Update: Back in Germany … what now?

Escape-Button_FinalThis might come surprising and sudden for most of you. I am already back in Germany having arrived last weekend. It was a rather spontaneous decision – I had booked the flight just a week before my departure from Bangkok. There were several reasons for this seemingly abrupt return which in the end wasn’t even that abrupt. Let me explain…

Three reasons to go back home
First of all I ran low on cash. I had already stretched my budget to stay that long. I was thinking to spend another 2-3 weeks in Indonesia just surfing and relaxing and then going home. But that would have meant really stretching it to the max and returning completely broke. I mean debt broke. I figured it might be smarter to return and at least have a little buffer to smoothen the start.

Before taking the train to my hometown.

Before taking the train to my hometown.

Second and maybe even more important, I was so to say ready to return. I had basically seen all that I wanted. I visited every single country in South East Asia, met a lot of interesting people, climbed volcanoes, surfed big waves, dove with sharks and rode about 2000 miles by motorbike. It felt complete and adding another leg to this journey seemed to demand a lot of motivation and dedication. And this leads to the third reason…

Those last two things, motivation and dedication, somehow got missing towards the end of the journey. I had become a little bit travel tired. I didn’t look at things with the awe and excitement as the first timers do anymore. Yet another temple here and yet another waterfall there. Things seemed to have become a bit repetitive and I myself had become thin skinned and quick-tempered. Things that I found authentic and interesting at the beginning got me annoyed now. In order to counter this and that “just another syndrome”, I definitely would have had to take a longer break to recharge my batteries and make some space in my head for new experiences. Just chilling for a while and settle in a place. But here my first reason, the shrinking budget, came into play.

And last but not least, traveling without my camera was just not the same. I tried to focus on the beauty of the places I visited and the situations I encountered but I still caught myself thinking, “Damn, this is so good. I wish I had my camera to capture it”. I didn’t feel complete and I also realized that some places only unfold their secrets and beauty if you have a camera with you in search for these special moments. Hmm, that’s already four reasons now…

All in all it was time and finally booking that flight after a long time of procrastination felt really weird. After a few pleasant days in good old Bangkok, I spent my last three days on Koh Samet, a small island only three hours from Bangkok. It was a great place to unwind and mentally prepare for my return. Getting some sun and enjoying the exotic island flair before heading into the cold seemed just about right.

Koh Samet

The island of Koh Samet

However, I can say that reverse culture shock and post travel syndrome still have hit me pretty hard. Re-adapting seems harder than expected and a lot of the challenges which have been awaiting seem overwhelming and hard to cope with. Yet it is still all fresh and I am hoping for a quick improvements.

So, what about the blog now?
This here is just a brief status quo to keep you guys updated. The next, very soon to come post, will continue where I left off – my amazing trip across Myanmar. I want to share my last experiences in South East Asia before coming to some final conclusions and general thoughts about my trip. The next posts will include reports on the rest of Myanmar and Vietnam until the point where I got my camera stolen. In my opinion those legs were some of the best of my whole trip including the best pictures. So stay tuned. I also still want to round up my stays in Cambodia and the Philippines which are still missing.

Until recently, I wasn’t sure whether or not to continue ESCapology after my return. But I decided to do so. After my rather narrative reports on the places I have visited, I want to give this blog a more practical approach. In the end I have experienced a lot, good and bad, and I would like to share those experiences in the form of general travel advice and tips about activities, destinations and travel photography. And of course, there will be more trips and more adventure to come .. hopefully.

It will stay exciting and I hope you will all join me for that next part of the journey. Thank you all for accompanying me up until this point. I appreciate your feedback, comments and the time you take to read my stories.

Wish me luck for my re-integration and all the best to you,


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23 thoughts on “Update: Back in Germany … what now?

  1. peter montgomery

    hi Phil , know the feeling , the road gets to all travelers in the end . i remember being in burma in 1977 [ near the end of 16 months travel ] , 2 of my mates went on to mandalay , i stayed in rangoon and got drunk everyday at an old run down colonial hotel called the ” strand ” .
    those days foreigners could only stop in burma for 7 days , and to fund that 7 days you bought in 1duty free bottle of whisky and 1 carton of luckys [ cigarettes ] , sold on the black market , this gave you enough chats to live for a week .

    thinking back this was the greatest time of my life .

    there are still a couple of things at the back of my mind 1 – trans siberian rail journey 2 – gringo trail thru south america . maybe one day ???

    good luck mate on the culture shock in returning to the west .

    regards peter montgomery

    • Philipp Dukatz

      Hey Peter, good to hear from you. Man Burma in 1977…those were the times to travel in South East Asia and especially countries like Burma. Must have been so great and adventurous. The fact that you funded your stay with whisky and cigarettes is just hilarious. Yeah, those times are over and I wish I could have done all that back then. The Strand by the way is now probably the most upmarket hotel in Yangon. It has undergone major renovations. You should go back one day just to see the changes.

      Peter, how did Biri do during the typhoon Haiyan. Did you guys get hit hard? How about Villa Amor? everything alright there? I hope it is all not too bad…

      Anyhow, I have troubles settling back in. Of course the uncertainty at the moment is not helping too much. I really hope things will turn out good.

      Best regards from Germany,


  2. Good Luck but I don’t think you need it though:) . You have conquered South East Asia or was it the other way around?

    I’m sure your view and perspective will somehow change with all the experience you’ve gained during the course of your travel and that alone would be interesting to note.

