Today is my anniversary. One Year of Travel is complete!
I have experienced culture and friendship from locals of these countries as well as other people travelling through, the experience is irreplaceable, and I hope to continue it. I have learnt a lot, and will try to put my lessons into words…
The first thing that comes to mind is humanity. Being from England, I am naturally miserable all the time. But there is absolutely no reason to be on the road. I’ve met so much… not poverty, but genuine hard working people from difficult backgrounds. I now really appreciate my upbringing and the things I have taken for granted before; from an education down to clean drinking water and a bed. Despite people lacking these things, they still have time to help a stranger out, find happiness, love, be proud, and not complain a bit! It shows material posessions and background mean nothing if you are a shit. I’d much rather hang around with the Thai guy earning $100 a month willing to buy me a beer for turning up lost in his city than a millionairre counting his pennies not seeing outside his own world.
Again with the humans… It doesn’t matter where you are, or what you are seeing; travel is about the people you meet. I’ve already forgotten details on a few of the destinations I’ve visited (bless this blog for being my lifelong reminder) but I’m not going to forget the Brunei man who gave me a massage after climbing a mountain, The Cambodian girl who I took out on her moto, the weird 100 year old Irish guy who told me his life story in 3 minutes and ran off never to be seen again, drunk pals in Laos, and of course Lee Kuns daughter Yanyu for talking to me forgetting I don’t speak Mandarin and exclaiming loudly when I asked her to translate “I SPEAK THE CHINESE” followed by storming off.
I learnt I am happy in my own skin. After all the self battles every teenager goes through, maybe it’s an age thing, but travelling does tend to make people realise that “normal” is different for nearly everyone, and in which case, there is nothing especially wrong with most people, we’re all just a bit different.
Family is important. I’ve kept in touch with mine through the whole year. In a weird way, I’ve learnt a lot about family life by being away. Like a lot of things, you can’t see what you have until you take a step back outside of the box.
My sense of humour appeals universally. I don’t know why but I value my sense of humour highly, I find myself funny, and believe this is a great trait to have. However I have been a bit reserved on letting it loose on other people, believing it was a bit niche. But as it turns out, I should have just been myself a lot more as making people laugh gives me great joy and it was understood a lot more than I thought it would be.
The internet is awesome and changing travel. OK I thought the internet was pretty awesome before travelling, but it is even better now I’m on the road. The whole global communication thing has many more benefits than just cheap books from Amazon and humourous pornography. Facebook actually makes sense now as a tool. Skype has saved me a lot of money in phone calls, and will continue to do so. As does websites like hostelworld.com and hostels.com. Which are improving hostels as the bad or overly expensive ones just won’t be getting custom due to user reviews.
Things change, get used to it. I am not the first to jump on bandwagons, and neither the last. This includes myself. Stepping away from old hobbies (for me this is cars and video games) and into new ones (travel, writing and photography) was a bit strange to accept and adapt too, but it just happened. It’s odd knowing you are going through a change in your life, like growing pains as a kid I suppose, learning you are not the person you used to be, but a evolved you is a sensation to be embraced and enjoyed, not feared.
Independant travel is great, but don’t underestimate the benefits of a package. I’ve stuck to and up for solo travel, but as a bit of a introvert I tend to make friends with other indivuals rather than a group of friends. Each has advantages and disadvantages, but it’s worth baring in mind. However this is different when I’m doing a paid tour like jungle trekking or a long boat trip as I’m automatically bundled in a group, and groups like this bond together rather than as individuals coupling off as the experience is shared.
Saying goodbye gets easier, but is never easy. Constant travel means relationships don’t get a chance to develop for long. However they still happen, be it a friend, a lover, a student, or a mentor.
Always wear sunscreen. Sunburn sucks, skin cancer sucks a lot more. With that note, I’ll leave you all with a bit of Baz:
People often say they learn a lot about themselves after travel. So what have you actually learnt about yourself from travel?