Speechless in South-East Asia

Over the past two months I have been travelling around South East Asia. Tonight I leave for Beijing. You would think with all the things I have seen and done that I would have something to say about it.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Image curtesy Justin Hickling Photography.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Image curtesy Justin Hickling Photography.

I have had the feeling lately that as an aspiring author (my novel is coming along well now) I should be posting blogs all the time. Build the readership and all that jazz. But I don’t know what to tell you.

Maybe I don’t know where to start. Or what you want to hear about. I don’t feel I have enough knowledge to be writing instructional blog posts about writing.

Should I tell you about how the streets of Cambodia are made of dirt and the children beg you to buy fridge magnets for a dollar? And how you want to hug them and give them money but know that is just fuelling the problem? Should I tell you about my first encounter with an “eastern” toilet? Or how we got caught in a flash-flood on foot in the middle of Phnom Penh?

Should I tell you about the vendors who harassed me so much in Siagon markets that I yelled “Don’t touch me!” at several of them. Or how despite the despicable acts of those fighting in the name of the South, the South was still taken over by communist rule at the end of the war. By war I’m referring to the Vietnam war – but the Vietnamese call it the American War, due to the number of them they have endured in their country. And how the people who live in Siagon, call it Siagon – not Ho Chi Minh City. Because the city was named so after the man Ho Chi Minh after the war, looking like a big “f-you” to the south.

In Hanoi you get the feeling these people don’t really want your tourism. The streets are dirty, the taxi drivers are shifty, and the people seem miserable.

In Laos I wished that tourists learned about the culture of a place before flashing their cameras into the faces of forty monks.

You might like to hear that the city of Vientiane is filled with happy people and wonderful food, and that this is where I enjoyed my first soy latte in six weeks.

Halfway between Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang, Laos. Image curtesy Justin Hickling.

Halfway between Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang, Laos. Image curtesy Justin Hickling.

I could also tell you about the amazing foods we have eaten, and that I am now a total chopstick pro and I feel incomplete if I am not given chopsticks with my noodle order. Or how I am on a bit of a noodle-overload and I’m hanging out for a delicious cheesy pizza and chilled glass of wine.

I have done a lot lately, I have a lot to tell. I feel so lucky to have done these things and have these stories.

But where do I start?

I guess I’m actually referring more towards the fact I feel like I need to build up a readership, and I don’t know how to do it. I want to write – do I need to write about writing? Do I need a theme? Wordleberry is about the written word. But do I need to get more specific than that?

How did you decide where to take your blog? And what do you do when you don’t know what to say? Do you feel pressured to write blog posts all the time? How do you cope?

If you could pick one thing to hear about from all the stories above, which would it be?

As I’m not sure what to say, I wish you all a wonderful day.


2 thoughts on “Speechless in South-East Asia

  1. Firstly, let me say that I adored South East Asia, especially Cambodia and Laos, and was intimidated by Vietnam just like you! I found Vietnam to be the more difficult country to travel through by far. Or perhaps I just had bad experiences.

    As to your blog, I started mine based solely around book reviews, but as I progressed I found that the blog took on a life of its own. My advice, for what it’s worth, is to write exactly what you want to write, no more, no less. Readership will take care of itself. If you write passionately about anything your readership will build! Good luck.

    • Thanks so much for your positive words Jayde-Ashe! I think that is how I will do it 🙂 It’s funny but as I wrote the post I kind of realised all the things I *did* want to tell everyone about.

      Yes Vietnam is quite intimidating – I don’t think it’s just us! Cheers, Ali 🙂

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