    I do hope you continue you blog and of course I’m sure you will have more adventures to come along.. soon. 😀

    • Hi Mikaela, thank for your support and you are right, the journey and the experiences that came with it have changed me in many ways. I am not the person that I was before I left and I am glad it is like that. I will get into all that soon after finishing my reports…I already have so many topics in my mind. Just have to stay focused for now with so many things to cope with. It is funny how confident people seem to be that everything will work out whereas I myself am still caught in doubts every now and then. I am just hoping for the best. We’ll see. How is life in Japan? Cheers from cold Germany, Philipp

      • Japan is also getting colder everyday.

      • Philipp Dukatz

        do you ski or snowboard? I heard Japan has some great skiing resorts with lots of powder snow. That must be nice!

      • nope i don’t but i did skiing once and I’m terrible at it. Niseko in Hokkaido is known for powdery snow about 2 hours by plane from where I am. Nagano is also known for great skiing resorts.

      • Philipp Dukatz

        Yeah, someday I will hopefully make it. Heard a lot of good things about the Hokkaido area..even for summertime adventure. Must be nice.

      • Same here , I still have to get there soon. Hopefully next summer and do some hiking up there.

  3. Kirsty's Nest

    My jaw literally dropped when I saw you were back in Germany, such a shock! However I am glad you’re home safe and hope that you readjust to ‘reality’ again soon.

    I look forward to reading the rest of your wonderful stories.

    Best wishes,

    • Hi Kirsty, I should have maybe eased my readers into it a bit earlier. But yeah, it was quiet spontaneous although the thought of having to go back had been lingering in the back of my head for quiet a while. I wish I could have stayed even longer, so much more to see and explore. But I guess it was time to turn the page. It was a truly life changing experience, in many ways. I will sum all of that up pretty soon. Thanks for sticking around and taking the time to read my stories. I really appreciate it. Take care and greetings from cold Germany, Philipp

  4. I never thought of it this way, but that’s a good point about noticing things you wouldn’t have or seeing them differently with a camera. I hope you are able to get a new one soon.

    • Philipp Dukatz

      Yeah, it is definitely like that. For example I would have never wandered around Saigon old town just like that. But I did it for the sake of nice pictures and it leads you to great things and great moments and very interesting encounters. It can make a big difference. So yeah, gotta save up now and buy new equipment as soon as possible …

  5. Hi Phil,
    I think beyond the fact that your articles really catch people’s attention and make them travel with you (somehow), you also manage to put in word some of the travelers feelings, those that people back home don’t have and that are quite hard to explain. I’ll get inspiration when I go home too. Phil, what a trip you had. And this blog is just a huge accomplishment and you definitely should continue it.
    Cheers !

    • Thanks Thierry, I really appreciate your kind words and support. I always try to make it interesting for others to follow but also put some personal thought into it. I am never sure if I really nail it so it’s nice to hear a comment like yours. I will continue the blog because it is one thing I really like which I discovered while traveling. The writing and storytelling. Let’s see how it goes…. Enjoy the rest of your trip, I am sure it will be good. Definitely let me know about that Vipassana meditation retreat. I actually thought about doing it while in Asia but it never really pushed through. Maybe something for next time. Curious to hear how it was like. Cheers, Philipp

  6. Welcome home Phil!
    I think reverse culture shock is much harder than the initial culture shock you get when you go travelling. At least when you leave home you expect the shock, but coming home you’re not prepared for it. I’m no expert, but I try to enjoy all my favourite things from home that I missed while I was away and to spend time with friends and family. At least being based in Germany it’s not too hard for you to travel again to nearby countries.
    I’m glad to hear that you’ll be continuing your blog even though you’re home, I’ve been enjoying following along on your journey this past year and I look forward to reading more from you.

  7. Hi Tali, thanks a lot for your kind words. I really appreciate that. I also think that reverse culture shock is worse. I never had a true culture shock when going abroad. But every time I return it jut strikes me very hard. This time is of course a little different as well with a lot of challenges like finding new work and generally thinking about which direction to take waiting to be tackled. But yeah, I am trying to take it step by step and I am hoping for the best. I will continue the blog and I am considering a general makeover as well. It will take some time though. So thanks for following me up to this point. I sure hope you will keep reading. All the best, Phil

  8. saldanm

    Hi Philipp! I cannot believe the resounding success of your Philippine articles based on the replies, likes and shares. You’re getting famous in my home country. I wouldn’t be surprised if these people inviting you would actually sponsor your stay there next time you decide to visit, and to them, you deserve it. I believe you really do. Seriously, next time you go, let me know. I’ll make sure someone would bring you to my hometown in Pampanga to give you the chance to sample our culinary expertise – both home cooked and otherwise. Set aside at least a couple of days to sample our food and hospitality. All on me – food, transportation and accommodation. You won’t spend a single centavo, Just let me know when.

    • Hi Leslie, wow that sounds just too generous. Thanks so much for the offer, I really appreciate and would love to make it happen. Afterall, from what I have heard, the food in your region is supposed to be the best in the Philippines. Let’s just keep in touch and maybe we really can make it happen one day. I would sure love that. Thanks so much again my friend! Cheers.

  9. saldanm

    Please let me know through email when and give me a head’s up at least a month prior, Ok? Meanwhile, continue posting more articles from your various trips. I laud your well presented entries with invaluable tips for travelers like me.

    • Hi Leslie, I will let you know for sure…. I just hope it is not gonna be before too long. Really want to spend more time in the Phils. Thanks for showing interest in my stories. Really good feedback for me. Cheers!

      • saldanm

        Congratulations Phil! I was rooting for Germany. That was a great shot by Mario.

      • Haha, yeah one of his recently not very many brilliant moments. Everyone will thank him forever now! 😉

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