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Published: April 12th 2010
lots of history in the form of temples, palaces, forts and the like. ... and delicious food of course!
Well this is it. It’s finally over. I went to bed last night in Hong Kong and tonight I will be sleeping on a plane heading for Heathrow; and the end of my journey. I’m not too proud to admit that I had a little cry last night! Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to seeing my friends and family… i‘m even looking forward to seeing everyone at work… I just don’t want this to end. To say it has been incredible, an adventure, 4 months of nothing but fun and excitement does not really do it justice! I can’t really describe it! I’ve had a blast for four months and now I have to get back to reality.
I have been grateful every day to be in a situation where I am able to have this adventure. Even when it has been tough/rough going, I’ve been grateful to be there; and it has not always been easy. I have not always been clean or smell-free (right now my entire bag smells of weird meat, which I can only guess came from the Filipino boat cargo area?) I have not always been well fed or watered. I have certainly
involved lots of fun activities like bamboo rafting, quod biking and elephant rides!
not always had the things in life I am used to, like running water and flush toilets. But - and here is the thing - I have had 107 days that I will never forget, and in that time I have learnt so much about myself. Some things personal that I will not share here but some things that I hope I will remember forever. (E.g. If you start a conversation with a person (especially if you want something from them!) by smiling at them they are much more likely to be accommodating/help you than if you don’t!)
As I sat on the floor of the very over crowded boat with Julie and the 2 Swiss guys we met, leaving Apo island last week I thought about the trip so far and realized that for the past 107 days I have been really, truly happy, met some amazing people, eaten some delicious food, walked some strange paths and seen so many very beautiful things, and such a variety: from the breathtakingly beautiful islands/beaches/seas of the Philippines and Thailand, to the incredible jungles of Borneo, to the temples, palaces and forts of India. I have my favourite places (india). I
involved a lot of sweating!
...sadly mostly in secondary rainforest as most of the primary rainforest has been chopped down to make way for palm oil plantations or logging.
have my favourite foods (tom yam soup/Laksa/dhosa). I have my favourite new friends (!) and I have my favourite experiences (scuba diving) But, I have loved it ALL… every minute. Even the uncomfortable (wallet being stolen in India) and at times awful (being groped in KL) things have been moments I have learnt from, and things that have made me stronger. I don’t want to leave. I do want to see my family and friends, and I even want to get back to work in a weird way… I just wish I could have it all! (yesterday I was remembering a little 8 year old me who desperately didn’t want to leave my friends house and my mum told me, ‘darling, all good things have to come to an end… it’s better to leave when you’re having fun rather than when you have stayed too long and it has stopped being fun’ .. she was right.. but of course I needed to find that out for myself and so I stayed at my friends house, and at 2am when I was homesick, inconsolable and realising she was right ,she had to come and pick me up!! ) So I am
just fun, fun, fun.. sun, sand, sea and plenty of friendly faces
definitely leaving on a high. But I’m still not ready to go!!
So I figured I can’t really write the last installment without giving you my top ten moments. People have already started asking me what my favourite bits are, so whilst it is difficult to compare the different parts of my travels because they were so … different(!) I have come up with a top ten nonetheless!
And since this is the last installment, I want to say thank you to everyone for reading these.. I have been amazed at how many people have bothered to look at them, and grateful that you have; I have loved writing them and it means a lot that you have taken the time to follow my adventures. No doubt I will be regaling you with stories of my travels for a long time to come!! So thank you.
TOP TEN MOMENTS FROM THE WHOLE TRIP…
1. Sitting with my legs hanging out of the train doors with Charlie, watching the world go by on the train journey from Pune to Goa. (India)
2. Eating the most delicious street masala dhosa in Kolkata. (India)
3. Swimming with whale sharks in Donsol.
My favourite way to travel..
one of the best parts of Indian travel are the trains.. i watched the world go by for hours at a time.. days on end!
4. Reaching the summit of the exasperating trek up to the Pinnacles. (Borneo)
5. My first ever night dive in Koh Phi Phi with Paco dancing and endless phospheresence - and fire dancers swirling to Jason Mraz on the distant shore. (Thailand)
6. Getting a foot massage on the street in Chiang Mai with the lovely Louise in ticklish hysterics next to me. (Thailand)
7. Dancing the night away with new friends on the outside basketball court dance floor for the Fiesta in Apo. (Philipines)
8. Taking photos, underwater, in Mabul every day three times a day, for a week! (Borneo)
9. People watching on the ghats in Varanasi during the solar eclipse and the kite festival. (India)
10. Meeting endless lovely Swedes, Swiss, Canadians, Brits, Spanish, Locals, (oh and I’m sure I’ve forgotten some!) and making friends in every place I arrived in, sharing incredible experiences and then going on our way… thank you all… this has been an experience I won’t forget…
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