A blog about...


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Xmas & Asia all wrapped-up 2

Wouw, okay.. All well in my world. Yes very much so. I'm still in the city. I have the whole day to kill..so still a few more hours of sitting around, reflecting on my past 4 weeks, drinking tea and spending money on souvenirs..Has to be done I suppose. Tonight I get the bus to the airport at around 06.00pm, and my flight to Melbourne leave at 09.30pm. I arrive tomorrow morning at 08.30am.. And I'll be a walking zombie, once again..

Am I gutted it's all over? Very much so. Really I am. It's been such an adventure though that, at the same time, I can't help but feel blessed and grateful for having had this experience and this chance to travel differently than I've ever travelled before. So I'm not sad, but I feel like the luckiest person ever. The fact that I chose to follow whatever each day threw at me, was all part of the beauty. Because of this, I met some amazing people. And to me, that's what it's all about at the end of the day. To me, it's not about doing excursions and being with the tourists or partying. I found this out during the first few days, when I tried to travel like the majority of the backpackers travel..all according to the guidebook and following the crowd just to tick off all the places that are on the list of "things to see" in a particular country. I actually bought a guidebook of Malaysia when I was in Oz a month ago, but haven't used it once.. and will be selling it to the second hand bookshop when I get back I reckon.. So I chose to travel without a guidebook, because I hadn't even planned on going to Thailand, without a notion as to where I was going to end up (much to the despair of some special people on the home front I'm might add..oops..so sorry!) and with a feeling of certainty and security in my heart. And look what it gave me! Wouw.. a trip of lifetime, that has taught me so so much. I've met some friends for life and have been inspired by so many wonderful people. I've come into contact with the kind of people that don't come into your life, when you don't move or make things happen or when you don't take that risk and venture into the unknown and embrace the contact you can have with certain people. It's really amazing and for this trip to have turned out like this, is nothing short of miracle..(no matter how much I sound like I'm away with the fairies right now..It's just the way it is: yes it's a miracle and yes I'm away with the fairies..Pretty cool by the way)

So, with my heart so so full of new feelings and appreciation and my head so fuzzy from lack of sleep, I'm signing off for one last time, from Malaysia. Next time I'll be back in Oz, with a whole new outlook and with hopefully a calmness about my writing and with no worries at all..

Xmas & Asia all wrapped-up

Christmas has come and gone already for another year. I hardly seen it creep up (as is always the way, no matter where you "celebrate" it) but made the best decision in coming back to Kho Phangang all the same, as I had an amazing day.

It's a kind of Christmas I've never experienced before. We were hanging out on the beach, from 08.00am.. Sitting around, chatting and sharing Christmas stories and past experiences that would come with the festive season. Usually this kind of talk would trigger the Christmas vibe, but it didn't really. It's a good thing though. Because I remember my first Christmas away from home, and it was almost tragic..or so it felt at the time. It was when I was Austria, and I actually was working from 08.00am in the office, alone on the 25th!! I couldn't believe how miserable I felt - I can still vividly remember how sorry I was feeling for myself as I stood behind the photocopier, working away (with a hangover) while the rest of the world..or just the family..were all together, sitting around the Christmas tree, being festive, opening presents, eating food and having a jolly old time. This Christmas I'm referring to, was back in 2004. Wouw, 5 years ago!! Since then, any Christmas I've been away from home, hasn't felt as devastating. Not even my first Ozzie Christmas in 2006..as I sat near the beach drinking beer in the sun and had a kebab for Christmas dinner.

I think what makes the homesickness easier to bear is, not only the people you're around of course, but also to know that when Christmas morning starts here on this side of the world, everyone back at home is still asleep. The day hasn't started yet, so I don't have to think about what I'm missing out on, at that exact moment in time. And once the day is underway on this side of the world, everything is fine, as we would already been having our own Christmas drinks from the afternoon onwards, which always eases the longing for Christmas and lightens the mood..

Well, that's how most Christmases are anyhow. This year I was even less switched-on. As we lay on the beach and moved lazily to the bar in the afternoon, it was strange to see the odd (usually British) tourist walking down the beach with a Santy hat on. Then I would obviously be reminded that it was Christmas day. And still I was grand! All was so perfect! So all we really did was hang out on the beach and bar, chatting and drinking and chatting some more. Suddenly a reality check: I realized.. oh oh.. My flight back to Oz is on the 27th of December (of course I knew this..I know, I might be away with the fairies alot of the times, but I did remember I had to be flying back to Oz within a few days) and what I didn't realize was that the journey I had to be making back down to Kuala Lumper from the island would take 24 hours by bus.. Oops.. This meant that there was a moment of panic (of course, there's always a moment of panic, where I'm concerned, nothing every runs as smoothly as I potentially could do) as I was trying to book a seat on the bus that was leaving on the 26th in the evening. And, much to my disappointment, it was full.. The only option I had was to leave at 06.00am from the bungalow the following morning, so the 26th.. What a bummer that was, to realize this. So suddenly I had to get my bags packed again, after 3 nights and 2 days of being back on Bottle Beach on the north side of Kho Phangang. We were all gutted. But, the journey I made up to island, was well worth it.. I didn't regret it for a single moment!

The fact that I was leaving the next morning, didn't ruin Christmas day one bit. If anything it made me savour the day even more. And we continued to drink and eat. Actually, all we did all day was TALK about how amazing the Christmas dinner was going to be - we were going to have fresh fish from the bbq - how nice this was going to be! So, the whole day we were building up the expectations as to how yummy our Christmas dinner should taste. And when it was finally time to eat, we were all a little disappointed.. There were 6of us at this stage (all Italian by the way, very interesting, but so much fun at the same time..not that I understood all of what was going on around me, but the whisky might have had a little bit to do with that too), we all had red snapper and king prawns with rice and salad. Well, if it wasn't for the fresh green raw chillies I was eating, I wouldn't have classed it as an amazing Christmas dinner at all.. Normal Thai dishes from the menu would have been so much more satisfying. And then, we didn't even have dessert! What's going on??!! That's when I started "demanding" some chocolate bars!! That helped a little.. What I'm doing now, is me just analyzing the Christmas dinner, as we did at the dinner table in the restaurant (this is apparently a typical Italian trait, to always either give out or comment on the food..very rarely is it a compliment, especially seeing as though half of the table were cooks!!). Other than that, everything was just perfect!! It really was a great day.. the perfect way to end my trip properly..

