This week I've had the traveling blues. I've got stuck in Chengdu at Sim Cozy's Garden Hostel, which, all things considered, is not a bad place to spend a few days relaxing. Its given me a bit of time to reflect some four months into my trip.
I've been thinking about all the Fantastic Places I've Seen, People I've Met and Experiences I've Had. I can more or less remember every day of the last four months. I can't even begin to say the same about the prior four months.
Such as the day I spent cruising around Hampi on a motorbike; The evenings spent watching Hindu Brahmen go about their daily worship like nothing has changed in the last 2000 years; the week spent hanging out with Mathius in Kathmandu; two weeks trekking to Everest, meeting such interesting characters on the way; A few minutes seeing Baba the dentist in Varanasi; Meeting so many smiling Indian's; Getting such warm hospitality from the Pakistani's; The 'family' hospitality from OpenTV colleagues while I am passing through; having a laugh with some great people along the way; Seeing so much variety in the world.
I could go on, but most of all I enjoy the freedom of sitting on a bus watching the world go by, thinking about life with no concern about when the bus leaves or arrives. It gets even better with no windows, just fresh air to free the mind.
And then I've thought about the Things I've Not Done ... Cook; Sit at a desk; drive a car; take a bath; clean the house; use an alarm clock for more than a couple times a week; use a rain coat or even a fleece except within sight of Mount Everest!
And then There Are The Things I Miss ... Lazy sundays pottering round the house; Playing with power tools; Family; My own bed; A rainy day on the streets of London; A night out with my mates; a lie-in in my own bed; Proper Bacon, Avocado, a decent Cheese and all of the above in a monster size salad.
The list of Things That I Don't Miss ... which is not worth the time to write about, only to add that the thought of work is a mere blur. I've not been thinking about it.
Traveling has been a discovery which I am only just getting into. I can feel my outlook on the world changing. I can feel my views changing. I can feel my motivations changing. My only regret is traveling with a defined end. The thought of traveling until I decide to go home appeals right now. Allot.
Alas, on January 15th I'll be woken up by an alarm clock and will find myself sitting behind a desk in the morning. Probably wearing a fleece and rain coat. Or will I ? I hope this is an appealing concept in January. We all have to earn our way in the world and I made this choice before I started traveling. But then again, I will get a Bacon, Avocado and Cheese Salad that evening.
Before I left, I was wondering if I should spend more time in less places or less time in more places. Right now, I think that a mix of the two is perfect for me... Spend too long in a place and you get stuck. Speed around too often and you'll get 'templed out' thinking that one of the last places you visited would have probably been 'the' place to stop and enjoy it slowly for a week or two. Be flexible and if you really like somewhere. Stop. Enjoy. Take in Life and the people. Then move on once you feel stuck.
So I've decided that I am stuck in China and I have had enough. We are off to Tibet later this week, where we have a trip planned to travel across thought the alto-plano and on to Kathmandu. I am looking forward to a good Steak at the Everest stake house, washed down with a few Everest Beers. Oh and I will hunt down a supermarket that sells Avocados. I need some luck to find some.
By the way, many of you know it was my Birthday on Friday. We went for hot pot and had amongst other things, had pigs brain as part of a extravaganza. I can report that it is rather nice. I cant say so much about the Biju though, a rather vile spirit brewed by the Chinese. Finally note-o-fun for this blog:
I saw this sign on the way into the Panda Sanctuary in Chengdu. Says allot about some of the attitudes in China.