I just got back from the local swimming pool in Brisbane. There was a dead lizard at the bottom of the pool. This has absolutely no relation to anything else I am going to write in this blog post, I just thought that I would let you know! But this poses a very interesting question…can lizards swim?! I feel like I can picture a lizard swimming. Don’t lizards have webbed feet? They are clearly MADE for swimming! So maybe it died of a heart attack? Or liver failure? Or maybe it swallowed too much chlorine? Anyway, answers in the post please folks. Back on topic…
So it may seem strange that I quit my job, go travelling around Asia and then decide to blog about it AFTER I have actually left the continent months later. Well get used to it, that’s just how I roll! I ain’t gon’ let nobody tell me how to live my life, ya hear?! *ahem* …so I thought I would just go over some of my most amazing experiences, my thoughts, feelings, some of my filming experiences (and tips) in Asia and also what I got out of it and why I think that you should do the same thing! So I will first start with India as there is too much to cover in just one post for my whole trip! If you are thinking of just upping and leaving, then you are in the right place to hear about someone’s experiences who has already done it… (and I will include lots of pics that I haven’t previously posted on Facebook or Instagram before so look out for those fresh ones!)
Before I left the UK I was extremely excited to be actually doing something new with my life but I’m not gonna lie, it was also a bit nerve racking! I don’t think it actually really hit me fully until I was in the airport at Heathrow saying goodbye to my parents with no idea when I would see them again, and of course there were some tears shed! I think as a grown man that there are certain situations where it is acceptable to cry, and this is one of them, ok!? Yeah good. Glad we got that one sorted. Look, here I am at the airport just before I checked in my backpack.
What a handsome, young (and nervous at this point!) fellow! That backpack weighed exactly 20kg as far as I can remember. I was also carrying one on my front which weighed at least 10kg and an additional sleeping bag…my advice to you? Travel light! When you are carrying heavy bags through hot countries, you will feel it trust me! I didn’t need half of the stuff I took with me. I mean, who on earth needs a mosquito net for their head!?
And here we have the contents of my bags! I actually didn’t take everything you see here as I couldn’t fit it all in. But my most valued possession? Hmmmm, probably my camera! Haha, but I would say that because of my profession!
So passing through security at the airport, I was all of a sudden all alone and the adventure had officially started! Well, actually it almost didn’t get started at all because I got held at security for so long that I almost missed my flight. So destination 1? India! This place right here:
The view from my very first hotel (and pretty much the only ‘hotel’ I stayed in during my trip!) room overlooking Kovalam Beach. Yes I have a GoPro on a pole, get over it people! You know you love it really! I don’t know why I get so much stick (pun intended) over using this thing…I’m sure other ‘pole’ users will agree with me!
It’s funny…I met up with a friend (big yaself up Binil! If you are reading this, thanks for all of your help you are a legend!) at Trivandrum airport in Kerala (south India) and he ended up taking me to a place to stay which was pretty nice. It cost me about £30 per night, which in backpacker terms is ridiculously expensive! But what did I know?…I had just landed and had no idea how much everything cost. I remember thinking “God, this place is a shithole”…hahaha! It turns out that it was probably one of the nicest places I was likely to stay at for the foreseeable future. I guess as you travel that your standards drop and you become way more relaxed, laid back and you care less. You get used to the cockroaches and the bugs, the hard beds, the rot, the damp, the rust, the dust, the mosquito nets with huge holes in them and everything else that slowly you just accept as normal. “Does the place have a bed to sleep in? Is it cheap? Great, I’ll take it!”…that was pretty much my philosophy in the coming months.
Many people also ask me “Did you experience any kind of culture shock after landing in India?”. My answer would be “not really”. What affected me more was suddenly being in a strange country, far away from home with no friends to travel with and absolutely no plan of what I was going to do or where I was going next. I still remember on day 1 walking past a man with completely deformed legs crawling his way down the sidewalk (I seem to have adapted many American sayings since I left the UK, and I now often relate prices to dollars instead of pounds. Funny that) and thinking “oh God, why is everyone just ignoring this guy?”. But there are handicapped and homeless people everywhere, people sleeping in the street and you are exposed to it pretty much from the get go. It seems to be accepted as normal so you quickly get used to it. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing to be honest…?
Kovalam Beach in Kerala.
So I never really told anyone this but for my first 5 days or so I felt quite alone, trying hard to adjust to this new life. I didn’t meet any other backpackers and I was just one English man in an unfamiliar land full of people who don’t speak my language (well actually the Indians are very good at English!). So I guess in that sense I did have a bit of a culture shock. I made my way from Kovalam next down to the southernmost point of India…the tip! A place called Kanyakumari.
It seems like half of India turned up to watch the sunset at Kanyakumari!
No longer in Kerala, I was now in a state called Tamil Nadu. The language spoken there (Tamil) is different to what is spoken in Kerala (Malayalam). I met a couple of Israeli girls there who were also travelling throughout India. They asked me if I wanted to watched the sunset (and sunrise the next morning) with them and I remember feeling grateful to have some other travellers to hang out with! God, I’m such a loser, haha. Funny how much I changed over the coming months though, asking people I had just met if they wanted to share a room. You need to learn how to make friends fast when you travel if you want to keep costs down! Sharing rooms is a must and you can’t be afraid to ask, especially if you are a solo traveller like myself. In one place I shared one bed with two other people. When we split the cost it came to like £1.40 each per night…bargain!
So the first person I met and travelled together with properly was a super nice Aussie dude (nuff respect Kiya!) that I met at the train station. He was also a solo traveller and we agreed to share a room in our next destination as we were headed the same way…hurrah, I made a friend mum! Hahaha. And this was the view from our balcony…compare this with the previous balcony pic. Nice place huh? Yeah, this cost me £2.50 per night…bit of a change from £30!
There I go with my pole again. Oh and my hammock that a friend from London bought me (thanks Gianni!). This was taken in Varkala (I spent far too long here, as I came back again later in my trip and stayed for 3 weeks!).
So I could go on and on for a very loooong time about each specific part of my journey in India. But I won’t…I will save some more random stories for next time instead as I continue my journey through India and Asia!
So anyway, that’s all for now. I know in my last blog post that I promised you the story about what happens when you are up a mountain and someone shouts “AVALANCHE!”, but unfortunately it will have to wait! Maybe next time….or maybe when I make it to Nepal! If you have made it this far down the page, well done I congratulate you for reading all of my ramblings!