As promised in my last post, below is a brief outline of my travel itinerary for the next 6-months. Numbered 1-9 are all the places I hope to visit, in order.
- Sri Lanka – 1 month
- Malaysia – 1 week
- Australia – 3 months
- Vietnam – 2 weeks
- Hong Kong – 5 days
- Japan – 1 week
- Hawaii – 3 weeks
- California – 1 week
- New York – 5 days
I say hope because a lot of this depends on my budget. Despite my savings, many of the countries I have chosen to travel are not the cheapest (e.g. USA, Japan, Australia etc.). My time spent in Australia may also be a deciding factor in where I go next, as I plan to work in Melbourne for two months.
The first stop however, is supposedly one of the cheapest – Sri Lanka! To give an idea of how cheap, today I had a mountain of rice and chicken for 80p at a local restaurant. Day 2 already, and it has by no means been an easy start. So, let’s catch you up to speed.
15 September, 2:30pm:I wave goodbye to the folks as I walk towards security, 55L backpack brimming, smiling with excitement and adrenaline for the journey ahead. Little did I know the mishaps we were to encounter in the following 24 hours.
The plane journey started well, plenty of free food, lots of TV and film options (I entertained myself with a Harry Potter marathon), although the pudding was questionable.
11 hours in and we find out, to our surprise, that as well as stopping in Istanbul, we are also stopping off in the Maldives. Slight confusion caused on whether to leave the plane or not. Quick look round at the remaining passengers, assures us to stay seated.
14 hours later, we’re stranded outside the Airbnb we had specifically pre-booked in order to feel safe and settled for the first night, with no response from the ‘superhost’ and no way to get in. After a few hours of failed contact we give in and resort to a local hostel. The hostel owner is nice enough and recommends a local restaurant to eat for dinner. We make our way there, very tired and hungry, and order a local dish called kottu.
The spiciest meal I have ever had in my life. No exaggeration. So as not to embarrass ourselves in front of the locals, who are happily shoving food into their mouths with their hands, we ploughed on. Tongues burning, eyes watering and noses running, I get a fit of giggles at how ridiculously bad our evening has gone, now topped off by a dinner we can barely finish, or enjoy.
At this point, I think laughing is all we could do, as despite these mishaps we had made it to Colombo safe and sound and went to sleep with a roof over our heads, with a full (if not slightly unsettled) stomach and the thought that it can only get better from here on.
Top tip: If you experience any similar issues to what we had with our Airbnb host, I recommend contacting the Airbnb help page as it happens. This helped us get a full refund and a £30 voucher for our trouble.