Yes, because now the journey back to where I started from, is already in full-swing. The morning after Christmas, I woke at 05.30am, stressed out, slightly hungover and had to have a cold shower and finish my packing.. 20 minutes later I was in the back of the jeep, after saying goodbye once last time and after telling each other that we will definitely all meet again (or else goodbyes can become a little painful), someday somewhere.. It was all a mad rush, as I was dropped off at the wrong peer and was overcharged by a guy on a moped who was willing to scoot me over the other side of the peer.. My god, I had visions of me being destined to never leave this island..(a beautiful thought, but not when I was considering the cost of missing buses and flights..) but thankfully it did all fall into place. I went from a jeep, to a moped. Then from onto a ferry to the mainland to catch a coach and from there to an overcrowded minibus followed by another minibus with a stop at a food place to finally start the last leg of the journey, which was a freezing coach - they always put on the airconditioning full blast and never give any blankets..so annoying..How is a person supposed to sleep in the freezing cold?? The simple answer is: not! and I didn't. I drifted around in space for 2 hours - and 24 hours later, at 05.00am this morning I found myself back where my Asia trip began 4 weeks ago: Kuala Lumpur.

A moment of reflection for you guys xxx

Thursday, December 24, 2009

2 days to cherish

Christmas Eve, it's the day after I got to Kho Phangnang for the second time, and the day before my last day on this island.. A little confusing? Maybe it is. It can even be confusing for me sometimes too.

After yesterday, and my last blog entry, I ventured towards the north of Kho Phangnang, to find the friends who were possibly still on the beautiful Bottle Beach. I got a cab to Chaloklum, the nearest village to the beach. Then I arrived at our local "cafe" and everybody was waving at me, and delighted that I was back. The locals that is. They all remembered me and made me feel so welcome. Suddenly I didn't care that I might be here alone, if the others had moved on..

I sat and took in the atmosphere, the laid-backness of life, the smiles and the community just going about their daily business in an extremely leisurely manner. It was a joy to watch and made me feel so safe. I couldn't decide whether or not to stay in the village for a night or get a taxi to the beach. Then the cafe owner said that there was another person being collected from the village to go to Bottle Beach, and if I wanted, I could get a ride. Too easy I thought! I had to go for it and get moving. So I did. I got a cab, and ended up having a tour around the island, which lasted an hour and a half before finally arriving at at the bungalow resort.

Again, the owners were delighted to see me, and said it was all so unexpected and nobody told them I was coming back. I told them I was going to surprise the rest.. I was nervous for some strange reason, and just hoped that it was all going to work out as I wanted it to. I went to the bungalow where I had been staying..and you never guess what.. All was still exactly as I left it!! David and the guys were still there, the bungalow still had room for me.. I was over the moon! And everything fell so easily into place.

I was still so hyped though and nervous as well. The whole trip, which had lasted 36 hours, or longer - if I take the time it took for me to come up with some answers into consideration - maybe even 72 hours starting in Penang, had been leading up to this moment. So with all the stress and the commotion of everything and without having slept for 2 days, the pressure that fell from my shoulders was huge and it was only natural that the first beer I had, was also the last one.. It went straight to my head. I was beat, I was done in. But it was fine. Because I was in paradise.. And I was going to be surrounded by great people for Christmas. That's what was most important.

This morning waking up in the bungalow, with the sound of the waves, and the sight of the blue sky through the curtains, was amazing. For that moment alone, making the journey back to Kho Phangnang was worth it. So much peace and quiet after a hectic few days. It was now time to chill out. And that's what we're still doing.

The festive season is also underway here. When I say "underway", I mean..the parties will be starting tonight and finishing the day after Christmas. That's all that's on offer here. There are hardly any decorations or Christmas songs (that's only in the bigger cities). Here on the island Christmas is a reason for the tourists to party hard, and to experience a different kind of Christmas atmosphere and vibe which isn't linked to family gatherings or work dinners or gift-showering. It's party time, for everyone. But not for us.. Haha.. We're not up for that at all.. We'll just be eating fish and drinking beer (or whisky) for the next 2 days. And on Saturday morning I have to leave.. What a shame. Kuala Lumpur is where my flight is leaving from on Sunday night, so I have start making my way down..much to my disappointment.

My days of this Asian trip are running out. They are coming to an end and I'm devastated. It feels wrong for me to be returning to Australia. It almost makes me feel a little queasy. Even though there are special people waiting for me when I get back. But I don't know what it is, this feeling of uneasiness. I don't know why I'm so gutted. But every moment of these next days, is so so precious. They are moments I'll never experience again, and therefore I need to savour each one..

So, what better way to end the trip, than to have Christmas dinner on the beach.. I feel like the luckiest person alive right now, even with the pain in my heart for leaving here within a few days..

I wish you all an extremely Merry Christmas.. May it be as magical as can be and may you be surrounded by those who are near and dear to you.. Missing you all, as I always do, but around this time of year, my heart is allowed to tell you all just how much.. Merry Christmas!!! Signing off for now..

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Destination: Christmas

4 days I spent in Penang. And for a destination to go from just being a place of "refuge" as I decided what to do for the remainder of my Asia trip, to being a place that felt so like home, was complete and utter unexpected randomness.

When I arrived in Penang last Friday (the 18th), which is the island off the west coast of Malaysia, I met a Finnish guy called Janne, who got me to a cosy guesthouse run by Jim. This I've already mentioned before, but I'm mentioning it again..No harm in repeating myself. A couple of days me and Janne spent exploring the city, sitting in cafe's, taking in the local atmosphere and pondering what our fate could be for the very near future (the upcoming week to be exact).. Janne's fate was already set..He was going to Krabi in Thailand and had a nice and neat plan to follow, up until new years. But Niamh however, hadn't a notion what to do or where to go next. There were many options as to what to do. But it's never been a strong point of mine, the whole "making decisions" side of life.. (it can make things so much more difficult..)

Whilst hanging out and having so much fun in Penang, each hour went by, and we met more and more people who had their plans for Christmas and new years eve. I was starting to feel a little lost, even though I felt so at home where I was. I was meeting these amazing people in the hostel, I felt so great and was enjoying myself thoroughly. Yet I was still patiently waiting for the answer to the question: "where does my Christmas spirit lie this year.." to come falling out of the sky. It would have been far easier for that to have happened than for me to actually take the time-out I needed in order to decide what I wanted or hoped to get from my last few special days on this amazing continent. Not only were they going to be my last few days, but it was also Christmas!

