Words & Photos: @oliverinstead • Location: Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
The first time I travelled out of Malaysia, I was headed to the United Kingdom with only half a carry-on suitcase of clothes, a towel, a tube of Pringles… not even real Pringles but the Malaysian knock-off called Mister Potato, and nothing else – practically no knowledge of the country, the continent, the climate or the culture apart from what I’d briefly glanced on the telly… I wasn’t even half terrified.
I’ve learnt many lessons along the way. These are from my utmost personal experiences that may (or may not) apply to most travellers and travels, be it long, short, near or far and I believe these realisations will make your travels even better.
1. Timezones will drive you nuts
True story. The worst part is when I’ve just received some exciting news (e.g. exam results) but can’t just tell my mum because she’s in bed, probably snoring away like a lil’ piggy but I wouldn’t know… Guess why? Because I’m a million bloody miles away!
The sooner you realise there’s nothing you can about that the better so just deal with it.
2. You have freedom in everything
And I don’t just mean because you’re away from your nagging parents… maybe that too, but also you need to realise that you’re allowed to pick and choose what aspects of the native culture you want to adopt. The Brits are known to be drinkers, quite heavy ones too by my standards but I have yet to touch a drop since I moved here almost seven years ago. Remember to never feel pressurised into doing anything and always, always stay true to who you are and what you believe in.
3. It’s not always fun
You’re in a foreign country. You may or may not speak the local lingo. You get lost. You just missed your flight. With your broken Burmese, you try to ask for direction to the nearest train station. You look downright stupid, and again, all the while you’ve just missed your flight.
These are the risks you have to take if you want to travel. Solution? Lighten up and realise the fun in these things! They are the stories to tell when you get home, because when and where else are you going to be a completely clueless outsider and experience a totally different environment than that you’re used to?
4. The people you love will be distant
You meet new people, you make friends! Yaaay, that’s greeeat!! What’s not so great is the inevitable fact that you have to part. You can’t keep them with you all the time, which in turn I guess is great (??) because then you know who your true friends are. Remember, real friends don’t have to see each other all the time but when you do, it’ll feel like you’ve never separated. Realise that!
5. We’re all the same.
What have you realised about travels, and just life in general? Let me know! 你在旅游时有体会过什么意识吗？记得要跟我分享哦！