In addition to not having a longterm “plan” for what would I would do in Asia, I hadn’t even considered what would happen at the “end” of Thailand. Go home? Keep traveling? But where!? Eventually I decided to hop on a southbound train to Malaysia, although ironically I wasn’t even sure what city that train was taking me to.
Half a year. Six months. 186 days. Regardless of how you want to define it, this trip has now gone on longer than I ever expected it to. Along the way there have been a number of ridiculous (and potentially previously unmentioned) stories. Today seems like a great day to make a summary of the last 186 days and share some details of the stories that have previously remained secret. Perhaps “summary” isn’t the best way to describe this – there are a lot of pictures, some old stories, some new stories, and then more pictures.
“Abandon hope all ye who enter here.” In Dante’s The Divine Comedy, these words are inscribed over the entrance to Hell. While I absolutely love Singapore, these words should be printed on the bus tickets alongside the “DEATH FOR DRUG TRAFFICKERS UNDER SINGAPORE LAW” as an additional warning to all backpackers entering the country. Singapore is expensive. Singapore isn’t just “Asia” expensive – it’s “Miami Beach during the Superbowl” expensive.
So many things have happened between July 1st to 4th that the simple thought of writing everything out feels like lining up to run a literary marathon. As I look at the random notes I’ve written down along the way, I still don’t even know where to start. Singapore is amazing. Couchsurfing is amazing. People are amazing. This trip has been amazing.
It’s 9:30am and I’m in a taxi; I have a one way ticket for a flight to Bali (Indonesia) from Kuala Lumpur that left at 9:20am. This sounds like a terrible situation but it’s not. I’m in a taxi heading to the local bus station, and once I find the right ticket counter I’ll be heading south to Malacca – a UNESCO World Heritage city in Malaysia. One or two days later, on July 3rd – my birthday, I’ll be in Singapore and spend a few days walking around the cleanest city in the world. After Singapore …Australia. What happened to Indonesia? What happened to Asia? What drives someone to, on a whim, not show up for a plane ticket to a tropical paradise and instead fly to one of the most expensive backpacking countries in the world?