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see you on the other side…

photo by Z...

As I sit here in the dirty hot waiting room outside gate 9 in the forever depressing Bali Airport, surrounded by hungover, tattooed, braided, beaded Australians, I can’t help but ponder my year…

I’m heading back to Australia tonight, and I can’t help think about how far I’ve come. This flight doesn’t end my stay in Indonesia by any means, but it certainly does end one chapter in my life and opens the door on the new adventures that lay ahead of me in the new year to come.

It’s been almost exactly a year since I eagerly anticipated my virgin flight to Indonesia, the jump in the deep end that started this blog and changed my life forever. Now here I am, one year later, a different person to the girl I was when this all began. I’m here ready to go home, ready to see my family again, ready to let my barefeet hit the red soil of my home country. But I know that within moments of reaching my mother land, I’ll be ready to return to the land I know call home, Indonesia.

I have learnt a lot this year. I have changed as a person and I have done things that I never would have expected.

This year I have managed the following:

– 27 flights
– 4 countries
– Over 125 hours on public buses
– Countless taxi rides
– Over 30 hours waiting in Airport immigration lines.
– Over 40 hours waiting in Immigration offices.
– 30 hours on trains
– 10 Visas
– 82 hours in transit
– 32 new stamps in my passport
– More overpriced airport food than I care to remember
– To wash red dye out of a t-shirt in an airport bathroom
– Slept on the floor of a check in hall
– Lived out of a backpack

And…

I have loved every draining, exhausting, dehydrating moment of it and I can’t wait to do it all again next year.

For every moment I have spent traveling to and from my home in Batukaras, for every dollar I have spent just to renew my visa so I can stay in the country, for every argument with immigration official, for every bribe I was requested but never paid, for every heart in the throat moment, for every tired tear and every frustrated thought…

I have made so many friends, had so many experiences and seen things that I never would have imagined. I have managed to forge my own path into my adult life that has surprised everyone… even myself.

For every heart ache that I suffered I found love greater than I have ever had before. For everything I lost I have a thousand things I gained. For everything I sacrificed I have received joy that makes my heart hurt with happiness.

Travel is a curious beast and those of us that choose to live the lifestyle are a curious breed. Travelers are generally broke, have few career prospects, no stability, little contact with their families and are forced to resist the constant taunt of the expectations of social life that they left behind in their homeland. What we have that non-travelers (the tourist variety) will never truly understand is an access to the world that you can’t get from shopping, drinking and partying your exotic destinations away. It is something that some people might not want at all, but that I crave with every fibre of my being. For me it’s all about experience, it’s all about self education and it all comes from an undeniable desire to live in a way that makes me feel alive.

What more could you want from life than that? Life is for living after all. Maybe I will never own my own house in a good suburb, but then again, I’ll never have a mortgage. Maybe I’ll never have a stable job, but then again, I’ll never be stuck in the 9 – 5 grind. Maybe I’ll never drive a nice car, but then again, I’ll never have to pay the insurance. Maybe I’ll never fit the mould… but then again… I don’t care. Just because there is a mould, an expectation of the path your life should take as you blindly fluff your way through adult hood, doesn’t mean you have to get in it and squish around until you fit.

I say fk the mould. Do what you want to do. It’s your life… If you want to work 9 – 5 and make money and buy a house and a nice car and get married and have 2.5 kids who go to private school… good for you. If you don’t, what are you in the rat race for? Not all those who wander are lost…

Barefoot, in transit and out of the mould.

See you all on the other side, post return to my ‘real world,’ post return to luxuries like hot water, television, milk, bread, cheese, bubble baths and washing machines… Enjoy it while it lasts… because the call from Batukaras is strong… before you know it I’ll be back.

Barefoot Inked.

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Comments
One Response to “see you on the other side…”
  1. Reet says:

    Love it… I’ve just discovered your blog and this was the first post I read… Cant wait to read the rest… This posting is me all over… and reminds me of my favourite quote “Not all those who wander are lost” – friends and family just don’t get it, they dont understand what keeps pulling me back to SE Asia… at this stage I escape the rat race 6 weeks a year for leave, but I am working towards the day I can leave it all behind and do what you have done… Lucky you!

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