Anyway, Saturday I felt okay. There were no decisions made at that point. But a happy chappy I was. Sunday I started to get a little doubtful if I was even going to bother with making an effort to celebrate the festive season. It didn't make matters easier that I chose to forget about it, as I got side-tracked by all the people around me. I got caught up in the commotion of meeting people that I chose not to even contemplate my next move. Monday was the day I started to feel anxious. Everyone around was suddenly starting to move on. Janne was leaving. Oh no!! This should have meant I was to leave too??!! Oh.. But hang on..I wasn't alone.. There was an amazing girl who was also staying at Jim's place, by the name of Tina. So, once more I again, got sidetracked by all the commotion around me and ended up spending the last few hours of Janne being in Penang, with him just chatting in a cafe and drinking tea. After that, I again got sidetracked by Tina, who is at the moment in the middle of making an online shop and needed some help taking photo's at the beach. So before I knew what was happening I was on a bus, meeting so many random people, whilst we spontaneously made our way to the beach. And then of course, the night was over, it was 2am and Niamh still didn't know what she was doing.

But it didn't matter, even though it kept me from my much needed beauty sleep. All I I needed was peace and quiet to think about what I wanted. Tuesday morning came the crunch, once I had sat down and considered all of my options when it came the festive celebration: 1) go to Krabi in Thailand and hang out with Janne, 2) go back to Kho Phangang and spend time with David and the guys (if they were still there), 3) stay in Penang eating Indian curry with Indian Jim, 4) go to Kho Lipe in Thailand with Tina or 5) go off somewhere by myself and hope to meet some great people.

Well to put all of this into perspective, I figured: what's the true meaning of Christmas? To me, it's to spend time with the most special people you know, if that's an option. It's also to spread the love and joy, (which should actually be done at anytime of the year, but that's a different story). It's also to feel comfortable, where ever you are. It's not a time to feel homesick, which is something that can happen to a lot of travellers, knowing that the family is all together, except for one missing piece, which happens to be the traveller on the other side of the world.. And what can take away any possible feelings of homesickness? Being around people that you have connected with and who make you feel loved..something that is usually felt so strongly when the family comes together on Christmas day, but with no family in sight, a special connection with special people makes up for any love that is felt to be lost by being absent from the family gathering at this time of year..

So, Tuesday morning, I pondered, I contemplated, I humm-ed and I haa-ed.. I asked Jim when the next bus to Kho Phangnang was, he said in 3 hours time. I said I might take it.. He said you've got 2 hours to make up your mind. So I emailed the guys on Kho Phangang. It was 80% certain that they would still be on the same beach, in the same bungalow. But I had no way of knowing for sure, because no one had phone signal and they only went online every couple of days (due to isolation). The last email I had received was on Sunday, from David. At that point they were still there, still happy and still had room for me at the bungalow. But sometimes situations and circumstances change so suddenly, that a lack of security, especially without any contact, can lead to all different kinds of either welcomed surprises or difficult complications.

So I emailed, hoping that someone would be online, before deciding whether or not to get the bus to the island. That way I'd know whether or not I had a home for Christmas. I emailed, and waited for the reply.. I waited and waited.. Nothing. The reply was supposed to give me the answer as to whether or not I was getting on that bus. Time was ticking..and suddenly 2 girls walked into Jims place, looking for a room. The only room that was possibly available was mine.. Jim looked at me: Niamh, are you staying or going? Oops..pressure..it always works well for me, when I'm having to make difficult decision.. Without thinking: "Yes, I'm leaving!" So I packed my bags, got on the bus and left Penang an hour later, after saying goodbye to a place that had felt like home so quickly. I said goodbye to Jim and to Tina and then I was feeling like a little kid: I was getting the same feelings of excitement you can get whenever this song is being played on the radio: "driving home for Christmas.." The only differences: I wasn't doing the driving, snow or ice was nowhere in sight, and I wasn't going home but I was trying to return to a place that had become my home away from home throughout this trip. I really felt there couldn't be a better place to spend Christmas.

At this point, I still hadn't gotten a reply to the emails. I still didn't know if everything was still possible, if I still had a bed, if they were still there even.. I was taking a risk, but I figured I had nothing better to do with my time. And why not give it my all to experience this Christmas away from home, with the most special people I've met on this trip. It's also a great way to "wrap it up"..

So I left Penang at 4pm yesterday (Tuesday), got 2 mini buses, we then broke down on the side of the road at 1am, hung around for an hour and a half, I ended up meeting more great people: A French guy by the name of Ju and a Belgium girl by the name of Lore. I didn't sleep much on the bus, because of the breakdown. We got to the ferry at 5am, had to wait 3 hours, then had a 2,5 hour ferry ride and we all got off the boat at 10.30am, delighted to be back on this island..

Now, however, I sit and I'm waiting for a reply..still.. There's no email appearing in my mailbox, as I'm typing this. I've been checking every few hours..and will still wait patiently to see where my fate lies. Will I make it to bottle beach, our little place of paradise, tonight or tomorrow? Or will I make it there at all before Christmas? I cannot know just yet, but either way, it's already been an adventure getting here and the people I met along the way have, once again, inspired me.

My Christmas will be a good one, whatever happens both today and tomorrow. Because I'm already delighted to be here. I'm stable within myself and feel so good. I feel happy where ever I am and am always surrounded by special people..

An update as to how this all goes, should be coming soon!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Trading one island for another

12 days of being in Paradise, and my visa was running out. When I entered Thailand on the 5th of December my visa was only valid for 14 days. So the expiry date was the 19th, which meant that I had to out of the country by the 18th.. Much to my disappointment. I really didn't want to leave. Everything was just so perfect. The guys and myself had moved to different beaches, checking out the vibes, all in search of isolation. We wanted so badly to be secluded from the world.. And guess when it was that we felt that we had found exactly what we were looking for and exactly what we had envisioned before coming to this island: On the 16th.. so 1 day before I was meant to be moving in the direction of Malaysia. I couldn't believe how soon it was ending and how quickly I had to get my ass into gear and make my way back down to Malaysia, in order to stay on the right side of the law and to avoid a fine for overstaying my welcome. It was on the 17th I had to get the ferry and start the journey that was to last 24 hours. And all going to plan I was to reach my destination in Malaysia by the 18th. Arriving a day later, meant I'd have to pay..

