Off The Road

‘What are you going to do with yourself, Ed?’ I asked.
‘I don’t know’, he said, ‘I just go along. I dig life.’
– Jack Kerouac, On The Road

I think it was Alexander Huber who infested my with this idea of viewing ones life as a big book, every single day represented by a blank page that is yet to be filled. Some pages will display only a few words scratched on them, some are more like a whole magnificent book by themselves, featuring coloured illustrations and all. I still like to live and think by and with this analogy, it’s a beautiful one; And accordingly, I’m about to close a big chapter, 206 pages long and a hell of a read.

Flicking through it, one can read of snow-covered peaks, of real-life dragons, of endless road-trips, of those miseries of packing up a wet tent in the morning and putting it up again in the evening, of insightful conversations with total strangers that are about to become respected friends in just a minute’s time, of days filled with the longing for a home, of endless and empty beaches, of the best sunset imaginable, yes, one will even be advised to absolutely never leave the selling of a van to the very day prior to your departure. In short, I’ve done my best to fill each and every of those blank pages as colourful and vivid as I could. That was my mission – I think I did pretty well.

People will continue to ask, ‘So, tell me, what’s your favourite place of all?’ Well, there is no such place. It’s neither A nor B that matter, it’s everything in between. It was proven once again that flexibility is a traveller’s very best friend. In a nutshell, Nepal was a beautiful culture shock, still vivid in my mind. Thailand was a holiday from Nepal, a delight for all senses. Singapore a huge, modern city (yes, and it still is, in face I’m writing those lines whilst patiently waiting for my final connection at Singapore International Airport and, as it turned out, they offer public Internet kiosks free of charge; brilliant). Indonesia an adventure for its own, featuring a paradise of a millions islands and day-long delayed ferry rides. Australia a big and exciting road trip and a lot of deep blue. New Zealand an even bigger road trip (6349 km, in fact), a lot of magnificent rock and even more magnificent people. But you shouldn’t put anything in a nutshell, frankly – go ahead and write a book.

So, even seven month of intense travelling around the globe have to come to an end, eventually. It will be a whole new idea to work through those memories – there were simply too many to be processed instantly. Doubtless to say, those seven month were the most adventurous and exciting of my life. Of course. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. Of course. I would do it again. Of course.
But now, I’m off the road, I’m coming home. And I’m glad to.

If there is one sole conclusion that has to be drawn from my first extended trip around the world, than this is it: It surely hasn’t been my last one.

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My Asia

[warning: this might get a bit poetic.]

My Asia was a bucket shower.
My Asia was a million smiles.
My Asia was the best food I’ve ever had.
My Asia was bitter cold and blazing hot.
My Asia was a scorpion in the bathroom.
My Asia was the ugliest place I’ve ever been to.
My Asia was the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to.
My Asia was a hazardous motorbike ride.
My Asia was a great novel.
My Asia was a shitton of rice.
My Asia was a cheap drug.
My Asia was cruel poverty.
My Asia was a canceled flight.
My Asia was a rooster in the night bus.
My Asia was a real-life dragon.
My Asia was climbing way too high up.
My Asia was one hard bargain.
My Asia was an overcrowded bus ride.
My Asia was a ridiculously hot cilli sauce.
My Asia was an extended love affair.
My Asia was a mosquito bite.
My Asia was everything between -30m and +5450m.
My Asia was a Bintang Shirt.
My Asia was an elephant ride.
My Asia was facing real poverty.
My Asia was the wonderful people I met.
My Asia was 91 days of pure excitement.
My Asia will see me again.

[I just couldn’t help it.]

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Pure Poser Porn

Yes, I did steal that glorious title from the cover story of an Austrian climbing magazine, but it stuck in my head ever since. The article was about bad-ass rock climbing near Krabi, Thailand, which is what I did, too. Maybe not as bad-ass though, but still, I tried. The article furthermore philosophizes how every climber worldwide strives for that one, that epic climbing picture or his or herself. Pure Poser Porn indeed. Well here is mine:

Jumping back down forced me on painkillers for about a week. Worth it, right? No pain, no gain, I guess. Celebrating New Year’s grooving to that climbing-dudes-backpacker-style-vibe right on Ton Sai beach, witnessing myriads of fire balloons eventually transforming into distant stars was also pretty hard to beat. Oh how I will do that again! Oh, and happy new year folks. I feel it’s gonna be a good one.

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Paradise Lost Found

So I ventured on to Thailand to finally look into that thing that other call “holiday” or “vacation”: you know, beaches and such. Arrived in Bangkok and the rumors turned out to be true, love it or hate it. I loved it – my commonly applied battle plan to explore new, big cities – aimlessly wandering around the city and trying to get lost – proved to be excellent once again. The choice to couchsurf Bangkok as well – thanks, you beautiful people out there!
Hopes were high for the next stop, the tiny  island of Koh Tao. And, well, for a good reason – this place deserves the prefix “paradise”. A turtle-shaped tropical island, scattered with tons of massive granite boulders to jump on and surrounded my world-class (subtract the thousands of other divers, maybe) diving sites (oh, by the way, call me an advanced open water diver from now on – yes, I do get fancy about that). Beat that?

Of course I got suck here and don’t dare to leave just yet. How could I, why should I? Also met up with my two lovely friends, Betty and Manu, which whom I plan to share some adventures from now on. And Christmas – uuh, it promises to be a nice one, considering the constant temperature of 29 degrees and the fact that a Mango Lassie on the beach checks in at about the same price as a bottle of water back home.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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