I have just returned from a backpacking adventure through Thailand. My first time ever travelling by myself.
I really struggled during my first week away as I found it so strange being on my own. Eating out at a restaurant, arriving back at my room in the evenings and having no one to discuss your day with. It was hard when I have always had people around me, whether they were my kids or my partner.
It did get easier though. As time went on I become accustomed to sitting in restaurants and eating by myself. I also started chatting to others when the opportunities arose. I found Thai people very friendly, especially as I ventured out into the smaller cities and towns. If they could speak a little English, they were more than happy to strike up a conversation. Thailand is known as the land of smiles and I found this to be so true. Generally I discovered that I needed to break the ice first. For instance on a long distance bus trip a young Thai woman sat next to me for a good two or three hours without saying a word, until I offered her one of my biscuits, she declined but the ice was broken and we chatted away for the rest of the trip.
I realised pretty quickly how we get used to things and how our lives become very habitual by nature. Travelling certainly provides opportunity to break many of those habits or at least question whether they are helpful or needed in our lives.
Travelling gave me time to reflect on a lot of things. Most days I walked at least twenty kilometres per day and on several occasions I hired a motor-scooter and just headed for the hills. I had time to reflect on where my life was heading, my values, the importance of good health, my role as a parent and grandparent, and my relationship status.
I was constantly forced to make changes and to adapt to new practices and ways of doing things. Just getting around on a daily basis meant I had to figure out how to purchase tickets for trains, buses and boats, finding your way around a new city and working out the best way to get to your new accommodation. This all became easier as time went by, but it did make me realise just how much our lives are formed by habit.
Some of the habits I broke whilst away included; constantly checking my emails, Pinterest and Facebook accounts. I left my laptop at home as it was too damn heavy to lug around, plus I couldn't see myself having that much spare time to be using it. I was forced to use my mobile phone a lot more, something I'm generally averse to doing as the laptop is so much more user friendly for this 58 year old.
I changed my eating habits big time and consequently lost weight in the process. I drank less coffee and got into the habit of drinking matcha on a daily basis. This gave me so much more energy and really helped me get through some big days.
My exercise regime changed. I really enjoy walking and got plenty of miles under my belt each day. I must admit though that I struggled with doing my strength exercises as I just found it too hot and muggy most days plus I find it hard exercising in public. I have to work on this.
After a month of travelling I was looking forward to getting back home, catching up with my kids and grandkids plus getting back into my work. I have been back a week now and this is the first post I have written in almost two months. It hasn't been easy getting back into this but I'm glad I have and I hope that you have found this post helpful or at least interesting.
cheers for now, Barry
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