How to travel 19 countries in 6 months with ~2K

 

 

Step 1. Saturate your passport in coconut oil.

This will make sense in a moment. 

So in 2016 February I finished work and took off to do the cliche South East Asia trip for a few months. Got myself a nice Qatar flight from Berlin to Bangkok, so the most logical detour was to fly to Barcelona(stop No.1) first and visit a good friend that I used to live with in Ireland. That was great fun, even my girlfriend came for a few days and then very awkwardly said long goodbyes to each other at the same airport, same terminal, same wing, expect for a different gate..I was trying to keep my brave face on, but the tears and snots were dripping down my face, until a sturdy looking German lady gave me a tissue and asked to stop. 

 

After a short 'red-eye flight'(literally) I landed in Berlin(stop No.2) and stayed with another great friend in Neukoln, went on a quirky bar crawl with iced skull glasses of gin,TV's and radios in the toilets and the most authentic kebab to finish off. The next day I somehow managed to fulfill my long time dream- running on the landing strip in Tempelhof. Then tried to meet a friend that kept waiting at the wrong train station as our messages were massively delayed, so it turned into this 3 hour Chinese whisperers game, but only between two people who didn't manage to meet at the end.. 

On the plane to Doha I discover that I will need Thai currency to pay for my visa on arrival. After loosing my neck pillow on the plane,that was gifted by my beloved girl, I exchanged some Bat for an extortionate rate and walked 20 million kilometers to the next gate to catch the final plane to my sunny and fun soon to be destination! 

 

Thailand passport control.3h in the queue. Still with an uncontrollable excitement which started turning into a bit of tiredness, I proudly submit my passport, visa application and a few thousand bat. Officer woman looks at me, at my passport, again at me. Smells the passport. Looks up again. I half smile. She gives the passport to her colleague who smells it as well and touches every single page in it. He asks me why the pages are so weirdly greasy and what's that smell. After a pretty long and awkward stare at each other and silence, something clicked in my head- that passport was accidentaly left in a bag with a tub of coconut oil in 35 degrees at Glastonbury festival a year ago. I took a good few flights since that happened so I never paid attention to it. Surely in Europe, they aren't trying to stamp a visa into your precious book. I explained them this whole ridiculous situation in a lighthearted and cheery way in a hope to be let in to their paradise country. Unfortunately, after the 5th officer turned into an aromachologist and asked me what exactly was I doing with my passport that it smells and tastes like coconut, my answer was- oh sure I was practising cooking Pad Thai with my passport before coming here.. That left me passportless and clueless for another few hours waiting for the verdict. One guy hissed at me- shame on you, shame on your passport. A few nice and apologetic attempts later, they let me in for 15 days and flagged me on the system so I won't be entering Thailand with that passport again. My flight back to Europe was from Bangkok in a few months time but that didn't matter anymore. 

 

Freedom! I'm in a manic, beautiful, flashy and buzzing Thailand! Met my Irish friend, went to a few islands,lived the absolute dream with the 'Peacock' family that we acquired in Ko Lanta hostel.

  I think it was day 10 on my visa when I finally copped that not everything is beautiful sunset colours and careless wind in my hair. Reality was that my passport was not valid in Thailand after those few days. I topped up my Skype credit and started looking for any Lithuanian peeps that would help me out. So apparently there is no Lithuanian embassy in Thailand, numbers on google were old. I rang Singapore, New Delhi, Tokyo and finally Sidney, where I managed to get through to a lovely lady that was working in her garden when her husband called her to the phone to talk to some random Lithuanian girl that needs to get out of Thailand with an oil dripping passport. She gave me legal and illegal advice, I took the later one. Decided to book a flight to Kuala Lumpur and get 90 day Malaysian visa and go to Borneo to chill where my friend was working as a diving instructor. 

Last day of my visa, Phuket airport 9PM. Checking in my backpack at the desk and the plot thickens. They didn't let me on the plane. Took a photo of my passport and sent it on WhatsApp(!) to Kuala Lumpur passport check. Reply was rather delayed and I even managed to squeeze out a little tear there for the show just in case it will be denied. And it was, and the tears didn't help. Air Asia let me fly to Bangkok and sort myself out there, except that they put me on the wrong plane and I ended up in that other airport.. Found a very bruised and freshly robbed Norwegian guy, absolute legend that was coming back from Koh Tao, and came back to the center at 3am. I couldn't deal with getting a room straight away so got a foot massage instead to gather my thoughts. 

Next day, first day overstaying my visa. So during the night, after meeting a freespirited Eko, I had a little light bulb moment and decided to contact the Hungarian embassy(they're in EU and have somewhat friendly relationship with Lithuania) since my beloved home country didn't have an office to accommodate lost travelers in Thailand. The meeting with their ambassador went smoother than I expected, only with a few mutual giggles while smelling the passport. They issued me an emergency passport in two days and I became a proud Hungarian for my shameful trip back to Europe. Little that they know though.. So the thing with emergency passport is that you have to declare that you're going back straight to your home country, but I had a stopover in Barcelona, where I escaped from the airport and ended up traveling another 16 countries in Blakans with the same passport. More details in the next post

 

 

 

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