Its been 28 days since Phoebe and I left home, since we traded our 9-6 jobs, peaceful bedrooms and clean bathrooms for life with little schedule, dorm rooms where hens cluck outside at 6am and showers where flip flops ought to be compulsory.
So far we’ve covered parts of Japan, The Philippines and have just begun the Kiwi Experience in New Zealand. Each day brings new stories I can’t wait to share with my family and friends back home.
It’s funny how easily we’ve become used to living life out of a backpack, eating out every meal, bartering the fares of trikes and taxis and feeling overly excited when we stumble upon free wifi. We’ve learnt the hard way that toiletries left in the communal showers are fair game; to always check the loo before sitting incase there is a mouse trying to climb out (yes, this really did happen) and that when you pay less than £3 for laundry, you can’t expect to receive anything but more snug fitting clothes.
Through these moments we have learnt to find the funny side, no matter how sleep deprived.
Like the time we lucked out on Tokyo’s metro by bagging seats in its first class area. With a long journey ahead of us we settled in – chairs reclined, snacks opened, iPods and kindles sprawled – only to be asked to show our tickets moments later. Playing the innocent “we’re just young English girls who don’t understand” card didn’t fly with the straight-faced lady and we were escorted to the end of the carriage and shooed over to the jam-packed, sweaty neighbouring one where we clambered in red faced (a mixture of embarrassment and hysterical laughter at our poor effort) and unavoidably knocking commuters with our bulging backpacks. Just last week our luck was tested again. We were in Cebu (The Philippines) and decided to go to a recommended beach an hour away. Upon arriving we scurried out of the taxi to make the most of the sunshine. As we strolled through a sea (pun intended) of people who were not so subtly staring at the two tourists crashing their private party, we found the ‘beach’. Only there was no soft beautiful white sand nor jaw-dropping surrounding scenery we have become so used to on this side of the world but a small and unkept area that makes South-End-On-Sea seem like paradise. With no nearby food or water, we were stuck in the middle of nowhere and decided to cut our losses and sneak into the nearest hotel. Little did we know it was a Shangri La hotel. Putting on our best voices and rehearsing our sob story, we somehow managed to blag our way in and enjoy an afternoon at its poolside bar. Disaster successfully averted.
The hiccups in our journey are what keep our diaries interesting; they provide great conversation starters with fellow backpackers we befriend and (and please excuse the somewhat soppy ending) they make us appreciate all the great times even more.