It has been wonderful being back in New York City after 5.5 months on the road. I didn’t expect to fall back into life here so quickly and contentedly. Whether that means this is where I’m meant to be, or that NYC is more akin to the lover I just can’t quit, I’ve yet to determine.
The best thing about coming home was reuniting with all my friends. I love sharing my travel adventures with them and catching up with what’s been going on in NYC while I’ve been away. Funnily enough, they always preface our conversation with “I bet you’re probably sick of talking about your trip already”. NOPE, not true! I’m still talking about it – and writing about it here, clearly.
However, I DID notice that virtually everyone has asked me the same questions – and they’re good questions too, so I hardly mind. But then I thought: if my “real life” friends wanted to know the answers to these questions, perhaps the good people of the interwebs do as well.
And so I bring you the Top 5 FAQs people have posed to me after my trip to Asia:
Which was your favorite country that you visited?
I touched on this in another post, but for no obvious reason I’d have to say Vietnam. There wasn’t any one thing that particularly stood out (wellllllll, maybe the Mekong floating markets); it had more to do with how I felt while traveling there. I just loved *being* in Vietnam in general: the cheap, strong coffee; the straight forward, scrappy yet friendly people; the scenic diversity; the fact that it’s not completely blown up by tourism yet still fairly easy to get around.
How was it traveling in India?
The long version? Read my recap on how it was traveling in India for 3.5 weeks.
The short version? It was extremely challenging, trying, overwhelming, and often times unpleasant.
Bonus FAQ: Would I ever return to India? Yes, actually, I would – preferably not alone, and focusing on Southern India next time (which I hear is significantly less intense). Now that I know what to expect, I want to give it another try and do a better job exploring and experiencing the country.
What happened with the London guy?
Ah yes, everyone wants to know what happened with Hot Arms, the guy I met in the Thai islands, for whom I changed my return flight and stopped over in London.
I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t considered moving to London; but since Americans can’t legally work in the UK without being sponsored, this isn’t a realistic option for me at this point in time.
Besides that, the fact is that Hot Arms and I want different things in life. He is eager to settle down with someone, keep working in London, buy a flat to rent out, and ultimately move back to South Africa to start a family and live off of his earnings. I, on the other hand, have no intention of settling down anytime soon (if ever!). I don’t want kids, I don’t want to own a home, I don’t want any semblance of a traditional lifestyle.
I think we both knew all along that this would be a dealbreaker, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying the 4 weeks of travel adventures we had together. We remain friends, and I have absolutely no regrets!
What are you doing now?
I’m back in NYC, living in the same apartment I had before I left for Asia. I had someone sublet my room for 5 months, and when I returned in July I moved right back into it.
I still don’t know what I want to do with my life, but I do know the following:
- I need to make money to afford my monthly student loan payments, bills, etc. These loans cannot be lowered or deferred.
- If I’m going to return to the 9-5 world, I’m only applying to jobs that I am sincerely interested in and excited about. I’m not settling for any old job just to have a steady income and security again.
- I need to move back to Australia before I turn 31, i.e. within the next 2.5 years. Americans aged 18-30 are eligible for the Work and Holiday Visa, which allows you to live and work in Australia for a year – something that’s very difficult for Americans to do if they’re not studying there, sponsored by their employer, or married to an Australian. I desperately want to have the Working Holiday experience, and I can’t bear the thought of not ever being able to live in my favorite country again!
- Ultimately, I want to be location independent. I’m not sure in what capacity yet, but I have a smattering of skills that could potentially be turned into a digital career. Let’s file this under *long-term plans*.
So, in short: I am currently sorting through the above givens and trying to come up with a gameplan. In the meantime, I am doing some freelancing to make ends meet (web consulting, bike messenger-ing, wedding photography) and applying to select jobs in NYC.
Where do you want to travel to next?
AHHHH I DON’T KNOW! If I had to decide right this second, the following spring to mind first:
- Iceland – This is what I want to do: hike the Laugavegur trail for 5 days, then embark on a camping roadtrip. I want to be outdoors at all times, which basically means I’m limited to July/August travel here.
- Maldives – Oh my god, have you SEEN what this place looks like?! Do yourself a favor and google image search ‘Maldives’. If this isn’t the definition of paradise, I don’t know what is.
- Croatia – I should really give Europe a break, but I just can’t quit her! The Croatian coastline is breathtaking in photos, so I fully expect to faint upon seeing it in person. It’s beautiful and more affordable than most Western European countries. Can I get a yes please?
- Argentina – Hiking to Everest Base Camp has whet my appetite for more alpine trekking! Patagonia is next on my list.
- Canada – I have long since wanted to visit Banff and Montreal, and given that I’m from the US there’s really no excuse for not having gone already.