It’s been a year since I first had my fill of adventure on the outskirts of my comfort zone – and I can still remember that exact moment I boarded the plane at half past midnight to Ho Chi Minh and wondering what’s ahead of me for thirty straight days. Whoever thought this trip would change the way I’d see my life as a 21-year-old back then? (Well, it did, so let’s leave it at that.)
I’m bad at telling stories about my travels. There are so many things I’ve yet to share, but I digress – I’ll let the photos do the talking. Sharing with you a photo diary of Life in Transit 2014 – a 30-day backpack adventure in Southeast Asia Tricie and I embarked on (more of, our rebellious selves wanting to treat ourselves after graduating college – more about it here) this time last year.
To say that it was “amazing” was an understatement for this trip, I wrote on one of my previous Life in Transit posts. Looking back, I didn’t realize how this trip opened my eyes to not just the world, but more of who I am as a person. They say travel changes you – I guess I can say the same for me. There can only be certain points in my life where I can say “this is what I live for”, and I’m glad this was one of them.
Apart from seeing the world at a bigger scale with my own eyes, I found a love for illustrating my adventures – and get this, really getting a grip of each destination we visited every week that we would travel from one country to another.
I briefly recall morning adventures by the Angkor Wat temples, walkathons across the vicinities of the Walled City, rainy afternoons spent reading and writing (and illustrating) at quaint cafes, conversations about life and the future, and fail moments involving running with our heavy backpacks to the train station to catch the bus to Malaysia. Those bus rides from Vietnam to Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and Singapore to Penang to Kuala Lumpur were well-spent reading e-books, catching up on some sleep, and lots of thinking.
Then there were nights at Pub Street’s part scene involving happy pizza, happy hour, and everything in between.
And those mornings wandering around the huge temples in Angkor Wat, and stopping once in a while to take in the view (and catching our breaths as we climb flights of stairs to the top). Oh, and that unexpected hike to Kbal Spean deemed to be a challenge worth taking. Fun times.
There was also that favorite afternoon art street hopping in Georgetown, Penang – and the cheap noodle dinner along Kimberley Lebuh before heading back to the guesthouse.
Of course, I also won’t forget hoarding 3 books because they were discounted to 20% off at BooksActually in Singapore. The aftermath? Having my back ache because I had to carry a lot of books back to Manila.
Nor would I forget life talks at the Central Market in Kuala Lumpur as the trip came to a close – over A+ white coffee and Kaya toast.
Maybe it was the vibe of each city, the endless supply of curry-laden dishes during the first half of our trip, or the slow lifestyle in Chiang Mai that makes me miss Life in Transit so much. Maybe it was knowing that we had no concrete itinerary (and ended up planning on the first day we’d arrive at each country) that made it so much more exciting.
“I believe that in the process of discovering the world, we discover ourselves”, Tricie wrote on my journal as we concluded our month-long adventure. True enough, I’ve never seen so much of myself if it weren’t for this trip. I have Tricie (who is now my manager/big sister, aka decision maker of life) to thank for geeking out on travel the same way I do for that casual conversation of “Tara, backpacking tayo!” – which turned out to be one of the craziest and most spontaneous things I would do at twenty one. Also the best, though. No regrets.
And there’s also one important thing I’ve learned from traveling this long: That life isn’t constant – and it’s always in transit. So never settle, and go with wherever the roads take you – because you never know where you’ll head to as you conquer uncharted territories and surprise yourself in the process of finding whatever you’re looking for.
To more travels, breathtaking adventures, and life-changing moments. <3
- Where to Get Some Vietnamese Staples at Ho Chi Minh
- Hipster Coffee Shop Crawl Around Southeast Asia: Siem Reap, Chiang Mai, and Penang
- Food Photojournal: If You’ve Ever Wondered How Chiang Mai Cuisine Looks Like
- The AB3C Project
- Chapter 1: On Leaving
- Chapter 2: Settling Into Unfamiliarity
- Chapter 2: Settling Into Unfamiliarity (Part 2)
- 5 Questions Before Your Next Adventure