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It ends where it all began.

THAILAND | Tuesday, 31 March 2015 | Views [732]

A Tiger tower to end the trip!

A Tiger tower to end the trip!

A holiday isn't really over until you are back on home soil, but Bangkok is as close to home as it gets, geographically and sentimentally. It is very familiar territory and a great place to unwind and transition back into the Broome heat of my real home that awaited me. But it was probably the saddest I have ever felt traveling towards Khao San Road. Fortunately enough, Julia and another tattoo awaited, so it wasn't just going to be sitting around drinking alcohol like it could somehow stay the execution.

Julia was just finishing her two month South-East Asia trip so it was great to see each other at the beginning and end of our respective trips. We had grand plans for all the things we were going to do in Bangkok, but we slotted back so easily into a routine of shopping, drinking and people watching that we didn't find much time for anything worth relating here, or anything I could relate.

One thing definitely worth mentioning is the incredible work Aod did adding some more of his signature genius on my skin canvas. I merely sought a touch up of the 20 year old owl on my shoulder, and a darkening of my deltoid so it didn't look so pale compared to the awesome Canova sculpture tattoo he had put around my elbow at the start of the trip. Never have I been to a tattooist who takes so much pride in his work and is not happy until he has made any tattoo, old or new, completely his own. If anyone wants a tattoo, do yourself a favour and go see Aod at Divine Ink. I wouldn't trust my skin with another tattooist now, except for myself, but that's just for fun rather than the quality of the results.
Some more Aod genius.

Aside from sitting around doing nothing, or laying around doing something, it was good to be able to get around in less than 20 or so articles of clothing. But unlike the European winter, where I had decent weather except for a little bit of rain and snow in Istanbul and Scotland, one night in Bangkok saw a downpour so epic that it filled the surrounding area with ankle deep water. Fortunately the area being surrounded was a bar so we just hunkered down and used Black or White Russians to avoid the disappointment of not being able to drunk shop that night. I ordered a phad thai there and it's oily blandness made me wonder why they even bothered when it's far superior from a street vendor 50 meters away and sold for one quarter of the price.

There was plenty of opportunities for drunk shopping the other nights that ensured by the time it came to leave, my backpack was full but my wallet was empty. None of the stuff I bought was terribly valuable, or even worthwhile. Wanting a thin backed singlet to avoid the fresh ink being imprinted on anything non-disposable, on one walk back from a bar I snatched up a couple of singlets, failed to haggle, or check the size, and wasn't in the slightest bit surprised when I woke the next morning to find they wouldn't have fit an 8 year old. And I must have been in a more effeminate mood than usual, as the picture below shows, my choice of colour shows that I probably would have been arrested had I tried to wear it out in public in Abu Dhabi.

I also bought a Barcelona soccer shirt with their main man Messi, arguably the worlds best players name on the back. Julia was as shocked as any about my new found interest in the game but took great delight in me cheering wildly one moment, asking what the fuck was going on the next. I got nods of approval and high fives from other people sporting their colours, and when I inadvertently ignored one guys appreciative shout out of “Barcelona, Messi” Ash said not to worry as he was probably just making an astute observation of my experience in Barcelona, ie. messy!

1I clearly have no idea what I am doing in any of these pictures!

By the time it came to say a sad goodbye to Julia, I felt I was more than ready to go home. I had one last curry fried rice, spent whatever baht I had left on tramadol and then, with 14 other people, boarded an airport shuttle bus that had 12 seats, 2 of which were taken up by luggage. Fortunately the flight home was the opposite to that game of human tetris and having the whole row free meant I was able to lay down and get as good a sleep as any could hope for on an overnight flight.

The next day I was walking down a vacant street in Broome without a single person as far as I could see in every direction. I realised I hadn't had so much space between me and another human since I left. It was the perfect opportunity to fart, but instead I used it to finally accept that the holiday was over. It was a sad feeling as it had been such an epic trip, but I also gave thanks that I had such a beautiful place like Broome to return to. Reality hit 2 days later when a 4:20am alarm woke me for work like a kick in the head, from Iron Man.
2This is home. Incredibly beautiful with touches of rain.

So after 22 flights in 81 days that took me to 11 countries, let me round out the trip with some concluding thoughts. (As I typed that sentence, my spirit bird, the beautiful Brahminy Kite, flew into the tree outside Em and Richies home that I am currently sitting under! I consider it my spirit animal because it always, always appears at special and significant times in my life.)
My beloved Brahminy Kite

Traveling really makes you realise how blessed we are to be alive. Every moment is different, unique and exciting, even if it's only your state of mind that is different and nothing else. Every day is a new adventure. Every thing that happens is an opportunity to express love and experience it all around you. The same is true for the lives we live when we are not traveling. Every day can be exciting no matter whether you work in an office, a coffee cart or a spaceship. Life is what you make of it, and it is all about the state of mind with which you approach it. For your own sake, and those around you, make every day count.

I saw some truly incredible places that made me completely awestruck in the face of what humans of capable of creating. I also saw places that are defined by the hideous things humans have done to each other. There is a lot of unnecessary negativity in this world, yet I was spared most of it. I spent 10 weeks traveling around and the most adverse experience I had due to another was a random dude in Indonesia and a whole room full of hookers in Abu Dhabi copping a free feel. That is extremely lucky to say the least, and as a dude, many would argue for that being a positive.

Aside from unparalled experiences like hearing Vivaldis Four Seasons in the Leglise de la Madeleine, the ezan in surround sound in old Istanbul and visiting the Sagrada Familiar to name but a few, the most significant aspect to this trip was seeing my friends. The times that I spent with friends I have been in regular contact with over the long years of absence, showed me what true and unconditional love is. I want nothing but the best for them, will do anything to make them happy and want nothing in return except to share this love with me. (That is not to say that I aren't blessed with the friends I am fortunate enough to live close to, or the other dear friends that misfortune stopped me from seeing on this trip.)

I am constantly moved to tears when I think about how much I care for each and every one of them. It didn't matter whether I spent 3 hours or three weeks with such amazing people, as it would never have felt like enough. “Always leave them wanting more” has always been my motto, but I know that I left wanting more of them as well.

All the beautiful friends from this trip.
The truly heart breaking thing is wanting to have them as part of my everyday life, but with them spread across the globe, a day will probably never come when that will happen. Life wasn't meant to be THAT easy, and I don't think I could ever come up with a better justification for traveling than simply being able to see all these beautiful friends again. Being able to reconfirm how much these people mean to me is enough reason to consider this trip to be an overwhelming success beyond my wildest hopes. And enough motivataion to start planning for the next time I can see them.

P.S. Thank you to all those who shared the whole journey with me through these journals. I hope that some of the enjoyment I derived from writing them was shared in reading them. And even if I wasn't able to convince you to throw caution to the wind and just start traveling the world, I hope you're more inspired to live life fully and more appreciative of the life we do live. If you are able to read this, you are better off than a lot of people in this world. Always be grateful for what you have.

Love, peace and Harry hugs.

Tags: bangkok, friends, home, tattoo

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