So 12 days of magic, and I was on my way. It was Thursday evening when I had to get the taxi boat and leave the place that took us a while to find. I was sad to leave, but not devastated. I felt happy to have met these people and to have spent such amazing days just talking and learning and being inspired. Other people we met along the way, were all as nice as ever. Sometimes the smiles that are everywhere in that amazing country, can be fake and you sometimes can't be sure if it's all well-intended, but my smiles weren't fake and my intentions were genuine, so I didn't care either way. It was like, at one point, that we were apart of the community. The different beaches we stayed on, were all in the same area of a fishing village on the north coast of the island, called Chaloklum. At one stage, we had a place where we went for tea in the afternoon, and a place for chicken wings when we were peckish and a place for whiskey when we were feeling cold from the wet clothes we were still wearing after getting soaked by a sudden unexpected monsoon-shower. It was so great and to leave was so strange. Everybody knew us everywhere..

But at I was leaving, I was feeling good, I was feeling blessed and I felt so touched by what Kho Phangnang had given me. So getting on the ferry, after having my last meal from the stalls in the main town of Thongsala, wasn't too much of tragedy. It simply was how it was. This was my time again, to open up to meeting new people and to find out if I wanted to come back to this island or to Thailand for Christmas or New Year. I hadn't a clue how I was going to feel, once setting out on my own adventure again. Maybe I'd wanna come straight back to spend a special time of year with these special people. Maybe I'd feel even better being alone. Who was to say..

Well, I can say, 48 hours after leaving that place of paradise, I still feel great. The journey to the island of Penang off the west coast of Malaysia, which is where I'm now sitting, was so cool. So long, but so great. I got the night ferry to Suritani. And I've never experienced anything like this before. It was the tiniest of boats, with 2 floors. The bottom floor was where the crew were hanging out and where the mechanical side of things happened (don't know quite how else to put it..haha) and the top floor was where we were sleeping. I had to climb up a ladder to where the other passengers were. And it turned out to be a room full of mattresses.. That's all.. just mattresses everywhere.. It was so strange. So I was found myself a spot, and soon I'd met myself a friend, who lay down beside me.. (it's sounds strange to say that, but he didn't sit, because there weren't any seats..just mattresses).. He was from Japan, and it was so nice to chat with him. And meeting some so easily and talking so freely as if we had known each other far longer than 5 minutes, I suddenly felt as if I had placed myself, once again, in a situation where things were going to start happening again after 12days of being surrounded by familiarity.. Now I was making things happen again, and it could go in so many different directions. But it was all my own doing, all my own choices, it was all up to me: How long was I was going to stay in Penang, Who was I going to meet, where was I going to spend Christmas, was I going to go back to Kho Phangnang? Who knew? And who knows now? Not a soul..

All I know is that how the past 48 hours have planned out, has been so great. After a 5 hour ferry ride, sleeping with these strangers, and one new friend by the name of .... Kuni.. I got to Suritani and had to wait until 6am for the bus to Hat Yai..then once I got there, I had to wait another 2 hours for the bus to Penang. I finally got here at 6pm yesterday evening and, how lucky am I.. I found myself some new friends who were also looking for a place to stay. So we joined forces in this unfamiliar city, and found Jim's Place. It's a cheap hostel in the middle of the fuss and commotion of this city and I feel at home once again.. I've mainly been hanging out with a Finish guy called Janne, who is learning English and who I'm now teaching English to.. Not in an extreme way, but our conversations are full of new vocabulary for him to learn and it's a real challenge to make ourselves understood by each other. But he's so easy to be around at the same time. He's sitting here beside me now, updating his own Blog!! It was so cool to find someone else who is blogging, just like me.. We've already treated ourselves today to some reflexology and I have also been trying to get back in with the Malaysian cuisine..after having had a bad experience during my first week of the trip with the food here and after adoring the food in Thailand so much.. It's working though, very slowly, but the Malaysian food and the people are redeeming themselves again!

So, it's now a Saturday afternoon. And time is passing by so quickly. I'm delighted to be where I am right now..even if it is raining more than it was in Thailand.. (right now, Malaysia is more effected by the Monsoons). I'm happy here for a few days, until I've come to a conclusion as to what it is I still want to do before I have to leave and where it is I want to go. For now though, having my own time is exactly what I need. It's just perfect..even after believing that I had left perfection back in Kho Phangang.. I haven't though, I've created it once again and am enjoying every minute!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pretty as a picture

It's a Monday evening - One week since getting here, to Kho Phangang. And all is so calm and peaceful. The guys I met during the ferry ride from Suratani to this island, are still here. I'm still here. We've been hanging out together for a week now, and life is just simply amazing.

I've been discovering so much, I've been doing so little, but feel like I've been here forever, all at the same time. We ended up staying at the same resort for a week and moved to the north side of the island, where it's more isolated. We weren't too fussed with being in a touristy spot, and the bungalows we found instead, were exactly what we imagined ourselves to be staying in when we first set off on our trip to Kho Phangnang. Except now, to make this trip all the more complete, we also found such great friends to share the experience with. None of us cares for parties, for excursions or for crowds.. Yes, we are a right crowd of "partypoopers" I have to say.. But that's what it clicks so well!

So now, we are staying in a place that's as pretty as a picture. Really it is. The bungalows are right on the beach, there's hardly no restaurants, no people, no noise.. That's mainly because the place we're staying in only has electricity from 6pm until 7am. The rest of the day, there can be nothing but people and their books. It's the perfect surrounding for me to do whatever I need right now. I have space, I have great people that are teaching me so much and the best part of all, for the past week, time has gone out the window; so much so that at one stage we had to ask someone what day of the week it was. Not to worry..

Anyway, even though we're isolated, each day we've still been touring the island, exploring all the little remote villages, waterfalls, beaches and mountains by motorbike. But by forgetting time, I'm able to be so happy every moment and I'm savouring every day..even when it turns out differently than we had planned or expected. The weather has been "touch and go", but still hot. We've had some rainy days, but I didn't mind. Getting into the sea when it's raining, is so amazing.

Such precious days like this are meant to be savoured..because they end so suddenly. My visa for Thailand is finished on the 19th of this month. So I have to leave the country soon. I have a few options: I could do a daytrip to Malaysia, to re-enter the country and get another visa and then stay here on Kho Phangnang for Christmas and then make my way back to Malaysia for the 27th, because that's when I fly back to Oz. Or I could leave the country and re-enter on a new visa and visit some other spot in this beautiful country or I could just leave the country and spend a week in Malaysia before flying back to Oz. I'm not too sure what to do. But I'll have to be making up my mind pretty soon, I've only got 4 more days!

There's nobody here to influence my decision, so it's totally up to me.. Do I want to throw myself into some more adventures for just one week and risk the chance of spending Christmas either alone or with people I don't really know OR do I want to stay in paradise for one more week and embrace each day and be pretty certain that I'll be spending Christmas with these guys who I already class as my dear friends..? It would sound as if the answer is right there in the way I described the two options, and you would ask yourself what is being so indecisive for. But that's me I suppose.

