I have had a very busy day. Knowing that I was to return a little early allowed me to fly back to England on my Mums 50th birthday. She knew nothing about it. In fact no one except Becky knew anything about it. I needed to keep it all quiet because I needed to be able to just walk in and surprise Mum. So that was the plan. And it went well. Mum was sad that I wasnâ€™t going to be there for her meal that she was having to celebrate, so it was going to make my re-entry shock a little more interesting.
I will never forget the moment. I said hello to my sister and was told that I was to walk in with the birthday cake while everyone was singing Happy Birthday. Sounds easy. The reaction was priceless. Mum looked at me and then had to do a double take. Then she dropped her spoon and screamed and then started crying. It all went very well and made my return a great day.
Today I unpacked my rucksack for the last time on this trip. Instead of laying it all out ready to repack, I threw stuff away and put other bits in for a wash. My rucksack is now looking very tired and lies beneath my bed in its well earned resting place. While I sat on my bed it hit me. For the first time, in a long time, it hit me. Bang. I smiled and closed my eyes and I am back on the beach, back in Vietnam or back in Auz. I am where ever I want to be now, when ever I want to be there. Because thatâ€™s the gift that travel gives you. Unforgettable memories that you can return to foreverâ€¦
When I have a bad day now I think of those days on Fraser Island. Skydives with Al. Pick up trucks in Cambodia and my mates all across the globe. Even Al flooding toiletsâ€¦..
So it is done. What can I say.? What have I got out of all this? Where now? So many questionsâ€¦â€¦
Backpacking is travel in a bubble. Safely bouncing from one place to the next. At the end of it all itâ€™s very easy to let that bubble burst. It causes you too fall back to earth with a thud. I just donâ€™t think that bubble ever has to burst. Sure, itâ€™s going to loose some air and float back down to the ground once in a while, but it should never burst. Look at it this way. Life at home sucks. Or so it would seem.. But itâ€™s merely an illusion brought on by a time of such independence and joy. Non stop fun and freedom makes jobs, houses and kids look like prison sentences. But life, however you see it is one big backpacking adventure. You just get to stay in one place for longer. You get to unpack your bag and work for longer. But the principles stay the same. You choose what you do with your life. You.
One thing that I have learnt from many of my friends on the road is that if you can extract and use the one recoverable positive from all the unrecoverable negatives that surround us, you have a great quality. So, go about life with a smile and a wave and treat all that comes your way as a new adventure. I know I will take that with me through the years and I know now that life owes me nothing. It merely gives me a chance to find my happiness.
I wish you all the very best. Live out your dreams, be who you want to be even if you canâ€™t be what you want to be.
For the last time on this trip I sign out from my diary. I am thankful for the ones who have read it and given me so much inspiration and am happy for the ones inspired to do the same.
I would like to thank my Mum for all the inspiration when things got hard. I would never tell her if I was down but she would know anyway and tell me itâ€™s all good. Dad for bringing me back to home with chats about cars and racing. It kept me missing home. My friends for noticing that I had left. Always a nice thing. Becky for being so good through it allâ€¦ I know itâ€™s been hard. I love you lots. Al for being a great travel bud and doing so many silly things for me to laugh about. Finally, all the people that I have met on this trip. Thank you. For your kindness. For your understanding. For your patience. And for your fun.
Your friend and travel bud â€¦ Tom
hey its been great fun reading your inspirational diary. I love every single one of it including the one on Al flooding a toilet ( can’t figure out that one that’s for sure! ) .
Would like to ask u some questions from your trip though hope you dont mind! how cold was it when u climb Mt K ????
I’ve just been reading your diary over the past few days and it rocks!! :D :D .
I’m planning to take a gap year as soon as I’ve finished payin off my debts, which’ll be sometime in 2008. The plan at the mo is to start in Japan, onto Auz to meet up with a few rellies and the same with NZ and the finally onto the good old US of A. Your diary has been such an inspiration and has helped me confirm that it is something I’ve gotta do. I just can’t wait to go now tho!! :x :D
I been enjoying reading your diary and I just want to thank you for shearing your travel experience with us, and wish you a great time at home.
How are you? Goog to here you have some cool travel plans lined up. Checked your profile!!
Mount K was great. A real challenge of stamina I reckon. Its not everest, but certainly feels as cold at the top. (alright, not quite)
Take nice warm clothes and wrap up like hell. I got to the peak a good half hour before sunrise and really found it quite hard sitting in the cold after a while. So wrap up, take a good camera (cause you ain’t gonna wanna walk back down to get it!) and pace yourself. Altitude sickness is pretty nasty. Didn’tget it myself but some mates did. So take things steady.
Apart from that, it rocks.
Take care of yourself
Is this the real Marty Mcfly!?!
Wow. I am so proud to finally meet you. Of course travel is easy for you, back and forward even in time, in that bad ass De Lorean. Cool. 88 mph baby!!
ANyway, thanks for reading the diary matey. Couldn’t of and probably wouldn’t of without you lot reading it at the end of the day. About the trip, yours sounds like its gonna be great. It may seem like a hell of a long way off, but knuckle down and pay those bills and suddenly your on that beach baby!!
It does change your life. Even if it is in the tiniest way. You’ll notice things in your self even if others don’t. I gained a little more perspective on things really. I can see the bigger picture alot more now and don’t take things for granted. So, have fun, do ALL you can, even if it seems a little silly (within reason please) and remember you will probably only do things once.
Remember…...Life passes most people by while they are making great plans for it.
