Sunday, June 25th, 2017

It’s Time To Leave Asia. I’m Not Ready.


As I write this, I have less than a week remaining in Southeast Asia.  As this publishes, I have less than 48 hours.

I’m not ready to go.

I absolutely love this corner of the world.  It’s not just the incomparable weather, the delicious food, the insane nightlife, the gorgeous beaches, the quirky people I meet every day…

…it’s just Asia. I love it here.

I’m happier than I’ve been in years.  Let me rephrase that — I’m happy.

The dread has been creeping up in the back of my throat.  But it came to a head this week as I shopped at MBK.

I’ve been shopping a lot at MBK, one of Bangkok’s best malls, replacing my belongings after losing nearly everything in the shipwreck.

My iPhone’s case was barely hanging on by a thread, so I bought a new (hot pink and glittery!) one.  My friend Ray encouraged me to buy a new screen protector as well.  “It’ll be much cheaper here than in the US,” he told me.

He was right.  I paid $3 for what previously cost me $17 at the Apple Store on Boylston Street in Boston.

And that sent me into a panic.

JEANS.  I should buy jeans.  I bought one pair of skinny jeans the other day for $29 – shouldn’t I buy more?  JEANS WOULDN’T BE THAT CHEAP IN AMERICA!  I SHOULD STOCK UP!

I walked by a Tiger Balm display.  Did they even have Tiger Balm in the US?  IT CURES EVERYTHING!  I SHOULD STOCK UP!

I twirled around a fantastic store, Eve, filled with gorgeous casual dresses that fit me like a glove.  THEY COST $6 EACH!  I SHOULD STOCK UP!

How could I go home and live without the amazing resources of Bangkok?

I nearly had a breakdown.

Then I reminded myself – Rob is here for a bit.  Poi and Kirsty are here for a year.  If I get into a bind and really, really need something from Bangkok, and can’t find it online, I’m sure they would be happy to post it to me in the States.  (And, of course, I’d PayPal them enough money for a great night out as a thank you.)

It’s not just the cheap clothing.  I’ve been in Bangkok on five separate visits since last October, and I’ve truly fallen in love with this amazing city.  It’s cosmopolitan.  It’s vibrant.  The nightlife is insane.

Just like in Paris, I fit in Bangkok.  It makes sense.

Yes, as I’ve said before, I’ll be happy to see my family and friends when I get home.  But beyond that?  I WISH I WERE STAYING HERE.

I felt the same way when I was leaving Florence after an amazing four months.  I spent my final week sick with dread, my final day crying nonstop.  I was in a panic — how could life at home ever compare to life in Italy?

It’s been six years, and I still miss Italy every day.

But that’s the risk that you take.  The more you love someone or something, the more heartache you inevitably invite into your life.

My new love for Southeast Asia has ripped a hole open in my heart that will always be with me, resting alongside the ache that I have for Italy.

But if this pain comes as part of the package, I gladly accept it, and will continue to accept it as I travel the world.  I plan on falling in love with dozens more countries over the course of my lifetime.

It’s so worth it.

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36 Responses to “It’s Time To Leave Asia. I’m Not Ready.”
  1. Patricia GW says:

    I know how you feel Kate, I lived in the United Kingdom for 6 months and still miss it everyday, too.
    But leaving one destination just means you’re traveling to a new one; another adventure, another fantastic experience with new friends, orgasmic food, and a different place “you fit into.”
    And yes, new skinny jeans 🙂

  2. Wow – I have never had that kind of reaction to leaving a place. Yet. But I haven’t been where you are. Yet. 🙂

  3. I can’t even believe your time is almost up to come back to Boston! you should definitely write a post about how you feel being back – if it feels strange, comforting, etc.

    I feel the same way you feel for Asia as I do for San Diego where I lived for almost a year. I miss it everyday. At least you can go back, or plan a 2nd globetrotting adventure!

