The winter I was 21 I backpacked through Southeast Asia for two months with three other girls, my old Pentax K1000, and a second-hand guitar. We landed in Malaysia, wove north through Thailand, and after boating down the Mekong River to a town called Champasak, parted ways in Southern Laos, from which I ventured to Vietnam alone. Two weeks later we met back up at the airport in Kuala Lumpur and flew to Melbourne.
The trip remains one of the larger landmarks in my life, shooting up out of the memory plains like a mountain. Leaving Vietnam I wished more than anything I could stay on and go through to Cambodia. But the money had dwindled to very little, our two months was up, and my passport held a work visa for Australia. Time, as it continues to do, required that change occur.