Before I regale you with tales of the lovely Vietnam, I’m pausing for some real talk about Getting To That Point.
People, I am homesick. I am tired. I’m a little lonely. And most of all I am very ready to not be traveling anymore.
I feel like an asshole saying and even feeling these things because what a privilege to be able to take a trip like this. And I’m not saying it’s bad, because it is not. It’s incredible. Even when I’m feeling completely overwhelmed and fucking finished, it’s still incredible.
Like. I’m in Cambodia. What?
It’s beautiful! Seriously. And I even had the best home-brewed ginger beer I’ve ever tasted today. Good things continue to happen.
But while the trip has always been a bit of a full-time job, it’s starting to feel more and more like hard work. And the fact that I’m very nearly out of money and reaching unemployed panic point doesn’t help.
I’m not saying this so anyone pities me. I am lucky as hell. But the whole point of this blog is to be honest. And this is just the truth. I’ve never claimed any of this trip is completely rainbows and butterflies but the amazing has always outweighed the difficult. And around a week ago I felt that tide turning.
It is incredibly exhausting moving through the world at the pace I’ve been going completely under my own booking-and-planning-and-holding-myself-up steam. It is more expensive than I’d like when I can’t find a fellow traveler to share costs with but still want to experience the things I’m in a place to experience. (The world is still not built for singles. Particularly the world of travel.) And all of this makes sorting out the next steps more and more like drudgery.
I miss not re-packing my entire life every 3-4 days. I miss walking into stores and knowing what the fuck everything is. I miss use of a kitchen. At this point, I miss weather below 25C. I miss my fantastic, functioning, non-jankety bicycle with the lights and the helmet that Southeast Asia’s health-and-safety-is-not-a-real-thing-even-in-joking stance renders well and truly foreign concepts. I miss planning Fun Group Things For Other People instead of just all my own travel. I miss the pub. GOD, I MISS THE PUB. And actual good beer.
I miss not having to turn up my social energy to 11 every day if I want to talk to anyone because I’m an introvert and sometimes I just want to talk to people I ALREADY KNOW. So of course, I miss my friends. So. So. Much.
Even the eating bit of travel, which has always been something upwards of 60% of the draw for me, has gotten tiresome. Part of this has to do with the fact that I’m now in a part of the world where it’s a lot more difficult to know when there’s shellfish in something so I have to be extra vigilant and can’t just try anything I like the look of. But it’s also just that the whole thing is becoming a chore. Particularly in the energy-sapping heat, which I do not deal well with in any situation, let alone when I’m already drained. I’m concentrating more now on keeping myself healthy and hydrated and upright than I am on eating the biggest variety of local stuff possible. I’ve still managed to eat loads of good stuff, but it’s been more luck than effort at this point. My heart is seeping out of it. I long for my trusty bucket of peanut butter and my standard weekly lime-chili popcorn dinner. I long for proper cheese.
I’m doing my best to put all this aside. I still have history to absorb and famous temples to see. And most importantly, I still have dancing to do. And I remain VERY excited about The Big Bang.
But this is just to say that even epic adventures are real life, and the mechanics of real life always feel like chores at some point or another.
I’m very much looking forward to the point when doing laundry is once again a chore rather than the exciting time of the week when I find that none of my small stock of clothing has gone missing and I have a whole 3 clean t-shirts to sweat right through again.
You lasted longer than anyone I know would. My advise, forget the rest of the temples, find more coffee/tea houses and read those books in whatever device you’ve brought with you. I almost said find a beach and then I remembered it’s cold where you are, you can always divert to honolulu, would love to see you but I expect the trip is drawing to a close anyway. Sounds like perfect timing. Love you so much.
Oh no it’s boiling here! I’ve already been to the beach. It was rubbish. I’m in a nice place with excellent cafes now (Kampot). But I have 2.5 weeks left and Angkor Wat is quite literally on the way to the end point, so I won’t be missing it.
Sending hugs your way. I know the feeling. The irony is you’ll miss it all the min you get back. Xx
Thanks Seema. Dinner at yours seems like sooooo long ago now!
I am so so so proud of you, Kate. I have been struck by your adventurous spirit from DAY ONE and the experiences you have had on this trip reflect the fact that you are willing to try anything. But. I understand SO MUCH the chore-like nature of it all, and ultimately, the revelation that the world is still not built for singles. LET’S CHANGE THAT! Much love to you, always. xo MV
Thanks Michele. And hell yes, I’ll never stop trying to change that.
Just take some time to chill . You ‘ve done a lot! You’ll figure out your next step when you are ready.
It’s been a long time to be on your own Kate and you have done really well and had wonderful experiences that most people would not even attempt. Its more than reasonable to be now feeling a little homesick and travelling on your own where you’ve been is quite a challenge. If its possible maybe try and minimise the amount of stops you have remaining and stop in the most relaxing (maybe tourist friendly?) places you can. All the best for the rest of your adventure. Jo x
The longest I’ve done is 2.5 months on the go, like you’ve done and i was absolutely exhausted.
By the end I hated by bloody backpack and was so sick of the same three outfits! I booked myself into a secluded hostel and didn’t really speak to anyone for a few days.
I simply could not handle the small travel chat one more time!
But it is so amazing! Your right, the good absolutely outweighs the bad!
And Ankor Wot is pretty special!! You’ve love it!
Just think how the pioneers felt driving a covered wagon across the plains and not really knowing what’s ahead, facing hostile Indians. I’m sure they were ready to throw in the towel many times. You at least have a map, phone, computer, youth hostiles to stay and a blog to share/communicate with friends and family. Not unusual to feel like you do at this point in your trip. Look where you have been and what you have done.Tired, lonely, homesick? Hell yeah! But those good memories will last a lifetime. “)
Hang in there and enjoy the rest of your life journey. Before you know it you will be home and sleeping in your own bed, my big miss when we travel, and enjoying take out and beer with friends.
I can a little, litlle, little, tiny bit understand you. 😉 Your beach time was my smog time. Your Angkor Wat and temples was probably my Terrakotta and your nice Kampot is probably my Harbin.
Since you’ll manage anyway as I know, and I do not have any more useful advices to give to you, I just want to thank you for simplifying my life and throwing your good energy at me at the end of my trip.
I wish you wonderful and amaaaaaaazing people for the last weeks at your side to do the same to you!
Oh, Felix. The only difference is I don’t have you here singing this