It’s that time again. My room is barren, and most of my possessions have been whittled down into what fits inside my backpack. In a few hours, I’m flying to a completely new country, and hitting the road again for more than a month. It’s always sad to leave a place that’s become a home, but now it’s time: I find myself researching hostels and daydreaming about waking up in new cities, baffling and unknown cities, cities just waiting to be discovered – and know this is right. Time for the next adventure!
It took a while to decide between visiting southern Laos or visiting Cambodia once I leave Luang Prabang, but I finally decided on the latter – the draw towards Angkor Wat was too big to ignore. After travelling through Cambodia to Phnom Penh, I’m heading to Vietnam for three weeks…but not alone. My best friend Honore is coming with! I cannot WAIT. We’ll start in Ho Chi Minh City and then head all the way up to Hanoi, and I’m going to try and get into the further removed tribal regions in the northwest once she leaves me (boooooo) to go back to work.
But then, after Vietnam, it gets a bit…crazy. But what else could I expect, after the way this past year has already gone?
From Vietnam, I’m flying to Dublin, to attend TBEX and visit one of my best friends from Seoul. I’ll be in Ireland for a week, enjoying the autumn weather and all that Guinness, and then…and then…AND THEN!!
I’m moving to Melbourne!!
My application for the work visa went through, so I’m all set to fly to Australia and make a new home in a new country. I am OBSCENELY excited. There’s still a part of me debating between Melbourne and Tasmania (have I mentioned how I love farms?), but my heart is craving the adventure of being in a big city, with creativity swirling, the chance to go to slam poetry nights and bellydance classes, to walk past buildings heavy with street art, and maybe even to live in a big house with crazy roommates. Who knows? And on the way over from Ireland to Australia, I’ve got a long layover in Abu Dhabi. The adventures are building.
Also, I never really cared about frequent flyer miles before, but after using the miles I had from a promotion to find a ticket making this insane upcoming world trip possible…I’m officially a believer.
What I’ll miss
Some days, I still can’t believe my luck that I found this summer job in Luang Prabang. It gave me a home, a schedule, a bit of savings, and a group of seriously kickass people around me. 3 months was the perfect amount of time to get to know this city, and though I am ready to move on and explore new places, there are a few things I’ll miss.
The beauty is one. Seriously, I could never get tired of looking at this town. Walking along the riverbanks, looking out at the villages along the shores, old French colonial roofs peeking out from behind that jungle foliage of bamboo, teak, banana, coconut, and mango trees…there’s such magic here, in this memory of Indochina. Luang Prabang is, without a doubt, the prettiest place I’ve ever lived.
I’ll miss the sound of temple drums at 4 every day, and waking up to gamelan music coming through my windows from the nearby temple on Buddha days. I’ll miss how easy it is to get into the rural villages, to ride down dirt roads past rice fields to check out pottery workhops or see dudes on elephants just amblin’ down the street. I’ll even miss how small this town is, how often you run into friends on the street, and going to bars and restaurants and seeing people you know.
But most of all – of course, always, it’s the one element that really makes or breaks a place – I’ll miss the people (…and my office cats). Lao and American and French and Irish and a smattering of other nationalities, there’s a strange international family here in Luang Prabang. A friend asked me last night if I was sad to leave; I said, ‘Not to leave here, but to leave you.’ I’m thankful for the people I’ve met here, and the crazy adventures we’ve shared (long nights of Lao line dancing included), but I know that my next home is just a month away. Who knows what that adventure will hold?
So now, to the airport. It’s that time again.
Peace out, Laos, and kop chai deu.