When I was travelling through Southeast Asia there was this weird thing where people kept giving me tee shirts. Or I’d go through a market meaning to buy something local and hand made and I’d get a funny shirt with like a monkey on it.

It doesn’t sound like much of a problem. Getting gifts and finding funny gems was always a treat. But I was backpacking, and my space was limited. Yet at the height of this phenomenon, I had like 20 tee shirts? and two pairs of pants?

I gave away what I could but it was still a weird thing to look into your backpack and only have tee shirts looking back at you!

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Love Never Dies

I just had the weekend of my life traveling to see a girl from my past. $800 ticket, check. Hotel, check, take Monday off work, check. 9 hour flight time and jet lag, check.

Now the interesting part… So I haven’t seen this girl in over 12 years, literally since 2003 or so, last I’ve seen her was so long ago in a different country and continent. When I first saw her face again …… and heard her voice and saw her smile again …… everything from the past came rushing in, all our childhood memories together, everything we’ve been through, all of our ups and downs …… wow just wow. I realized how much the phrase “old is gold” really means. It ALL came back, instantly. It’s like everything was locked away awaiting a key, and the key was her being there…

Even though I thought our encounter was going to be “just friends catching up” it was apparent in 3 seconds that our internal affection is not dead, it has just been buried away for so many years and none of us knew it existed anymore. We’ve never dated before, which is the scary part… yet we both experienced the craziest emotional rush ever…

My heart opened up again, I haven’t felt like this in my entire life, I don’t know how to explain it, it’s like I’ve rediscovered something I’ve missed out on my entire adulthood, nothing but tears rushed out, both of us, it was really the most emotional time of my life to date. I didn’t even feel like this during my first kiss.

With that said, I can go on and on about my feelings and how I feel towards her. I’m 95% sure she feels the same too, but the crazy problem is that I’ve recently got a girlfriend, a much younger one, and up until this weekend, I thought my love for her was “it”. After discovering this new-old buried in my heart love and affection … I am left with a very hard choice to make, heck I don’t even know how to approach this problem. I’ve never hurt anyone in my life and I’ve never dumped a girl in my life (got dumped but never the other way around).

It has been a true emotional roller-coaster… I can’t even sleep or eat anymore, ever-since I came back home all I’ve been doing is thinking of her and her smile, voice, eyes, like a deranged teenager…. oh God I better stop now.

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Not A Mosquito

La Rochelle, France. I arrived back late after a night out celebrating Bastille Day and got into bed in my hostel dorm. There were three other single beds in the room, but it looked like there was only one other girl staying in the room with me. Typical for a hostel there were sparse power sockets to charge my phone in so I plugged my phone into a socket near the entrance to the room which was also near the bed where the other girl was sleeping.

I drifted off but a few hours later was stirred by a strange buzzing noise. Is it a mosquito? Maybe my ears were ringing from all the loud music earlier? It kept going. I lay in bed thinking off all the possibilities. It’s my phone! Something must be wrong with the power socket and my adaptor is fried. I jumped out of bed and quietly padded over to my phone but as I got closer I realised that the noise was closer than I thought. I kept walking until I reached the other girls bed. We locked eyes. There was a swift movement under the sheets. It clicked what the noise. It was definitely not my phone.

When I woke up several hours later the other bed was empty. I don’t think she ever came back.

(as a side note, why would you even do that in a shared space with strangers?!)

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Getting Adopted by Travellers

So one time in Thailand I was running out of time on my visa. The nice people I was travelling with had decided to leave the country, but I wanted to stay. So I travelled to Chiang Mai and applied for a visa extension.

This involved a three-hour bus ride over massive mountains covered in thick jungles, then an hour taxi ride. Then getting lost. Then getting all the paperwork done, photos taking. Then lining up for an hour, only to be told you need copies of everything, getting out of the line, getting copies made, then entering the line again. And waiting for four hours for your number to come up before finally losing your patience and just barging up to the counter and waiting in line.

Anyway, it was the end of a long day with tearful goodbyes. I was pleased I’d got my extension. But tired and drained because of Bureaucracy. And with my travel partners gone, I was feeling kind of dejected. Weird, right? People all around, but no one to talk to.

That changed.

Just as I was going to turn in, a guy came up to me from a small group that was forming up in the common area of the hostel. Offers me a drink and a chat. I nearly said no, because I had an early taxi back to the bus, followed by another trek back over the mountains.

But I didn’t say no. I said yes.

And after that, I found myself adopted by a group of around 25 of the most interesting, caring and unintentionally cool travellers it was possible to meet. Drinks flowed, stories were shared, and plans made to meet up in the next town.

And sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. Two days later, my new family turned up in town, and we stayed together for nearly a month.

It was the best of times.

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Youthful travels and chasing boys

So this one is an oldie. I was about 16 and I found myself in the back of a four wheel drive with my two best friends out in the desert. The desert safari in UAE is amazing by the way… Or it used to be, it’s been a while.
Basically you sign up and get picked up in your cars at the hotel. Then you meet up with the rest of the group at the edge of the desert and it turns into like a caravan of vehicles, about 20+ cars from what I remember.
So my best friends and I were in one such car and we happened to spot some really cute guys in another car ahead of us.
Now as any self respecting boys obsessed group of teenagers on holiday in such a situation would do, we memorized the number plate of the boys car which even now, ten years later I remember as D15522!
We then asked the guys driving our car to make sure to keep up with the boys.
After a rollercoaster of a ride (known as dune bashing) we made it to a traditional set up out in the desert under the gorgeous night sky to enjoy some amazing Arabic food and belly dancing.
We did see the boys there but decided us girls on holiday together was more important than possible flirting opportunity. Also they weren’t as cute as we had thought when we spotted them in the car.
In the end I have a great memory of an adventure out in the desert with my two soul sisters, a memorized number plate number that none of us forgets and a funny story to relive whenever I spot a cute guy I might want to hunt down or stalk obsessively.

