One of the downsides to being a working girl with just 25 precious days of holiday a year to play with is that time isn’t a luxury I have when travelling.
That’s unfortunate when travelling is the one thing I love. The alternative assault on the senses, exploring new landscapes and cultures, sampling different foods, listening to new languages and collecting unusual traditions and habits are usually crammed into three weeks as tightly as Pavarotti packed into a Mini with a month’s luggage.
Unfortunately, this means instead of returning from holiday rested and relaxed, me and the Hubby end up begging for another break after having spent a chunk of our time on the move, lugging luggage onto endless overnight trains or squeezing onto coaches, minibuses, trucks and ferries so we can experience another adventure in another part of whatever country it is we’re exploring.
While the thought of jumping on a train on hometurf does nothing to get the juices flowing, travelling abroad is a whole different kettle of fish. Not only is it a great way to see the countryside thundering by, it’s also a great way to meet people.
I learnt more about India on a 12 hour train journey from Mumbai to Goa and the 20 hour trip from Goa to Kerala that followed a few days later than I have during the seven weeks I’ve spent in total in the country.
Squashed into the tiny compartment we shared with a family of eight, we were the latest addition to the zoo that is an Indian train. Every other person that passed wanted to sit down and quiz the white woman and her other half on what life’s like in magical England, and they were more than happy to reciprocate.
During a slow and bumpy bus journey across Cambodia we met a couple who’d been travelling the world for four years. As we pulled up at the dusty bus station in Siem Reap eight hours later having spent most of that time picking their brains on places they’d been, we’d added the Galapagos Islands, Beppu in Japan and The Plain of Jars in Lao to our ever-growing bucket list of places to visit.
By the time we shared a cool beer with a Swedish couple on the ferry from Trat to Koh Chang after swapping sweat sat next to them in a cramped minibus from Cambodia to Thailand for far too many hours, we were armed with ideas of what to do on the beautiful island, eateries to tantalise the tastebuds, activities to avoid and the best way to spend the final two days of our trip when we moved onto Bangkok.
And with only a few days to explore giant sprawling cities like Delhi and Mumbai, taxi and tuk-tuk tours are often the best way to sample the sights and get a glimpse into the hectic hive of lives being lived out on the streets.
Here’s a few photos I’ve taken while literally on the go.
The ferry ride from Koh Chang, Thailand.
Views of Koh Chang from an elephant.
Taking a tuk-tuk from temple to temple at Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
A taxi trip through Delhi’s heaving streets.
Views from a taxi in Mumbai.
The Indian countryside racing by from a train.