State of the Travels

24 05 2010

I fly home in a couple of days, so it’s time for a summary of this leg of the trip…

Tips for new travellers:

  1. If you want free clothes or electronics, follow someone into a dorm room at an Australian megahostel.  There are so many people coming and going that they will assume you’re either a new roommate, or one they have not yet noticed, or someone hooking up with one of their roommates.  Pull out your laptop or a book and sit on a neutral spot on the floor until the room is empty, and then go shopping.  I have not done this, but I can’t help but notice how easy it would be.
  2. If you want free food, dress like a backpacker and then raid the refrigerator in an Australian megahostel kitchen.  I have not done this, but I can’t help but notice how easy it would be.
  3. Even though they are ugly, Tevas really are great shoes.  And not just because they would help with tip #2.   
  4. When crossing the street in Asia, walk at a normal pace and a constant speed, pray, and trust that the cars and scooters and rickshaws will go around you.  
  5. When it comes to plans, being semi-clueless is good.  Being totally clueless is for young British girls traveling in groups, and means that you will probably spend your whole trip drinking and nursing hangovers.
  6. When surrounded by people that do not know your name and who will never see you again, do something you have previously never had the nerve to do.  Note to young British girls traveling in groups:  I did not say “do some stupid stuff that might get you into trouble with the authorities,” or “do some scandalous stuff that you will later blame on the alcohol.”
  7. When in non-Western countries, packaging is not always a reliable indicator of what you are buying; Loreal sunscreen may just be lotion, and organic shampoo may just be watered down handsoap.
  8. If you are on the back of a scooter, you are already putting your life at risk.  Hanging onto the driver and watching the road over his shoulder will not increase your chances of survival in the case of a major accident, plus it will make your shoulders ache.  So just put your hands in your lap and enjoy the scenery.

Top 10 experiences, in no particular order:

  1. A tourist-free (except for me and 2 friends) village ceremony on a black sand beach in Bali, followed by home-cooked lunch in a family compound
  2. Exploring Cambodian temples early in the morning, before other tourists arrived
  3. Seeing for myself how inadequate photos of the Taj Mahal really are
  4. A panoramic view of shooting stars while on a full-moon nightswim in Coral Bay, Australia
  5. The one time I went scuba diving in Thailand, before my ears gave out
  6. Two magical sunrises in Sanur, with magical music on my iPod to match
  7. Eating anything and everything from street stands, bicycle carts, and marketplaces all over India and Southeast Asia
  8. Camping on the central coast of New South Wales – a short but perfect adventure
  9. Visiting remote villages in India, where people said things in Hindi as I walked past like, “she must be lost…”
  10. And of course, all of the amazing people I’ve met along the way – friends that I hope to keep for years to come, and kind strangers I will never see again.

Lessons that I’ve either learned or reinforced for myself, in no particular order:

  1. Americans need to get out more.
  2. The world is an awesome gym, and membership is cheap.
  3. No matter what your life is today, you can make it something else tomorrow.
  4. Do not be surprised when people seem to forget you…
  5. … nor should you be surprised when you find out that they remember you fondly and often.
  6. It’s not too late to do the stuff you wish you had done as a kid.
  7. It’s ok to fall in love often, as long as one is able to let go often.

Things that I will do within the next 3 years (all of which are in some way related to this trip):

  1. Fly without an engine (hang-glide, paraglide, etc.)
  2. Find a volunteer position after my return to L.A.
  3. Learn to speak Spanish at above a 5-year-old’s level
  4. See the pyramids in Egypt
  5. Visit all 7 continents
  6. Start learning to play an instrument for fun
  7. Run a half-marathon
  8. Go on a solo camping trip


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3 responses

24 05 2010
Scott Rose

AWESOME!!! Thanks for the awesome posting.

Regarding section 4, are you open to doing #1, #3, or #4 with a friend?

Regarding section 4 #2, check out 826la.org as an idea.

Looking forward to seeing you back in LA!

24 05 2010
Christine

With a friend would be awesome, but I’ve also learned that it’s easier to plan first and invite later. 🙂

25 05 2010
Joe kerby

You shouldn’t go camping alone. Just sayin. Btw enjoying your blog. We love to travel and read about others travels.

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