Trip Start Feb 29, 2004
33Trip End Nov 24, 2004
The few days I've been back home in Europe have been a whilrwind of meetings, parties and late nights out struggling against jetlag - it's interesting to ordern another Belgian beer in the early evening when it's actually seven hours later and therefore early morning. Meeting my friends in The Hague and Utrecht coming straight off the plane and my family in Velp was wonderful - it's so great to know there are such lovely, kind, warm people who I can always go back to. I hopped on the plane home to Prague a few days later, finding the same warmth and hospitality here - and I haven't had an early or alcohol-free night since I arrived a week ago. I'm looking forward to getting back to life in Prague.
The trip I just finished seems of epic proportions to many people I speak to, but the strange thing is that it doesn't feel extraordinarily special at all - once you're in Kathmandu it's only logical - and rather easy - to get on a jeep to Tibet. The most difficult part of the trip (apart from the saving up of cash beforehand) was simply making the decision to go and picking a date to leave. Once you're in Asia, things fall into place and you can have a great time without spending huge amounts of cash. I kept my itinerary very flexible, and that was the best part about the trip; allowing me to stay longer in the magnificent Indian Himalayas, and decide to go south to Vietnam instead of northwest through Russia. Where other travellers had a week or two to see the highlights of an area, I could afford the time to check out more unusual sights, small villages, faraway treks. I think this is an essential ingredient of the success of the trip.
As for travelling alone, it's not as sad as it sounds. Countless conversations with Indians on the bus, travellers in restaurants, people in dorm rooms and locals in general would not have happened if I'd had travelled with a friend/partner. By travelling together, you do get the chance to talk about your experiences, but you lose out on direct contact with whatever's around you. Besides, I'm a selfish bastard, and was happy to plan the next leg or just pack my stuff and leave at any moment without consulting anyone. Just don't confuse travelling alone with lonely travel - these are different things. If you're independent-minded, can stand a little stress and don't mind silence once in a while, travelling alone is highly recommended. I'd do it again - unless if you, dear reader, were to join me.
Prague, December 2 2004.
Thanks to all of you who have travelled with me from your homes, offices or arm chairs by reading this travelogue - it was a pleasure to have you as an audience, and writing this diary certainly helped me consciously enjoy my trip more. Do drop by for a beer in Prague one day.
Next up: sleep.