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A year for starting over
GuidePal’s travel writer Suzie McIntosh decided to take the plunge and up sticks for the wide unknown, leaving behind everything (except her boyfriend). Here, she tells us about her journey – and about the revelation she had along the way:
“There's something about the concept of a 'one-way' journey that seems to either terrify or excite most people. Many seem convinced that the term has the finality of 'the end'. But not us. As far as my boyfriend and I were concerned, those two loaded little words didn't signify the end of our time in Glasgow. Instead they stood for opportunity, the beginning of something limitless and stimulating.
After one year together, our lust had evolved into wanderlust and we resolved to start over in Southeast Asia, safe in the knowledge that whether we ended up in the arse-end of nowhere or right back where we started, ultimately it didn't matter. We were open to all possibilities. We would join the nomadic masses, look for work to pay our way, discover new cities and see if anything stuck. It took little over a minute to decide, barely three frantic weeks to organize, and only seconds to realize it was the best decision we had ever made.
‘It’s been a journey of stopover and hangovers, of frustrating days and precious moments…’
We both agreed to make the most of every opportunity without becoming one of those couples who seemingly travelled purely to amass envy-inducing anecdotes. But invariably, those tales did come to us. Ergo, this intrepid adventure has seen us inadvertently swimming with Giant Turtles in Indonesia, getting caught in an epic monsoon at Angkor Wat, making a two-day journey by a (very) slow boat down the Mekong River in Laos, discovering the perfect - and not so perfect - beaches of Southern Thailand and sampling the culinary delights of Malaysia and Vietnam.
So far, it's been a journey of stopovers and hangovers, of frustrating days and precious moments - but for me, one of the best and most surprising elements of our voyage has been the fact that it has reinforced my love for the place I left behind. It's not homesickness, nor is it rose-tinted reminiscence, but I can't help but think that exploring a far off land gives you a desire to re-discover the places you've already been. Whether you're close to home or miles away, you suddenly have the capacity to see everywhere through a visitor's eyes and as far as travel is concerned, that's the only journey there's no coming back from.”
Suzie’s experiences and insights permeate our
Ho Chi Minh City
city guides, where she teamed up with locals to track down all the best spots in each city. These guides can be found
on our webpage
and in app stores.
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