After 6 months, 11 countries and 27 flights, it is finally time to go home, albeit with a carbon footprint the size of Bigfoot (sorry Mother Earth). I’ve been anticipating this moment with dread and excitement in equal measure for the last month or so. On the one hand I cannot wait to see my family and friends and to have a home once again, but on the other the last 6 months have been the happiest of my life so far and I’m so sad that the adventure is ending. Anyway, this is no time for melancholy, I am so grateful that we were lucky enough to have this experience together. Taking 6 months off ‘real life’ and having no real responsibility beyond deciding where to sleep and what to eat is extremely liberating and has given us lots of time to think about everything we have to be grateful for (which is a lot). We’ve had so many amazing experiences on this trip and to have made many lovely friends along the way, we couldn’t have asked for a better 6 months.
Our trip ended just as it started, with a night on the Khao San Road in Bangkok, staying at Buddy Lodge. Our final hours were short but sweet, we arrived in Bangkok around 4PM, checked into the hotel and went straight back out again, keen to enjoy the hectic backpacker atmosphere for as long as possible. We saw all the usual characters and oddities – people desperately trying to sell scorpions on sticks, I’m not sure if they are decorative or just a crunchy snack, but no thanks. Ageing hippies enjoying some Chang, telling their life story to whoever will listen. Ladies dressed up in full hill tribe garb (clearly just a work uniform) selling friendship bracelets and wooden musical instruments in the shape of frogs. Men catapulting glowing spinning tops into the air and trying to catch them on the way back down. The very same fortune seller that chased Jack 6 months ago telling him he was a “Lucky lucky man”, this time chasing me because I have a “Lucky face” – we must be VERY lucky 😉
Creepy crawlies on sticks:
We had our final thai food – chicken satay, green and red curries with rice served in novelty shapes. Jack could hardly bear his:
We finished up in a live music bar with a brilliant guitarist and singer. When they played Eagle Eye Cherry ‘Save Tonight’ I cried.
And now here we are, on the flight home, and it truly is all over. I thought I’d reflect on some of the most memorable times of the trip:
– Severely hurting my back in Thailand, crying in the back of a taxi because of the bumpy road
– Swimming with black tip sharks in Koh Tao
– Floating along the Mekong on the slow boat from Thailand to Laos
– Motorbiking through small villages in central Laos as part of the Thakek Loop
– Visiting the shockingly sad Killing Fields in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
– Cycling around the temples of Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia
– Getting the train along the coast of Vietnam, from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, stopping at lots of beautiful places on the way
– Drinking bia hoi in Hanoi with our friend Hung and his buddies in a locals only ‘pub’ in Hanoi
– Standing on the top of the world at the summit of Kala Patthar overlooking Mount Everest
– Sailing around remote islands in the Palawan area of the Philippines with Tao Experiences, eating fresh sashimi on deck and camping on uninhabited islands
– Celebrating Jack’s 30th birthday in the beach paradise of the Gili Islands
– Learning to free dive and reaching depths of around 16 metres
– Cruising Banjarmasin’s floating villages at bath time, getting high fives from excitable local kids
– Living the high life in Singapore, sipping cocktails at the top of the Marina Bay Sands at Ku De Ta
– Saying goodbye in beautiful Bangkok, the start (and end) of many an adventure in SE Asia
Here is my favourite photo of the two of us from this trip, exhausted but happy at the summit of Kala Patthar in Nepal:
I could go on forever, but I’ll stop here and get back to my in-flight film before I start sobbing in to my weak cup of tea.
And so we say goodbye to chaos, tropical beaches, 10p beers, skin that stings with too much DEET, sunburn, itchy mosquito bites, boat trips, bus rides, airports, snorkelling with turtles, getting high fives from kids who are excited to see us, new friends, cheap yummy food, cold showers and motorbikes and HELLO to family and friends, English summertime, Pimms O’clock, proper pubs, ale (for Jack), wine (for me), dodgy service on the tube, Tonefest, our car, traffic jams, roast dinners, cheese, people who form orderly queues, moody buggers on the tube, London – HOME.
Thank you for reading