So that’s it then. 86 days, 16 flights, 6 countries (not counting layovers) and many more yen, baht, ringits, Aussie dollars, New Zealand dollars, rupees, and even pounds than I want to think about… home time has arrived.
I don’t really know what to put here. Something profound and inspirational? I’m way too tired to do profound and inspirational (spending your last night on Khao San Road will do that you.)
There’s, eh, a few people I’m looking forward to seeing again at home. And there’s nothing quite like your own bed, instead of sharing a room with 7 other travellers who snore like tractors, stumble in drunk at 5am, and have the nerve to tell me all about how they’ve been traveling for years instead of a pitiful 3 months.
I guess I should be thankful. Because for 86 days, I’ve been incredibly lucky (luckier than most) to go places I never really thought I’d get to go, and do things that I never thought I’d do.
Whether it was singing karaoke (beautifully so, might I add) in Tokyo until 4am with about 10 foreign strangers I’d just met…
Seeing Guns N’ Roses sing their little hearts out (including one of my all-time favourite tunes, Sweet Child o’ Mine) for 3 hours straight along with 30,000+ other people…
Spending a couple of hours in a Thai hospital (well, now wasn’t that fun…)
As you can see, they amputated my left arm.
Snorkelling the amazing Great Barrier Reef (always wanted to do that…)
Touring New Zealand’s incredible landscapes in a campervan…
Going out in the infamous Khao San Road and getting cockblocked (don’t ask… )
Losing a game of Connect 4 to a Thai hooker (definitely don’t ask…)
Spending a day with beautiful EWEPHANTS (I WUV THEM…)
Touring one of the world’s tallest buildings with my dad, who just happened to be there (don’t tell anyone, but I do love that man…)
And of course this…
It’s all been a fascinating time.
And for me, one of the best parts of it all has been documenting everything, in my own ‘slightly different’ sort of way, right here on this incredibly basic, rudimentary free WordPress blog thingy. Never once has it felt like an obligation, or doing work; I’ve loved putting it all together. (Probably significantly more than you’ve loved reading it.)
And if you’ve been a loyal follower of every post, or just read one sentence and got bored; if you’ve maybe let out a small chuckle while reading, or rolled your eyes and thought ‘this man is an absolute tool;’ if you’ve given me feedback, recommended my stuff to a friend, or sent me hate mail, then seriously, thank you. Your encouragement, your support, your valuable free time given to check in on my escapades has made it all the more worthwhile.
There’s literally a billion ‘inspirational’ pictures on Facebook about going travelling, often with a generic quote attributed (falsely) to Mark Twain or someone like that to give it more credibility, over a pretty background picture of a mountain or a beach. You’ve probably seen about 5 of them today already. Hell, I could throw one together right now.
Words to live by.
Well, I don’t work for a tour company so I’m not gonna tell you every second spent travelling is the best of your life; you’ll encounter setbacks, get stressed, lose stuff, argue with people, feel lost, get sick… you’re still human.
But you learn so many things worth learning;
- about the kindness of strangers
- the weirdness and wonders of other cultures
- that the world is a far bigger and more varied place than it might seem from behind a desk or in front of a phone screen
- that you are soooo lucky compared to countless people
- and that no matter where you are or who is around you, you are only as alone as you choose to be.
You find yourself trying and doing things you thought you never would, calmly facing situations that once seemed scary because some things are just more important than fear, and constantly surprising yourself with what you can do when faced with issues you just don’t get in the comfort of home.
If you want to travel and it’s remotely possible, but it all seems too daunting, don’t even think, just book a flight. All it takes is that first step, the rest follows so much more easily. We met travellers who were 18 (and looked about 8) and travellers in their 30s & 40s… if it’s your dream, it’s never too late to make it happen. (Ooh, I should put that on another poster.)
So, where do we go from here? Well, they say travelling gives you ‘the itch.’ I get what they mean. I’ve had lots of itches. Insect bites do that to you. (Wow, I really am hilarious.)
Maybe I’ve seen too much to just go back to ‘normal.’ Maybe going to some of the most romantic places on earth, with my only company being this:
…gives one plenty to think about. Maybe I’m not all out of Bad Ideas just yet.
Gotta come up with something to write about, cause I am nowhere near ready to retire from doing this. Even if you – yes, you – are the only person reading it.