My first ever solo trip was an incredible 36-Day adventure with Topdeck, and 8 years later I found myself joining my second amazing journey with Topdeck on the 16-Day Road To Phnom Penh trip in Asia.
Both trips were taken at totally different points in my life. The first came when I had no idea what I was doing and running away overseas seemed the only way to make sense of it all. The second trip came at a time when I had finally figured things out, started living the dream and reveling in each adventure.
Sitting on a boat and floating down the Mekong River on my latest trip, I realised there are some things you can only learn on a Topdeck trip in Asia.
- How to tune into your inner voice
Nothing gives you perspective quite like travel. When you’re far away from home, your friends, family and all those creature comforts and familiarities allow you to tap into your inner voice.
Suddenly, things seem far less complicated than they were when you were home. Travel days winding your way through the hills of Laos or catching the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and staring out the window, listening to music – those are the days when the message is loud and clear, telling you exactly what you need to do when you get home. Honestly, it’s the best feeling!
- How to let go and have fun
The first few days of a new adventure always leave me feeling a little nervous, but before you know it you’re laughing and sharing jokes with your travel buddies like you’ve been friends forever. When you join a Topdeck trip, you’re always going to meet like-minded people ready to share this incredible adventure and hilarious moments.
Before you know it, you’ve let go of all your inhibitions and are laughing like crazy over dinner, dancing like a madman in a tiny Cambodian bar or trying something new you never thought you would! It pushes you to let go and have fun.
- The value of other cultures
Being part of a Topdeck trip through Asia allows you to experience things you never would if you planned it by yourself.
You’ll find yourself in unique situations, like learning to make brooms and taking an ox-cart ride in Phnom Penh or exploring local markets and tiny streets in Laos. These unique, hands-on experiences take you to the heart of a country and teach you a profound respect and admiration for other cultures and their value in the world.
- How to be a self-sufficient travel boss
You might start off a bit of a travel rookie but by the end of your trip, you’ll be a self-sufficient travel boss. You’ll have a ton of travel hacks up your sleeve – some self-taught, others learned from friends made on the road.
Either way, by the end of it you’ll know what to pack and what’s a total waste of space or how to fix just about anything with duct tape and even how to manoeuvre crazy streets in peak-hour with all your luggage.
- The true strength of your leg muscles
Nothing quite tests your leg strength like the questionable toilets you come across when travelling. By the end of the trip you’ll have reached professional status and will truly know just what your legs are capable of.
It’s more comforting than you think!
- How truly blessed you are
When you’re far away from home you start to forget the things that irk you and focus on the things you love. It gives you clarity and the chance to realise how blessed you are to be exploring Asia, having these wonderful, fun, and unforgettable experiences with people who started out as strangers.
It makes you realise how thankful you are for your family, friends and your home. Somehow, leaving everything behind and being on the road, makes you love the things you can’t see even more than before.
- The world is an incredibly beautiful place
Whether you’re wandering the streets of Tokyo, exploring hidden corners of Beijing, cruising through Halong Bay or discovering the magic of sunrise at Angkor Wat you’ll find yourself lost in moments that take your breath away.
There’s so much beauty in the world and it’s not until you step outside your comfort zone and start experiencing it you realise just how big the world is and how many unique, awe-inspiring places there are to see. It gives you a new respect and love for the whole world and leaves you thankful.
- How to make the most of any city
You’ll soon learn just how much you’re capable of seeing, doing, eating and experiencing in a city when you get your first free days. With the hard parts of your travel arrangements taken care of, your only worry is working out just how much is too much to pack into a free day.
You’ll soon find you’re a city-planning aficionado, skilfully piecing together itineraries, digging up local tips on the best places to eat and bartering with locals.
- The value of connecting with locals
There’s so much to learn from people in different cultures. When you’re on a Topdeck trip through Asia you get the chance to connect with local guides in each destination you visit and tap into local knowledge. It’s a great chance to ask questions and learn about the country’s history, their culture, religion and so much more.
Before you know it, you’ve got in-jokes and are getting insider tips on must-try food and which dodgy bars to avoid in town.
- How to power-nap like a pro
With so many awesome activities and adventures packed into each day, you find yourself embracing the art of the power nap like never before. After an early start offering alms to monks on the streets of Luang Prabang, you’ll find yourself curling up on the bus and falling asleep with your favourite song playing through your headphones.
If you never thought you were much of a napper, you’ll soon change your tune!
- The joy of food
Let’s get real, food is life and the best part of travel is all the new food you get to eat! Asian food, in particular, is insanely delicious with its amazing combination of salty, sweet, sour, spicy and bitter flavours, perfectly balanced.
Your Topdeck trip leader will take you to the best restaurants in town, your local guides will give you the inside scoop on the must-try dishes and your hungry tummy will have a field day sniffing out tasty bites from street-food vendors.
- You want to travel more
The end of a trip is always hard because you’ve grown so close to the people you’re travelling with! One thing’s for sure, you’ll already be planning your next adventure before your Topdeck trip is even over and secretly hoping your trip leader has gotten totally mixed up and accidentally extended the trip by a few weeks.
A Topdeck trip through Asia will ignite your love for travel and have you wanting to see more and more of the world!
Ready to book the trip Phoebe went on? Check it out HERE
To complete your Asia bucket list one country at a time, go HERE.