”Challenge yourself with something you know you could never do, and what you’ll find is that you can overcome anything.” (Anonymous)
I'm sitting in a VERY posh hotel room, looking out onto the Bangkok skyline (thanks, TravelZoo) and thought it fitting that I round up the last eight months with some final words. In just a few short hours, we’ll be at the airport and will kiss Thai soil goodbye for the very last time as we embark on our new adventures ‘Down Under’. Watch out, Sydney, we’re coming for you!
If anyone would've told me a few years ago that I’d have backpacked for eight months, I’d have been a bit dubious, to say the least. In reality, I'm not sure why it’s called ‘backpacking’. You really don’t spend that much time carrying your bag. Anyway, there are downsides, of course, that Lonely Planet fails to mention. Ridiculously long, uncomfortable journeys, crap accommodation, things NEVER going to plan, inevitable dodgy stomach somewhere along the line… it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted. To be immersed in a culture so different to your own and adapt to their way of life can be hard at times. However, we Brits don’t realise how lucky we are – wherever we travel in the world, the universal language of communication is always English. I've met countless French, Dutch, German people who have to forego their mother tongue and try to communicate daily in a language that isn't their own. I think the hardest thing for me, at first, was to become ‘carefree’. I always like to have a plan and pride myself on being meticulous and organised. In the end, I accepted that there was nothing I could do if that bus was two hours late, or the hostel didn't have our reservation. You deal with it. Same goes for my appearance. Being ‘unpolished’ is OK when you’re a traveller. Material things aside, being away from home for so long is also a strong test of character. It’s hard to see Facebook updates and photos of what everyone’s doing and the thought that I’ll miss some of my closest friends’ weddings next year is really hard to stomach. On the other hand, I know that this experience is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’d be stupid to give that up.
I can honestly say that this is the best decision I've ever made and am so proud of myself to have stepped out of my comfort zone and done something I've always dreamed of doing. I've visited some amazing place and met some incredible people, but I don’t mind saying now that the traveller in me is ready for a rest. I need some stability. I'm excited to actually unpack and hang up my clothes and be in one place for longer than a few days. To wash my clothes in a washing machine rather than a sink (sorry, Mum) and to actually cook a meal (well, watch Ste cook for me) rather than go out; just some of the little things I've missed. I feel I'm ready to get back in the rat-race (if anyone will have me!) and can’t wait to see the funds in my bank account actually increase rather than deplete.
So, that’s it, done and dusted. This isn't the last you’ll hear from me; once I'm up and running in Australia, I’ll write and let you know what’s what. Lastly, if I can give you all one piece of advice from my experience, it’s to never give up on your dream, however small it is. To lose a few pounds, save for those Louboutins (on my list), buy a house or travel the world… the only thing stopping you is YOU. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it, and I'm the living example. Gidday for now, I’ll see you on the other side…