Sunday, 23 August 2015

Ending seven months of travelling and this is what I know

I'm trying to write these lines from my little charming balcony in one of the few bungalows I could afford to book through Internet in Koh Phagnan under a decent price, considering that the Full Moon Party is fast approaching this week, day in which I would be leaving this island for others to come and get the party started.

Too close now to my seventh month of travelling, the last thing I wish is a party. Boring? Maybe, but hey, travelling this long doesn't come without physical exhaustion or some mental scars.
I thought I would sit down to write a few thoughts about my trip and words would come out just fast enough to type them but here I am, surrounded by peaceful green scenery and I'm struggling about just every word I want to produce.

Giving it a try, here’s from the bottom of my heart an honest opinion, review and desire of what I wanted almost seven months ago and what did I get seven months later.

What did I expect?

A lot of unrealistic stuff.

I left my life in London when I could no longer function normally. At the risk that it may sound like a cliché, I ran away from thoughts that they were starting to scare me, from an unsatisfactory life and a routine that was slowly killing the happy person I once was.

Like an inexperienced traveller that is about to go away for the first time (that I was not) again, I made a mistake to think that this trip would change my life and, of course, always for the better and of course, not kidding myself and knowing, deep inside me, that it would not change it but only add as many other times before, a richer insight of this world and increase my awareness of everything around me. All in all, the best thing a traveller can learn.

My life when my backpack was still within British borders, seemed that it would improved enormously as fast as I could jump on that plane.

I hate to admit that all my previous trips have not made me less naïve and maybe, for necessity or unfortunately because I insist to see  a certain extend of romanticism in every situation, I did take that plane and allowed my mind to wandered to better worlds, life’s, loves and jobs.

Have I changed?

I’m sorry to tell you that travelling is not a life changing experience but it is definitely a mind changing one without any doubt. As a wise sentence that is out there on the Internet says, travelling is the only things that you can buy that makes you richer.

 Of all the things that I can possibly tell you, someone else have already mentioned them, but I can only say and affirm what others have already said; that leaving the comforts of home for some far away land where people lead less comfortable life’s that ours, will enriched you in a way that nothing else you can do or see or read or watch from home, will.

I came across this sentence one day on Internet and well, pretty much summarise anything I can tell you;

“When in doubt, travel”

What else there is to say?

There is something very attractive when long term travelling in just an exciting idea on the making; that you will come back home being a new person.
Remember, you won’t come back changed, at least not the change that you are picturing prior travelling, unless the picture implies a tan and maybe some weight loss or improvement on your fitness level (but hey, even with this, be careful, travelling can also make you get into a very unhealthy lifestyle…be wise or be stupid, always your choice)

I can only advise you what I have always done myself; facing my insecurities doing those things that most made me shy or vulnerable but always with the limits that nothing would put you at risk or make you feel uncomfortable.

Travelling is not a race where you have to prove to the world that you are a different person of the one people know, you don’t have to prove anything to anyone but yourself and sometimes, as much as you would like to be that person, you are not, you are what you are and that’s fine, even on the other side of the world. 

Can you/should you love on the road?

Yes, you can absolutely love.

Being a female, a single female, a single female with a romantic mind is a great combination for disaster.

When you pack your backpack, you are not only packing clothes, medication, passport, insurance and stuff. Unconsciously, you are also packing hopes and dreams of romance on far away destinations. I’m not embarrassed to say so, because I’m only human and I don’t see wrong to desire to feel desire. It is a powerful feeling and being far and free, makes it even more so.

Romance surprised on my first week of travel while in Indonesia, with a local man. It was unexpected to say the least, I was not even mind ready yet but I wanted to be, it was as passionate and senseless as crazy, beautiful and brief.

Then again, like a game of destiny to make me end the trip the way I started it, romance knocked on my door again recently with a local Thai man.

But kid you not, if I could go back and delete some of these experiences, I would. There is nothing exciting about facing a long trip with a broken heart, neither there is nothing exciting when a local man can treat worse than any other man has in your own land.

I think us women, sometimes we fall in love with the idea of falling in love but this endures a risk and I cannot stress any woman travelling out there enough; local men can be as charming as they can be bad.

Don’t have sex because you need a hug.  If you badly need one, get virtual hugs from your friends, they will be pain-free. 

Can you keep going the excitement of your trip uninterrupted?

No, I found it very difficult indeed.

My trip has been full of ups and downs just like “real” life back home and I must confess, the downs have been several.

Sometimes I have been almost scare to communicate with friends and family during these lows, I thought I would be called ungrateful because I was in places where many of my friends could only dream of and that should not give me rights to complain.

But how unrealistic is that?

No one can pretend that being alone for months and months without end, carrying a backpack under extreme weather conditions through several countries, can go without experiencing lows along the way.
 If we can’t be permanently happy back at home, there is no way anyone can with those conditions.

Backpacking alone is tough in a way that if you have never backpack before, you may not understand fully. Yes, without a doubt, a backpacking trip is full of highs and thrills but there is a side to the trip that is not visible to others but you.

No one sees the hours we invest in researching, investigating, trying to combine dates, flights, rainy season avoidance without having to cross whole continents, ending up in awful dormitories with the objective to save some cash, where you can only dream with a good nigh sleep, in the reality of being surrounded by fifteen more beds filled with noisy strangers.

I will admit that ,in some occasions, very few but very real, I really wanted to give up and go back home. 
In a long trip there will be bad days, among those bad days, some may be really bad and you may feel defeated or just really tired but the good news are, the sun always comes up again and to a bad day, a better one will follow. 

Do not give up quick, you have my word that it will get better soon enough again.

Some days they will be fill up with fun and new friends, exciting places to see or amazing sunsets, Others will be rainy, grey, you mood will not be cheerful, you may end up in a place and just hate it or not being able to make new friends. That is all part of the experience and is real life as it best, as real as it gets on this side of the world.

The experience as a whole, at the end of the day, will be totally worth it and you will go back home and look back feeling pleased that you remained strong and didn't give up.

Am I ready to go back home?

I wish someone could answer that for me.

I don’t know, I really don’t know. There is one thing that I know for certain; I'm scared as hell.

I'm scared to get off the plane and realised that I don’t want to be home yet, I'm also scared that as the days go by, I didn't do everything that I could have done, that I didn't made the most of my time, that I wasn't adventurous enough, or crazy enough, or fearless enough or I travelled enough for long enough.

I'm especially scared of the things that I haven’t done that I could have that I don’t know yet.

And lastly, I'm really scared that this is the last trip I can take where I don’t have to go back to a job or a home or a family.

I'm really scared to going back of being a slave of society in our so imperfect first world.

I wish someone could tell me that everything is going to be fine but as I suppose, for that, you and I will have to wait for the next chapter...


  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts after such a long travel experience. No matter what you left behind, no matter new problems arising in front of you, everybody should follow what heart says. You did it and you are now brave enough to share it with us. As for your late concern, nobody is ready to come back. Never. Once you are cognisant of that, then you can take the way back home with a perennial smile in your face. Thanks again for writing deep from the heart.

  2. seriously Montse, you are one of the best writters I have ever read, beacause when we read you, I think I can speak in behalf most of your follewers, we feel in your skin; we feel your experiences. Tú tienes un Don, y quizá la escritura le va a dar un vuelco a tu vida.

  3. Montse

    Greetings from Brazil :-)
    Firstly let me tell you that I am very proud of you.
    There are very few on this planet who have the courage n conviction to travel ,experience n enrich their lives.
    So here is me wishing you Love ...Hapiness n Adventure wherever you go.