Wednesday, November 9, 2011

365 days

A year ago, two of my friends and I boarded an early morning flight to Sydney. I had gone through the token break up and decided to change everything about my life. On a whim we bought a super cheap flight and we were just going to test the waters.

My goal was always to travel, and since then I've been to:

Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, United Emirates, Singapore, Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur, France, Czech Republic, Hungary

I can't even describe the things I've done. I don't have photos for most of the really, truly memorable things because sometimes it's nice to just let yourself fall into the moment... but if I had to list a few things that will be with me forever:

The way I first felt when I walked out to Patong beach in Phuket, just after arriving, it was like paradise and I had no idea how much more there was to come. Cuddling elephants at midnight while counting shooting stars. Cruising down the river for two days traveling between Thailand and Laos. Judging the drunk Australians who were tubing in Vang Vieng, only to be even worse than them the following day. 36 long hours on two buses with three incredible British friends. Ha Long Bay particularly kayaking at sunset and the glowing fishes on the private island. The rainbow lights around the lake in Hanoi. Biking around Hoi An, having shoes made there and eating too much food at Cargo. The streets of Saigon - there's nothing better than sitting on the back of a motorbike. The dirt red roads of Cambodia. New Futures Organization and all the wonderful kids who stole my heart. The wonderful volunteers I met there and will always treasure. Angkor Wat (both times I visited). The weekend we spent on Rabbit Island (with the glowing fishes). Crazy India, the place where my heart broke a million times and the people showed me nothing but kindness. That feeling when standing under the tallest building in the world, in Dubai and feeling so much perspective.

The madness of Singapore, the smells of little India and sooo much food with some lovely Singaporians. The sunrise on Gili T. Being stabbed in Kuta, Lombok, but surviving and being okay. Being taken to a local village by a random local guy who I met outside the restaurant he worked at. Meeting all his families and being treated like a very special guest. Hanging out with some awesome americans in Yogji, waking up early to enjoy Borbodur alone. Taking a train from Yogji to Jakarta and breathing in the madness there. Landing in Singapore and enjoying the familiar. Meeting up with two guys from my Singapore hostel in Kuala Lumpur and staying up until 5am talking about everything. Waking up 2 hours later and waiting for hours to go up to the stupid tower, only to be denied. The views from Skybar. Deciding to just to go to Cambodia because I wanted to hang out with the cool europeans more. Cambodia, in itself. Angkor Wat in the rainy season. Taking a Tuk Tuk all the way to Takeo only to jump out of it while still moving and running into Mary's arms. Seeing all my babies again at NFO, even if only for the day. Riding around on the back of a motorbike in Saigon and going to the most expensive beauty salon I've ever been to (so good though!) and flying to Hanoi in the same day. Ha Long bay, again. Kayaking around Ha Long bay, again. Disappointing night trains to Sapa with three wonderful souls. Sapa, gorgeous Sapa. Crazy tuk tuks around Bangkok and too much time spent in malls waiting for suits to be made. Sad goodbyes. Going to seedy Pattaya only to discover it wasn't as seedy as I thought, and the view from my friend's balcony was quite beautiful. Back to Cambodia, back to Takeo, back to them. More sad goodbyes, back to Kuala Lumpur only to fly to Paris, for a day. Then Prague, then on to Pocatky - with a wonderful family.

I spent a little weekend in Budapest, spent a little too much time boozed, and was without my camera, so I think I'll have to go back. Last weekend I had way too much fun in Prague - managed to crash a Czech wedding party, my outline was traced onto the wall of a random Czech bar, and I went to a cute little tea house, had delicious snickers vodka and saw a very strange comedy show. Prague is my favourite :) This weekend I find myself going to Berlin to apply for a year long visa, so I can stay here longer, because it feels right. Coming to Czech Republic always seemed to feel right, even if it was decided last minute.

So that's my year in a nut shell, coupled with photos of my right-now. After writing that all out, I took a deep breath, because without a doubt this has been the most wonderful adventure of my life and I love that I'm still "in it" - still in the thick of traveling, discovering and learning. I can't wait to see what's to come... :D


Alex said...

Wow, what a life. You're a lucky girl :)

Celia said...

Your photography is getting better and better! x

Dawn said...

This post was a wonderful juxtaposition, and I am so glad that I found it (through "Aura Joon," actually). I was already enthralled after looking at your photos, but reading about your travels was wonderful as well. I would love to have such experiences, and it sounds like you have been blessed with adventure and talent.

Again, I really enjoyed my visit. I wish you luck in the National Geographic contest as well; my favorite photos are the third and fourth ones.

Lost&Found said...

This is such a lovely post! My fiance and I just got back from SE Asia a little over two months ago. We were away 5 months in Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia. It was incredible...and now it looks like we're moving to India, HA! I would LOVE to visit the Czech Republic. I'll let you know if I ever do!


Sarah @ said...

What beautiful, beautiful images =)

Sladjana said...

Ah how amazing all that sound!
You are mine inspiration every time i need to do something and I'm scare. Go Izy!