If you want to be in my travel, read the message below with this music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkHTsc9PU2A#watch-main-area, not very original but I heard it absolutly everywhere I’ve been during all my trip, and now when I listen to it I have this little stuff in the belly that give me a huge smile.
You also have to imagine me relating this story with my French Hooooriiiibbbbble accent. Sorry to kill Shakespear language, my English mates forgive me in advance....all comments are more than welcome, enjoy.
Incredible, magical, insane, wouaaaaaaaa, not enough adjectives to sum-up a trip like this.
With humour, cynicism and a detachment that I still don’t have, I’m gonna try to draw the balance sheet of these 10 last months.
My financial background would encourage me to make statistics, calculations and some averages but my literary tendency’ll probably win. Finally, to you who know me, you know that mix and confusion has always been states of facts in my life, that I assume today entirely. What ever my diction, humour, mood, here is my trip:
DREAM AND DISCOVERY
Spain, 1997:my first trip alone with my 3 best girls friend help me to realise that outside Switzerland people live, eat, work, dance and think differently and that wherever everybody laugh and cry the same. Where is therefore the border? For me, it doesn’t exist. A Swiss passport, worked hard to put some money aside and some courage and here it is.
Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Seychelles, the Maldives, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, the West Coast of the United States, New York eleven times, Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Germany, France, Turkey, Tchéquie, England, etc. I couldn’t stop there. The traveller virus had already hit me without any medicine avalaible on the market. From there I acquired a dream: making a round-trip-world, not in eighty days, but before my thirties.
THE DESIRE TO THE FEAR
A well paid job, no loan to the bank, no children, no husband and a boring daily-routine, all the ingredients were there to acheive my goal.
Having never wanted to search the hidden meaning of my life or the divine voice of wisdom, or Buddha who sleep (is it true?) in each of us, this trip was simply meant to be an exploration journey and it’s naturally that my lover at the time was part of the adventure. Australia, southeast Asia and South America, here is the plan in summer 2008. But plans never goes on the right way, isn't it?!
Autumn, 2008: my boyfriend left me
Winter, 2008: Fuck, What I’m gonna do???
January, 2009: Anxious, insomniake: I don’t want to leave alone!!!!!!!!!
January 31st, 2009: change of plan: make a school of three months in Australia and go on in southeast Asia later.
February 1st, 2009: I freak out
February 2nd, 2009: I freak out a LOT
February 26th, 2009: I freak out like hell
January 7th, 2010: I would never thank Seb enough for having left in his mountain, giving me the ultimate chance to travel alone 9 months; met fabulous people, lived incredible experiences and also have the feeling to be a strong girl than I would have never suspected.
People always ask me the same question, so please find below my travel budget:
30 '000 CHF = overall Budget (the price of a car, and even not the nicest)
2 '000 CHF = plane ticket: Geneva – London – Bangkok – Sydney – Singapore – nothing – Bangkok – London – Geneva with Quantas (Australian company with tasteless food)
4 '700 CHF = 3 months in my Ozzi school
100 CHF per day = budget all inclusive (planes, transport, accommodation, food, leisures, etc.) in Australia for 3 and a half months
50 CHF a day = budget all inclusive (planes, transport, accommodation, food, leisures, etc.) in southeast Asia for 6
Add all expenses you make before leaving: vaccines, bag, medicaments, mosquito net, insurance...
With this budget I pleased myself particularly in Asia. Please notice that my daily was made of dormitories, a lot of buses and rudimentary guest houses. The D system, a good bargaining as well as a lot of patience are the keys to save money.
The « MAP par moi »
Rigorously filled in my diary according to the months, here is a summary of the visited countries. As you will see, neither drastic geography, nor logical order, nor even links between borders. A trajectory only dictated by my desires of the moment, the people I met on the road and the sikness catched on the way. No need to organise a trip from A to Z, because your plan will change from the first week.
275 days. Departure on March 10th, 2009. Return on December 15th, 2009.
