What I Learnt While Travelling

So I’m back in Australia after receiving a summer job (If you’re in Melbourne and want to hang out, let me know).  As my trip takes a break to raise some money before I inevitably go out again, I wanted to look at the things I learnt while travelling and if I actually achieved what I set out to do.


Before leaving I set myself four goals.  I wanted to meet people, collaborate and create, resolve issues about my late father and change jobs.  I achieved all these goals to various degrees.



1 Meeting People

I met so many people during my 5 months away, I think at one point facebook told me I had made over 300 facebook friends.  I’d like to thank everyone that I had met in my time and it was a pleasure getting to know all of you.  Special mentions go to:

  • Nuraini who put me up while I was in Malaysia (for SIX weeks!) and we did various trips together, including one in the Philipines.
  • Fikhris, who I met in Bali, introduced me to the Couchsurfing Indonesia Festival where I made a lot of friends and contacts all over Indonesia.
  • Ali, Fikhris’ best friend and the coolest cat I met on the trip.
  • Karina, the most datable girl I met (yes, I’m still thinking of going back to Jakarta for this very reason).
  • Nadja, who helped me out processing some feelings in Ubud.
  • Mich, the Filipina who I met in Bangkok and is the staunchest feminist that I met.  Seriously go check out her stuff it’s really good.
  • Pink, a former student of mine who I met up with in Bangkok.  From poor student to rich businesswoman was quite the surprise.
  • Bird, a guy I met through Couchsurfing in Bangkok.  I stayed at his place for a week and we went to Ayutthaya together.  The guy literally searched for a way to meet foreigners to improve his English and found Couchsurfing.  I love his tenacity and his ability to step out of his comfort zone.
  • Dakki, the first transgender woman I hung out with.  I had a very enjoyable time with her and I finally got over my hang up.  They’re just normal people and that’s it.
  • Caroline, for being great writing fodder for my time in Singapore.

I could go on and on but those are the top ten people that stood out to me on my travels.  If you didn’t make the top ten, I do apologise.  Please don’t send me hate-mail.  I love you all.


2 Collaborating and Creating

This goal was all about getting back into the mindset of what I had in university.   It was all about working with people and producing things.  I can’t say I really achieved my expectations on this goal.  A large part of it has got to do with the fact that I moved around a lot.  I originally thought that I’d stay for a month in one place and then go to another place for a month.


The problem that I hadn’t anticipated was that apart from Kuala Lumpur I didn’t know about the places I was going to and therefore didn’t know what to expect from each city.  Some cities were quite boring so I moved, in others I couldn’t find the creative people in time.  Even though I stayed in Bangkok for one month I kept changing location and that meant that I could never settle in a certain place.


All this moving around stifles collaboration and the ability to create (not necessarily creativity).  It boils down to this: if you’re busy, you don’t have time for other projects.


However, all is not lost.  During my travels, I often thought of where I’d go back again and since I have a better understanding of who I am, what cities I like and an established network, I believe that collaboration will be inevitable.


Resolving Deep Emotional Issues About my Dad


Frankly, I didn’t work on this enough.  I only did about three things.


The first was that I happened to have a free counselling session in Ubud with Nadja who is a fantastic life coach.  You can check out her facebook here.


The second was realising that I had been trapped in the same story I’d been telling myself and others.  Essentially, I was saying that I had raised money to go travel across Asia, in part, to get over my dad.  When I made that realisation it had been almost a year since his passing.  At what point do you stop being the victim of your circumstance and start taking charge of your life?  I had been carrying this mentality for a year and it wasn’t helping anybody.


The third thing I did was write about my dad.  You can find the articles here, here and here.  I think that that was the most cathartic thing I did in resolving this issue.


There is a final point about this.  I don’t think that you can fully get over a person’s passing who is close to you.  You mustn’t bottle it up inside but also not dwell on it.  At some point you have to stop being the victim, pick yourself up off the floor and cary on living.


Change Jobs

So did I accomplish this one?  Well, no, frankly I didn’t but I did get a job.  Currently, I am employed teaching English for the summer for a school that I’m happy to be a part of.  I wouldn’t have come back otherwise.  The issues with English teaching and the reasons why I want to change professions are that it pays way too low and the management at a lot of these schools and the reputation of the industry are terrible.  So I didn’t change profession but this job will allow me to continue my travels.


The Main Things I Learnt While Travelling


I learnt that I like being around art and culture.  It has probably got to do with the fact that I grew up in Melbourne and that’s the part I love most about my city.  I want to live in a city where art and culture thrive.  I have a few candidates but Jogjakarta is the one that stood out for me.


I also want to work around and with artists and musicians.  I find that I can be of most value, that my productivity increases when I am with people who inspire me.  I will be looking for jobs related to art and culture.


Whilst, I want to be where the art and culture is, I find that spectacular nature spots are just as exhilarating.  Two weeks ago when I was in El Nido in the Philipines, I was blown away by the beauty and dramatic landscape I saw before me.  It gave me the energy to go island hopping and to party at night over two days and three nights.  So much so, I got violently sick from overdoing it.  The problem, unfortunately, is that usually, these spectacular locations charge premium prices.  The challenge would be to find a gorgeous location that increases creativity whilst being within the budget.


Transgender people are just people.  There’s nothing more or less special about them and hence, we shouldn’t be discriminating against them by not talking to them because you are embarrassed or otherwise.


Discipline is hard.  And it’s harder the more you travel.  As you may have noticed I haven’t written in 6 weeks and that’s because I was moving around a lot and when I got around to writing a post I just thought I’ll do it when I get back.  Once, I let myself off the hook there was no turning back and I didn’t even feel guilty for not writing.  And yes, I will probably write a post on how to better have discipline but I tend to suck at it unless I have people relying on me or a schedule.


So that’s some of what I learnt and if I achieved my goals. If you like this post don’t forget to comment and share on Facebook,  this post and Instagram



  • Nuraini

    9 November, 2017

    It’s your turn now. Plan Melbourne as you like, for when I am there.

  • Mother of Odeysseus

    10 November, 2017

    Since you find it inspiring and want to work with creative people, have you considered involving yourself with sales, marketing, promotion of theatre or dance companies and or cultural festivals? This would make use of your qualifications and your interests.

    • Jason

      11 November, 2017

      I can’t say I had thought about it. However, when I wrote this article it did give me some ideas. And of course, volunteering for a group will have to mean I must commit to something. Something that may go against my philosophy of getting rid of all your responsibilities so you can easily move around (travel).

      • Nuraini

        26 November, 2017

        You know, the two things don’t necessarily exclude each other. You’ll be surprised how much better – even faster – things can happen when you yield more and are less fixed about how things ‘must’ happen.


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