Solo traveling in a backpacker style (let’s say it’s a semi for me with no camping gear, hammock nor motorbike capabilities to get me around) you keep yourself open to an array of possibilities, unexpected joyful encounters and other not-so-joyful ones.
Deciding to travel solo for four months, my biggest worry was how homesick I’m going to be since all my previous trips didn’t exceed 6 weeks and always towards the end of each one I was yearning to get back home, to my bed, mom’s food that is so comforting to eat again and the privacy and the cleanliness of our bathroom!
I wouldn’t worry much about the budget since I had a small backpack so not much shopping is going to happen and I was going to balance out that long duration by workawaying so I wouldn’t spend on accommodation and less money on food.
This journey for me was more than just seeing new places and crossing them off my list, I’m hoping that through it I would see a different angle and maybe just maybe a new path when I’m not so sure what I want or should be doing. As a person who keeps away from the news, just scrolling through facebook statuses of who is imprisoned and who was wrongly judged because you can’t do much about it. The economic state of Egypt however managed to follow me.
The bay side of Koh Tao, Thailand
First hours of the morning in Koh Tao; an island that I was anticipating to land my feet on, I was slammed by the realization that I only have about 5000 baht in cash (around 143 dollars) and I wont be able to access any more of my money when both of my cards were swiped to pay for the hostel but an error beep was all it gave.
After two adventurous, joyful days in Khao Sok national park with a pleasant company, I told myself that my time in Koh Tao would be around relaxing on the beach and blogging about the previous days. All I did on the first day though was try and contain a panic attack while swimming in the blue water of this island.
There is so much that I want to post about, several pictures but I still don’t feel like posting about happier moments while I have this cloud of worry and panic over me. I would be sending a totally wrong vibe that all is good, all is happy, check out this happy picture on Instagram along with that happy story but that’s not a current reflection. I want to reflect every aspect of my travel, traveling is sort of a gateway but it’s not trouble-free. Me not being stuck on a desk from 9 to 5 doesn’t mean I’m 24-hours trouble free.
My first month in Thailand was mostly workawaying, so the second month was going to be traveling around and doing sorts of activities and tours. But now, no diving lessons in Koh Tao, or a tour in a marine park.
I spent the first two days in Koh Tao considering money saving alternatives. Now I’m spending more time on Couchsurfing looking up locals that may have similar interests as me; staying with a party animal won’t be comfortable, and thinking about from where I could get a cardboard to write on it my next destination and hitchhike my way there. I’m also trying to pay less attention to the risks of these options.
With every problem popping up along the way, every phone call with my parents is about ending this trip in Thailand and just heading back home. And I’m just trying to tell myself that yes, it’s a problem that is tricky to handle but I shouldn’t give up now and if I do get back what will be doing back home? No satisfying answer came from that.
Keeping your spirits high isn’t an easy task when you’re being told to just stop and head back to familiar, safe zone.
I tried to escape with a two hour walk to a bay on the other side of the island, climbed between the rocks of the bay, sat on one where my feet would be in the water and attempting to clear my mind through the pages of my slowly progressing travel journal.
Adding to that worry, I found out that the bank cards are blocked in Indonesia as well, where my return flight to Cairo is from. Now my planned route has to be changed. It’s not Thailand, Malaysia and finally Indonesia. That’s not going to happen now.
Should I cancel that city? How much would that hostel cost? Shall I pretend that I’m fasting and have one meal per day? When Thailand is over, where to next? Which route is cheaper? Cambodia then Vietnam? Vietnam then Malaysia? Cambodia then Malaysia? What are the available workaway projects in each?
And I’m here just hoping that the very unhelpful bank staff with their very unhelpful and always changing answers with every phone call that they would be at least right about the cards being blocked ONLY in Thailand and Indonesia and not one the other destinations.