In chronological order :
1. Thailand – BK, Samui, BK, Pha-Ngan
2. Australia – Sydney, Melbourne, Hunter Valley, Wollongong (…), Cresdner Park, New Castle, Cairns, Airli Beach, Whitesunday, Hervey Bay, Fraser Island, Brisbane
4. Indonesia (Java, Lombok, Bali)
6. Thailand – Phuket (brrr – not good), BK, Ko Phi Phi, Railay(splendid)
8. Thailand (Chang Mai – North)
9. Viet Nam
11. Thailand – BK
13. The Philippines
14. Thailand, BK
15. Hong Kong
16. Thailand, BK
11 countries in 9 months. I’ve loved each countries in different way. I, However, had a crush on Vietnam and Indonesia. It’s subjective, it’s nice, it’s good, it’s exquisite.
MIX AND CONFUSION
26 landings and take-offs, not sugested to “plan-fearers”. Planes with aircraft propellers to check-in without metal detectors; you just have to pray before landing. A special big up to AirAsia, the Asian low cost company. Spent 2 '615 CHF on internal flights.
197 hours sitting in buses, so the equivalent of 8.2 days. So the equivalent of having spent 1 week and 1 day listenning to my favorite music hurting my back (and butt) in a bus. Special big up to the pink BEAUTIFUL Thai VIP buses!!!
The road from Sydney to Hunter Valley with a beautiful blue Australian sky, an Ozzi fella and a nice good music car.
The celebration of my birthday, with my Georgia House and ACE mates in Sydney, a lot of fun, my friends thanks again.
The Wednesday evenings’ live-act in SydeBare (Sydney).
“Frazer Island” (Australia), its wild camping, its surrealist landscapes and the best crew ever.
My last evening in Sydney with my Australian crush.
A luxury week in Patrick’s place in Singapore.
The “magical powers” of the Gilis Island ( Lombok, Indonesia) with Ilinca and Igor.
The Bromo volcano (Java, Indonesia) at sun rise with 5 degrees. I have tears in eyes just to think of it.
The ruins of Borobudur (Java, Indonesia) at sunset.
The Cameron Highlands (Malaysia). Eating “Gruyère” cheese with my parents overhanging tea fields of this unusual and magical region.
A climbing day in Railay (Thailand) playing monkey on the cliff with a stunning view on the sea.
The most mystical and frightening place of my trip with my FAVORITE SISTA, the abandoned luxury hotel at the top of Bokor (Cambodia).
Snorkeling with minis-sharks in Ko Tao (Thailande).
Saigon and the deep change of scenery between this thousand million two-wheeled vehicles.
Along Bay for the nostalgia-romantic feelings that those landscapes inspire.
Hanoi, its swindles, its party and its dynamism.
The peaceness and beatitude of Luang Prabang (Laos).
The controversy of the Tubing in Vang Vien (Laos). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSD4vsh1zDA
My beginning (and end) of career on Thai television.
A French wine-tasting “Beaujolais nouveau” in Singapore after months of abstinence.
The contemplation of the galaxy from a beach in the Philippines.
My last night in Hong Kong with my Swedish friends.
And thousands of new faces, trecks, beaches, holidays, surf, cynicism, alcohol, laughs, buses, tears and discoveries.
And some shitty stuff as well. Robbed with a knife in Chang Mai, catched bacterias in Laos, lost myself the firt day in the Philippines (very cool to be lost in Manilla...)
PACKPACKER FAIRY TALE
After some months with a backpack, you develop some automatisms very different from your country daily-routine.
You feel to be a « true » backpacker when :
You corrupted yourself and bought an horrible gunny bag...
You have six SIM cards in your purse…
Your wrists are not fashion at all with bracelets of all colours (tubing, Monk, Sapa, ...)...
You wear an horrible T-shirt «in the Tubing Van Vieng» (and you don’t give a shit!)...
Your backpack has holes...
You have already broken (or lost) 5 flip-flop shoes...
