I’m now so far behind with this thing I’ll probably never finish it, and even if I did it would be so vague and misremembered it probably wouldn’t be worth it anyway.
Laos – nice, but not outstanding.
Cambodia – horrible in comparison, but a few nice spots outside the two big cities.
Thailand – I lived on an island here for a few months and it was nice. Highlight: Dave’s visit.
Malaysia – this time Melaka (amazing) and Borneo (pretty awesome). Malaysia, not including Kuala Lumpur, is one of my very favourite countries.
Indonesia – horrible. Someone in the swimming pool at my condo in Thailand told me to go here, saying it was much better to see the orang utans on Sumatra than it was in Borneo. When I arrived I was lied to, scammed and messed around and end up leaving after two days because it wasn’t worth the hassle. The people who weren’t trying to take my money, were all lovely and pleasant, though.
Korea – Seoul is one of my favourite cities in the world. Busan, outside summer, is a rubbish beach town. Guess when I didn’t go.
Australia – Christmas and stuff. Nice enough, but a bit busy because my girlfriend wanted to see a million people a day.
Malaysia – I forgot somewhere (if I can’t list places properly then how could I write several pieces about each one?). Turns out Englishmen need a visa to visit Australia. I found this out when the girl at the check-in desk asked for my second passport. My what? I didn’t bother checking because (a) every time I’d been before I’d had some sort of working visa that let me in and (b) my Australian girlfriend waltzed into England no problem. Reciprical visa schemes are a myth. What I need was free and could be obtained online, but if, like me, you apply on a Friday evening you don’t get it back on Monday — so, in my favourite country, I did what any sane person would do: refuse to leave the airport and spend three days living like Tom Hanks (in that film about the airport, not the one on the island).
Canada – I was doing all this because while in Thailand I applied for a visa to get back into Australia properly. This was expensive and a lot of hassle, and made worse because I applied from a ‘high risk’ country. The risk is that dirty Australian men often try to ‘marry’ younger Thai women and force them into prostitution over here. I had high hopes my girlfriend wouldn’t do this to me, but I’m ever thankful to the Australian government for adding six months on to my wait time just to be sure. I spent a month in the Rockies and a couple in a flat in Vancouver. It was nice, but because it was winter and skiing is ridiculously expensive I don’t think I made the most of things.
UK – A return flight from Vancouver to Toronto is around $600. A return flight from Vancouver to London is around $800. Does that seem right to you? I decided to go to another continent rather than see more of Canada for this reason. I didn’t tell my parents I was coming back, so it was nice to see their expressions when I turned up on their doorsteps unannounced.
Mexico – Added because their were cheap flights from Vancouver and I wanted to see “somewhere like Belize”. It was completely awesome and nothing like I expected. Out of anywhere, I’d probably want to go back to this region most.
The end. Now I’m back in Australia. I got a job. Quit it. Now I’m starting up a company. The one I was working for in Sydney just sold for $48m and a boy can dream, can’t he?
One day I might go back and do some of the more memorable things about in more detail — the island I stayed on with no running water or electricity (but yes to biolumnescent plankton), my time spent at the airport or somethingsomethingsomething.