I actually drafted this ages ago when I was running around like a headless chicken preparing for my trip to Southeast Asia. I was madly organising visas, buying travel insurance, booking flights and accommodation, not to mention getting a tonne of vaccinations. Seriously, I am like a human pin cushion! After all that, thankfully I still had some money left to actually travel.
So I wanted to write you (tearily) before I left, but instead, you find me typing this in Vietnam! I almost can't believe I've already been on the road for 2 weeks! While I take some time to absorb the happenings of the past fortnight, and the fact that my feet are once again on foreign soil, let me tell you about my Travelling Pants.
I present to you the aforementioned:
|My Travelling Pants. Dey be every where mon!|
I bought this pair of jeans in the first week of my Europe trip last year. £11 at an ordinary Primark in London. Bargain.
I didn't think they'd last very long, but as the guy at the beginning of Aladdin said, don't be fooled by its commonplace appearance! They went with me nearly everyday for the following 4 months as I walked, plane'd, train'ed, tram'ed, bus'ed, and climbed (a lot of cathedral towers plus a couple of hikes in Switzerland) my way around 8 countries in western Europe including the UK.
|Berlin wall. Oh my god, yes, I'm finally uploading photos from my Europe trip last year! And it's nice to remember that Berlin is where I started this blog. :)|
Sometimes they were too much for me, like in hot Barcelona when I decided to lounge on the beach in something shorter while checking out cute guys with my friend M (to our dismay, there weren't any). Sometimes they weren't enough, like when I was shivering in cold Lucerne and my friend A introduced me to delicious roasted chestnuts, yum!
Sometimes they were too tight, like when I ate that amazing duck in Nice. Sometimes they were too baggy... nah, that never happened.
|Paris at night, with a view down the Seine River towards the hauntingly magical Notre Dame Cathedral.|
So besides my booty, these jeans carry a lot of memories. There was that time I was having a horrible day in Antwerp: a man kicked me for no good reason (not even kidding), and then when I sat down on the wharf near the river to compose myself, the sun-scorched wooden pier bleached the colour out of the bottom. Wow, they got off to a bad start in Belgium. I even remember that time in Ghent when my friend's adorable frisky kitten Billy accidentally pulled out a thread near my left knee with his sharp little claws. After that, every time I fingered that loose thread, I remembered cute little Billy.
But that was more than made up for by the many hours I spent in them wandering the cobblestones of beautiful Bruges, the canals of picturesque Amsterdam, and the alleyways of Florence. I wore them when I ambled all the way down the Unter den Linden in Berlin, from my hostel in the Mitte to the Tiergarten, a walk that was longer than I expected. I wore them again in Paris when I walked from the Notre Dame Cathedral, all the way down the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, to the Arc de Triomphe - another long urban trek. Then again in Milan, when my friend M and I diagonally cross-cut the entire city in search of good aperitivo (calories we totally earned!)
Still, that wasn't enough for my Travelling Pants! Even after I returned home to sunny Sydney, they wanted to keep on moving, although the adventure was taking its toll...
So I wore them for 3 weeks in Melbourne, sightseeing and feasting with my friend D around the city, laughing my ass off at the International Comedy Festival with a crew of awesome mates, and visiting my cousins.
My beautiful cousin M suggested my Travelling Pants deserved a post all of their own when she saw how hard they'd been working:
All the thigh chafage they've prevented! There's no way I can repay that debt.
Now that I've properly recognised what they have done and what they mean to me, I can gracefully retire them to the rubbish bin. Ain't no charity is gon' need them. I pushed them to their limits and now it's time to herald their farewell with the attention and respect they are entitled to.
It's funny how the things that mean so much to us can be so unassuming in and of themselves. Just a cheap pair of jeans. One among hundreds on the shelf at a chain store. And yet they've been everywhere, man. With me.
|Flinders pier. D and I visited the scenic Mornington Peninsula on a day tour while we were in Melbourne.|
As I embark on another long backpacking trip through a new continent this year, I think it's helpful to remember that the things/people that matter most are not measured by how much money we spent on them, but by how much time we spent with them. And it seems like the experiences we value most of all are the ones that we absolutely didn't see coming!
|One of several picturesque vineyards in Victoria's Mornington Peninsula, Australia.|
Thanks for stopping by to adieu my Travelling Pants! grin emoticon It's already taking me some time to sort through my photos and stories from the past 2 weeks in Vietnam. I know first-hand that it's super hard to stay updated while I'm constantly on the move, but I'll try to do a better job of blogging this time!
With that promise made, here's a bit of a visual preview of my current journey through Indochina:
|Bùi Viện: backpacker central. One of the busiest streets in bustling, hectic, chaotic Saigon. Haven't yet figured out if I love this city or if I'm stressed out by it, but it's certainly got me captivated!|
As always, much love to all of you, my readers, and please share your thoughts in the comments below. Backpacking solo can get lonely and it'd be great to hear from all of you!
I wrote this in Cà phê Ngôi Nhà Số 7, a beautiful cosy little caffeine-infused secluded retreat, hidden down a long driveway off Ngô Thời Nhiệm street. I won't go so far as to review it since Tom has already done such a good job, except to say that it's probably my favourite café in Saigon, and I've come back 3 times in almost as many days. If you're in town, make sure you pay it a visit - and bring your charger! You'll want to stay a while.