Backpacker

Happy 2015, year of Travel!

Hey guys, if you’re reading this you’ve found my blog. Cool as! For those who know me, you know about a month ago I bought a two way ticket to Malaysia and Philippines. If you don’t know me you know this now. The idea was a bit of a whynot moment and originally I was meant to leave in June. I thought 6 months would be a good amount of time to gather some funds around me. Next thing I know, i’m staring at my receipt for a ticket departing in January to Malaysia and April to Manila, Philippines . Out the window went the saving plans. Savings? Ain’t nobody got time for that. At this stage I’m a backpacker, I have no plan and a strict budget. The vague idea is to backpack through Malaysia and then onwards through India,Nepal and Manila. Make some friends, learn some languages and maybe work. I don’t know when I’ll come home. Maybe I’ll find a new home.

Coming Jan 1 2015 My life and I will quite literally be up in the air. Some days I wish I was leaving tomorrow and other days I am actually drowning in the overwhelmingly large ocean known as “what the f**k am I doing”. I’ve started this blog cause well I like to write and why not? I can kept track of my ideas and plans. I can make sure I remember the things that help me travel easier- and the things that don’t. I’ll also without a doubt be writing down my travel adventures as they unravel out in front of me, making you green with envy at the new places I find and the beautiful humans I meet. So can’t wait! Blogging also is an easy way for me to keep you in the loop with my movements. God knows I am bad enough at keeping in touch with my friends who live in the same city as me!

So, it’s the last month of 2014. I’ve allowed myself a month to fantasize about all my travelling possibilities, to stare at maps and stay up until 1 am reading travel blogs. One month away from D-DAY and shit has to get real. That means I need some form of a plan. At least for that first week in the unknown! There is no way in hell things to go well with me landing in Malaysia with no bed, no idea where I am and no language skills whatsoever.

This is my list for first quarter of 2015, the start of my travel prep, and this month I’ll be blogging about how good I am at getting all this shit done.

First quarter of 2015

January – Malaysia (Voluntary Work/Travel/New year)
February – Lucknow and Delhi (Wedding Shoot/Travel)
March – Nepal (Voluntary Work/Travel)
April, May – Philippines (Voluntary Work/Travel/Future plans)

Travel Preparation

Buy a backpack. Cos you can’t go backpacking without one.
Find a work – random voluntary work in the above mentioned countries through YGIP
Travel Insurance. Just writing those word makes me want to run away.
Draft up a Rough itinerary for the first two weeks in Malaysia.

If I can get through this by the end of the month I’m going to be so impressed I will be going to party.

My Travel Blog Wandering Mak

How Travelling Solo Has Made Me A Better Person

I was 21 the first time I set out on my own. I did it again when I was 22. And a third time when I was 23. I am a self-confessed airport crier, last-minute packer, document misplacer and chronic over-thinker who finds leaving anyone and anywhere a huge deal. Yet I have never once regretted going. I have missed things (people, birthdays, my graduation, home cooked meals, etc) but I have never once thought “I should never have gotten on that plane.”

Travelling solo is the best thing I have ever done. It is when I feel that I am more than just alive; I am living. It makes me feel present and proactive and strong. It provides a unique combination of control and freedom that I have yet to find anywhere else. Every time I arrive in a new place I surrender myself to it. There’s no way of knowing what adventures will be had, what people I will meet, what ideas will be shaped or what discoveries will be made there. Yet I have decided to go there and I will decide when I leave. I always have the power to stay and go, stop and start. It’s a power I lack in many other aspects of my life and that’s what makes it so special.

Going it alone has, somewhat ironically, also made me more sociable. I’ve always been the kid with two or three very close friends rather than a gaggle of bff’s and tend to find big groups of people intimidating. After a few awkward experiences I learnt that it’s much easier to pull up a chair and nod along until someone asks you your name than lay on your shaky bunk bed and contemplate a night of listening to fellow guests having a great time right outside your door. On the whole travellers are friendly folk and you have the perfect conversation starter in “So where are you from?” Talk will inevitably turn to where you’ve been and where you’re heading next so you already have at least one thing in common. I’ve found that I tend to form quick and intense bonds with people when travelling, some which last long after we’ve gone our separate ways and others which end when the bus leaves. Both are perfect in their own way and completely unique to the time and place. Sometimes, when I think of cities I have visited, the faces of the people I met there are the first things to pop into my head.

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Having said that travelling on my own has also given me what is perhaps one of the greatest gifts of all; the knowledge that not only can I survive on my own but I can feel comfortable and secure in my own company. When I look back on my solo trips, two of my biggest achievements are learning how to dine alone in restaurants and go to the cinema by myself. I know many people, older and more self-assured than myself, who still struggle with being alone in public settings. I also find that when travelling I like to think about things. Not talk about them, just think and maybe jot a few ideas down on some napkins. Travelling is my time to figure out how I feel about things without the input or influence of anyone else.

So to summarize, travelling alone has made me more aware, more conscious, more accepting, more welcoming and more likely to say yes. Because of it I am more interesting and interested. I am braver than I was and I trust myself so much more. But most importantly it has given me stories. So many stories that will make me smile and keep me warm when I am old and taking off with just a backpack for company is no longer an option. Leaving is always harder than staying and people will undoubtedly tell you a horror story about a backpacker who got shot/murdered in a freak attack that would never had happened if they just stayed home and been an office temp, but the experiences you will have will serve you well for the rest of your life. The act of going might just be the most liberating thing you will ever do, after all men have been doing it for years