Whenever I loose the days, I forget that I have to make up my mind. And today I was brought back to reality and now it's time for me to make up my mind.. Keep you posted xxxx

Monday, December 7, 2009

The spirit of Thailand

It's Monday afternoon, the 07th of December. I woke up this morning and couldn't believe how lucky I was.. Just for being here. All afternoon the same feelings have been going around in my heart and my soul. I'm feeling like the richest person alive, just for having these experiences. I can't quite believe how blessed I am to have met these amazing people I'm surrounded by. Already I don't want to leave them. The thoughts of this ending feels wrong, so soon after our meeting. The feelings I've been having, since I got to this island, are unreal. It's all very familiar because I was here on my last trip through Asia, but it feels so much better than I remember it feeling. Just being in Thailand, feels totally different than I remember it feeling. Absolutely everything. It's the spirit of the people that almost fills up the air. I feel almost as if I'm one with everybody. I don't feel like I'm Westerner, or a tourist, or a stranger or an outsider. And I don't want to be a tourist either.. I don't care for doing all the touristy things, just to be able to tick them off of the "list" or to be able to say that I've done and seen it all - which is the case for the majority of backpackers and holidaymakers you come across. For me, it's the people of this country that I meet, what make it amazing. Every single encounter, or gesture, no matter how big or small, is special and gives me an insight into the way they live and the kind-heartedness they possess.

David said something interesting, when we were talking about the feeling or the vibe I got in Thailand, compared to Malaysia for example. He said it's more than likely because it's a Buddhist country and Malaysia is a Muslim country. And being in a Muslim country, as a single girl, traveling alone, can be frowned upon and they express that, through giving off bad vibes. I'm convinced now, that Malaysia isn't necessarily a country I feel I need to be in or need to enjoy or where I need to relax or need to practice yoga or meditation. I'm in Thailand now and I'm delighted to be back here on this island.

While I was traveling up from Kuala Lumpur, I did sometimes have these thoughts that what I was doing was silly, because I was basically following the same route I did, back in 2007! Yes, it felt right what I was doing, but why wasn't I exploring other places? Why am I sticking to what I knew best and why wasn't I taking a risk and venturing to a different island? Well, coming here, was a risk in itself. I didn't know exactly how and if I was going to reach the Sanctuary. And I was just following my feeling. That's why I wasn't going elsewhere. I don't regret it for one minute.. Not when I realized yesterday just how blessed I was to have met German Andy in KL, who told about the Sanctuary, and then to finally make it to the ferry to find out that the Sanctuary was fully booked and then, because of this, to meet the guys I already feel I've known for so long.. It's truly amazing!

I know it seems to have become my favourite word: amazing. But I can't describe it any other way. I'm looking at this country through different eyes, eyes that were closed when I was here first, but are now wide-open. I'm convinced I was meant to get to this island again, and do pretty much the same route I did as the trip in 2007, even if it was only to experience it properly and fully, this time round. Back in 2007, I wasn't too healthy.. I was probably, or most definitely, already suffering from anorexia.. That's why I can feel the difference so much. Back then I was numb, I wasn't fully experiencing, I wanted to be the tourist and tick off the list of things to do. So being here, brought up my suffering from back then. But also what brought it up, was the way I am now experiencing the food. I didn't realize back then, just how delicious and healthy and tasty and diverse their cuisine is. I didn't enjoy it, and I can see now that I closed myself off to experience that side of this culture, that makes up such a big part of getting to know a country and it's way of life. It's truly, again, amazing to now sit with David and have rice for breakfast and experience the food totally and have great talks and great drinks and eat how much and whatever I want. And I'm more grateful than words can say that I'm able to feel the difference..

So, I'm learning so much from this traveling again. My eyes are so open right now and I don't want this to end. I'm living for each and every moment and can't believe how this journey has evolved so far.. It's so exciting!

Welcome to paradise!

Leaving Hat Yai on Saturday afternoon.. After all the fuss and commotion of coming so far, I felt so close to my "final destination": Kho Phangnang.
But, judging by how the trip had been going up until that point, I shouldn't really have been surprised when things didn't go the way I had "planned".

I was supposed to get the nightboat to the island, which was meant to be leaving at 11pm. This was also my bed for the night. But when I realized that I had been "shafted" when I bought the ticket, I couldn't help but laugh at myself.. Because when the minibus finally made it to the peer in Sura Tani (which was the some of the most insane driving I've had to sit through before in my life), the taxi driver told me in the very few words of English he had: "no boat". This is all he said to me. I couldn't believe it.. I asked him questions, I spoke about what I had been told when I bought the ticket, and all he kept on repeating was: "no boat". He then said: "you home?". By this he meant: where is your home, or where can I drop you". This is when I slowly started to panic. I told him, all flustered, that I don't have a home!

Holy moly, it was 11.30pm and he was wanting to drop in this city, that I didn't know and where I had nowhere to stay. I then started having visions of me having to sleep under a bench.. Oopss... I felt frustrated because of not being understood and not being able to communicate and I think it was only natural for me to start feeling pretty sorry for myself. The poor dude started to feel really bad, because he couldn't speak to me and I couldn't speak with him and I had no where to go. But thank the heavens above that we stumbled upon a hotel, where they had a room for me!! And it was the best night sleep I've had in ages. The fact that I had been travelling for 36 hours straight, helped of course. It was so clean, I had my own bathroom, I had a tv!! And all that, for only 440 Baht (which is around 20 euros). Wouw.. I was so lucky. It all worked out in the end, but I did learn from this little hick-up.. I learnt never to get frustrated because of the language barrier, which is what I did. I learnt never to expect them to understand what I'm trying to say or what I'm asking, because they don't. I learnt never to believe a Thai person, when I can sense that they don't understand what I'm saying, because I put my trust in them. I know it wasn't intentional for them to give me the wrong information, and I don't want it to take away the faith I have in the people here. But I'll know better next time.

So the following morning, I booked a ticket for the ferry, I had some time to kill and so I was hunting down breakfast. Well, do you think I could get a bowl of cereal or toast anywhere!! Not a chance. I went into this restaurant and had rice and chicken for my breakkie!! This is what they all have for breakfast, or noodles.. It was the first time I've ever has this, so early in the morning. It was spicy, it was beautiful, and such a great way to start yet another day in traveling paradise. I was excited at the thoughts of what this new day was going to bring, even after all the panic and excitement of the night before..

