Singapore has been added to the "Nationalities I've Met" page, bringing the total to 49!
I loved Laos! The country was quite friendly and welcoming, with an abundance of charm. Unlike the fairly messy Cambodia, Laos surprised me with its orderliness and ease of travel. It really seems like Laos has its shit together, perhaps due to its manageable level of tourists (other Southeast Asian countries get swamped). It has this great laid-back feel to it, and wonderful cities with distinct personalities. While Don Det (probably my favorite place this entire trip!) is still undergoing development, the capital city of Vientiane is surprisingly clean and modern. Just as clean, but even more charming, Luang Prabang seems like a wonderful place to live in! Even Vang Vieng, which is notorious for its tubing and partying, is a beautiful city with its own merits. I did not dislike a single place in Laos, and would gladly return to explore more of the country. I also met many wonderful travelers, who helped make my three weeks fly by.
Tomorrow I take a 20-hour bus to Vinh, Vietnam. I have zero idea what Vinh is, or whether I will stay there for a bit before heading to Hanoi. Vietnam should be exciting, and will probably be a shock to my system after the carefree, laid back vibes of Laos.
It’s these long bus rides that make me truly think about life: why I’m going, where I’m headed, and what to do next. Sneak peek, I’ve bought plane tickets to both Singapore and India. India is a pretty big country, so I hope to allocate at least a couple of months to it, and maybe even pop into some of the neighboring countries.
Some days I wonder where I am headed in life, and whether I am traveling for naught. Then I change cities and my entire perception changes. There is no way to figure out what will happen over the course of a journey; you just have to let go and see what happens. Some days I feel lonely and alienated, but the next day I make new friends. As a guitar player, I sometimes face months without any inspiration, but you know what? Creativity always strikes, sooner or later. It’s best not to fret so much over things that are going wrong. Rather, I’ve been trying to get excited about all the good things lying in the future!
I don’t know how long I’ll be traveling for. I don’t know where I’m going to after India. I don’t know what I’ll do when my money runs out. I don’t know what I’ll do when I return home. But none of that matters, because right now I’m living a lifestyle that makes me happy. Every day, I learn more about myself, my capabilities and my dreams. I’m learning that it’s so much easier to focus on one task at a time: easier to let my thoughts out on this blog post, than to let them eat me alive.
Tomorrow, I go to Vietnam. It’s going to be one hell of a 20 hour ride.
My name is Yonah Paley. I quit my job in the United States to travel. I also write music and do photography. As I backpack across the world, I share stories, philosophy, and travel tips.