Most backpackers say they love exploring nature and the great outdoors and culture when traveling. The only and best way to do so is by staying in homestays, very popular in South East Asia. This was a new adventure for me and very different from staying in hostels.
Back in October I traveled to Vietnam and stayed in Hoa Ban homestay in Mai Chau. In a big house, built of Bamboo, in a beautiful and remote village, I stayed for 2 nights. One of the best things about homestays is living like a local experience- the everyday life, cuisine, favorite spots and culture of your host.
You will be sleeping on the bamboo floors- no beds. You will be sharing your breakfast and other meals with your generous host and for those 2 nights and 3 days you will become each other’s family.
All the things mentioned above were things that intimidated me before traveling- it’s one thing to share your room with other travelers in a hostel, but to be someone’s guest, a person you have never met before and trust them completely? This was new for me and yes, i would totally do it again because i loved it!
So, in the Philippines I was a guest at a local friend’s house in Coron and staying with him, in the mountains, jungle-like countryside, was a new and adventurous experience. In the Philippines as a rule, as far as I remember from Palawan, there’s no hot water. In this guy’s house there was no running water – just a river of running next to the wooden house. So, doing my laundry, taking a shower, drinking filtered water, and almost everything was done in the river – a first for me. From a girl staying in hostels and home-stays, this was quite a change for me. Waking up in the morning to the sound of the birds chirping, the wind blowing amidst the trees, fresh air and more stars than I could ever count – this type of accommodation was both a blessing and a nightmare at times, especially when the island mosquitoes attacked.
I stayed in the mountains for two weeks, during which we would go down to the city center for supplier and chilling in the evenings and every time I missed the silence and chilly wind, in contrast to the humidity of the city(if you don’t know – the humidity in South-East Asia is really high). I think about that peacefulness very often. Showering under the stars was something not a lot of us get to do in everyday life. The peace and serenity I felt. drinking coffee surrounded with nature, taking nap and waking up to afternoon sun rays, was something i vividly remember till this day.
I didn’t become an island girl. I still love warm showers when it’s cold and i don’t miss the bugs and bites. But, those little magical moments of nature soothing my thoughts and stress, i do miss always. These days I hike more, spend my weekends in the outdoors, exploring my country, the green North and desert in the South, when I get the chance.
I haven’t changed my life completely, yet. But, I have changed 180 degrees.