Note: I decided to write this post mainly stream of consciousness, with some light editing. This is so I’d actually write a post.
The moon, only just missing a sliver out of it, is finally shrouded by clouds. At midnight we saunter the few metres from the hostel to the ocean and start wading in. I am the first person to see them, and giving a shriek of delight, I dive under water and peer through my goggles. All of a sudden wherever my hands move through the oily water, sparks shoot from my finger tips (to steal a metaphor from a fellow Canadian).
Seeing bioluminescent plankot for the first time – on a remote island just off the Cambodian coast – was pure and simple magic.
While not all experiences over the past month have been as enchanting, Vietnam gave me so many memories to hang onto for the rest of my life. Not only would it be far too onerous to do a full laundry list of everything I’ve been up to, it would also be boring for the reader. But last night on my first night bus in Cambodia (I’ve been here for almost two weeks now, mostly on remote islands and splashing about in river waterparks) I spent some time flicking through the photos on my phone. I’m glad my little cubicle had a curtain, because a stupid grin was plastered on my face for quite awhile, just looking back on the countless beautiful people I’ve met and places I’ve been.
Sometimes I catch myself settling into indifference about the beauty that surrounds me pretty much constantly (minus Sihanoukville in Cambodia), but then I just stop and contemplate where I am for a moment. “Hannah,” I think to myself, “you are sitting on a dock in a remote bay of a gorgeous island. The sky is painted with fire and pastel, and you are in amazing company.”
Almost without fail whenever I talk to my Dad on the phone he always asks me what I’m learning through my journeys. The question makes me slightly uncomfortable, because mostly I’m just having a great time. But maybe that’s also the point. One answer I might have for Daddio is I’m learning to simply exist in the moment, something I’ve always struggled with. I’m a restless soul, always looking to what is next or lingering on where I just came from, too busy to recognize what’s right in front of me. You come by this lesson honestly as a backpacker, mostly deciding on the days’ adventure after rolling out of bed.
On that note, I don’t think I’m quite ready to turn my back on this freeing lifestyle. I’m sure nobody saw this coming, but I won’t be boarding my return flight on October 16. My journey just doesn’t feel over. So I’ll burn through my month long Cambodia visa, and then decide what’s next. I have some ideas, but nothing is set in stone yet.
The more I think about it, I think it’s the perfect decision to keep travelling. My mom, who passed away five years ago next month, has been on my mind a lot lately. It’s not surprising, because we travelled a lot together when I was growing up. Sometimes it was with my brothers, and other times it was an adventure shared by just her and I. It will be extremely special to be exploring parts of the world I’ve never been, knowing she’d be so proud. I’ll miss you all at home (especially Timber), but I’m honestly so excited and hopeful for whatever is to come. I think I am right where I need to be.