June 2016: What Went Down?

Summer has truly begun! I can’t quite believe how quickly the last couple of months have gone by and how much has happened, particularly just in June. I’m in something of a state of limbo, living with my parents in Somerset during the university holidays at the moment, but as you’ll find out, hopefully not for long! No offence intended, of course, to my parents who are being fairly saintly in putting up with me. Here are some of the most significant things which have been happening in my life this month!

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Pai: At The End Of A Winding Road

Hi everyone! To celebrate me getting back on the blogging train, I guess it’s time for a throwback to one of my favourites from my last trip!

One of the best places I visited on my trip to Asia last summer was a lovely little town called Pai. It has so much character and things to do for such a tiny place, and some of my happiest days during all that travelling were spent there. I was lucky enough to spend the Fourth of July there with some newfound travel friends from the US and Canada, and it’s surprising how the American celebrations managed to make it all the way to Thailand!

Formerly a “hippy enclave”, Pai is one of the northernmost towns in Thailand, and well known to those on the backpacker circuit known as the “Banana Pancake Trail” – the route around South East Asia popular with Western travellers. Trust me, the hippy vibe remains! It’s part of Mae Hong Son province, and lies about 150km north of Chiang Mai, the heart of Northern Thailand. Pai lies at the foot of the mountains and so it’s a popular base for visiting the hill tribes, though not so much as nearby Chiang Rai. Continue reading “Pai: At The End Of A Winding Road”

2015 Roundup

I’m writing this because… Well, to be honest, it’s because I keep seeing people writing soppy Facebook statuses about the New Year and I wanted to do one, but I also didn’t want to embarrass myself. So why not do a longer post here, a forum completely dedicated to embarrassing myself? Ha ha. Anyway, it’s probably going to wind up being a lengthy one, so buckle up.

I should be revising. How strange, and yet how completely predictable that I’m back in the position I was in at this time last year, with a few marked differences. I’m panicking about first-year exams I haven’t revised enough for, preparing to go back to Exeter to start another term. But I’m studying something I enjoy. Even though I have to make myself work sometimes, and I still get distracted by stupid things, and a lot of the time I just want to stay in bed, I don’t feel helpless. I’m not held back by a cloud over my head which makes me doubt whether I’ll make it into the next week, let alone the next year. Continue reading “2015 Roundup”

Why is the fun gone? Coming home, feeling guilty and dragging my heels…

Sigh. *paces* Harumph. *sits down heavily in armchair* Pfft. *blows fringe out of face* So I’ve been home for nearly a month, and guess what? I’m moving out tomorrow, back to Exeter for another year at university, this time studying a brand new course which hopefully won’t make me want to hibernate all day in my room, eating cheese and crackers and whining about my abject misery to anyone who’ll listen. But never mind that…

I’m all packed – as usual with far too much stuff to take – and aside from the usual last minute panics and remembering things I forgot, I’m ready to head back for Freshers’ Week. Take two!

Trouble is, I’m feeling a little flat. I’ve mentioned this already. Before I got home, I was so full of it. So keen on writing, I bought a few more notebooks – always a necessity – to start journalling by hand whilst my laptop was out of action, I finished reading Eat, Pray, Love, and I couldn’t wait to get home, and start catching up on all my posts. The trouble is, it hasn’t really worked out like that.

Me and the fam after my return

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23.6.15; BANGKOK, Thailand

Okay, so I started writing this one shortly after the last, but with the whole mugging and broken charger incident, I haven’t been able to get back on it until now. Without further ado…

Another installment has arrived! Life is just too busy at the moment; I never realised how difficult it would be to keep a travel blog whilst actually travelling? Being constantly on the move, wanting to fit in as much as possible and see all I can isn’t really conducive to sitting down at the end of the day and writing about it. It’s more conducive to me stumbling into my dorm late in the evening, having a quick shower and falling, already half asleep, into bed. With perhaps a bit of added, pointless faffing about on my phone.

Yep, definitely some of that.

On Monday morning – or rather, closer to noon after the excesses of the previous night – I checked out of my Khao San hostel, and left my bags there in order to go and enjoy another day of unburdened (physically, at least) exploring the city.

