For All the Good Guys I've Met While Traveling
It recently occurred to me that my last post about my #MeToo moment at a hostel in Broome might have either freaked out or turned off anyone who was thinking about doing their own solo travel adventure. While I admit I was extremely lucky, I want to assure you that for every creep I’ve met during my year abroad, I’ve met heaps of absolutely wonderful guys, some of whom I still keep in touch with or have shared amazing travel experiences with. Here’s a special shoutout to all the good guys I met during my first year of living abroad in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Australia.
To the older Greek gentleman I met on the bus from Singapore to Malacca who showed me how to get my very first SIM card and ended up traveling all over the city with me on those first few days when I was dealing with jet lag, homesickness, and the sheer joy of actually being on this trip I’d been planning my whole life. Thank you for saving me from many a car driving on the other side of the road — I kept forgetting to look the other way whenever we crossed the street — and for sharing a few meals, laughs and travel stories with a fellow 80s-music lover.
To the Uber driver in Melacca, who told me about his dreams to travel the world someday, then drove me not only to the bus station, but up to the actual bus so I wouldn’t have to carry all my stuff an extra few meters.
To the cheery British owner of our Airbnb in the Cameron Highlands who drove in from Ipoh to make sure we had a fresh batch of scones during our stay.
To the nice guy from Ohio I kept seeing around Vietnam. I had a fabulous time singing karaoke, talking about Les Miserables drinking games, and seeing the countryside and city with someone who knew more about the food than I did. Thank you for also being the reason I went to church for the first time in a long time. It was beautiful to experience it in a different language and I’m glad I came with you.
To the happiest hostel owner I’ve ever met who told us the saddest story I’ve ever heard. I hope you know how wonderful a person you are and that you are loved.
To the band of British backpackers who adopted me last Valentine’s Day in Mui Ne, Vietnam, making me a part of their group on the tour of the sand dunes and encouraging me to chill out and actually enjoy my time at the party hostel — I did and it was one of my favorite weeks of the whole trip.
To the buff Kiwi guy who danced with us, shared his giant rum bucket, and kept an eye on all the ladies in our group whenever we went out dancing in Vietnam. It was great to know you had our backs, just in case.
To the tattooed Canadian chef who was a complete gentleman and walked me home from the beach bar most nights.
To the music-loving, pool-playing truck driver from Seattle who showed us the best places to find live rock music in Hua Hin. That was freaking amazing.
To the two male roommates from Denver and Russia I had at the hostel in Phuket City. Thank you for introducing me to the other guys and making me feel at home when it turned out I was the only girl in the room that week.
To all the guys who have tried to explain cricket to me. It’s basically a combination of elements of baseball, bowling, running back and forth, and Quidditch, and I think I’m finally starting to understand it. Sort of…
To my Wickham Backpackers family from my first hostel in Perth who still keeps in touch and has reunions in other Australian cities. I’m so glad I met you guys and it’s been great to see you from time to time. Let’s keep it going!
To the nice guy in Darwin who insisted on driving me to and from K-Mart so I wouldn’t have to take the bus, an event that is now referred to as my “toilet paper date.” For the record, I did have a nice time talking about Australian / American sports and journalism over burgers, too.
To the French guy who treated me like a princess, took me on awesome road trips, cooked outrageous meals, and reminded me to believe in romance again, despite the absolute bullshit way that whole story ended.
To the British backpacker guy who is the reason I know the security guard at the YHA Darwin hostel checks the car park at 5am. Thanks for a hilarious travel story — and for ghosting me so I could eventually meet someone better.
To the older Australian gent who spent three hours chatting to me in a random roadhouse pub on one of my first nights traveling solo through the Outback. We got into a great conversation about how he’d done an epic road trip around the US and I was now doing one around Australia, and he eventually invited me to come visit his family in Perth. Thank you for your sharing your sense of humor and kindness with an exhausted stranger.
To the older Aboriginal guy who said his name was Roy like Orbison. We had some beers at the pub in Timber Creek while waiting for the road to Kununurra to open during a massive bush fire and ended up singing Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues when it came on the juke box, much to the amazement of our fellow pub-goers. That was one of the best parts of my whole trip. Thank you.
To the merry band of Parkes Elvis Festival goers I met on the Blue Suede Express train from Sydney, pictured above. Thank you for adopting me into your group and making the seven-hour train ride fly by with your hilarious stories, singalongs, tricked out costumes, and endless photo-ops.
And finally, to What’s His Name, for constantly keeping me grounded and reminding me to keep going on my big crazy adventure no matter what.
And Now For Something Completely Different
Thanks again to everyone for putting up with such long spaces of time between blog entries. One of my goals is to work through my constantly growing backlog — there’s always a backlog, isn’t there? — and keep posting regularly, even if it’s just a few times a month and not every week. It’s been an interesting year and I have heaps of exciting things to fill you in on. For starters, I’m in Tasmania right now, ending my year in Australia at the very bottom of the country before beginning a new adventure in New Zealand in late-March. Stay tuned!