The ferry was due to leave at 14.00, and thank the heavens above, I made it without any problems. Before I got on, I rang the Sanctuary on the island and was told that there was no vacancies.. I didn't mind though, and was actually pleased for some strange reason and started thinking it might even be a good idea to go back to the bungalow park I stayed at when I was on the island 2 years ago. So with this in mind, I got on the ferry and felt amazing. This was the right thing I was doing..even though the Sanctuary wasn't proving to be the place I was going to end up..after coming all that way. But I didn't care, I was flying so high!! On the ferry, a representative from a resort was offering private bungalows for 200 baht a night! That's 10euro! I was again delighted and totally chuffed and even more so when I met an Italian guy by the name of David who was also going to the same place. Yey! I met me another friend! This ferry journey, went by unnoticed, because me and this guy chatted as if we had been friends for years. It was a crazy meeting and 24 hours later, after having a great night of eating amazing Thai food and drinking beer on the beach, which is also where our accommodation was, we have now moved to another resort with an even bigger and more beautiful beach, with another girl and a guy from Poland. So we've been hanging out ever since and we all get along and fit together so well. It's like we've formed our own little family already..

So for now, until I feel it's time to go, I'll be here. I'm finally chilling out, after 48 hours of being on the go. It's now time for me to take the me-time I'm after. I will be bril!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Caution..It's a bit of confusion!-2

By this stage it was 9pm. The bus was leaving KL at 10.30 and I still wanted to check availability, check my budget and check what transport I'd need. So much to do, but we were both so excited. We got on the net, and I managed to find out that the accommodation won't take online bookings and that I can only ring on the day of arrival to see if there's room.. I also found out that it's not at all expensive.. Me and Andy couldn't quite believe how our meeting had turned into something that could be so meaningful. It was amazing.. We said our goodbyes and hope to see each other again soon. But I still didn't have any certainty. I was leaving KL without a proper destination or plan in mind. This was totally new to me!! But I did decide at this point, that I would ring the hostels on Langkawi in the morning, once the bus arrived at the pier just to make sure that there's no vacancies. But at this point, the thoughts of Langkawi felt so wrong, when Kho Phangnang felt so right..

I sat on the bus, after traipsing through the city, and all I could do was dream about being there.. I was so far ahead of myself, it was unreal. The journey to the pier was 7 hours, I didn't get much sleep, and all I did was "daydream" about me being Leonarde diCaprio, starring in the beach.. He was in seach of something different from the normal backpacker scene, he was venturing out into the unknown, he was going to extremes as he was trying to find what it was he was searching for and didn't have a clue if what he was going to find, was what he expected. How amazing.. No wonder i didn't sleep much..haha. When I did wake up from the little sleep I got, last night all felt like a dream. But it wasn't!! It was all happening..as long as I was brave enough to take a chance and see if my meeting Andy was all part of the "master plan"... how cool!

We got to the peer at 06.30am. What was I going to do? Follow what felt right..which was go to check if the sanctuary is all it's cracked up to be, and take a leap of faith..or Follow my initial plan and risk having to pay 100euros for one night on Langkawi.. Twice i stood in line and twice I left the line. I didn't care at the stage that I had no clue of how to get to Kho Phangnang exactly, all I knew was that I had to go somewhere and I wasn't going to pay so much money on being in a place I didn't want to be.. So I hopped into a cab, got the trainstation in a town called Arau where I met the most nicest people and chatted for ages. I was still on such a high from the night before. I got the train to Hat Yai, which is the first town over the Thai boarder. It's also where I"m sitting right now, 5 hours later. I still can't quite believe how I landed myself here.
It's feels so great being back in Thailand again, surrounded by such beautiful people. I"m loving every minute of it! The people are so warm and the spirit in the air is totally different to that of Malaysia. It's so beautiful. The amount of smiles I"ve gotten already, is amazing.. Not like in KL, where you're afraid to smile for fear of what that person might think. No here in Thailand, you give a smile and one is returned!!

So now, my bus is due to leave at 05.00pm and i then have an overnight boat to Kho Phangnang. I get there at 06.00am tomorrow morning. I'll be a zombie and stinking.. but I don't care. I'll have taken a risk, and hopefully I have got to where i want to be. But the funny thing is that when I get there, I still won't know if the Sanctuary has a bed for my wee head.. And even funnier is that I'm not worried or stressed about it all. If it's meant to be, it will be. If not, at least I'll have tried and I'll have met some amazing people along the way and have had some great adventures too..

I'm in the land of smiles now.. so that's all I can do!!!

Cuation..it's a bit of confusion-1

It's Saturday the 05th. I've just about lost track of the days and of the time.. The last time I seen a bed was Thursday night and the next time I'll be seeing one is Sunday, if all goes according to "plan".

Thursday night it all started happening, without me being aware of it: I met this dude from Germany in the hostel. We got chatting about this and that, watched a movie and by 12 it was time for bed.. I was delighted. It had been a hectic day, Aine (the Irish girl who I had gotten to know pretty well) had suddenly decided to move on that same morning and I had spent the day exploring some more of the city. I had been rained on, I had been out for dinner by me tod (which is such a buzz by the way!) and I was just generally wrecked. I had said to myself on Thursday that Friday would be the day for moving on, so that's what I did. Friday morning, I hung out in the hostel till 12noon, packed my bags and with no where to go, I left the hostel, said goodbye to the German dude, called Andy, we exchanged email addresses and I didn't expect to see him again.

I walked with my 22 kilo's of luggage to the busstation, decided to book a bus to Langkawi, which is an island off the northwest coast of Malaysia. It's a 7 hour journey and the bus was due to leave at 11pm. This was great, cause I'd have saved a night in the hostel by sleeping on the coach and any other bits of the city I hadn't yet seen, I'd now get a chance to.. Well that was the plan anyhow. But that soon changed when I just wasn't arsed anymore. I had been walking again, only for an hour, and I was done with it. I started to feel lonely and was tired of always knowing that there was someone looking at my every step. Because that's what it's like in that city. I was tired of it. So I hopped on the Internet, both to escape from the world and to book a hostel for Saturday night on Langkawi. But shock, shock, horror, horror, every hostel and hotel on the island was fully booked! There was nowhere for me to sleep!! O no.. I panicked, and that made me feel even more down and alone and drained. I didn't know what to do. I tried to get a refund on my bus ticket or even postpone it to a few nights later, but they weren't all too helpful (wouldn't be the first time). The thoughts of staying in Kuala Lumpur another few days didn't feel too good either, I actually dreaded the thoughts of it. So, to cheer myself up, I dropped German Andy an email, seeing if he wanted to meet up for some dinner, just for some company and some advice on what I should do, with this problem of finding accommodation.

