The Human of the Earth I will introduce to you this week is Oded. Oded and I ran into each other at the bus station in Pai, Thailand. After I told him I was on my way to a festival in Chiang Dao, our ways split. Only until I ran into him again two days later at the Shambhala in Your Heart festival. After our short talk at the bus station he decided to go to this festival as well. We spend an amazing week in this unique place; played pirate games with little kids, danced on great music, watched stars with a botle of wine and we became really good friends. A month or two later we ran into each other again in a hostel in Siem Reap, Cambodia, just one day before I was about to leave the country. This is Oded’s story: 
Oded and I, together with Oded’s random little best friend on his shoulders, at the Shambhalla festival in Thailand.
Oded and I, together with Oded’s random little best friend on his shoulders, at the Shambhala festival in Thailand.

My name is Oded (Eddie). I’m 23 years old and come from Raanana, a relatively small town next to Tel Aviv, Israel.

The trip I’m doing right now is the first time I travel on my own. Back in Israel I used to hike all around the country a lot with my family and I guess that is what made me be used to my current way of life. I started my trip in Bangkok, Thailand, went north up to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, crossed the border into Laos, went up north to Luang Nam Tha then south all the way to the Four Thousand Islands. I crossed the border to Cambodia and went from north-east to west, then south until I got to Otres beach. From there I went east to capital Phnom Penh and caught a bus back to Bangkok. Four days later, a change of mood made me book a flight the same day, to Madagascar, Africa. After traveling in the central, western and a bit of eastern parts I flew to South Africa, where I am right now. For me, living and working on Otres beach, Cambodia, was one of the most special times of my life.

I value my trip and the places I visit especially (but not only) through the people I meet, I believe it’s the most memorable part. This is the reason Otres beach is so special to me.  But don’t get me wrong- I’ve seen some amazingly beautiful places! Saying this, I believe one of the best ways to travel is hitchhiking. I’ve done it in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. This way you actually see the country and meet the locals, instead of taking buses that drop you off at a specific point, usually in a touristic place, making you break your head on how to get to where you want to go. While by hitchhiking you meet amazing random people, some are really nice, some can’t talk to you but try to communicate in different ways. I appreciate the ones who stop because I know they value this way of traveling and are eager to meet new, different people. Many of them helped me to get to places I’ve never dreamed of. Some offered me water or food. A special case was a Belgian family; parents and their daughter. I tried to get to a temple up high on a mountain and they offered to drive me and my friend there, for free, because they had a rented van. After visiting the temple, instead of sleeping in a random town on the way to another city three hours from there, they waited for us and drove us to our destination! Thanks to this I met my friend Yalou again in Phnom Phen before she got on a flight back home the next day.

Hitchhiking in Asia.
Hitchhiking in Asia.

Before I left home I worked for a year and a half teaching music. Some of the money I saved is still left and that’s how I managed to travel for that long. During my time on the beach in Cambodia I worked in a bar & guesthouse where I got free accommodation, food and drinks for my work.

Sometimes I miss having a normal, proper place while traveling. I miss my own cozy bed, my room and my neighborhood. I miss my friends and family, all the time. I miss not being scared of mosquitoes, not carrying, my big 20kg bag and worrying about losing things on the way. But I sound too spoiled now- I LOVE traveling!

While traveling around Asia and Africa, I met so many people who have been to so many amazing, remote and fascinating places. I want to visit all of them! Whenever I hear of a cool place I write it down, and the list is infinite. I would love to meet the amazing people I’ve met during my travels again, whether it is in Europe, America, Australia or anywhere else.

I’m trying to keep my friends updated with where I am and what I do through Facebook. Keeping a blog or a journal is a bit of a burden for me. Many photos of the people I meet and the views I saw (and still see) are on there and I always try to say where is and what’s happening in the photo.

Oded with some local kids on Otres Beach, Cambodia.
Oded with some local kids on Otres Beach, Cambodia.

What I want to say is traveling is simply amazing, but it doesn’t fit everyone. Some could only travel for a short period of time. Some will spend more money not compromising on food, or a room, or shopping. Some can’t travel alone. Some can ONLY travel alone. It doesn’t matter. Go out there and see the world. Learn about places and cultures that you can only learn about by seeing them. The media lies. People lie because they’re scared. So don’t be scared of things, because they are NOT scared of you!

Tòda (thank you) Oded, for sharing your story with us! Have fun in Africa and I hope to see you soon! (:

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