You don’t catch sunburns anymore…
You still bargain when you find a brand new bungalow with white and clean bedsheets, a TV and a mini-bar for 7 CHF the night…
You have no more time notion (are we in November or in December? and no need to speak about the day of the week)…
Your legs looks like the one of Mike Horn, engraved, cut, full of wounds and mosquitoes bites…
It’s the 11th time that you are in Bangkok, and you trade stuff with Kho San shop…
You’ve tested local beers of all countries…
Your accommodations standards allow you to be happy in one room without window with a small clean but iron bed…
You make at least 1 facebook friend a day and you stay connected with them…
You still call your Mam when you are sick…
You share your room (for financial reasons of course ;-)) with backpackers you know since one hour…
You know by heart the classics of Oasis and Bob Marley hummmmmm?!
You can say “cheers" in 20 different languages….
You are able to say if your new mate comes from London, Liverpool or Manchester…
You know exactly THE good line to cross the customs control…
You don’t complain any more…
You don’t cry any more…
You want to buy 20 bunk beds when you return home...
You can’t sleep anymore without noise...
You ask your neighbour in the subway where he/she goes and if he/she would like to go to drink a coffee or a beer…
You feel like living in a castle when you are in your 80 m2 flat…
In short, you feel like a reall backpacker when you don’t want to go back home.
THE FAITHFUL FRIENDS
Finally, some key objects will quickly become your best friends. I Left with a 20 kg bag, I came back with 15, which is enough to live and futhermore to be happy. In the order of utility:
The most important, the only one. The magical object: the passport
Two credit cards
One iPod and a pillow, for the hours spent in public transport
A first-aid kit , with anti-malariques, antibiotics, first helps and everything for “the babies bobos”
A good Lonely Planet (be careful in Asia you find them for nothing but sometimes pages are missing...or stuck)
Books, you can almost exchanged them everywhere
A mobile phone (optional)
A cashmere jacket which takes no place in your bag but which is your best friend in planes, buses and at the top of a volcano
A notebook and a pen, for Facebook contacts, good plans, rates of exchange, etc.
A Swiss knife and a spoon (for yoghurts in petrol stations ;-)
Tissues (very important), an anti-mosquito 80 %, a mosquito net (optional), a sleeping bag, a “meat bag” (kind of cotton sleeping bag), a microfibres towel in pliers with linens to spread your linen with a rope, a steel chain to block your door, padlocks, a torch (for the frequent cuts of electricities) and a lot of phlegm for all the unexpected moment!
You can buy/exange everything else while travelling, but don’t forget to bring a good pair of sneaker and a swimsuit.
A dairy (I strongly recommend the Molenski), to relate everything and never forget.
It’s probalby the hardest part of this message, trying to be objective and clearly expressing what this travel gave me. Explaining how much happiness I have now without falling into melodrama.
Impossible not to name people met on the road. The Australians, people of ancient prisoners with relaxed and friendly temperaments. The Asians of southeast Asia, the dynamism of the Vietnameses, the carelessness of the Laotians and the very ritual oriented Thai; nevertheless a common denominator: humility, virtuousness, kindness and warmness of these people.
The chance I got to met traveller from all around the word, and the solidarity which settles between us. The tolerance in the human contact, the opend-mind spirits, the spontaneity and the bond you can easily create while travelling.
I met extraordinary people, from the “standard” English student to the retired Irish priest, I have anecdotes and stories for a all generation.
Young, old, rich, poor, good lucking, ugly, ALL, and I really mean all brought me somethings, made me accomplish an obviousness, taught me something, filled my life of a story and therefore of a new experience.
ONE LOVE for all the travellers I met giving me the chance to have an unforgettable and intense experience (and you are (more than) welcome to Lausanne if you come in Switzerland).
To sum up I would say this: put your fear aside, be couragous, follow your dreams, escape from your day to day routine, explores, discovers, love, cry, DAMN, LIVE!
PSII: Please leave your impressions and tips for the others
PSIII: ONE LOVE