We are now past the nine month mark of our trip. Time for another look at how we’re doing:
I think about home more often than I thought I would. I don’t miss home as much as I miss having a home. I thought I would be going home kicking and screaming, wanting to stay on the road forever, but actually I am looking forward to going home. I dream about routine, about sleeping in the same bed night after night, about cooking and cleaning, about running and riding my bike, and yes, even about going to work! I’m sure that within a few weeks of being home the tables will be turned and I will once again be dreaming of the freedom and adventure we have had while away.
Travel fatigue has set in. I have been following travelers blogs since first thinking about this trip 2 years ago. It seemed that they all ‘hit the wall’ at about the nine month point and, sure enough, I think we too are suffering from travel fatigue. The constant work of having to find a room, or a meal, or a bus/boat/train is wearing. We have gotten used to not quite knowing what’s going on and not being able to communicate as effectively as we would like, but it’s tiring to always be trying to figure it out. And, after being in a region for some time, sightseeing loses it’s appeal…we don’t try as hard to go visit another temple, or museum, or waterfall as we do when we first enter a region.
We know now what we need to travel. We may be tired and looking to home a bit more than we thought but we also now know what we need to make us happy. We have realized that the number one thing that affects us is the quality of our accommodation. We like to have a nice room in a nice guesthouse that has space to hang out in and maybe meet other travelers and, if it has wi-fi, all the better. It should have a double bed, it must have a private bathroom with hot water, it should be near enough to everything so we can walk but off the main area enough so it is quiet. We like to use local buses to get around (and actually prefer them to the tourist minivans that run all over SE Asia), we love to eat at street stalls and markets, and renting a scooter to see the sights (rather than going on a tour) is one of our favorite things to do, but we have learned that spending the money on a good place to stay is more than worth it.
SE Asia is definitely the easiest place to meet people. NomadicMatt told us early on that SE Asia is the place to meet people and he was right! There is a well worn backpacker trail through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia and there are travelers everywhere. We have met countless people on buses and cooking classes, in guesthouses and pubs, and then just keep running into them at various places along the way. I run into more people that I know here than I ever did back home. My favorite though was when Damien and Kara of RunningTowards stopped us on the street in Chiang Mai to ask if we were the folks from OneGiantStep…fame at last!!
Blogging is getting harder. Maybe you’ve noticed that it’s getting a little longer between posts. I don’t know why but it’s getting a little harder to write all the time. Maybe it’s because our time here has been much more laid back – we’re not doing ‘stuff’ all the time and are spending more time just relaxing…not good blogging material. We should be moving more now though and in a few weeks we enter into Vietnam where, I’m sure, there will be lots to write about!
Nine months in and we’re still learning about this travel stuff and how it affects us. Every phase is different and we try to take it all as it comes. We seem to be trudging over a bit of a hump right now but I think we’re almost at the top of it now and will really enjoy the next few months and what they bring.