Travelling alone is a lot like life–you’re never actually alone. Meeting people might be one of the best parts of travelling solo but so is the chance to “face yourself”, as a friend of mine describes it.
Rudyard Kipling wrote, “the first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” No kidding. I’ve spent a great deal of time in South East Asia. My senses have been abused beyond what I thought possible, to the point where the sight of some things don’t affect me like they once did.
I spent three days motorbiking the Bolaven Plateau in the Champasak province in southern Laos. I started in Pakse and travelled a well-known route. It was 300 kilometres, more or less. I used this adventure as an opportunity to learn to drive a semi-automatic bike, which has a manual shift mechanism but no clutch. You shift up by tapping your toe in front of the left foot rest.
CAUTION: I’ve used the word NASTY prolifically in this blog, for good reason because no synonym seems to suffice. And, I am going to make some huge generalizations here about “gendered” hygiene, totally culturally specific and from my experience being a woman and living and travelling with boys (and by boys I mean grown men, you know, the ones who put their dirty backpack on the bed!).