Saturday 22 February 2014 - Tuesday 25 February 2014 32 °C
The start of February heralded the sixth month anniversary of our leaving the UK and nominally the half-way point (in terms of time, at least) of our journey to Oz. We marked this milestone with a trip through a seven kilometre cave system by boat.
With six months under our belts we have learned new routines to make our lives flow. Simply, travelling like this is not one long holiday; instead it requires constant work and consequently we take on specific roles just like we do at home but instead our chores are generally more enjoyable. We still have to do laundry, manage the accounts and do the shopping but booking guesthouses, deciding routes and researching restaurants is infinitely more fun than day to day life at home.
Living out of a single bag takes a bit of planning too, especially if you are used to a large wardrobe and choice of Jo Malone fragrances, but again a routine sets in. Packing the bag gets easier and more efficient (despite our over-packing at the start), each taking responsibility for different shared items of luggage. In short, we have become slick travellers, able to pack up and move on at short notice and with minimal stress.
This anniversary was also the day we knew that we had to return home – something that we both had hoped would never happen.
Even with such a short flying visit to the UK it was always going to interrupt these routines. The shock of the cold in Manchester was a rude awakening and burst the self-absorbed bubble we had been inside for months. Seeing family and friends again was lovely, we both laughed and cried in equal measure.
We returned to Bangkok a little over a week ago and needless to say it’s been noticeable that we’ve been away from travelling. Gone was any sense of restraint and we have both enjoyed all the nightlife that Bangkok has to offer. Expensive restaurants, rooftop bars, loud music and at least one all-nighter until 8am. We slept by day and partied by night. We broke the budget every day.
After four (days and) nights we were tired, so we extended our stay in our Bangkok hotel and vowed to actually see some sights.
As I write this post, we’re sat on a train trundling back into Bangkok after a day visiting Ayutthaya, the ancient capital. With centuries-old crumbling ruins and temples full of the chanting devoted, it hasn’t a patch on Angkor but reminds me of what we left behind just three short weeks ago. I’m smiling because I’m reminded of the reason why we travel and I begin to notice those little idiosyncrasies that make this adventure so much fun; the relentless dust and heat, the taxis coloured the same as Refreshers, the odd fact that everybody wears skinny jeans with flip-flops.
I’m glad to be back on a train, sat in third class next to an open window with all the dust and smoke from the shacks hugging the train line filling the carriage. I’m glad that we have booked another train journey for tomorrow and the day after. It means we’re getting back into the swing of things...