25 things I love about cycle touring in Southeast Asia

  1. The power of a wave and a smile – the international language of friendship
  2. Seeing crazy scooter stuff like 5 people on a scooter, 10 year olds riding scooters, scooters piled high with stuff, scooters with crazy attachments, people riding along holding their helmets under their arm!! The list goes on…
  3. Finding you are no longer surprised at crazy scooter stuff after a while, in fact you come to expect it
  4. Friendly children, babies in slings tied onto their mothers, mothers working with kids in tow
  5. Learning new languages and connecting with people, finding you can ‘talk’.
  6. Finding yourself talking pidgin English, missing words out and using the present tense way too much
  7. Getting somewhere under you own steam and seeing buses pass you, sometimes the same bus several times over a few days
  8. Going to ‘tourist free’ places and meeting local people
  9. Seeing red chillies laid out on a mat, drying in the sun
  10. Being independent – backpackers are often at the mercy of buses, tuk tuks and boats, all weary on arrival
  11. Living cheaply and being self-sufficient
  12. Trusting people
  13. Traditional hill tribe women eating betel nuts that make their teeth and lips blood red as they chew
  14. Not knowing where you are going to sleep that night, but not worrying about it
  15. Trying different food and discovering just how much rice it is possible to eat in one day
  16. Fresh pineapple
  17. Cows with big floppy ears standing in the road, reluctant to move and slightly put out at you being there on their road
  18. Learning about the world, people, their stories, politics and culture
  19. Feeling you can do anything, go anywhere, trusting your instincts
  20. Nice feeling you get when you feel comfortable in a country and find you have relaxed
  21. Being in tune with the weather, reading the signs and being exposed to the elements
  22. Seeing giant golden buddha statues  and brightly coloured, pristine temples in the most unexpected places
  23. Beautiful, shiny green paddy fields
  24. Cycling for 5 hours a day = plenty of time and space to think
  25. Weight loss, need I say more?!

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