Today, October 4th, marks the one-month anniversary of my travels. What was supposed to be just a quick pitstop in Indonesia before flying to Australia somehow turned into a small-scale South-East Asian tour. To be expected? Maybe, maybe not.
To me, Asia has always been just Asia – one big continent, all the same. Not until the past month have I come to realize how big it really is and how much there is to explore. Meeting people who’ve been here and there and everywhere has made me realize that I don’t actually have to fly straight to Australia. I’m in no hurry.
While finding myself doing all kinds of things that I didn’t even know of when I first got to Indonesia (“Oh, are you going there?” Hmm… Maybe that’s something you’re supposed to see when in Indonesia. “Cool, I’d love to join!”), I have come to the conclusion that I like knowing where I’m going, so it might just be more enjoyable for me to have a plan.
Currently, it looks as follows: Thailand, Malaysia, maybe Vietnam, Australia. I’m flying to Bangkok today to travel through the north of Thailand with Lauren, the girl I met on Gili T with whom I did the Rinjani trek. We’re planning to take the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, from where we’ll take a bus or, if we’re feeling really adventurous, rent scooters to go to Pai. After that I’ll continue to Chiang Mai, after which I’m heading down south to take my open water course on Koh Tao. I would also like to do some kind of a yoga and/or meditation retreat, but that still requires some research (if anyone has any recommendations, I’d love to hear from you!).
I’m feeling kind of neutral about leaving Indonesia. Apart from having been sick for the past ten days it’s been a good month, an easy start to my travels. Keeping in mind that I hadn’t done any research prior to leaving Finland I’m actually quite pleased with the outcome; after all, I barely had accommodation when I boarded the plane in Helsinki.
I’ve seen Ubud, Gili Trawangan, Mount Rinjani and its surroundings, Kuta in Lombok, Gili Air, Canggu, and now Uluwatu. I’ve met lots of new people and made new friends, the most memorable encounters having taken place in Ubud, Gili T, Gili Air, and Uluwatu. Also, I’ve practiced a lot of yoga, and am super excited to finally have started seeing some progress.
Leaving behind the chores and duties of home has been liberating. I’m feeling more energetic and more creative than I’ve done in a long time, and also more curious of things, life in general. Having witnessed things having worked out quite well so far I feel more self-confident, too. It is a good feeling.
Unless Mount Rinjani counts, I’ve felt surprisingly safe; apparently the volcano that’s located within the caldera erupted last week, leaving hundreds of tourists trapped in its vicinity. Crazy – it might as well have been us! Gone are the days (like those in Buenos Aires) when I felt like I had a sticker stating ‘TOURIST’ attached to my forehead and no choice but to carry my backpack on my chest, constantly looking over my shoulder to make sure no one’s there to take my belongings. Phew!
The best thing of all, however, is having realized that I’m not the only one doing this. So many people have quit their jobs or taken a break from whatever they’re doing at home (mostly working; the majority in big international companies, too, which I’m glad to see) to travel and just enjoy life, because, as they say, this is it. Obviously, some are more extreme than others, but still.
Based on my experiences what these people have in common is confidence. They trust life and are convinced that as long as they are proactive about things, everything will work out. I know traveling might not be what everyone wants to do, but the same applies for just about anything that you would very much like to do but are not sure if you should risk doing.
I have quite a few favorite quotes, but one that’s been with me ever since the new year fits this context especially well:
Anything that makes your heart racing is probably worth doing.
With these words I’m now off to Thailand. My stomach might be sick, but my mind is calm.
Thank you, Indonesia. It’s been a pleasure!