‘You won’t make it to New Zealand – but it will be for a good reason’.
My friend Kerry made this prediction back in January 2011, right after I’d told her about my plans to travel through seven countries in South East Asia then Australia, New Zealand and the US.
And during the first 6 months in South East Asia, I had every intention of making it to New Zealand. All I’d heard were rave reviews from other travellers. And I had a round the world plane ticket taking me there.
I stopped off in Singapore on the way to Australia...
I stayed with friends from home, Tim and Cat.
Home-made bread for breakfast (thank you Cat), teppenyaki for lunch in Food Republic on Orchard Road and dinner in China town.
Some chilling by the beach and a riverboat trip to see Singapore’s financial district and colourful riverside shop fronts.
And then I arrived in Melbourne...
And I felt RUBBISH!
Don’t get me wrong, Melbourne is a fantastic city (it has been voted the best city in the world in Time magazine).
Melbourne’s clean and sparkly.
Trams run promptly and don’t seem to run anyone over.
They make a fabulous latte for a city of people watchers.
The city is a grid, so it's very easy to get to know.
And I saw a brilliant street performer called Andy Zap in the Sunday sunshine. I laughed all the way through his performace.
BUT I FELT ALL WRONG.
Like a wet weekend. Multiplied by a bad hair day. With cartoon black clouds over my head.
Was I homesick?
I phoned friends and they encouraged me – they said give it a few days.
Did I need to get out more?
I went down the Great Ocean Road.
Fantastic limestone coastline.
The stunning 12 Apostles viewed from a helicopter.
I felt better that day.
But by the next morning, I felt the same again.
‘WHAT IS BLOODY WRONG WITH YOU?' I said to myself.
I got on a plane from Melbourne to Perth to meet up with travelling friends Emily and Dave.
They picked me up from Perth airport in their little blue car, took me to their place in Fremantle, fed me delicious chicken curry.
I told Emily and Dave about how I'd been feeling.
‘Are you missing Asia?’ Dave and Emily both said.
‘Yes, oh my god, yes,’ I said. ‘That’s what’s wrong with me!’
I was missing the sight of golden Buddhas in Thailand.
The taste of teppenyaki in Taiwan.
The sound of the one-dollar kids out to make a sale in Cambodia.
The bathtime feel of the turquoise sea in the Philippines.
I was even missing the pong of durian fruit in Malaysia - the scent of China town in Kuala Lumpur.
And that’s when Dave and Emily told me all about their first trip to India.
They told me about eating fresh samosas, curries and Indian breads for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
They told me about the famous Indian head-wobble which can mean either ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘maybe’ or ‘I’m not really sure’!
White beaches and elephants and the sunset call of the tribes in the Andaman Islands (another friend Kate tells me the Andamans are her favourite place on Earth).
They told me about life on a houseboat in Kerala.
And I thought, I NEED SOME OF THAT!
Ok, maybe not the dung beetle on my face.
BUT EVERYTHING ELSE!
So, I set off for the Indian embassy in Perth, applied for an Indian visa and booked a flight to India.
And now I feel 100% RIGHT again!
The adventure is back on – it’s multi-coloured and it tastes of curry!
So my friend Kerry’s prediction back in January 2011 has come true. Despite all intentions to get to New Zealand, it's time for an Indian adventure.
I’m taking my fictional husband Adam with me (I invented him in Malaysia in July).
And I need to buy myself a wedding ring in Kuala Lumpur on the way to India - I'm told it's not the done thing to be unmarried in India!
What could possibly go wrong?
Delhi, here I come...
PS Don't worry Mum :-) xx