This post is only like 2 weeks late… Safe to say I’m home safe and sound.
It started off with a full 6 hour delay in Bhutan. Apparently Druk Air has 3 planes, one of which is apparently 2 weeks old and some teething problems. So instead of my flight already delayed from Bangkok taking me back to Bangkok, it first needs to take a flight full of people to Calcutta, then come back for us. Luckily for me my next flight isn’t until the next morning, so as long as I’m not delayed by 20 hours, I’m fine. I spent the time mostly on my laptop burning through some of the racing I had saved up for entertainment and working on my journals. Of all the airports in Asia, guess which one has internet? This one! Such a wonderful luxury when wasting time. At some point they bring us sandwiches and butter tea, and then after the people leave for Calcutta, they bring in lunch in the form of a rick cooker full of rice, a couple pots of food, and some plates. A nice gesture thankfully, and the food isn’t horrible. One last memory. I also get a chance to talk to a student from Bhutan.
The flight is uneventful and we land in Bangkok at night. I find the free shuttle to my hotel this time not spending $5 on a taxi. Pretty much all I can do is sleep.
The next day was very very long. All the way back to LA from Bangkok through Guangzhou. 24 hours of travel all in all.
I always feel nervous passing through US customs for some reason. They ask unusual questions like “how was the weather” trying to delve more into why I was traveling. It makes me uncomfortable even though I have no reason to. They often like to look at all my stamps, though my new passport is pretty empty with just 3 of 41 pages used up.
Arriving in LAX I took the flyaway back to Van Nuys. I lost my ticket somewhere in Thailand I think, so I have to spend another $7. Oh well. The ride back to the valley feels like just another leg on the trip. Another bus after another flight. It hasn’t sunk in that I’m home.
I give Chris Myers a call, he’s been awesome and is picking me up at the bus station. We both live a couple miles away from it, practically neighbors. I’m sitting outside waiting for Chris, I feel in a daze. He pulls up with little Hayden his son, and shakes my hand welcoming me home. Suddenly it washes over me, I am home. I’m not on some far away land.
I gave Hayden 1 piece of money from each country I visited and he seems really excited. I love that, when I can do something so small with such a big impact. Maybe he’ll be inspired to travel one day?
Well as usual I learned some lessons on this trip. I guess primarily that just because someone shares an interest in traveling and even in the destination, everyone has different interests when they get there. It’s an exercise in compromise which I’m not so great at.
Some things I should have brought with me:
- A watch because I can’t keep my phone on and in my pocket without worrying about it.
- A notepad and pen, it’s always needed, I learned this in Europe but forgot.
- Cargo pants and shorts instead of heavy jeans.
- Small compact backpack I can use for the walking around.
- A belt.
- A passport protector to keep my passport from getting all bent up
Some things I shouldn’t have bought:
- Jeans, damn heavy and bulky in the pack.
- A tripod, I hardly ever used it and it weighed 6lbs!
Some things I was glad I had:
- Carabiners! They made me feel like McGyver! I used them to hook things onto my pack, stabilize my tripod, even as a belt!
- Plastic trash bag for laundry and keeping my dirty clothes separated from the clean.
- Guide books. I almost didn’t bring them to save weight, but really you can never leave home without lonely planet, you never know when you need to find an alternate hotel or a map or something.
- Hiking sandals. So much better than flipflops, they stay on so easy and when its super hot they breathe.
- Hiking boots. It rained, it was muddy, rocky, slippery. It was great having water proof, tough as nails footwear with lots of traction.
- Dry shell jacket. Packs small, stays warm, and is water proof. Great for a large variety of conditions.
- Umbrella. As Elmar discovered when it rains it could pour, and then you want the little compact umbrella. This is doubly true when you’re carrying a couple grand in camera gear.
I kept getting asked, was I happy to be back. I love my life, but no. 3 weeks isn’t enough. I want months or more. I know at one point I would miss home and miss making games, it is my other passion. I just get to pursue one of my passions nearly every day, the other for a couple weeks out of the year. I can’t wait for my next trip. Time to go into super saver mode again and start dreaming of my next destination.