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The Vietnam Home Invasion

During our visit to Phú Quốc island, Vietnam, my travelling companions and I decided to embark on a bar crawl. Three bars in and we were all feeling fine, and that’s when one member of the group suggested shots. This was a bad idea.

Upon arrival at the 4th bar it seemed everyone was doing their own thing around the dance floor. I myself took it upon myself to leave the bar (the reason why I did this is not clear to me) and return to my hostel where I joined the hostel owner for yet more drinks.

Eventually he left and that’s where my memory goes black. Next thing I know I’m sitting on the toilet relieving myself when I realise that this is not the hostel toilet. I wrap things up and and exit into the kitchen which again was a surprise as my hostel did not have a kitchen, and that’s when I realised. Walking into what I guess was the living room, I spotted 2 Vietnamese people unaware and peacefully sleeping on the floor.

Shocked, confused and still extremely intoxicated I swiftly left by stepping over one of the residents and blundering out of the door. Still not comprehending exactly what had just happened, I wondered into the stormy night in search for my hostel. Given that I had lost my flip flops and glasses, I was pleasantly surprised to find my hostel just 30 minutes into my search.

All 5 of us had stories to share from that night and I’m pretty sure mine remains the stupidest.

Not painting a good image for backpackers here, my bad

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What happens in Vang Vieng… Ends up on this website

After a glorious tubing bender to end all benders, helped along massively by free drinks at Sakura Bar, I found myself shitfaced and alone in Vang Vieng. I’d also managed to forget my hostel name. And where I was.

Luckily I happened upon a local Ladyboy named Mango who had been staying at our hostel! What good fortune eh?! Naturally I agreed to follow her back, and she set us off on a merry adventure through random streets and ally ways.

A short jaunt later and we’re in front of an apartment block, not my hostel. After asking my wonderful guide why we were here, she explained she needed to get her cigarettes. No worries, I replied.

Funnily enough she was rather insistent I accompanied her, all after explaining she just hung around our hostel and this was in fact her apartment. In for a penny, in for a pound I guess, and I strolled in to find her lighting her pipe and smoking yaba. Pretty sure there were no cigarettes. I politely declined her generous offer for free yaba and explained I really did need to get home- a methed up Mango was my only saviour and things weren’t looking (or feeling) too good.

At some point I passed out (fuck you Sakura Bar).

You’ve never been woken up until you’ve been woken up by a methed up ladyboy with a pipe in one hand, your shorts round your knees, giving you the most aggressive hand job of your entire life.

After shouting ‘Mango Nooooooo!’ and legging it out, I burst around the corner to find my hostel, less that 50 feet away from Mangos mad yaba handjob assault den.

Needless to say I was on the next bus out of Vang Vieng.

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International animals hate me :-/

I am jinxed when visiting animals abroad. I can go into the individual stories if you want but this is the list of “Animals that attack/injure/scare the crap out of Christie…
Ubud, Bali – Monkey bit my scalp
Giza, Egypt – Rogue camel almost took me out at the pyramids (just kicked my leg, thanks to my friend tackling me)
Petra, Jordan – Jackass donkey stopped mid-canter to freaking bite my leg (FYI, same leg as the stupid camel)
Phuket, Thailand – Elephant stepped on my foot, then pushed me over because I wouldn’t move… luckily it was young, small in size and only playing.
And finally, Siem Reap, Cambodia – I was sexually harassed by a horny python.. repeatedly, it was actually the worst on this list.

Needless to say, I’m not the first to volunteer for animal related excursions when travelling…

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Lost Jacket Can Stay Lost

When travelling in Ireland I had this great jacket. It was warm and snug and windproof. Even a little bit water resistant. I loved that jacket. One day I took it off and hung it on the back of a chair after coming inside to eat. I fell asleep on the cafe table and so did my girlfriend. When we woke up, someone had stolen my jacket. I was mad because it was freezing. Later that day then I saw a homeless guy wrapping himself up in what looked like my jacket. He looked so relieved. I didn’t even say anything. Just walked past.

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The Massage Parlour and The Boob Talk

So when I first made it to eastern Asia I quickly realized that most average women had decent, normal sized breasts that happened to be far daintier than the ones I possess. This made for interesting shopping where no locally made clothes would fit across my chest and lingerie scouring became somewhat like hunting prized big (haha) game.
One incident however topped all my boob adventures. I was laying there on a masseuse table with a lovely lady from Thailand giving me a really good rubdown when, in the midst of polite conversation about where I was from and what I did for a living, she asked me whether I had had surgery done. Because I was confused she clarified that she wanted to know if my breasts were real because she “really liked them and wants to get the same size implants”.
I told her I had no advice on the matter seeing as what I had was au naturel and that’s about when she stopped talking to me.
I think she thought I was lying and she wasnt nearly as nice after this exchange.

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