The Highs, The Lows, The Summary, The End.
Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
297Trip End Dec 15, 2011
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Where I stayed
Low points/worst memories:
1)First day in Russia dumped at the wrong spot and having to find way to right place where no one could speak English.
2)the constant harassment of people to buy things making me feel like a walking cash machine everyone just wanted to take take take from.
3) getting caught up in a scam that frightened me
4) return boat trip from Phu Quoc where I was convinced I'd drown
5) the way I felt at the meditation retreat, days of tears
6) the nasty bite on my arm getting so infected I was actually really worried and has left a scar to remind me
7) the let down that Phnom Penh turned out to be due to high expectation and negative things happening
8) on occasion, the rain making days so hard, especially when falling off motorbikes is concerned
9) the frustration of corruption trying to enter Laos
10) Sam Neua. Just don't go!
11) a painful speedboat ride to Gili isles
12) the suffocating traffic of Java and a bus ride from hell
13) Barry the American being absolutely the rudest person I've ever met when I was trying to help him.
High Points/best memories:
1) meeting Anita, Rishi and steve and getting to know them, they are great people, then having a final weekend with them!
2) snow mobiling and dog sledding through the woods in Listvyanka
3) the beauty and big impression japan made on me
4) seeing the great wall of china curving into the distance in both directions and realising just how big it is.
5) the incredible beauty of Yangshuo, and the show on the river Li. I've since seen similar (towering limestone karsks) places in Laos and thailand but that was the first time i saw anything like that so it made a big impression.
6) Halong bay at sunset
7) learning to dive and (nearly) every dive since
8) entering hong kong for the first (or technically second) time and being really very excited
9) seeing the view of hong kong island from Kowloon at night, and then being blown away all over again by the view from the peak
10) the wonderful hospitality of Roy, Sara and Jake in hong kong.
11) the enormity of the Angkor Temple complex and particular favourite temples- Angkor Wat, Bayon and Banteay Srei
12) making new friends in Laos who we spent several days travelling and having fun with
13) Vang Viene and the amusement of the whole tubing/drunken/drugged up thing in both a comical and fun perspective and the oddity of the whole setup
14) the incredible landscape of North Laos
15) the beauty of Bali around Ubud particularly with it's green rice terraces, jet black and sugar White sandy beaches and gorgeous sunsets
16) the sense of achievement and beauty of climbing mount bromo to watch sunrise
17) the new friends I made whilst couchsurfing and in dorms
18) Scott coming for 2 weeks
19) feeling like my confidence is returning after so many months
20) gaining one or 2 new readers to my blog
21) seeing some islands that are the most beautiful tropical waters I've ever seen with my own eyes and just being amazed at how beautiful this world is
22) meeting 2 lovely girls who after a drunken night out both ended up with a tattoo of a smiley face on their right fingers. Every time you see them (the fingers) you can't help but laugh!
23) Beaches. I just love beaches. The sound of the waves, the sea breeze cooling your skin and carrying the faint smell of the sea, the feel of fine sand underfoot whilst you walk through water as warm as a bath as it laps over your feet. The brilliant and different blues you get contrasting with the white or black sand. Not forgetting all the beautiful things in the sea, the coral, soft or hard, all different shapes and sizes and the fish with all their amazing and bright colours. It's a whole new world down there.
Most difficult times:
1) first day in Russia being in the wrong place and no one spoke English
2) having tonsilitis in Japan
3) the afternoon of getting caught in the scam in Vietnam
4) every single day of the mediation week, and every day just got harder till I left
5) getting completely angry and mad with all the tourist assault early in my trip. However either the people aren't as bad (since vietnam and Cambodia) or my attitude has changed because everything after Cambodia was fine!
6) spending a lot of evenings and times on my own feeling quite sad still, up until maybe october when things really seemed to feel better
So I thank all of you who read this far, for reading. Some of my friends didn't read my blog which is a little sad and not sure if that is a reflection on my writing style or what! But if I'm asked what I did I'm pretty sure my answer will be along the lines of "I can't remember, there was so much that I did, and I wrote it all down, so if you couldn't be bothered to read it, I can't be bothered to tell you!". However it is really lovely to have aquired some readers interested in my trip who I've never met! I think it's wonderful that you persevered with my very ordinary ramblings!
The blog was both for myself as a diary, but also to avoid 'so, what did you do?' sort of question to some extent as telling the same story over and over and OVER can get a bit monotonous and there's no way I could bore anyone in one sitting on an entire years trip! Rest assured (or not!) that I will continue to write about my future travels and post pictures to amuse, amaze, prove I've been there, make you jealous, make you glad you're NOT where I am and maybe inspire you to come out and see it for yourself as no picture can really capture the 4D experience of seeing, feeling, smelling, tasting and hearing everything that goes with a view. Don't book a posh hotel that you'll never leave (or you may as well just go to the hotel nearest your house and stay there for a week!), book one that makes you want to go out and explore without making you worry you're not getting your money's worth. Do use public transport sometimes if not always (I never use it in UK it's so expensive! Lol! Can't wait to get my car back!). Don't be afraid because there's nothing to be afraid of! I met so many people who told me they were afraid of doing it, some at home who may or may not be tempted to break through that fear, some had already made it here with a plan and a rucksack so I told them they had already done the hard bit! Seriously, it's really not hard and it's really not scary.
I've waited for this 'year out' a long time, my whole life. I wanted to go with my other half and share all these memories till we were old and grey and looking a wall full of photos of exotic places with us together. It's a romantic idea isn't it, what movies are made of. Life slapped me in the face pretty hard though and I felt I'd lost everything and if I didn't go on this trip I was an idiot. So with my confidence destroyed, a heart broken into a million pieces, a cloud of potential health problems that could strike and end the trip at random, I took the chance, left my job and left my life.
I return to the UK feeling what may pass for my old self again, my confidence has possibly even improved on what it was. I've been better than ever which is very encouraging and I will take heart and lessons from that, my heart is still a little sad, but gone are the painful daily feelings so now onto new things. I don't know what or where yet, I have a lot to do, but that will be a new adventure for 2012 whilst I save up for my next trip....