Sunday, 1 December 2013

Things I learnt from travelling Asia:

  1. Don't judge a place too quickly - Give it time, stick with it, and who knows, you might love it! Don't let a few bad days ruin your image of that country. At the same time, sometimes there's no point lingering around, you need to know when to move on. For example Sihanoukville in Cambodia rained all day every day and for a beach location with no end in sight... there was no point staying!
  2. I cannot put enough emphasis on this - Don't rush places you've fallen in love with! Flights can always be changed for a cost and money can be found somewhere. Linger there till your heart's content. I could have stayed forever in Hanoi!
  3. Get an appropriate sized backpack for what you think you'll essentially need. Leave the luxuries at home! For me, a 40L backpack was the perfect size as all you really need in Asia is a few t-shirts, shorts and a pair of leggings. One thing I never understood was the need to carry around a huge emergency kit with you. Unless you're going off the radar for a couple of days, typically if you get injured, remember that there are shops out here, you can buy what you need!
  4. You have to be super patient - you will wait a lot. For boats, buses, trains, people, food etc.
  5. Be flexible - You'll have more fun if you have free days and follow the friends you've made. This is one my biggest regrets, not spending longer with the people we fell in love with.
  6. Try not to get stressed and angry, at the time it may seem like the world is against you, but when you get home you'll laugh at your western problems.
  7. Be super careful of your bag. Really small and subtle money belts under your shorts are the best way forward - Don't keep things on your shoulder either, easy for people to ride past and yank them out!
  8. Crossing the road is an art-form in Asia. Zebra crossings do not mean cars have to stop, nor should you ever trust a green man. Just head on boldly onto the road, and walk very slowly so bikes have a change to swerve around you.
  9. It's hard if you've never been away from home - Internet connection is frequent though. Just remember, people do get on with their lives at home, and they may not miss you like you miss them, but it doesn't mean they don't love you and want you to have a good time.
  10. The world is a wonderful place, it is vast, beautiful and full of things yet to explore. I haven't even made a dent into the discovering what there is out there!

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