@j-i-a I didn't have sex (or even kiss anyone or hold hands or basically anything that was not slowly inching closer and closer while playing Nintendo until our knees were ALMOST BUT NOT QUITE touching) until I was 26. I don't think there was any childhood factor, except arguably self-esteem issues as a result of (entirely unrelated to sex/ideas about sex) abusive parenting. For me it was more that I had problems with isolation and social anxiety and so just didn't meet enough people to even really make many friends, let alone sexy sex friends. So I suppose a line could be drawn between the social anxiety and the childhood abuse, but I think I related to sex in a fairly normal atheist/liberal way.
@redheaded&crazy I am away now but am heading home to Toronto in a few weeks, and one of the best things about homesickness (or wanderlust for where you're from, as I like to think of it) is you start fantasizing about what you'll do once you're back in your "real life" (Hot Docs! Dong Point [the nudie beach]! ride bikes to Leslie Spit! walk everywhere! wear tiny skirts without giving a shit!), thinking of it as another potential adventure, which is probably how we should all be thinking of our real lives anyway.
@thisexactly I'm based in Penang (just a bit outside of George Town proper) but have taken side trips to KL, Melaka, Cherating (podunk surfer town in Pahang), and Sabah, all of which were entirely different experiences. For such a small country, it feels huge.
I am lucky in that I'm able to do my low-paying North American contract job remotely from home, wherever that may be. But it seems like teaching English could be a viable option here (despite what I'd always assumed), based on what local teachers at language centres and international schools have said. I have an American friend who is doing an internship at the UN High Commission for Refugees in KL. She applied without a ton of experience in development or the like and says she thinks it might be less competitive to get an internship like that here than elsewhere. She also mentioned there's refugee schools that tend to need teachers, which is something I wish I'd had a semester to commit to doing. Of course, these might not pay well (or at all), but the living here is so cheap that it would be very doable with a bit saved up. Anyway, if you ever decide to come back and would like me to pass along my meagre but insanely helpful contacts, hit me up.
What a lovely post. I am in a similar situation right now, only my Kamchatka is Malaysia. My feeling is that this is a normal but less discussed (maybe because it can make you feel like kind of a dink) facet of long-term travel that tends to be overshadowed by the TIME OF MY LIFE narrative. Sometimes I get to feeling disappointed in myself for not carpe'ing the living shit out of the goddamn diem, but, like, that doesn't sound like me at all! I get tired, you know? I need to spend an alarming number of days lolling around my apartment, you know? This was true at home and it is true here. So while I may not be having THE time of my life, I am definitely having A time of my life, which makes me feel quietly optimistic in that it is like, No pressure, there are more of these to come.
Hairpin, you make my face leak in the home of my abusive/loving parents. Hats off (HEY-O...because of hairpins) to you and the badass, inspiring author of this piece.