On November 2, I will be celebrating my traveloversary! To mark this tremendous occasion – I decided to write a post with 10 random facts about my adventure:
1. I have only gotten sick (to the point of having to seek medical treatment) once. It was from a bout of Delhi Belly I suffered after my last night in Delhi, and following a tumultuous few days of explosive diarrhoea in London, I visited the St Mary’s Hospital in London and was treated by a quirky, bespactacled doctor who was thrilled to be treating somebody who didn’t have a broken limb but rather a topical illness. Somewhat tongue in cheek, after reaching a diagnosis, he instructed me to “run” to the hospital pharmacy to get my antibiotics before it closed.
2. On the subject of bodily functions, one of the few initial things remaining from what I packed from home is an unopened bottle of constipation tablets.
3. After getting a cold/sore throat/cough in Burgos, Spain, I did buy some over-the-counter cough mixture from a pharmacy. A trap for young players – the over-the-counter medication in Spain is a hell of a lot stronger than it is in Australia. I accidentally gave myself an “Australian” dose – 3 times stronger than the recommended Spanish dose, and passed out. Mind you, it was an awesome night’s sleep in an albergue dormitory with 40 beds, several of which would have been occupied with snorers.
4. “The third month of travelling long term is always the hardest”. This was very sage advice from my friend, Anne. And it was a true. I spent my third month predominantly in Ireland and it was tough. I spent most of the month staying in dorms by myself in hostels throughout Ireland. Oh, except for the one night in Doolin where my fellow dorm-mate pissed on my pack in the middle of the night.
5. Expectations may not always meet reality. Portugal was on my “must-do” list. I had high hopes for my visit to Portugal. I had heard nothing but good things about it from fellow travellers, and following a visit to Macau in 2009 (a former Portuguese settlement) I eagerly looked forward to Portugal. BUT – after an empowering 6 weeks of trekking the Camino De Santiago through northern Spain, Portugal was a bit of a personal letdown. I stayed in awesome hostels and made some wonderful friends. But, it just felt like I was missing something.
6. The world is a small place. I have met fellow travelers in India and Europe with whom I live in the same area in Melbourne.
7. Lugging a Lonely Planet guide around with you is silly. I was actually in a bookstore yesterday, and, as always seems to be the case, found myself in the travel section. I found myself looking at all the different Lonely Planet titles and realised I had visited a fair few of the countries. I can’t imagine lugging all that weight around anymore. For the first few days of the Camino, I did actually lug the Europe Lonely Planet book on my back, over the Pyrenees and into Spain. I can’t believe I did that. What the hell was I thinking?
8. I avoid, at all costs, yobbos and dinbats from Australia. At all costs! I remember in Lisbon an Aussie guy, proclaiming (to anybody who would listen); “Deep down, I just want to be an American frat boy.” Another drunken Aussie guy at my hostel in Stirling repetitively declaring; “Skippy doesn’t jump around my backyard.” Cue my eyes rolling into the back of my head.
9. I detest people who use plastic bags. Particularly those who insist on rattling and scrunching them whilst packing their bags early in the morning whilst in dormitory accommodation.
10. The majority of people in our world are good-natured and friendly. I started off this journey being very wary of people offering to help me, thinking it must be some sort of scam. For example, in Delhi, I was wanting to post a parcel with a menagerie of birthday and Christmas presents for my family. I wandered around Paharganj trying to find a post-agent who would offer me a reasonable price. I came across Mohit Kumar, a nice man with a broad smile perhaps 200 metres from my hotel. To this day, Mohit will occasionally email and say hello and ask when I am coming back to India. Similarly, after that guy pissed on my pack in Ireland, the owner of the hostel subsequently made him pay for my stay before kicking him out, and offered me free breakfast, laundry and hugs.
On that note, I hope the next year of adventure will be full of hugs and laughter, and beautiful encounters with random people in breathtaking places.