Well, dear readers, I have returned home to the bosom of my family. No doubt this might seem abrupt; however, I had no definite plans for when my trip would be over. I figured I’d know when it was time, and in Penang, I realized it was time. I realized I was looking at future destinations less as ‘what all am I going to get to see’ and more as ‘what can I afford to skip, so I can go ahead home and get on with things,’ so I decided I’d burned out on backpacking for now and should see these other places some other time. So, instead of taking the ferry to Northern Sumatra as planned, I took four plane trips lasting over 48 hours and arrived in Tennessee on the evening of the 29th, very smelly and hallucinating from lack of sleep.
There are some people (I met plenty) who can backpack for years and never grow weary, but I am not one of them. Traveling gets very exhausting, what with having to find somewhere to sleep every night, long crowded bus rides, poor diet, and poor hygiene. But I think actually the most exhausting thing is having nothing productive to do on a daily basis. After the sun sets, you’re generally looking at five or six hours of trying to find somewhere to sit and read. And that gets really, really old after awhile. Anyway, it’s a new year, I’m 25, and I’m anxious to get started on building some sort of adult existence, hopefully involving an apartment, a career, a boyfriend, and feelings of legitimacy.
Of course, I thoroughly enjoyed my trip, and I will certainly travel again just as soon as I can. There are a number of things I will do differently next time. The top three are: (1) bring hiking boots; (2) not stick to the tourist trail (as defined by Lonely Planet); and (3) bring a traveling companion. A word on that last one: while traveling alone has a number of advantages, and while I believe it is usually reasonably safe to travel alone as a woman, and that, male or female, you should never put off traveling just because you fear going alone; still, I think all things considered, I would have richer traveling experiences if I had at least one person with me. Reason being, if you have a companion, you do not have to be so wary and guarded about your own personal safety. You can take more risks, talk to more people, and go more places. Also, you can split expenses.
I would like to thank all of you reading this blog for coming along with me on my adventure – the blog was such fun to write, and made me feel I could share my experiences with everyone I missed while traveling. I plan to revive it next time I travel. If you would like me to drop you an email when I start the blog back up again (and/or if you have any questions about my trip), email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, I’m currently posting all my many photos to a blog; it’s a time-consuming process, but as soon as I get them all loaded, I will post a link here. Hopefully in the next couple weeks.
Happy New Year, everybody!