So, here we are. I can’t believe how quickly the last three months have gone. I spent sixteen years in formal education but I have learnt more about life, friendship and myself in these past three months than ever before. I have seen, done and experienced some incredible things but what has made the journey is the people. I have strengthened my relationship with old friends and I have met people that I will never see again but who I will never forget. Thank you to everyone.
I started in the north of Vietnam where I spent one month with an incredible group of diverse people. The trip didn’t always meet our expectations, mostly because of the weather, but we became really close and l completed one of my favourite parts of the whole trip: trekking through the hill tribes of Sa Pa.
Next was beautiful south Vietnam. Teaching English was by far one of the greatest things I’ve ever done. I don’t know how much of a difference I personally made but to be part of the process that gives young people the skills to compete in the modern world was extremely rewarding. I was also lucky enough to explore this amazing country on the weekends and my love for it expanded with every trip.
Then Malaysia with mama. Malaysia was never somewhere that was top of my list but I really loved it. Once again it is extremely diverse and we were lucky enough to experience so much in such a short amount of time. It is a beautiful and interesting country and a road trip with mum was a great way to explore it.
Finally, Thailand. I fell in love with it when I came in 2009 and my love has only deepened. It has so much to offer and (95% of the time) it offers it with a smile. Of course some parts have turned into massive tourist traps but mostly it is incredibly beautiful and chilled out. I feel there’s still a lot more to explore here (Koh Phi Phi, Koh Toh, Chang Mai to name but a few places) so I will definitely return.
There are a few things I won’t miss about travelling: mosquito bites, sun cream and being viewed by some simply as a dollar sign. This last point is the part that saddens me the most. I understand that life is difficult in ways that I can never imagine for lots of people all over the world, some of whom I may have met along the way. But stories and experiences with people who just want to rip you off and cheat you can unfortunately make you extremely weary and cynical. This makes me sad because sometimes you mistake genuine kindness and helpfulness for greed and vested interest. Despite this, I still believe that humans are fundamentally good. And I have met A LOT more of the good people than the bad.
I think the greatest gifts travelling has given me are
1) to not stress about every little thing, everything will be ok and work out how it’s supposed to (Lizzie you were right all along!)
2) there is a big wide world out there to be explored and to learn from, there is so much more to life than the small worlds we can sometimes become trapped in at home.
Hopefully I will remember these lessons throughout my life.
Finally, thank you to everyone who has read my blog. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.