All good things come to an end. My trip across east & south east Asia is over, and I have finally returned to the San Francisco Bay Area. After visiting Japan, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Germany (also made a stop in my home country), it is now time to start a new life chapter; and this will be in California. I feel certain that the Bay Area is the right place for me at the moment, and I am looking forward to 2014. It is going to be an exciting year with many new challenges, opportunities and experiences.
Right now, I am in the process of settling back in a life that is more stable and structured compared to the last five months. A long-term backpacking trip brings definitely along a different lifestyle, and it was something I haven't experienced before. One is constantly moving, discovering new things on a daily basis, and sleeping almost every other night in a different bed. Of course, there were moments when I was yearning for first-world amenities, but I quickly recommitted to the journey with its natural discomforts and inconveniences.
The two most frequent questions I get asked are "How was it?" and "Which country did you like most?". What can I say? It was an amazing trip, and each country was fascinating in its own way. I feel it is hard to share the whole story of the experience, because it was always a mix of people, images, feelings, among others at a particular moment. It's hard to put that into words. However, I did like Japan a lot, and will certainly return one day.
I hope that my blog could somewhat convey the story of this incredible adventure, and maybe encourage others to go on a similar journey. It is totally worth to get out of the daily routine for a longer period of time and to do something completely different. There is not only learning about other countries and cultures, but it also involves a better understanding about oneself. I am glad that I took the window of opportunity, and it was certainly not the last trip. Therefore, the story will be continued.. :)
Happy New Year!
Here are photos of my parents picking me up at the airport in Frankfurt, with friends at the main rail station in Cologne, and of course San Francisco. The place where I am going to stay for the next years.