How to ever fully “return”? (On going back “home”)

How to ever fully "return"?

It’s strange. One would think that it is hard to pack stuff in a backpack and sit on a plane only to wake up in the country where you will be a stranger. Without familiar faces. Surrounded with uncertainty in a completely different reality. 

Leaving is easy

Someone would ask why on Earth people would do it? Why would anyone consciously threw himself into difficult situations? Who would ever willingly chose to be sweaty, hungry, nervous, in a constant search for a place to stay and in the eternal care where the wallet and passport are? Why?? Why?!!??

As a woman who finally allows her life to be shaped by the coincidences and sweet moments, I ask a counter question. How do you go from new friends and new places to not have a hard time? How do you go from living on the island in Thailand where time is not important to European punctuality and money obsession? How to move from fighting like a warrior against the tuk tuk drivers; sometimes spending the whole day without eating, and for hours in the sun to the: “Lunch is on the table”. “You need to eat more”. Or a small talk, gossiping and negativity.
Aaaaaa! No one is to blame but once when you saw what others did not, you can no longer pursue with small talks.

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LOVE is the quietest part

Love is the quietest part

Travelers are the strongest people I know. We travel for adventure, for different and for the unexpected. We are strong, confident and know how to get by in 3892 different situations. I never met a boring traveler. “We travel for stories! What is a man without a story?!”, said my Argentinian friend Franco.

 

Our lives are formed by coincidences, chance meetings and unknown souls. We are not afraid of anything. We don’t break easily. We put amazing photos on Facebook and Instagram, and make you jealous because we swam with sharks or dived in Thailand or ate some weird stuff. We change destinations, we go in and out of people and comfort zones. Maybe you always see us smiling and think that we are completely in control of our lives. That’s mainly true except when it comes to one thing – love.

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Life in a paradise (Koh Phangan)

Life in a paradise

White powdery sand. Ocean breeze and palm leaf swaying in a tropical sun, whispering shhhhhhh! It was a place my eyes have never seen before. A paradise. Time didn’t matter, mornings were for sleeping and nights for wildness. 

“Come, I will introduce to the island life” – said Edi, my American friend whom I met in Bangkok when we were both at the beginning of our journeys.

So I came.

An unexpected home base

In a place where I least expected a homely atmosphere began to grow in me. Not only that I got an island home beneath the starry sky, but I learned how to drive a scooter. I swam among the fishes in turquoise water. I ate dozen of mangoes, met real hippies and practiced yoga. After a week I could recognize smiling faces on the streets. I adopted an island cat and gave her Croatian name.

Welcome to Koh Phangan sign

Situated in the Southern Gulf of Thailand, Koh Phangan is part of the group of islands that make up the Samui Archipelagos. Tourists have started to discover the island in the 1980’s. It is close to Koh Samui and Koh Tao. It’s a home to 20 temples and only one KFC.

Edi barely got me off his couch… Finally I left after one month, seduced by the lure of this magical tropical paradise.

But, let’s go from the beginning.

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We are Travelers

We are travelers

In the end, it’s all about the people we met. Wherever we end up we recall our crazy days, endless nights and journeys to new frontiers, literally and metaphorically. We might know each other for ages or we met by chance, but now we are friends for life.

 

And it has been going on for ages.

We pack our backpacks and in this constant motion we respond to, our wings spread. By leaving the well known world, magical gates with the sign „Wanderlust“ appear. Behind them is a parallel world where life is lived in a different, more rapid and more intense way. We can’t see it until we become part of it though the doors were always slightly open.
While at home we were slow and kind of passive, the Road dares us. It provokes us.

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Vietnamese black iced, please

Vietnamese black iced, please

“They have black coffee, yogurt coffee, egg coffee! It’s so delicious, I am staying here forever! “– I wrote to my friend in Bangkok who has a cafe within his home stay. 
“Egg coffee? Ewww!”– he replied.
“It’s really delicious and not some new age thing. Locals drink it! “– I tried to convince him.
“OK, can you bring me some?”

 

As a sworn tea lover, I decided to write a story about the Vietnamese coffee, for which I converted into a coffee worshiper.

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The untold story

The untold story

 “It always happens when not expected. Run from love and it will catch you. It will come insidiously and suddenly you’ll have that fuzzy feeling”, Greg said.

 

I was drinking my Vietnamese coffee in small sips, listening to Greg and watching scooters pass by. If someone knows a word or two about love, then it’s him.

“Do you think some can be immune to it?” – I asked him.

He gave me „the look“ and nodded with his head.

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Lessons learned in Asia

Lessons learned in Asia

“We’d never seen anything as green as these rice paddies. It was not just the paddies themselves: the surrounding vegetation – foliage so dense the trees lost track of whose leaves were whose – was a rainbow coalition of one color: green. There was an infinity of greens, rendered all the greener by splashes of red hibiscus and the herons floating past, so white and big it seemed as if sheets hung out to dry had suddenly taken wing. All other colors – even purple and black – were shades of green. Light and shade were degrees of green. Greenness, here, was less a color than a colonising impulse. Everything was either already green – like a snake, bright as a blade of grass, sidling across the footpath – or in the process of becoming so. Statues of the Buddha were mossy, furred with green.”
– Geoff Dyer, Yoga for people who can’t be bothered to do it

 

I bought a one way ticket and chose Asia as my first stop for numerous reasons. The most important one was that I knew it was going to be different than anything before. So I picked up my backpacks and with traveling to Asia, I’ve chosen freedom. That freedom has taught me many lessons so far.

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How we beat the tuk tuk mafia

Tuk Tuk mafia

When the bus drivers left us in the middle of nowhere, in a muddy alley outside of Siem Reap, I knew we got scammed. Leaving us at the mercy of tuk tuk drivers who charge a lot for the last few kilometers, we became part of an organized tourist fraud.

I warned other travelers that this might happen. Some did not believe, and some were laughing. But when we got left around 10 PM, tired, sweaty and thirsty – we became united.

But let’s start from the beginning.

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After one month in Thailand

After one month in Thailand

When people ask how many Southeast Asian countries have I seen in one month, they can’t believe when I say – one! And it’s Thailand. I travel slowly. Time is on my side and I’m not rushing anywhere.

I was two weeks in Bangkok. I should be in the Guinness Book of Record, right? But I lived there with the American-Thai married couple, who brought me into the “Thai” world. Living in a totally non tourist street, they showed me where to eat, what to eat (coconut pancakes, my love), I didn’t know what double pricing is and I learned how to navigate through city and manage the money in local currency. I was prepared for all possible scams. It was a perfect start.

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14 Baht Adventure

14 baht adventure

Standing at the Hua Lamphong train station early in the morning, covered in sweat and tired of the night drive from Chiang Mai, we just wanted to escape the big city. Steff told Jazz and me about the place outside of Bangkok where you can get Sak Yant aka bamboo tattoo from a monk. The city’s name: Nakhom Pathom. 1,30 hour ride. 3rd class. 14 baht ticket fare.

“Let’s have an adventure! Let’s go where tourists don’t go! ” -Steff was excited.

We looked at each other and got on a local train. Not that we had anything else in mind so let’s  have an adventure for 14 baht.

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