For a long time, it has already been on my mind: after finishing my BA, I would go travel. That it had to be Asia was not even a question for me. That was the continent I had always been wanting to go to, that fascinated me, that I wanted to know more about. A continent full of mysteries, different cultures, religions, friendly people. A full continent, big and diverse. What Asian countries I wanted to visit? That was the next question I hadn’t been thinking about that much.
“In the spring of 2018 I’m going to travel”, I told everyone. But 2018 sounded so far away. Concrete plans weren’t necessary. Somewhere I had the feeling that by the end of summer it would I would automatically get excited, and that’s indeed what happened. It was only midway August when I started dreaming. With the big question: where to go to?
Destination South East Asia
Like I said: Asia is big and diverse. There are a lot of countries that I would like to visit and every country has its own unique character, of course. Ultimately, I made the choice for South East Asia quite easily, mainly because it became clear that I would have to do a big part of the travelling by myself. South East Asia is known for its widespread backpacker’s-culture. I think this will be a safe region to travel by myself where I will automatically meet a lot of people. At the same time, it’s an area that has a lot to offer, where I’ll be able to be amazed, where young and ‘hip’ will meet old and religious.
One day in August, I decided to make it official. I biked to the bookstore, walked without hesitating towards the travel department, and bought a Lonely Planet guide. Edition: Southeast Asia on a shoestring. I browsed, and browsed throughout the book. Took it everywhere with me, to read small bits in the train to work. I read before I went to sleep. And I learned about Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Phillippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam. I listened to advices of people who went to the same region. I stared at beautiful pictures of those places on the internet – although not too many, because I still want to be surprised a little bit.
And I made my decision: in the months I’m going to travel, I want to see Myanmar and Cambodia.
Why these two countries? Well first of all I’m just very curious for Myanmar. I heard so many good stories about this country. It has just been opened to tourists and therefore it’s much authentic than the other neighboring countries – from what I’ve heard about it at least. And Cambodia just seems very interesting to me: it’s traditions and history. A lot of temples and friendly people. But also the quite recently happened genocide I learned so much about during my studies. I think these two countries are going to be extremely interesting to discover.
Turning my dreams into plans
I don’t want to put as much places as possible in those few months: much rather I take my time for places I really like, to be able to live, breathe, and get to know the country. Therefore, I’ve chosen to focus on only 2 countries first. The time that’s left can then be spent in other countries like Thailand or Laos.
So, the first choices are made. I’m going to continue being inspired, reading my Lonely Planet and gathering useful tips. A concrete plan will arise slowly but surely from that. There are still a lot of questions to be answered: what exact places do I really want to visit? What will be my first destination? My budget? And how much time should I spend in each country? Those questions will be answered by time, but then again: adventure is also an important component of this trip.
I’m looking forward to keeping you all updated of my preparations for this trip. And then take you with me when I go, of course.