Indochina Prologue: The Text That Started It All

Contributor: Melvin Corales

Backpacking Indochina: April 12-20, 2014 (c)

Backpacking Indochina: April 12-20, 2014 (c)

“Pa pa pa ra pa ra pa ra pa pa pa”, I was sitting on a computer chair. I can hear snaps of the Remote Control Panel while I put pressure on it. A commanding voice telling which camera to take. A dimly lit room filled with three people–two behind the desk and one in front of the video tape recorders. A beep came out of my phone which I ignored. Ten minutes of silence in the middle of loud audio distributed to the entire world. I picked up my phone and I read “Let’s do Backpacking Indochina!”, a scream burst out but no one heard a sound, a gush of blood through my veins immediately sends out happy hormones and then I am back. I am back to waiting game. It all started on a hot Christmas season when I was out of excitement for Christmas and a recently concluded Hong Kong short visit.

I was really hungry for another travel experience–and when I say experience, I mean experience. All this time, I always tend to go to a safer place–going to tourist spots and theme parks, but this time, I vowed to take on the once in a lifetime challenge that would definitely change me forever.

It is always good to do something new–something off the beaten path. But mind you, asking for permission to my bosses was a challenge in itself. It’s like standing in front of an immigration officer and being asked every bit of detail of your travel plan and when do you plan to return. But I think that might work to my advantage, at least I can be used to those poker face guys giving you the don’t-dare-to-overstay-your-visa-or-else-I-will-kill-you look.

The day came when I need to ask for my leave of absence. January 5th is really early I know but if you read above, you should understand why I did that. I handed the letter to our boss’ secretary and waited for my appointment date. Two weeks passed and I haven’t heard from him at all. I felt I was doomed to not do this.

We were already planning a shorter trip to other neighboring countries if my leave of absence is disapproved. We also studied if we can still backpack Indochina with such a shorter time and it actually turned out pretty well. We read blogs about travelers going to Thailand and crossing the border overland to Cambodia and right on, we knew we are up to a unique adventure. We are stressing ourselves out just by reading blog entries but we cannot do anything, if my leave is disapproved, we either do it or do it. Not much of a choice eh?

A girl was counting down till we go on-air, I was checking my work. I heard a beep from my phone “OK na daw, natanung ko na kay sir ______”. The moment I read that I was like “What the?”. I immediately told Shiela we are going to Indochina with Travel Factor. A huge sigh of relief. That was the best new year gift ever.

It was almost a year of anticipation, from planning to do it up to completely scrapping it for Singapore and Malaysia last August. Now that we are braver and more daring, we are ready to take on the highlight of our backpacking journey. Backpacking Indochina: Let’s get it on!


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