So we met up and chatted lots, had yummy dinner and an overdose of green tea... How nice!! And he started telling me about where he stayed in Thailand. It was on the island of Kho Phangnang, on the eastcoast, and it's called the "Sanctuary". Well, the things he told me about it, were amazing. We both seem to be on the same wavelength when it comes to the books we read and the things we want to do along our "journeys". So this place he stayed at, was exactly what I was looking for, when I had planned on coming to Malaysia. It's, apparently, isolated from the road, by the beach and only accessible by long tail boat. It has yoga, meditation, massage, workshops and courses on offer nearly every day.. There's so much of what I love, in such a tranquil little haven. And it was much cheaper than the normal hostels in Malaysia too. He loved it there that much, that he said he was probably going to go back. But all I could see, as we were talking, were visions of me being there and doing all the things I want to do; yoga, meditation, massage, writing, reading..all surrounded by people with the same mindset..tucked away in a little piece of paradise. I couldn't believe it! This is where I wanted to go! This would solve my accommodation problem!

The excitement of it all!!!There's so much more to come..

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

KL in 24 hour

A day later..only one day and so much has happened. Thinking back to yesterday, feels like days ago. But all is well, I arrived safe and sound and I now find myself sitting in a hostel, smack bang in the middle of Kuala Lumpur, in the area most commonly known to the westerners as tourist central. It's called Bukit Bintang, and it's also near where I stayed 2 whole years ago, when I first visited Malaysia.

Yesterday was so cool though.. Why? Because I was suddenly apart of the real traveling world again. I was meeting people from the word "go" and was, and still am, loving every minute. When we finally got flying, as the flight was delayed by an hour and it then turned-out to be an 8 hour journey..instead of the 6 hours I thought it was going to be (silly me forgot to take the 3 hour time-difference into account), I didn't want the flight to end. Yes, of course I was excited to get to Malaysia but I was so comfortable on that flight that the thoughts of having to "throw" myself out into this big city and figure out how to get to the hostel and sort out my money and arrange my mobile phone and be on-the-ball and alert at all times.. all felt like so much effort, as I sat on the plane totally chilled and relaxed and reading my book.. But then when we landed, I just went with the flow, as I didn't have much choice..haha, and soon everything started happening.

I stepped off the plane the air was so hot and sticky. It was like walking into a room where the heating had been on forever and that hadn't had the slightest breeze or chilly wind..ever. Muggy is the word, and with that muggyness, there was rain. It was beautiful! I was instantly heated and refreshed by the rain, all at the same time! Most people would probably hate that kind of muggyness, but the aircon on the plane had felt really awful and cold, and seeing as though I feel the cold so easily, this heat was so very welcome. Being at the airport, which was tiny by the way, and chaotic, turned-out to be nothing but stress-free. Even though I hadn't a clue how to get to the city centre and I didn't know where my hostel was (that was a little booboo on my part.. I thought I had the directions from the airport to the hostel, but in my haste, as I was booking the hostel online back in Adelaide, I printed the wrong ones..oops!!). It was all pretty straight forward and the Malaysians hanging around the airport, offering to sell bustickets or taxirides, made it so easy.. They were the registered taxi's and coachservices ofcourse!! I hoped on a bus and sat and waited to get going. The only westerner on the coach, but I was feeling so confident and at ease. It felt so normal being here, that I wasn't even worried about what I was going to do once I got to the Central Station in KL. It was an hour and a half on the bus and I actually slept most of the way.. That's how at ease I felt, in this crazy and insane city.

Arriving at the station, the first thing that happens when you get off the coach: you are bombarded by taxi drivers wanting to offer you a ride. But I shrugged them all off and had stubborn thoughts of trying to find this hostel all by myself. But those thoughts soon went out the window, or were washed away by the rain, as I set foot outside the station and didn't have a clue in what direction I was heading (I thought I might have been able to recognize some streets or something from my last visit..but KL being KL.. every street name sounds the same and every street looks the same and it was dark too, which didn't make matters easier!). So I jumped in a taxi, gave him the address, paid all of 3 dollars, and 15in later I was the Pujangga Homestay!!

I was where I had set out to be!! It took next to no effort at all and the hostel was so nice!! Within 5 minutes I had even made myself a wee Irish friend, Aine, who had just arrived that day too in KL, after having been in Cambodia for a month. We hit it off instantly.. and have been hanging out ever since (sounds like we've been friends for ages..haha). It was nearly midnight by this stage, but on my normal bodyclock, it was 03.30 am, I had been awake nearly 24 hours and feeling so tired. I went out about for a very short spell, to try and make some phonecalls, and I felt amazing, even though I was wrecked. I didn't phase walking around the streets of KL at night on my own. I didn't know exactly where I was, so I didn't venture very far, for fear of getting lost, which happens so easily in this place. But everything about this place, made me feel so great. There was no culture shock.. Nothing of the kind. It felt natural, normal and like I almost belonged here, for now. The hostel felt instantly familiar, as did the people.. I didn't get to sleep until around 1am, because I was back sleeping in a dorm with 6 others and there was lots of activity.. But not to worry..

So today I was out and about, hanging out with some girls from the hostel, a thai girl named Nana, and Aine. I was loving it.. The weather, the muggyness, the streets with all there mini stalls, full of food and yummiesness and a hype of activity everywhere I looked, it was so cool! The stares and the remarks from the locals was something I had expected, so I ignored them all. The smells on the street, some of them pretty stomach-turning, brought back so many memories from when I was here last. I had a little bit of a run-in with some not so nice people the last time I was here, which made me want to get out of this city asap, but today as I was walking down the same street where my little bit of misfortune had come my way, 2 years ago, all the memories came back, but it wasn't bad.. It was all good and I was glad to have returned.

I spent the day exploring China town, the markets, some temples, until I was so tired that I hopped on the monorail (which is a train the rides the same route back and forth, above the city, giving a great picture of everything-all the temples, mosques, highrise buildings alongside the dirty "slums" almost and derelict "houses". I sat as it the monorail rode back and forth, the same route, for a while, resting the legs and watching the Malaysian people going about their daily lives.. How much fun was I having!

All in the space of 24 hours.. So, now I sit in the hostel, and will be going out to the Chinese stalls, just around the corner for some Malaysian yumminess and maybe a beer.. huummm..

