I'm sitting in the dark in one of my host's dorms. From the street, I hear the karaoke bar around the corner and the subtle noise of the night market. For every traveller, these sounds are a lure. For me, the bait has lost its pull. I haven't been looking for adventures for months. I'm nervous, although there's no reason to be except that the internet is too slow to watch movies and my Dropbox is blocked by the Chinese state. I can neither save my photos nor correct my English texts. It's this unsecured status that makes me nervous. What if just now my computer decides to break? Then the pictures are gone forever. On the one hand, I want to get out of China, to finally move closer to Australia, on the other hand, I like it here. I have so much to learn and could eat my way through this fascinating country indefinitely. However, I will never learn Chinese, which makes a prolonged stay futile.
To my surprise, I got a two-month visa for China. The country is big enough to travel for longer. But I drove from Tibet to Yunnan Province at the speed of light. I organised everything early so the train tickets would be cheap. And so I'm only a bus ride away from the border. I intend to spend three weeks in Jinghong. It's a small cosy town (by Chinese standards), caught in endless summer at the bank of the Mekong river (here called Lancang Jiang). Once again I found an excellent situation over the internet, a young couple, who hosts me in their hostel in exchange for photos, a film and a mural. They cook delicious food, and I have the distinct feeling that I am getting more out of this exchange than I can give. But I've learned too, that that's subjective, and what I think is only essential if I feel it's the other way round.
I'm restless, trapped between the date I will be flying out of Bangkok to Rome, to meet my family and my tight budget. It is not just the organisational effort, but also the almost endless variations that keep me trapped in a self-made circle of thought. In one second, I want to travel all over the country to meet a friend in Beijing, in the next, I throw my plans into the wind to move quickly on to Laos.
I start counting the remaining weeks until I fly back, it's eight and a half. Three weeks here, three weeks there. I quickly get the feeling that I could rush through Southeast Asia in four weeks. After all, I am far from being a fan of beaches and related activities. The two months in Crimea last year were enough sun for a lifetime.
I'm sitting on my hard bed with a hand-sized hole in my newly purchased pants. For some reason, the fabric dissolves, the seams also. Once again a job for my sewing case. This situation fits well with my overall situation. Because whenever something breaks, I find things to mend it with. Structurally, I can rarely change anything, though, but that's exactly what should change. I realise that I don't want to travel the way I have done so far, with my backpack and mobile phone as a starting point for my adventures. I still want to make it around the world, the goal doesn't change. But I don't want to do it with a backpack. I need more space around me, more things that stay, more design, more self-determination. There seem to be many solutions.
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