One of the things I need to be better at is listening to my gut feeling. That strong feeling you get when you are about to do something, and that little voice pops up telling you not to do so. I’m not talking about going against your fears, but the decisions in your everyday life. On this trip I’ve ignored it twice, trying to shake it off, only to end up «why didn’t I listen». The first time this feeling came up was when I got my tattoo of the pineapple and coconut on my arm. I wanted to tell the tattoo artist do not put background colour further up, but I didn’t do so and inside the voice was screaming for me to tell him to stop, but I stayed quiet. The background colour on the tattoo was too strong for my taste. Also one of the reasons I haven’t posted a picture of it. Second time I ignored it was the day when I arrived in Hanoi. I met two other travelers, Isabella and Joseph. We had just spent the night traveling on a night bus from Hue. After an hour on the bus I started sneezing, feeling like I was coming down with something. Completely convinced that I was going to get the flu, I tried to sleep as much as possible. When we arrived Hanoi, a rash started to appear on my arms. I thought it might be because I drank a green ice tea with lemon, due to my citrus allergy. It doesn’t always act out but I was sure this was it, what else could it be. We sat down on a café trying to decide where to go. Isabella really wanted to go to Cat Ba, after all we had all these plans squeezed in my last days in Vietnam. From Hue to Halong bay and Cat Ba, kayaking, spending time on the beach and hanging out with my new cool friends, to ride bikes up north to Sapa to stay with two grandmas who would trek in the mountains with us, and Isabella would teach me how to drive a scooter, and then be in Laos right before my birthday. What plans I had ahead of me! Right before the taxi came, this nagging feeling started to come, that I should stay behind, but I ignored it because I didn’t want to be boring. This could be a fun adventure, and this whole trip was about going out of my comfort sone and cease the day right? I ignored it and went on to travel another 6 hours to Cat Ba. While riding the second bus this rash became worse. Right before we got on the ferry to take us to the island, I realised that this was bed bug bites from the hostel I was staying in Da nang, and not a rash, from the way the rash was forming. It only got worse. Apparently I had a really bad reaction because of my allergy against histamines and bed bugs. By the time I came to our hostel I was in so much pain. My skin felt like it was burning, bites appeared everywhere, and it was so itchy! When you have an allergy against histamines and such, you will feel very ill, like your whole body is in shock which it kind is. You will also feel a prickling sensation, short of breath, and like something is crawling on you, all while dealing with burning skin and extreme itching. Not everyone reacts the same, some won’t even get any reaction at all, but no, not me. Apparently the second time you get bed bug bites, you might have a worsened reaction than the first. Just my luck.
I threw everything, including my backpacks and everything made of fabric to be washed. After a quick shower I looked myself in the mirror and the bites were huge, red and everywhere. I looked like I had a disease. That night I didn’t sleep, the itch was intense and burning. The day after the bites had worsened, the biggest bites was almost 1 cm, spreading all over my body. Even under my feet! I looked like I was carrying some kind of contagious disease. I told Isabella and Joseph to go do sightseeing stuff without me, just because being outside with the heat seamed to make the pain worse. I popped so many antihistamines and painkillers, put on cortisone creme without any relief. While lying in bed in my hostel I knew what my next days would look like, confined to a bed the last days here in Vietnam. I had to leave the country on 1.august anyways, so I started checking for plane tickets to go back to Bangkok which was my initial plan before meeting Isabella and Joseph. The only flight not costing me a fortune was the same day, or else I’d had to wait until Sunday. I really just wanted to go home to my grandparents. Therefore I hurried down to the reception to get my stuff back from the laundromat, so I could catch the bus 12:30, and reach Hanoi in time for the 20:50 pm flight to Bangkok. I got my stuff back, did a super quick packing, took a shower and hurried out the door with 10 minutes to spare. Now I’m back in Bangkok, or as I like to call it, home. I’ve been here two nights, and I’m starting to feel a lot better, except for last night when I got food poisoning from the pizza I ordered. Just what I needed, like itchy burning skin wasn’t enough, now I just needed to spend the night in the bathroom too. Well at least I feel better today. I’ve been eating minimal food to not upset my stomach, napping to catch up on sleep and relaxing in an air-conditioned room to not irritate my skin. What did I learn about all of this? Don’t ignore your gut feeling. If I just said, look guys I’m just gonna stay here in Hanoi, I wouldn’t have had to spend so much extra money going back and forth in one day, and I wouldn’t have had this tattoo I’m not completely happy with it. Your gut feeling is there for a reason, even if it’s the slightest stupidest little thing, just follow it. Or you’ll end up causing yourself unessessary stress, like I did. Now I’m back in Bangkok, and I’ll stay here for a little while to get all better and to just relax a little. I mean traveling is great, and I really wish I loved a full packed schedule, but to be honest, it was too much. I’m not really there in my life where I want to rush through things anymore, to see as much as possible just because I’m there. It kind of takes away the magic with traveling, at least for me it does. Even though Cambodia and Vietnam isn’t my favourite countries, I do wish I didn’t speed through it the way I did. So lesson learned, stop ignoring my gut feeling and slow down a little more. Life is not meant to be rushed, it’s meant to be enjoyed. One last lesson before my birthday, I’m turning 25 in two days. I’m actually excited to do absolutely nothing, spending time with my dear grandparents and eating a whole lot of cake. Well, I might do a little shopping and get a massage (if my skin is healed up), just because I deserve it. Have a wonderful Sunday everyone.