I sound so sure of myself with that title, don’t I? My A/W 2015 travel plans. It sound just like the glossy fashion mags with their A/W 2015 wardrobe essentials. Already decided upon, organised, solid. In all honestly I’m not totally sure what I’m going to do for the next few months or why. Perhaps the answer will reveal itself throughout the course of this waffle.
So, since 2nd September 2015 I’ve been off on another overseas adventure. I had been back in the UK since the end of May 2015, again using the services of our wonderful NHS. I’m not going to get all reveal-y like I did after my trauma in Saigon, which I wrote about here, but suffice to say this skin sack of bone shards and tripe I carry around every day has foiled me again and added another irritating ailment to my ledger.
I spent three months at home over the summer and have to return to the UK at the end of November for an operation meaning this trip will last just 11 weeks and not the customary ‘however many months I can get away with before something goes wrong’. This is starting to sound bitter isn’t it?
Okay, fresh start. Positive mental attitude, privilege check, perspective, etc. It’s a minor thing, nothing a quick slice and dice and a few weeks in bed can’t solve and it’s meant that I could spent the summer at home in the UK with my beautifully crazy extended family and friends and can have a few months away before returning home for Christmas. Overall it’s worked out quite well.
Over the summer, after the first few weeks of inevitable post-travel blues, I started to enjoy being welcomed back into the fold of my previous life and yet, simultaneously I couldn’t wait to get away again. I’ve given up too much and cut too many ties for home to feel like anything more than a temporary stop-gap between trips. With no place to live (incredibly generous family members put us up), no job, no routine, I felt detached, un-tethered, with no real responsibilities to anyone or anything. It’s this freedom, this lack of dependency that makes me feel like an outsider, like I could just float away and no one would notice. Which, really, isn’t too far from the truth as there are a number of people I completely forgot to tell that I was leaving the country again. Sorry, to those people, I’m so selfish I amaze myself sometimes.
I’m not sure whether this will change in the future, whether at some point I’ll feel like I’ve had enough and want to settle down in the UK. Possibly. Probably. It feels completely out of my control. Like one day I’ll wake up and won’t want to travel anymore and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Right now I’m in Malaysia. We flew here because it’s was the cheapest place to fly to in South East Asia, it’s a country we have been to before but didn’t really explore in depth and it’s supposed to have some gorgeous tropical islands where my brother can surf. Yeah, my younger brother’s with us on this trip too. I intend to poach a family member every time I come home until I’m travelling with a huge entourage of my uncles, aunties, brothers, nieces and nephews. Can you imagine?
Is three company? So far, no. My brother and boyfriend get on like a celluloid house on fire, so much so that if anyone is getting left out here it’s going to be me. My brother can entertain my boyfriend when I want to tap on my laptop and when my brother disappears with a few hot, young things for a night of debauchery my boyfriend’s always got me to drink beers and watch the sun go down with.
Right now I’m sitting in what this guesthouse is ambitiously calling ‘the library’ but it really just a small room with a rickety dining set, a wing-back chair that’s so dirty it looks shiny and a small bookcase filled with what look mostly to be German-language thrillers. I’m in the Cameron Highlands, a former colonial hill station that is now the biggest tea-growing area in Malaysia. We’re here for the scenery and the mild climate which sounds like a massive bonus until you get here and it rains all afternoon as it has today and is actually pretty cold. Magnificently unprepared, as usual, I haven’t got any warm clothes and all of the clothes for sale look like Chinese pound shop rejects. It’s 8pm and both brother and boyfriend are in bed feeling terrible with cold and flu symptoms so here I am, tapping away at the rickety table until I feel tired enough to sleep. The scenery is just spectacular though and the town is the perfect size, small enough to walk across, big enough to have Indian, Chinese, Japanese and Western places to eat.
We’ve been in Malaysia just over a week and I’ll create an itinerary for where we’ve been/are going for anybody who’s interested but after Malaysia we’re thinking we’ll fly from the Perhentian Islands to Taiwan – Hong Kong – China – Korea – Japan. I’ve spent quite an extended period of time in South East Asia over the past few years so wanted to focus more on East Asia this time. Typically, I’ve done no research whatsoever about any of the countries on this list but am assuming that it’s going to be a more expensive trip than we’re used to which kind of works as it’s a much shorter trip, one with an end date which in itself feels strange to me, both comforting and restricting.
The experiment has worked. I now know exactly what I’m doing and the A/W 2015 travel plans are well under way. I might even read a travel guide.