At times bare and mysterious, other times lush and inviting, the mountains of Laos were a sight to sore eyes! I spent 24 days in this country, going from south to north. Here are the lessons I’ve learnt along the way…
At times bare and mysterious, other times lush and inviting, the mountains of Laos were a sight to sore eyes! I spent 24 days in this country, going from south to north on bumpy local buses, painfully uncomfortable wooden boats, with a hired Korean motorbike and a 12-passenger airplane.
The people I’ve met – ‘falangs’ (Lao for ‘foreigners’) and locals – and the places I’ve experienced have all added a bit of ‘richness’ to my life… and lessons to share with you:
1. Take a break
I often put pressure on myself to find answers to my questions – or should I say, the awe-inspiring idea that will turn my life around and set me off on a bright, successful and cheerful future! After eight weeks of travel, I can say that the best way to conquer a question, is to stop questioning yourself! Take a break, let things simmer, trust yourself in the process and what you’re looking for will happen. I promise!
2. Go with the flow
Perhaps I was inspired by my painfully beautiful 18 hours on board of little wooden boats on the Nam Ou river with this one…
Not only does this lesson go hand in hand with my blog ‘Everything happens for a reason‘, but I would also add to that the fact that we need to stop stressing out about what can seem like ‘little annoying details’ that are so insignificant in the scheme of our lives. And, why not stop planning everything and just see what comes up? Or even let others do a bit of planning for you (wow… that’s daring!)! Chill out… and go with the flow!
3. Follow the opportunities
One of my travel companions decided to drop her plans and accompany me on a three-day motorbike tour instead. She loved every minute of it (well, except the last 30 kms when her bike’s chain broke!) and was so grateful to be able to share her feelings with someone. When is the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone or derogated from your plans? You should give it a shot some time… who knows what great things could come out of it!
4. Follow your gut
Since I started planning this trip, I’ve really wanted to go to Phongsaly in far north Laos, on less travelled roads. I wanted to see the real Laos with its wildly untouched forests and eccentric ethnic minorities. On my way up north, as I stopped by Muang Ngoi, a one-street village on the river which can’t do otherwise but conquer the heart of all travellers, I was torn with the idea of lying on my bungalow’s hammock a touch longer and shorten my trip in Phongsaly. But I followed my gut feeling and headed north after three nights in Muang Ngoi. Although the town of Phongsaly itself wasn’t as good as I expected, my three-day trek through the jungle was absolutely amazing and everything I longed for. I’m so glad I followed my instinct.
5. See the world
Whether that be through books, documentaries or real life experiences, travelling beyond countries and cultures opens up the mind. I believe if more people saw the world for what it is, there would be less egocentrism and more help generously given to the ones who really need it.
6. Be authentic
If you haven’t read my blog ‘A taste of authenticity‘, that’s where you’ve got to go!
Next destination: Sri Lanka!