There’s something about land borders. Something slightly wild and more ‘real’ than the airport immigration process, something more Kerouac about the whole experience. Leaving a country, walking through no-mans land, then crossing over into a new country, a fresh stamp in the passport. New adventures to be had, a new landscape to explore, a new language to learn, and, most importantly, new food to be sampled.
So far we’ve travelled over land from Bangkok to Phnom Penh, from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City, and last week we travelled from Hanoi to Luang Prabang.
Each trip has been different, although they’ve invariably involved painfully long bus rides, with drivers who would rather be anywhere but stuck on a bus with a load of foreigners.
Yet each time we’ve arrived at a border, no matter how long we’ve been travelling for or how desperate I am for the toilet, I can’t help but feel excited. Each border signals the start of a new chapter and travelling overland heightens the sense of adventure.
Reading other bloggers’ horror stories of travelling overland has, at times, made me want to book a flight – the thought of a journey taking 2, rather than 24, hours is very tempting. But at each border crossing I am thankful that I decided to take the long way round.