I’m doing good. Infact, i’ve joined Fitness First (yes they have quite a few in malaysia too!) just so that i’m geared up for Mt K. Sounds crazy but i’ve always wanted to join the gym anyway!Mt K’s just one of the many good excuses lol! Nah my then travel plan was much cooler. It was something like yours , planned on leaving on the 1st may but my travelmate dropped out and being an asian my dad’s not keen on me travelling alone so change of plans! Looking forward to august’s trip though! 8)
You mentioned that Mount K is cold but how cold is it exactly?My friend who’s climbed it twice (he lives in kk) says it’s not cold at all and i don’t believe him! I’m planning on bringing just a normal sweater and possibly my skull cap. You reckon that’s enough? Do you think i should bring a pair of gloves as well? I’m keen on starting my climb at 2am actually :D Been wanting to climb since i was 15 but 5 years later, i’m finally doing it! How bad is the altitude sickness anyway?
Glad you’ve had fun in malaysia!!! Formula one rocks i knowwwww! I’m so gutted about yesterday’s race though. My poor shuey came in second grrrrr! :evil:
Thanks for the reply!
rock on, paulynn xx
Mount K is just cold at the peak really. The tempature is probably not that bad but the cold wind gets you when you stop at the top. Climbing is fine and even the first fifteen min at the top is pretty mild, but then it gets cold. Oh so cold.
I say take warmer stuff you can carry and if you don’t need them then thats cool. I just took gloves and a hat and a thick coat.
Altitude sickness apparently feels like a hangover. Didn’t get it so don’t know. Just slow down if you feel short of breath or sick or light headed and you’ll be fine.
Have fun though. It is great. Schumi is the man. You wait. Next race is his.
hey tom, thanks once again for replying back. you rock.
Hm, i guess a sweater’s not enough then. I saw the picture of you at the peak of Mt K at your gapyear profile and by the looks of it, it looks like i’ll have to buy some thick jacket and pair of gloves. Never experience winter in my life and 18c is COLD for me so i think i better get myself prepared!
:? That’s what my dad said when watching San Marino’s. I hate the new regulations. Ferrari should be number 1 all the way dude. Anyway i believe i didn’t tell you this but i find your diary entries VERY inspiring because each time u write an entry you stress so much about how travelling changes one person as a whole and how it’s touched you and all that! Makes me determined than ever to not follow the “asian flow” where everyone just work work work and not see the world at all. Thanks loads ;) rock on xx
What an amazing diary - thank you so much for being so honest, it was fantastic. :)
Ive read all your diaries over the last 7 months and i think they are great. You have a great way of putting your thoughts and feelings into words and it makes great reading especially when your out there doing pretty much the same thing. I realy related to so much you talked about. Its over for me now too, just got back a few weeks ago and had the time of my life. So much good has and will come from this trip. Met a guy while was in OZ and we are going back to New Zealand in December for a year. Rock on baby!!
Thanks for sharing your brilliant adventure with us and all the best of luck for the future
P.S Congrats on the engagement
Tommygee i just read your diary in a day , it was just AMAZING!!!The adventures, the people you have meet, everything was great….i`m only 19 now and this year i`m starting university,but always i have wanted to travel.Your story inspired me more.The moment i have enough money and feel really ready to go, i`ll do it…like you .... follow the dream .....
one day when the time have come i`ll wirite you…for advice and further inspiration
The most inspirational Diary on this website. I loved the first time around and still do now. Always makes me see things differently and it makes everything better. Thanks Tom.
Iâ€™m got to start by saying Iâ€™m stoked you had a fantastic trip! And thanks for the postsâ€¦
Recently Iâ€™ve found my enthusiasm dwindling (Iâ€™ve just entered by 10th month of saving with no life at all) after rarely going out and generally sitting around trying to find things to do for free to keep me busy I was getting to the stage where I wasnâ€™t sure it was worth it anymore.
However Iâ€™ve just read all your posts while at work sat at my desk thinking about travelling and its completely re-ignited my interest in travelling again, your stories are ones that Iâ€™m sure you will keep for live and look back on daily with a smile on your face. I know they put a smile on mine and I donâ€™t even know any of the people involvedâ€¦How have you found it being back at home?
Just been reading a few of your diary extracts. Has been getting me into the mood for my trip. I fly to New York 5 weeks today.
Will be away for the next 15 months or so, )depends how long the money lasts). lol
Just wondering if you have any tips from your time away. Mainly what to & not to take. Am going to get my rucksack this weekend but as of yet have no idea what to get, how big or what on earth to put in it!!!
I’m normally a very fussy tidy person & not having everything organised is a little scary. Will be ok once I leave but is a nightmare trying to think how I’m going to carry a year of my life on my back.
Thanks for some inspiration & any advice you may pass on.
I just wanted to say… what an immense story… There are lots of people out there who travel and backpack and have their own wonderful experiences… but your writing has brought out your experiences for others to enjoy… i have just read all your posts in one go… and i was there when u were stressed about your trip… i was in the water with you on that glorious swim… i was there laughing my head off when al exited the loo and water was going everywhere…
your writing was so vivid and alive it has only re-affirmed my desire to travel… who dares wins… i have no savings to speak of… and not much drive as to what i want to do with myself in respect of a career… so i have decided with my next pay-cheque i am booking a flight to perth in aus… and il figure it out along the way… i hav lived on my own for nearly a year now… and im only 18… so i feel i have achieved a lot… but i am still under pressure from family… so i go travelling to discover myself and the world… wish me luck…
thanks again for your story bro…