  4. Amanda says:

    I know this feeling well, Kate. Oh, do I know it well. It was the same for me when I left New Zealand after nearly 5 months. Sure, I was excited to go home and see my family and friends… but I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to NZ.

    I suppose the good news is that you’re still young, and you have a lot of travel life ahead of you! It’s just time for the next adventure. And, nobody says you can’t go back to all those places you love – they’ll still be waiting for you!

  5. Katherine says:

    I felt the same way when I left Boston nearly a year ago to return to Texas for a job, and I think about that city every. single. day. Still wish I were there.

    I can’t believe you’re already leaving Asia. I stumbled across your blog I think the DAY BEFORE you were actually leaving on the jaunt, and I’ve been following it closely ever since. Your posts have made my days at work less tedious–I save them up to read while I’m at the office, and I have to say, it makes dreary days that much better. You’ve also inspired me to do what I’ve been thinking about doing: leave my job and move to Prague to teach — and travel indefinitely after that. So thanks for that.

    I can’t wait to keep reading. I have no doubt you’ll find your way back to Asia — or somewhere even better. 🙂 Safe travels to the UK!

  6. Cat says:

    I’m not ready for you to leave either. What am I going to do without any more Southeast Asia Adventurous Kate stories?!?!

    It seems such a short time ago that you arrived in Bangkok and posted a photo of that mall when you were trying to figure out your jail broken phone issue. Time flies!!

    I’ve learned so much about that part of the world from you, I encourage people to consider going to Thailand, etc now even though I’ve never been … but someday I will.

    • Thank you so much, Cat! I appreciate that.

      I will tell you that there are hundreds of stories that I haven’t told yet. Until the next adventure, I’ll have PLENTY of material!

  7. Your posts have definitely made me interested in visiting Asia soon. It seems like you got every ounce of fun you could out of your time there!

  8. Katie says:

    I felt the same way after living in South Africa for 4 months. I kept saying I’ll be back, because I wasn’t really ready to leave! There are so many other places I want to see but South Africa has a special place in my heart and I miss it all the time. I haven’t been back yet, but someday…

  9. Erica says:

    Oh Kate! *hug*

    While I know that you will miss it dearly, we are all looking forward to your adventures!

  10. Heather says:

    I have exactly one left week in Australia and am feeling much of the same. Tears set in last week once I booked my flight home and I am sure they’ll come more with each day. I miss some things about home but I’m not ready to leave Oz. Hang in there

  11. Sheryll says:

    I know exactly how you feel. When I left London, I came back to the US so depressed for the first month. Good luck back in Boston, I can’t wait to read about your next adventure!

  12. Matt says:

    All I have to say, is “Good luck.” I STILL miss SE Asia and I’m living in the most beautiful country in the world. The quality of life is unsurpassed by few places and I wake up every morning, look out my window and see towering mountains and the vivid blue waters of Lake Wakatipu. Yet somehow, I still yearn for the traffic clogged and polluted air of BKK, the smiles of local Thais the beaches of Lanta and the cheap cost of living. Yeah, SE Asia is bloody addictive, and I’ve only scratched the surface.

    Lets plan a rendezvous. Koh Lanta. Start of December.

  13. Rick Jones says:

    Oh dear. Just move here, thats what i did. Granted, i have a company that I run to back me up on whatever i do.

    There ARE english teaching jobs available, 30k baht a month isnt too bad for a starters. Travel on the weekends and AdventurousKate your life away for another year 😉


  14. Nicole says:

    Ahhhh, I hate that feeling so much! But then I remember its a great thing if you feel like that about a city – it means you’ve found somewhere you’ve connected with and a place to go back to.

    I hope leaving isnt too sad – all the best! : )

  15. Alex says:

    Kate, I left Asia nearly two years ago and feel the same way, every day. I’m finally about to go back, and I’m filled with so many emotions, mostly fear that what I left behind won’t be there now. I hope you don’t have to wait as long as I did to get back!

  16. SE Asia is the guy or girl you NEVER get over. I keep coming back!

  17. Well did you stock up on anything or just plan on leaving without them? You left me hanging on to figure out. I hear Asia is a wonderful place and you will find another treasure in you travels that will make you happy.

