddies. Like most plans, this didn’t exactly go to plan… I didn’t travel as long with Jake and Rich as intended – but I did bump into them a lot, however my relationship status has sadly changed.
Moving forward, I was joined by my friend of 11 years Steven and travelled a month of Indonesia together. And as much as we argued and lost our way at times I feel like we’re closer buddies because of our trip. He was a good rock to me especially after a miserable Christmas and I feel we’re a lot more tolerant of each other now. It’s going to be awesome to see him in May in the UK to reflect! He did well to put up with me for as long as he did!
Also a new buddy is joining me and Bekki in late March. Sophie!!! Sophie and I were Boots employees back in the day and we lived together in 2012. She’s coming for 2 weeks and I’m really excited to see her. Now I have no idea where we will be, it might be Laos or it might be Thailand but we’ll figure something out!
I still don’t have a return ticket home. So maybe this isn’t the half way point, but we will see. But the BIGGEST thing that the last 3.5 months has taught me that a lot can happen in this time. I’m so excited to be travelling with Bekki and I’m looking forward to seeing how travelling will affect her and experiencing the next chapter with her!
Watch this space!
In addition to the Travel Bucket List, I have some new aims for the next three months:
ONE: Introduce myself to more people, even the ones who seem like they don’t want to be bothered.
TWO: Swim with dolphins
THREE: See a whale in the sea… unplanned… somehow!
FOUR: Have a budget but try to worry about money less! After all… I’ll be working til I’m 70!
FIVE: Sleep on a strangers sofa – I’m going to attempt couch surfing in Australia I think
SIX: Say YES more!