Me: Hi, aren’t you the guy from the other night?
Guy: Yeah. Can I join your table?
Lebuh King (King St.), Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.
|used without permission from scoutfai.blogspot.com
It was the last of my 3-day stay in that place. I packed my stuff earlier as I was required to checkout before lunch. I decided I would have a brunch in the Indian restaurant right across my dorm. As my order was being taken, I heard a guy behind me, talking to another waiter. I took a quick glance and I thought he looked familiar. I realized he was the guy my roommate and myself had shared a table with a couple of nights before when we ate at a very crowded street.
Georgetown is a place full of backpackers. I love the vibe in that place. You can talk to almost everyone, share your backpacking stories and share notes about your next destinations. Hangout and dinner places are usually full at night. If you are traveling solo, just as I was, you have to exercise your social skills.
Guy: Sorry, but what was your name again?
Me: OJ. Like…juice. What’s yours?
Me: Ana? That’s a girls name in my country.
Guy: Good. It would be easy for you to remember it then.
We talked for about 2 hours while having our brunch. It was also his last day in the place and he’s going back to Germany once he gets to KL.
Ana: I’m actually excited to go home. I’ve been backpacking for three months. There’s a lot of stuff waiting for me at home. I moved to a new pad, I got cool roommates, and I have a lot of research to do.
OJ: You don’t have that “researcher aura” in you.
A: Why? What do you mean?
O: Well, you seem to take research seriously and the people I know who are serious in research look nothing like you (like he has a lip-piercing, hair is a bit long,
cute rugged look).
A: Well, I’m a geologist so my research is Indiana Jones kind of stuff. I did my thesis in Oman.
O: Wow, that’s impressive. I wish the work I’m going back to is as adventurous.
A: Where do you work?
A: How long have you stayed there?
O: 3 years now. I’m thinking of where to go next after a year. I might move again.
A: Where are you going next?
O: I don’t know yet. Honestly, I’m a bit scared.
A: You’ll be fine.
O: You think?
A: I’m positive about it. (eye twinkles)
That’s what I love about the trip. Whenever you meet backpackers, they each have their story to tell why they went out and left everything to explore the world. Just like my roommate Renee, she quit her job, and just decided to go backpacking for a year. She said she does not know what’s going to happen to her when she gets back to US. She just decided to leave. My other roommates are a Russian couple. They left Russia, decided to explore the world and try their luck in youtube (search and subscribe to their channel if you want, their handle is “goodbyenormals”). The guy said they have a TV offer already but they declined because he does not want to be limited to what the producers want. He also suggested that I try Russia when I’m done with Palau.
That is why I love Georgetown. It is full of people who have decided to explore and I felt like I was absorbing their positivity and sense of adventure. I look at their decisions and I feel a little bit braver to let go of the things that are stable, that are comfortable.
A: I’m good in cooking too. (smile)
O: Oh, really now? (laugh)