Also, I’d mention that I wasn’t really hung over, just quite tired. And that it had taken the grand total of one mixed drink, half of a vodka and Red Bull bucket, one Smirnoff ice, and a pink cocktail, to get me well and truly drunk. Understandable, since I haven’t been drinking at all in India. And it makes a night out cheaper, I suppose? I’d gotten to that point at uni where nothing at all seemed to get me drunk except the magic vodka and Red Bull, discovered by accident one night at a gig with… questionable and hungover-ridden results.

ANYWAY.

It was another pad thai for breakfast – 30 Baht, not bad – which I made the grievous error in spicing FAR too much and having to choke it down with a brave face in order not to look like a total newbie tourist. I managed. There were a few tears but I managed. Following the suggestions in the Lonely Planet guide for Bangkok, I decided to tackle a couple more of the Bangkok districts. There are quite a few and though I didn’t manage to see every area of interest, I hope to be able to explore a little bit more when I stop there before flying home in August.

My pad thai breakfast!
My pad thai breakfast!

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When the end is nigh; pre-return contradictions… 

NB: I apologise once again for poor photo quality; still no laptop/camera access! 

I’m happy… But I’m sad. I’m hopeful, but I’m also a little nervous. I’m tired, but I’m full of excitement for the next part of my life.

Such are the feelings I face as I scuff my toes in the hypothetical dirt, unwilling to drag myself away from the action-packed, varied life of travel which I have been living for the last few months, leaving behind the unpredictability of life on the road in favour of a new Bachelors degree and a whole YEAR of living in the same place. I left university nearly six months ago; I flew to India a month later. Since then, it has been such a roller coaster ride. The lows are few and far between, but despite what some would have you think, they do exist. But the highs… The highs are extraordinary in every way.
I would not take back a second. I would not reverse a single decision or moment which led me to be here, writing this post in a cafe in Kanchanaburi, watching the monsoon rains splash on the road outside. Even though at points during the last year, I’ve felt so desolate that I could barely see my own existence into the next week, I am now exactly where I am supposed to be. 

 

I swear I am having fun, despite my face… Taking in the history in Kanchanaburi
 
 

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Oh, Cambodia, why can’t we all just get along?

I haven’t really loved my time in Cambodia so far. A number of reasons have added up to me being alternately amused, faintly bored, somewhat interested and enormously irritated in varying amounts since I have been here. I am sad that I don’t have more time here to give it more of a chance and visit some places which are a little further from the backpacker trail, but unfortunately I am going to be leaving in about a week. Or perhaps fortunately, this time.

Don’t get me wrong; in no way am I dismissing the whole country, or the people, or the amazing experiences other people have had here. But at this point, Cambodia and I really haven’t gelled at all… Maybe another trip in the future will change my mind but currently, my feelings about the places I have been here are fairly resentful. For a number of reasons.

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Getting mugged in Phnom Penh – my narrow escape! 

So hopefully you’ve all seen my notice about how I won’t be able to post properly for a while. Currently in Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia, I’m writing this on my phone and in all honesty, I probably could write some more long posts like this but it’s the most annoying thing… Especially as my nails are now at the stage where the length makes it uncomfortably difficult to type but they just look too cool painted so I am unwilling to cut them off.

But yeah, laptop out of action. And the reason for that is… I got mugged. Well, it was more of an attempted bag snatch so I won’t be over dramatic.

I had been warned about Phnom Penh, especially about its change of character after dark. However, I am generally not one to let warnings stop me from living my life and perhaps I was careless last night. Scratch that, I was definitely a bit careless.

Continue reading “Getting mugged in Phnom Penh – my narrow escape! “

Inactivity notice 

Hey guys! Got some annoying news – someone tried to mug me last night and although I didn’t lose anything, my laptop charger fell on the road and something must have broken in it because it isn’t working! Laptop is dead so blogging on hold indefinitely except for maybe a few VERY short posts!! Activity will resume when I am home in August, unless I manage to get a new charger in that time!