  18. AudreyDez says:

    Awww Kate, this is heartbreaking! But there’ll be other adventure and you can always come back in SEA, it’s not the end:)

    I felt quite the same way when leaving Vancouver, still miss it everyday. And yes, it’s worth the pain!

    Have a good day anyway:) there’s still Europe on your way!

  19. Claire says:

    oh you are so correct-the shopping in bangkok is fantastic! actually, the shopping in asia overall is a bargain hunger’s dream. I still wear the North Face jacket I purchased for a measly $13-what would have cost 5 times that here. A knockoff? Perhaps. But it’s held up pretty darn well all these years!
    ps-i was completely overwhelmed by the MBK mall! it just kept going. and going. and going!

  20. Jenna says:

    I understand how you feel. I lived in the Czech Republic for 1 1/2 years, and as the date that I had planned to leave approached, I completely freaked out. I started trying to find a way to stay another year, but in the end, I left, heartbroken. I visited at least once a year for a couple years. I still miss it; in fact, I started my blog as a way of expressing that kind of nostalgia that still lives in me all these years later. But it was good that I left– my life wouldn’t be what it is now if I had stayed.
    How much richer your life is now that you’ve experienced Bangkok and all the other places you went! You’ll be back, and you’ll go so many more places, too!

  21. Angela says:

    I know how you feel about East Asia, I came to China originally for six months, I’ve already extended for a year and I know I’ll extend again. I love living in China and I love living in Asia, I do know I can’t extend my visa for the rest of my life, I’ll try to find another way, I’m not ready to leave Asia yet, of course I want to travel, but when I “go back home”, I still want it to be here 🙂

  22. Anthony says:

    Oh Kate,
    I felt a bit sad reading this! Is it a case of finances? Will you plan to get back on the road again? Enjoy your next chapter in England 🙂

  23. Kelli Anne says:

    Kate, I am so sad to see your Asia trip come to an end! I stumbled upon your blog months ago looking for travel blogs, and I am so glad I found yours! Watching you trek through Southeast Asia has been so much fun! Thanks for all the great posts, can’t wait to read about future travels!

  24. Romana says:

    I’ve been travelling in Asia for over 6 months and I too have to leave this place soon. I’m trying to enjoy the most of it in Bali, which is the last stop before heading to Australia. I felt hopelessly in love with Asia and everything it has to offer, so I totally understand your feelings in this post.

  25. This post really hits home for me as well…even though I’m staying in Chiang Mai for almost another six months, and I know it’s ultimately not the right place for me to be, I’ve already thought about how much I will miss my way of life here and how things will never be the same. Having the opportunity and desire to travel/live in different places is absolutely incredible, but it’s often bittersweet at that same time. It seems like I can never be fully content in one place since I know and miss other places…

  26. Molly says:

    I have been living in Bangkok for the last four months, studying abroad, and I just stumbled upon this post and started crying because I only have about 2 more weeks left in this beautiful city. I, too, have fell in love with the people and its charm while discovering so much about myself. Now, I need to get back to MBK and stock up on some more items for myself and my family. I have read several of your posts on Southeast Asia and I just want to thank you for being a great inspiration for any aspiring journalist/writer like myself.

  27. Kristine says:

    I’ve been going through your old posts to get some SEA inspiration and I can totally relate to this. I’ve never felt ready when I had to leave Spain; I still get “homesick” for it. It’s taking a big chunk out of the budget for my next trip, but I just had to buy a ticket to go back!

  28. Caity says:

    Oh my goodness, this post.. I know and remember that feeling like it was yesterday. Sadly it was almost 3 years ago when i departed Rome for home. Now, I continually feel Romesick! Someday I’ll make it back.. But also, Im sure you realized this, but we DO have Tiger Balm here in the US..or at least in Michigan. That stuff’s the BEST! and i feel even better knowing that they do use it in Asia lol

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