Well this is it, the very last day of my trip. It almost seems surreal that it’s almost over. I think back to everything that has happened over the past 6 months and at times it feels like I’ve been gone for ages and at other times it feels like I just began.
Since I’ve left many things have happened on an international level. There was the polar vortex with the freezing cold temperatures in the United States, the Olympics, the fighting between Ukraine and Russia, the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines, the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, the kidnapping of the school girls in Nigeria, the sinking of a civilian boat in Korea, the World Cup, and most recently the fighting in the Gaza strip. When I think of all those things…….yes I have been gone for a while!
My experiences are something that I will cherish forever and thankfully I have this blog to look back on or else I probably would’ve forgotten about many things that I’ve seen and people I’ve met. In 6 and a half months I have seen 10 countries (although my passport reflects 11 with that little mishap in Malaysia), have met hundreds of new friends, tasted foods that I never even knew existed, saw stunning beaches, jaw-dropping sunsets, dramatic coastlines, majestic mountain ranges, soul-quenching sunrises, deserted deserts, and enough full-moons to last a lifetime. I’ve traveled thousands of miles by boat, train, plane, camel, car, tuk-tuk, elephant and moped (sometimes all in the same day). I’ve met the poorest people with the kindest souls, and children that stole my heart just by their smiles.
There were definitely some challenging moments that tested my limits both physically and mentally: party-hostels, bungee jumping, dangerous car rides in the middle of the night, flying black-listed airlines, being surrounded by a boat of people getting seasick with my phobia of puke, getting deathly ill in India, mice in my sleeping quarters, hiking uphill at top speed for many hours in Nepal, roughing it on camping trips with no heat, negotiating prices, getting completely lost, knowing I had no control over certain situations and being ok with it, staying awake for over 30 hours from long flights and being so tired from jetlag I honestly didn’t know if I would make it to my hotel.
I’ve also learned a few new things that I never even thought about before this trip. I can now tell the difference between British and Australian accents and the difference between Hindu and Buddist temples. At last I can finally easily convert measurements of kilos in to pounds, meters in to feet, and Celsius in to Fahrenheit. I’ve learned to sleep comfortably without AC in temperatures of 90 degrees or more and realized that a gecko on your wall actually won’t kill you when you are sleeping!! Who would’ve thought? I’ve mastered the “look of death” to a hawker that approaches me so he knows not to take another step closer because I AM NOT INTERESTED IN WHAT YOU HAVE TO SELL! I’m now a pro at using Asian squat toilettes consisting of a hole in the ground and 2 slots for your feet all while holding my bags. It also turns out that 7/11, Subway and KFC are much bigger companies than I thought, they were in EVERY SINGLE country I visited! I have learned to pack up my (19 kilo or 40lb) backpack in 6 minutes flat and how to carry all three of my bags at once, it is an art form! First goes my cross-over purse over my right shoulder, my “mother” of all backpacks next and then my small backpack strapped to the my front chest last. In this process I have also learned that I will not be packing that thing again for a very long time. I think I’m just more of a suitcase kinda gal. Completely OVER this whole backpack thing !
But most importantly, I learned how to be human again, to appreciate the small things, open my heart, be patient, and have true feelings. It’s now easier for me to go with the flow and simply let things go (ok I said it’s easier but not easy)! I am connecting with people again, smiling at strangers and striking up conversations with people I don’t know. I’ve learned how important it is not to judge or pre-judge someone, no one knows what these people live. I think I’m still a dreamer verse a realist and I still haven’t decided if thats a good thing or a bad thing but I would prefer to try for things that may seem impossible then not try at all.
To me a good trip must include; adventure, time spent with locals, challenging moments, learning something new, sprinting through an airport to catch a flight, both joy and sadness, one heart-break and being scared for your life at least once. This trip has had that and so much more. I’m trying not to be sad that it’s over but happy that I was lucky enough to experience it all, both good and bad. Thanks for reading everyone and more updates soon on what it’s like to be back home!!