An Evolving Traveler
I recently finished a two week tour of Thailand and Cambodia with some friends, of which I was the youngest. We are all between the ages of 26 and 30 and I couldn't help but notice small changes in the way I now travel.
My travel style is a lot slower, and I will choose to spend five days in a place rather than whipping through cities. We added an extra day in Chiang Mai when we weren't ready to move on after two nights only, which gave us the chance to dig deeper and discover both a riverfront live music bar and try khao soi- two special experiences we would have missed out on if we were rushing on to the next spot.
Why not take two days to explore Angkor Wat?
Slowing down means making more authentic connections with communities as well, I think. That may mean hearing first hand stories of the survival under the Khmer Rouge from a hired driver, or researching local charities to support. I am more aware of local customs and culture when I go to a place now, and more respectful as a result.
I am much gentler with my liver now. Talking to my friend Luke one night, he mentioned he doesn't feel the same satisfaction from a night of partying that he would have four years ago. We turned down an invite to a pirate party on the beach in Sihanoukville, and my girlfriends and I rejected the offer of free shots at a famous beach club. What is this madness?!
Guatemalan Roommie Reunion in Cambodia
Drinking less on the road means less hangovers, as well as this crazy new phenomenon called a sunrise. Yes folks, we woke up for not one or two, but THREE sunrises on this trip, and I wouldn't trade any one of them for a good party the night before.
Overall, I don't feel the need to squeeze everything in anymore. My travel style has evolved to something slower, more reflective. I'm grateful for the experiences in which I am able to partake, and don't stress that there may have been a bigger better version of something one town over. If possible, I appreciate my travels even more now.
The Dongers do sunrise at Angkor Wat
In October, I get a week off work. I've booked myself a solo trip to Bali and I imagine it is going to be very nourishing and loving and fruitful as far as personal growth goes. I will do yoga daily and eat lots of raw vegan food and scuba dive with sea critters and ride a bicycle around Ubud and I can't wait. Just a few years ago, I never would have done a trip like this by myself. If I want to make the most of my travels though, I need to be self-aware about what sort of experience I want. This Bali trip sounds perfect for where I'm at.