The day after I left my hostel job, I used some points on a hotel and absolutely crashed. I had plans to go to a Firefly Park with friends, but I was overwhelmed and retreated. The moment my head hit the (four!) pillows (luxury!), I realized that I was completely, utterly exhausted. I could barely move. I didn’t leave the building for the next 24 hours…I extended my stay another night because I needed to get my energy back and make a game plan. My flight to Australia wasn’t until the 12th of October…and it was the 23rd of September. I had originally booked a trip to Bali, but fears of Mt. Agung’s possible eruption kept me in Malaysia. (The alert level for the airport was one step away from completely shutting down, and I had a cat to sit. Honestly, if I didn’t have obligations in Australia, I might have risked getting stuck in the world of the Yoga Barn.) I had a very limited budget, a weak source of freelancing income, over two weeks before my flight to Australia, and no plan…so I had to kill some time.
I saw the “Me too.” statuses going around Facebook pretty early on, and I didn’t think too hard about copying and pasting the status. The idea of showing your social network just how often women are sexually harassed or assaulted is meant to be a wake-up call for men. Without going into detail about my experiences (yet), I also was curious as to how many women would participate. I knew it would make me feel less alone.
I am no longer backpacking through Southeast Asia (for now), and I have to admit, I’m a little bummed. Not just because i am now without a bum gum, but I got to see some really cool places and hear about other cool places that didn’t make my itinerary. At the moment, I’m missing Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) the most. I recently left a comment for a fellow traveler about how great it was to backpack through Saigon, so I’m going to keep the love going with this blog post. If you’re considering Vietnam for your Southeast Asia trip, go! Go now! Or at least apply for your visa.
In Penang, I spent most of my time with a fellow digital nomad lady friend. We both work online. Social media makes this life look pretty easy, and I’ll admit, I find immense joy in being able to work from a bus seat or a bike-themed coffee shop or just from my bed, at any hour. Exploring George Town with Becky was great because even though we explored art galleries and had drinks on Love Lane and ate delicious chocolate cake, we were perfectly content with sitting in silence, working on our laptops. For a few hours at a time.
I work quite a bit in between motorbiking and drinking Changs in order to keep traveling. And even though I’m spending a lot of time working while I’m traveling, it’s nothing compared to how much work I did back in Austin to get here. Y’all, I was clocking in up to 70 hours a week.
I left Kuala Lumpur earlier than expected, and my time in Malaysia has been unexpectedly extended. (Say that five times fast.) After weighing my options, I decided to go to George Town for a few days. …and then I went back. And then I went back. Throughout my travels in Malaysia, George Town has become my home base. I love doing work at Wheeler’s Coffee and eating at the Woodlands Vegetarian Indian Restaurant. Kuala Lumpur is a better base if you’re going to explore more of Malaysia or Southeast Asia, but I’ve found myself back in George Town multiple times without a single complaint.
If you’re traveling through Southeast Asia, you may have a layover or a pit stop in Kuala Lumpur. You’ll find that Malaysia’s capital city has it all, from nature parks to shopping malls to great nightclubs with cheap drinks.
If you have a day in the city, use this great Kuala Lumpur guide to plan your itinerary. Once you’ve had dinner and a drink at Jalan Alor, however, it’s time to explore Kuala Lumpur’s exciting nightlife.
On my way out of Kuala Lumpur, I decided to treat myself and take a trip to Bangsar Village. Bangsar Village is a great area for dining, drinking, and enjoying Kuala Lumpur at night. Tucked away in Bangsar Village is Table9, and I used a KindMeal deal to get a discount on my solo dinner date.
Backpacking is booking a flight to Bali on a whim, dreaming of The Yoga Barn and walking through the Monkey Forest. Everyone at the yoga retreat in Cambodia encouraged a trip to Bali. Your mom wants you to go. You haven’t read Eat, Pray, Love, but you know a thing about heartbreak and could use a chat with a monk and a juice cleanse. Your Instagram following could use a boost and what’s $3 a night for accommodation? Sigh. Shrug. Pleasant ‘mmm.’
Backpacking is uncontrollable sobbing in your hostel dorm, sending a flurry of contradictory messages to people who are on the other side of the world, who are ready to go to bed or go out for the night. Something, which you’ve been sure was ‘hormones’ the past two days, has a grip on each of your lungs and each of your eyes, relentless. You’re out of balance and out of control and wondering at what point you’re going to have to accept your personal definition of “failure” and book the flight back home.
Backpacking is both of these events happening at the same time.
Address: Unit 1-5, Ground Floor Menara UOA Bangsar, No. 5, Jalan Bangsar Utama 1, Bangsar, 59000, Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Hours: Open 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; Closed on Saturday and Sunday
Free Wifi? Yes!
KindMeal Deal: 10% off with Basic Discount; 20% off with KindWords Sharing; valid on any meat-free items
Do They Take Cards? They accept card payment for purchases over MYR 20.
Anyone with a dietary restriction may be hesitant before traveling to a new place, especially if you’re already dealing with new languages, new cultures, and new traditions.
I stuck to a plant-based diet while traveling through Europe, but I was unsure of what I would find when I got to Southeast Asia. All I saw on Instagram are people eating scorpions off the street, and I couldn’t find too much information on how easy it was to stick to a vegetarian diet. I’ve been in Southeast Asia for three months now, and here’s what I’ve learned…