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

In transition

Sitting at the airport.. Melbourne Airport to be exact. It's 10.56 am on the 1st of December. It's a Tuesday morning and it feels like I've been on the go for hours already. In a way, I suppose I have been. This morning I woke up at 04.30am, by the beach. Jason brought me to the Adelaide Airport, and my flight was due to leave at 06.50am. It was hectic, it was manic, it was packed and I very nearly missed the flight..

In some ways I'm glad of this, because then I didn't have to think too much about saying goodbye to Jason. It was short but sweet. I'll be coming back on the 27th of December and will be spending more precious time with him. We both don't know for how long or what either of our plans will be once the new year sets in, but we don't need to think that far ahead yet. First things first.. Niamh is leaving Oz for a month and flying to Malaysia.

I'm waiting for my flight, as I sit here right now. And I'm in transition. Not only physically but also mentally. That's the thing that always seems to happen to me when I'm in airports. I love them so much, because with every flight I take, I seem to be ending one chapter and starting another.. I always have hours to kill at the airport, just like most travellers, and if I don't have hours to kill I make sure I do by arriving too early.. I enjoy these periodes of transition so much. It's like I'm right in the middle of 2 chapters of my adventure. And whilst killing time, I think back over the chapter that's just closing and give it a place in my heart by learning from it, no matter what that chapter has thrown at me and no matter what realizations I have come to make. Once I've given that chapter a special place, I gear myself up for the next chapter. I almost mentally prepare myself for the unknown and try to find stability and security within myself, as I won't be having it anywhere else until the unknown is embraced as fully as possible and can be called the "known" in my eyes.

Leaving a place a security and certainty and stability, can be such a big step. But as I find the time and become aware that I'm now in transition, I can feel that leaving a secure and familiar environment doesn't and won't effect me in any way. Because having that feeling within yourself means that you can always go into the unknown knowing that everything that happens and comes your way doesn't have to be scary.. It's a beautiful and it's a part of learning and growing. And that's the place I'm reaching to right now. I don't feel uneasy or anxious or scared. I feel stable and in control. Whatever comes my way over the next month, will be for a reason. If it doens't turn out like I hope it will, nothing will be lost but there will always be something gained. I have no expectations as to how it will turn out, therefore nothing will be better or worse than it should be. It will be amazing no matter what..

A little sweet taste of Adelaide

Monday afternoon, my last day at work, my last day in the van, my last day in a town called Gawler. I've been here only 9 days and it's already time to pack up and leave..

Since leaving Nyah West, last Saturday morning (the 21st of November) Jason and I have been both working and having a ball at the same time. We left on Saturday, headed towards Adelaide. It was an 8 hour drive and the feeling I got, just from doing a short roadtrip in the van again, was amazing. I felt so free and enjoyed every minute of the drive alone. The term "roadtrip" was really so appropriate. Because this term means that a journey is being made but it's not a means to an end and it's not with a mindset that is focused on the destination. Even though the destination does approach ever so slowly and even though there is a purpose and a reason for taking the roadtrip in the first place, it still felt like a holiday, just those 8 hours on the road. What a great drive!

We arrived in Adelaide on Saturday evening. I'd never been before, not to the city or to the area where Jason is from (which is Gawler). I passed through the airport several times, in the last 6 months and me and Jason did a wine tour in a valley an hour north of the city, but I'd never ventured into Adelaide itself. We ended up touring around the city on Saturday night, checking out all the "hotspots", such as Chinatown and having some yummy Malaysian food (just to get me "warmed-up" for my trip). It's a tiny city, compared to every other one in Oz, and had a similar feel to it, as Brisbane does, only smaller. I loved it! The vibe I got was great.. We camped on the beach that night, south of the city, after having had the best luck in the world when we decided to try find the house of a couple we met when we were in Queensland back in June, called Jimmy and Shirley. We had an idea of where they lived but we weren't too sure but we thought we'd chance our arm anyhow and drive around that area of Adelaide, up and down the beachfront, to hopefully spot their mobile home outside their house and pop in for a visit.. And that's exactly what happened!! I never expected to find them or to see them again but we did..so randomly! We ended up staying there for a good few hours, talking about our travels, looking at photo's and just being in good company. It was such a random experience and what a way to spend a Saturday night! They are a great couple, both in their 80s.. so full of life and with an amazing amount of energy, it's unreal. We were delighted we made the effort to look for them and were so grateful to them for inviting us into their home, as we turned-up so unexpected.. What a great couple they are!

Sunday I decided to set-off and explore Adelaide by myself. Those short few hours we spent there the night before didn't cure my craving for a city, which I didn't realize I had, until being in one for the first time in months.. It was so great being in a city again. It made me feel so alive, not that there was so whole lot to do as retail-therapy doesn't seem to be my thing anymore. But just being amongst the hustle and bustle was enough. So I sat and drank tea all day long and ate sushi every chance I got. How cool!

We were due to start work on Monday morning, in Gawler. This is Jason's hometown which is around 30 minutes north of Adelaide. We started work on the rosefarm Jason has worked on for years, doing the same work as we did in Nyah West..the rose-patching. The conditions were so much better, but I struggled all week trying to get back into the swing of working again. It had only been a week and a half since I worked, but for some reason the heat (only 28degrees) got the better of me everyday.. But this didn't ruin the fun we had. We were camped on a caravan park in Gawler, only 5 minutes from the farm. It was a different experience, compared to all the other camping spots we've had.. A caravanpark was something new. There were other "budders" (this is what Jason's job is called..he is a "budder" ) staying on the caravanpark aswell. They were all English, so we all had lots in common and we quickly had created out own little community within this holiday atmosphere we were surrounded by. We hung out lots together, explored some of the sights, had a few sessions and had lots of fun out in the field too. It made such a change from it just being Jason and me in the field.: We now had more people who we could share the experience with, we could all motivate each other and have a laugh and relate our own personal experiences to, regarding either work or travel, was a great way of being!

And suddenly I found myself having to say goodbye to the English workers and, more importantly, to Jason. Today was the last day at work and tonight we'll be camping at the beach once again just like we did 4 months ago when I was flying from Adelaide to Cairns. It's almost like coming full-circle. We'll be in the same spot doing the same thing: we'll be at the beach near the airport and having to say goodbye. This all might be the same set-up but other than that everything has changed so much. We've done so much together over the past 3 months, since my coming back from Cairns. We know that I'll be back after my Malaysian adventure. We know where we stand now and I know that I'll always have a home in the van, no matter what happens. I'm leaving my dream catcher, that Jason gave to me as a present, hanging above where I'd sleep.. So I'll definitely be coming back, even if it is only to sleep and let my dreams be caught and lead me to where I'm supposed to be. How amazing...