Malacca

 28th June – 1st July 2016

Malacca, often see “Maleka” too though I’m not sure what that refers to(?), was off to a strange start. I had arranged to stay with a couch surfer host which always makes me slightly anxious. As Edwin showed me, there’s usually nothing to worry about and it’s generally filled with lovely, trustworthy people. There’s always the nervousness that it only takes one to spoil the experience for the rest of your life though.

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Jordan

Unfortunately, my diary for Jordan was lost. I remember that I was scared about travelling at this point. I met a lot of helpful locals. So immersed in the experience I didn’t take many photos either. I met a whole group of women wearing the hijab who were amazing, showing me round, helping me with the language.

It was the perfect first destination to alleviate all my travel fears.

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Thailand

20 – 24th June 2016

I arrive in Thailand after a long bus journey from Cambodia (around 13 hours, including the border controls) and desperately looking forward to my next shower. It’s my first time using Couch Surfing and staying with a woman. I don’t know why I’m nervous about it. I guess I’m nervous I might start flirting with someone who is just trying to be nice to me and prove myself to be a jerk. Maybe I’m nervous that she’ll start flirting with me and I’ll feel obliged to respond. Maybe it’s just the nerves before a new experience. Who knows but I’ll give it a go. What’s the worst that can happen?

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Singapore

3-4th July

My week in Singapore gradually shrunk and shrunk until it became just one night. This turned out to be good, not only because it gave me an excuse to use the Singapore money I already withdraw and splurge on a hotel for the night but also because Singapore is, simply, really expensive. The aim is always to travel like a local. Here, this means dining in nice places, getting up early and having the Singapore Sling cocktail (okay, maybe that’s a tourist thing but still).

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Dubai

11-13th July 2016

Dubai was always going to be an adventure. I had pre-booked a luxurious hotel, with roof top swimming pool and a desert safari. It got off to a fun start when the man waiting for me at the airport had an entire private coach waiting to pick me up. “No guests” he smiled and asked. “Not today” I said. It’s an odd experience having an entire coach for yourself.

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Ho Chi Minh

14-17th June 2016

As I arrive in Ho Chi Minh after an incredibly long train journey (two nights and three days, of which I’m the only person I saw who brushed their teeth!), I’m feeling pretty groggy and unwashed. Unfortunately, there’s also a problem with the train tracks and we’re ushered off before reaching the centre. On the brighter side they have put on buses to take us there. With limited English I am able to get on a bus and I hope it’s the right one. When I get to the final stop, I check my GPS to find we’re still not in the centre. The attendant tells me to get off. I see two more white faces and I gravitate toward them. They were told by their travel agent about the train tracks so assume that we’re there. Success was assumed too quick because we get off and are then ushered on to another train.

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Hanoi, Vietnam

 9-13th June 2016

It’s been a while since I’ve had those proper nerves about arriving in a new destination. I didn’t know what to expect in Vietnam though and this is the first time I’m really travelling overland. Somehow I need to get from the North to the South, through Cambodia to Thailand, Malaysia and then to Singapore. All without a plane. I’ve read stories about chicken buses and all sorts so who knows what might happen.

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Antarctica

13-24th November 2016

To try to describe my experience in Antarctica to you would not do it justice. It is a surreal place. There’s a different colour scheme out here I haven’t witnessed before. There are whites whiter than white and blues bluer than blue and water than can glisten like a silvery velvet under the moon light. Sunsets become sunrises with super moons that never set.

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