I have travelled to many parts of Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. Altogether I have visited almost 30 towns or cities in each country, everytime there is something new to be discovered, often I am alone when I visit. I see little things that spellbound me, the cultural aspect which I am fascinated by. Sure the idea of cliff jumping, white water rafting and desert surfing excite me but for me traveling is about communicating in languages you may not understand fully.
It is very possible to have a heart-to-heart despite a language barrier. Body movements, pointing at objects and simple assumptions go a long to create long lasting conversation.
South East Asia is home for me. I feel my spiritual self is rested, at ease. I feel healthy. The drive to show others my love of these countries while learning more about these very nations is a daily emotion. I hope our countries can stop fighting and build up to shine brighter. I have a dream for all of us. I want to show people my world by traveling through there, for these is still far more to explore.
I wonder how I will affect these places? Or rather how will they affect me? Maybe I will be a travel host, a researcher, a social worker, an entertainer? For me, it does not matter too much as long as I am encouraging the plight of these countries. It is about being there. That is where I feel my life begins.
My mate Andy came and basically the past three days have went like this….
• Spent eight hours on the back of the motorbike driving from rural Vietnam to Cambodia
• Too much rice wine
• Losing Andy at the airport
• Exploring the Royal Palace and the National Museum
• Gettjng depressed at the Killing Firlds and Tuol Sleng museum again!
• Speeding for almost eight hours in a car trying to get to the border crossing
• Arguing away, bargaining away.
• Getting into a car with monks
• Speaking more Thai than I thought I could speak
• Finding random wine shops
•.A change of mind has led to Krabi!
• Now stuck at an airport for 12 hours. Fun! Feb 28
The year started awesome. I was crying as I jerked back by the window on the plane thinking if going overseas alone was the right thing to do. I realised that the first thing that I thought of leaving Australia was my mother. But there I was on the plane about to abandon myself with the arms of Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Brunei.
My first stop was Brunei where I would have a stopover that would last a whole night so naturally I decided to leave the airport, get an extra stamp in my passport and wander around. Of course it was as humid as I expected it to be, I did not expect though that there would be little opened though. In a country that basically bans alcohol for the majority of its population you can see why the people are so kind here yet go to bed so early. I ate at the only open restaurant left, some Thai restaurant where the locals stared at me knowing that I was not one of them. I shrugged it off, I would have to get used to that.
Afterwards, I decided to venture to the shopping centre, it looked like the one in Cambodia. Again more stares. I realised there was nothing to buy and everything was closing soon so I thought to myself that I had better find myself a place to sleep soon. Exiting the shopping centre I walked for about a decent hour, typically it started raining. Somehow I was already feeling stung by loneliness, I fought against it telling myself that I had courage to do this.
I returned back to the shopping centre dismayed that my luck had run dry. A local security guard, a figure surprising in peaceful Brunei was a man I thought was somebody that could help me. What do you know? Half an hour later a man rocks up in a taxi, accidentally runs over a cat that storms right under his car (attempted suicide?) and drops me off at a hotel. Mind you it is only 7pm, the same taxi driver confesses that he got out of bed at 6pm for me. Shocked by the cultural difference he hands me his card, thanks me in Teochew and wishes me a good night.
In the hotel room I looked out to the gloomy night time sky, there was little to see and for a moment I felt let down, disheartened. I had a shower and let the sweatiness of the humidity cuddle me to sleep.
The taxi driver the next morning personally called me to get me to the airport. Such kindness, a faith in humanity. A glimpse of it.
Maybe traveling was the way.