Dating in Malaysia
As far back as I can remember, since high school indeed, I have always wanted to go far away, to live elsewhere. This is what I did after my nursing studies. I moved to Reunion Island for five years. My first dream came true, but it was not enough yet. I wanted to go far away, to a culture different from mine, alone, with no time or space limit. I felt the need for it deeply. Not doing it was like living next to my life. So I quit my job, returned to my apartment, kissed my boyfriend one last time, and took a flight to Bangkok. Then a second for Chiang Mai, a city in northern Thailand, where I started my first work on a horse farm. My job? Take the horses out of the paddock and accompany the tourists on day trips. Then I realized another dream, that of riding alone on horseback.
Through another volunteer from this horse farm (an Austrian one), I met a group of travelers who had met themselves at a youth hostel in the city. People who traveled like me, alone and who came from all over the world. From that day on, I wasn’t alone for a single day on my trip – at least, to Malaysia. I met some of these travelers. We crossed Laos together, met other fellow travelers, then Cambodia. We laughed, from the first word exchanged in the morning, still in our dorm beds, to the last traded in the evening, sometimes until the middle of the night. I felt free, even though I could see there was always a limit. But freed from all responsibility, I felt lighter. I had no idea what tomorrow would bring or where I would be, but I knew anything was possible.
Our paths all parted in Kampot, Cambodia. A page that was turning. I also chose to travel to find myself alone, face with myself. So that’s what I did in Malaysia. Weeks, independently, constantly moving, meeting people but fleetingly.
And then, this virus, whose name sometimes appeared in conversations between travelers, this virus was more and more heard. One day my ex from Reunion called me. I was then on an island. I was looking at the sea. He told me that things are getting worse and that a choice will be imposed on me, that of returning very soon or remaining stranded for an indefinite time at the other end of the world. I told her that I was never the type to take precautions and would only turn back when I got to the end of the road.
Two days later, as I leave this island to continue my journey, I take a boat with dozens of travelers rushing to the airport, taking the last flights home before Singapore closes its doors. I think the world has gone mad. I think I might be missing my chance, maybe the last, to get home. But I will continue. Only to find myself confined to the city afterward. I moved into a hostel, where I met a group of about fifteen people, from 20 to 80 years old, “backpackers”. We all live together, happily, the start of confinement in Malaysia. We are comfortable there, we each have our little wooden hut, we go to the beach during the day, and we meet in the evening to play cards or talk together. We hear news from our respective countries. The Italian is worried, his whole family is there, and the situation is more than catastrophic in Italy. The Australian has lost a friend to cover. We watch it from afar. Our countries are asking us to return as soon as possible. But we stayed. What’s the best out there? The void is much more present there, and by limiting our movements, we also restrict its propagation.