Where in the world is Derrick?

A lot can happen in six months. When I left Australia at the end of April, I had a plan, so to speak. A list of countries I’d like to visit, a few flights booked, but nothing concrete.

My thinking was that I’d let the people, experiences and events along the way influence the next step I’d take, and how they did. With J by my side in Vietnam, we planned our journey as each day came.

When friends from home turned up in Vietnam, the plan altered again. When I met C in Borneo, that’s when I found myself really going with the flow of the world (or chasing a pretty girl, you decide!).

What resulted was a crazy back-and-forth path through south east Asia, criss-crossed with buses and trains, passing countries by plane that i would visit overland months later.

I chose the next destination based on the recommendations of others, trading ideas of what sucks and what rocks, last minute embassy visits, and the feel of a place when I got there.

Pretty soon we had settled into the organic flow of our trip, forgetting that we were on a holiday, forgetting why we were travelling, just feeling in the journey.

By the end of Asia, I began to find the temporary lifestyle of moving from hotel to hotel very wearisome, compounded by carrying an enormous backpack to be unpacked and repacked, daily sometimes.

During a mini-tour of Belgium, Holland and Germany with J I realised that the backpacker scene wasn’t really a sustainable one. I decided to stay in one place and use it as a base. It was a great idea!

So I’m in Paris now, living in an apartment near the Arc de Triomphe. A perfect situation for both of us. I’m fulfilling a fantasy of my own, living as a lazy, unemployed artist in the renowned cultural epicentre that is the city of Paris.

I bought a canvas and a few tubes of paint and I’m using the city to inspire me, using my days to paint. We are here until January, and then decide what the next step might be, possibly a small euro-trip. C already has a job opportunity in Montreal, Canada, and if I can arrange my visa then it’s likely we’ll be living together in Canada too!

I still feel so lucky to be on a trip which has included Angkor Wat as well as Disneyland, seen wild orangutans and Amsterdam’s canals, met Vietnamese tribespeople, my long lost Belgian family and friends and family, climbed great mountains in Nepal and lazed on a Cambodian beach.

I can’t wait to see what’s next after my sabbatical in Paris, and go travelling together again! There’s still 6 months to go from my original plan of one year, but as plans change, it could be more or less! In the end i’m really excited to see home again, from the big things like the friends and family I miss, to the small, like meat pies and video games.

To everyone back home, i’m having an awesome, surreal, life-changing time! Keep emailing me because I love hearing news from home, no matter how unexciting it may seem.

I don’t get to keep in contact with everyone as much as i’d like but i’m always thinking about home. Here’s a work-in-progress of my first painting, enjoy!

Beginning of a journey. I dont know the size…uh, A3?

Your pal,