5 countries, 20 Cities/towns/island/islets, in 2 months, I have travelled on normal buses, sleeper buses, VIP Buses (Not so VIP), sleeper trains, 3rd class trains, speed boats, junk boats, long tail boats, ferries, tuk tuks, rip off taxis, legit taxis, motor bike taxis, bicycles and my own two feet. I have seen paradise more then once, sunsets more beautiful than any painting or picture can capture, I have seen snakes and scorpions, I eat a scorpion, walked through a rain forest in the rain, danced in the rain, I climbed rocks, I jumped off rocks, I jumped off boats, I dinned on a roof top bar as if I was a millionaire, I swam with the fishes, climbed who knows how many stairs, to get to temples, met more people in 2 months then I did in the 24 years that I lived at home and these are just some highlights of my trip.
I think the only things I didn't do were drive a motor bike, get a tattoo and drugs (But that was a choice I made)
Now as my journey ends let me go back to the beginning and tell you what the hardest part of this whole trip was. Contrary to what most people thought back home thought (myself included) upon hearing about my plans to backpack for two months alone, and the counties I chose to go to.
I can tell you now that, the hardest part was NOT the language barrier, because playing charades with anybody is always fun. The hardest part was NOT the food, because good food in South East Asia is not hard to come across. The hardest part was NOT traveling from one place to the next, it's even easier then having your own car. The hardest part was NOT traveling alone, because, I cannot even begin to tell you how many people I have met along the way, and some will be friends for life, and some we will cross paths again. The hardest part was NOT being a girl traveling alone, if only you knew how many other women there are out there traveling by themselves, without any problems and loving it. The hardest part was NOT living out of a bag, you learn to adapt. The hardest part was NOT the landmines that still exist between Cambodia and Vietnam, I am still alive and so is everybody else who I met and has been there.
The hardest part WAS, leaving home. The hardest part is mastering up the courage to leave, it’s dealing with all the fears and doubts that you have ( and the fears and concerns that the people who love you have for you). The hardest part is JUMPING into the deep end, swimming after you jumped is the easy part. You WILL swim its human instinct no matter who you are to keep your head above the water once you in the water. It's JUMPING into the water that's the hardest part.
And the longer you stand on top of the cliff looking down, the worst it gets, and the greater your fear and anxiety grows. Leaving home for me was like standing on the top of a cliff, looking down, head full of fear and doubt, everyone that you speak to back home just adds more fear and doubt, while I understood that it came from a good place, one of love, caring and concern, it doesn't take away from the fact that it increases your anxiety, as you stand on the top of that cliff looking down.
You have two choices: Jump and hope for the best or turn around and walk away. If you turn back and walk away from the cliff, you will regret it all your life, because you will never know what it would have been like. If you linger on the edge too long you will become more afraid, and so I jumped. I boarded my plane, and it took off, and I was free falling off the cliff, and then I touched down in Bangkok, and I was plunged into the water, and when you open your eyes just after hitting the water as you submerge, all you can see is bubbles from the impact of landing in the water. The hustle and bustle of Bangkok was like the bubbles that cloud your vision when you first opened your eyes after hitting the water. But eventually you surface and it takes a bit of getting used to, trying to keep your head above the water, in the beginning it's all about survival, just making it through one day, so that the next day can begin, and then making it through that day so that the day after can come sooner, pure survival, and all you’ll want is to get out of the water and back onto dry land. Yes I did think of taking the next flight home, I did doubt weather I made the right decision or not, but I knew that I had to keep moving all the time, it is the only way to keep you head above the water when you don’t know how to swim yet. You are out of your element now, and change is never easy, but it is necessary to grow, and become stronger and better. As long as you persist you will eventually get the hang of it, of threading water, and it becomes easier to keep your head above the water and you start to look around and enjoy being in the water. It was somewhere in the middle of my trip when I learned to let go, of most of my fears and doubts but more importantly of my expectations. I learned to embrace every moment for WHAT IT WAS rather then what I WANTED it to be and this is what saved me, but more importantly this is what made me enjoy my travels even more. And so I learned to let go and you learn to float in the water on your back with the sun shinning down on your face eyes closed, it’s the most peaceful feeling ever, and just as you really get the hang of it's time to get out of the water. But before you do look back up at the cliff you just leaped off from and I smile, glad that I had the courage to jump because now that I know what it's like, It would have been a shame to not have jumped at all.
And so I urge everyone to face your fears to take that leap, and people will tell you it can't be done, they will tell you that it shouldn't be done, they will tell you that you not supposed to do it, they will plainly tell you not to do it, but let me tell you, you can do it, I did it, it is not impossible, just because something has not been done before, or because no one has heard of it being done does not mean, that it can't be done! Nelson Mendela said “it always seems impossible until it’s done” and if you believe and trust that you will swim once in the deep end, then jump.
So Cliff jumping and travelling, and anything in life that requires change is, as they say in Asia “Same Same, but Different”