Once you’ve been bitten there’s no escape; the Travel Bug will never leave your system. It may lie dormant for long periods of time (a bit like herpes only less unpleasant) but have no doubt it will return, and when it does it will do so with a vengeance.
It’s hard to forget my first travelling experience. I was eighteen, fresh-faced and enthusiastic, when my best friend and I decided a trip to Mexico during the university holidays would be just the ticket (literally). But when, five days into our four and a half week trip, we were robbed of almost all our earthly possessions after an opportunistic thief stole our hotel key and went back to clean it out as we were out dining with friends, things took a downward turn. When we subsequently left the replacement documents we’d spent several painstaking days travelling to pick up on a bus, however, I thought my travelling days might well be behind me (not least because my mother was swearing blue murder back in England after having to transfer hundreds of pounds into my account via BACs).
Fast forward seven years and the trauma had healed sufficiently to have another crack at globetrotting. This time I chose two stints volunteering in Tanzania and Kenya followed by a whistle stop tour of Vietnam and Cambodia. And to begin with I had a good deal of success. Until, that is, I fell out with a fellow volunteer in Tanzania and subsequently ended up in hospital in a remote part of Kenya with a vomiting bug so bad it nearly cleaned my system out the way the Mexican robbers had cleaned out my room all those years ago. To top it off my boyfriend of nine years decided to dump me at the end of the Asian leg of my travels and send me back to England alone, whilst he set up home in Kenya with the girl he’d been seeing behind my back for the past few months – wonderful.
If I’d chosen never to travel again I think I could have been forgiven. But the thing with the Travel Bug is, as I said before, that it’s a pesky little blighter and tends not to give up easily – which is how I found myself once again setting off for a seven month jaunt to Borneo, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia in January 2011. Fortunately this time was third time lucky, as I had the most amazing trip and met the most amazing man who is still by my side today.
And I’m afraid to say two years on the Travel Bug is biting me again. Next stop: Myanmar, and don’t spare the air miles…