It was my first backpacker trip. My sister and I graduated at University almost at the same time in January, 2009. We had no doubts about what we wanted as a graduation gift from our parents. It was a trip. From this point of view, I think about that gift as the main reason why I graduated in January, and not in July or September.
We wanted to go somewhere, but weren’t sure where to. Up until then, we traveled either with our parents, friends, or with a travel agency. We had zero experience of traveling alone. Our biggest achievements were day trips to the lake which is 50 km (30 mi) away from our town. So we decided to go to Thailand. About 8,200 km (5,080 mi) away from our home, by ourselves. Before that trip, we traveled across Europe only, and visited Egypt with a travel agency, so we wanted to see and try something completely new and different.
We started making plans and itineraries months before our trip, even before we graduated. As the time passed, little by little, our appetites grew up to the moment where two weeks trip to Thailand turned into the 45 days trip to the Southeast Asia. We thought it was a perfect moment to spend our savings. Well, Ok. What the Hell. My sisters savings and my few bucks that I jealousy saved for the time to come. You are probably laughing about my few bucks, but you should know that we used that money to buy water that we desperately needed during our tracking in the Taman Negara rainforest in Malaysia. So these few bucks were a kind of lifesaving. It isn’t so funny now?
We were about 10,000 meters (32,808 ft.) high in the sky, somewhere between Bahrain and Bangkok. I don’t know where, I don’t when or why, because I slept when a steward gently woke me up and offered some juice. I can still feel the taste of that mango juice. It was nice, smooth and tasty. The best juice I have ever had. I looked outside with my sleepy eyes and saw the sun rising. I can still feel how the sunbeams caress my cheeks. It was the tenderest sunbeam I ever felt. But it wasn’t about the juice or sunbeams. No, it was something about that trip. The trip that made me remember every taste, every sound, smell and feeling that I had.
It was a whole new World for us there. We left our town in a harsh winter and arrived into hot Bangkok. I can still hear the sound of the cultural shock that hit us as soon as we left Suvarnabhumi Airport. We met a completely different culture, architecture, religion, language, letters, traffic rules, culture, food, fruits and people. Everything was strange to us. We were full of doubts and fears about how we would manage to go through these strange countries all alone.
The first night, my sister cried and wanted to come back home right away. Tomorrow, we visited The Grand Palace, Wat Arun, Khaosan Road and she started feeling a bit better. Attractions and experiences started to role, and before we knew it, we were all into Southeast Asia. Very soon, we learned their small tricks and scams, and started to use them for our own benefit (free drives for 2 x 5 minutes pretending that we are interested in silk, jewelry or shirts). Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia had so much to offer to us. We felt that it was unfair that day last only 24 hours. We breathed with full lungs and soaked every bit of Asia we could. Now, it wasn’t a place of uncertainty or questions. It was the place of peace and answers. We experienced and saw so many things; it would be enough for a lifetime. Great people, food, fruit, religious and historical places, natural wonders, beautiful beaches and seas. Whatever we wanted, it was there.
I tried so many new things and I felt like Neil Armstrong voyage to the Moon was nothing comparing to my trip, regarding the things done for the first time. And, it was not just about enjoying. I learned a lot about people, life, what is important, and what not, in a short period of time. On my way back home, I already knew that I graduated once more. Only this time the diploma was from University of Life, thus much more precious than the one I got for my formal education. For me, this wasn’t a life changing trip, but The Universe changing trip.
Last night of our trip we both cried and wanted to stay for more. Since then, I traveled a lot, visited many countries, but I never had a trip like that. I don’t think I ever will. It is just like one in a lifetime love. I fear to go there again, because I want to remember those places just like I do it now.