Did I Lose my mind in Asia?

In ASIA, BLOG, INSPIRATION, THAILAND by Clelia Mattana30 Comments



This post was  not planned but today I felt the urge to share the last facts about my life in Asia.

Something weird is happening since I left. Travelers are usually full of  heroic tales on how they learned  fantastic lessons about themselves during their trips. Almost all of them discovered that they were much more organized, in control and proud to see how much they were improving.

Well, sorry to disappoint you, but I’m rather the opposite! When I was living in London (and in Rome) I was well known for being a super organized/obsessed girl. I had catalogs and lists for everything. I never ever forgot a payment or a deadline. I was always 10 minutes early to appointments.

Well, forget about that girl, as  Asia  mysteriously transformed me in Miss Messy!




bridget jones in a thai prison

Today I  discovered that I’m officially an illegal immigrant in Thailand since the beginning of august.


I went for a Visa run in Malaysia 2 months ago, and looking at the stamp i just read ” 6th September”, I didn’t check it twice (or 3/4/5 times as i would have done back in Europe). Today I just realized that the expiring date was the 4th of August instead. How Nice is that?

It came as a shock. And a huge disappointment. I’m quite strict with myself when it comes to important duties, and this one is definitely one of them. It can seriously put me in trouble. If for any reason, a police man stops me now, I would end up in jail, No jokes.

I’m honestly freaking out at the moment, as (even if the possibility is remote) the Thai jails are the worst place a human begin would like to stay even for a few days. Because of that is even more surprising that i took the whole thing so lightly. It’s beyond my understanding.

But this is not the first time that something totally inappropriate happens to me, and BECAUSE OF MY LACK OF ATTENTION.




robbed in the sleep

This Guy was wiser than me!
source: blog.sleepinginairports.net

In Siem Reap, Cambodia, we got robber. No even worst. Someone entered our room because I totally forgot to lock the door from the inside before going to bed. If I think about that, I still shiver in horror for what could have happened.

We got lucky, really lucky, as none of us woke up and they just stole our 2 mobiles (and we had our photographic equipment in display, money and other valuable objects).

Luckily for me I broke my mobile the night before (it was already old so not a big deal for that) The worst part was  begin responsible for what happened, and for my friend’s mobile as well, so I bought 2 new ones in Bangkok .

It costed me almost 1 month savings, but you have to be responsible for your actions, and I was very lucky, as I am more than glad to pay some money, instead of having something much worst on my conscience.



quotes_ about_ disaster


These are the main episodes , and they are quite heavy, as the consequences may have been much worse (well, wish me luck for my visa run tomorrow, as I really don’t want to end up in jail!).

Apart for these episodes, there is also something else bothering me since the beginning of my trip. I am MESSY. Incredibly messy. I spread my things all over the place, I lose objects quite easily, and I never know where my stuff is.

I feel quite ashamed for that. OK, it’s not a capital sin. But I’m not a teenager anymore, and I was very used to my super organized life back in London.So what the hell is happening to me? After 2 hours fuming and beating myself up  about my last accident, I think i finally found my answer.


And it is NOT the answer I like. Trust me, It took me a while to be able to write it down. But here is: The ugly truth. I need to accept it first, and then try to do something about it.

They say you that travels helps you discovering not only the world but also yourself a little better. Quite true. When I found this quote I obviously thought about the marvelous things  I would discover about myself:  on how strong, caring, and incredibly beautiful person I am.

(OH CRAP. Didn’t work out exactly as I expected…)


It sucks to admit that I’m completely disorganized if I have the freedom to be myself 100%. That’s the whole point. As I know how anal I can be if I have to. But during my travels I completely relaxed my standards.

Which is good in a way, it’s my trip and I can not pretend to be organized the whole time. But there are important things I should NEVER EVER take for granted and lightly.

I really hope I learnt my lesson, I need more structure in my life from now on. Especially now as I’m going to restart all over again by myself.  Maybe this last incident was a kind reminder from the universe to start revising my life RIGHT NOW.

This lesson is costing me around 450£. 15 days of my precious budget burned because of my distraction.

But what is costing me the most is to admit my faults, to myself and to you. I thought it wouldn’t be fair if I just tell you how proud I am to be doing what I’m doing, and not sharing the dark, messy, side. I hope you appreciate my effort!


Did you discover something unpleasant about yourself while traveling? And most importantly, am I the only person who became totally disorganized during a trip?

Share your opinions or simply wish me luck for tomorrow 🙂







  1. Clelia! I just happened across this post researching for our S.E. Asia trip and had to comment. We’ve been on the road I’ve discovered that I am such a sucker when it comes to make up purchases. I’m so so so easily convinced to buy make-up or face creams. I always think of it’s so useful and not expensive and so tiny it won’t take up space. SO now I have three lipsticks, four concealers, two blushes, three face creams, and to top it off I bought myself an early christmas present that I is too delicate to put in my tiny 9kg bag. What was I thinking?!?!?
    Glad to know I’m not the only one out there!
    Love this post.

    1. OMG Dani! when I was reading your comment I mentally imagined all the beauty products you put on your suitcase and I can related so much! I mean, I even brought with me a RED lipstick (I barely use any lipstick, let alone a red one)…and I keep adding silly stuff that doesn’t take much space but I ended up with something like 5 suitcases. WOMEN…. 🙂

    1. Oh Definitely Shaun…when a misadventure has a happy ending it always make for a great story to tell 🙂

  2. Cross fingers and pray that Thailand will just fine you but not to throw you into the jail for overstaying.

    I think somehow, when we travelling we act and think differently from the way we behave at home because when we are at home, we are somehow conform to some society standards, people are expecting you to behave in a certain manner so you kinda need to upkeep that image. So when we are travelling, we tend to let our the ‘real’ self because there is no need to conform to anything at all. You just accept with an open mind that everyone is different and unique in their own ways with that you will tend to judge less on people so just cut yourself some slack, you deserve to be yourself. 🙂

    Because of all these incidents, they make your adventure more memorable (in a good way or not!)

    1. Pamela, luckily they just fine me, no jail this time but it’s definitely i lesson i won’t forget. I totally agree with you, when we travel we behave differently from the way we do at home, we probably take more risks..and collect quite a few adventures! 🙂

  3. I like how you are living your life, Crazy Dangerous. But I see that you enjoy life.
    I admired you.take care.

  4. I felt that way at one point after having my laptop stolen, the worst case of food poisoning I’ve ever experienced, and a motorbike accident. It felt as though Asia was trying to shake me off like a bad case of fleas.

    Glad your visa situation is all sorted. What is it, about 200 baht/day?

    1. wow Angela! you had some pretty crazy adventures yourself.. How did they steal your laptop?
      For the Visa it was 500 baht/day. Quite something…i’ve spent almost 20.000 baht for my mistake. No comment.

  5. phew, i was strolling down in agony hoping that u didn’t end up in jail! glad things went well!

    i’m messy when traveling but organised messy. meaning that my stuff are just stuffed in places and clothes always wrickled but i always know where everything is. it gets me exchausted to dig into my backpack all the time so i try to repack the same way everytime. and i never lose things, i’m too much of a obsessed freak for that.
    my weakest point as a traveler is my totally non existing sense of navigation. it’s horrible and frustrating. in japan i almost cried bc of that. i’m so bad that my latest story happened just an hour ago, atm we stay at a campsite in santa fe, New Mexico. after dinner i went to wash the dishes during sunset. as the light changed within the 5 mins it took me to do my thing, i totallt lost sense of direction on my way back, was wandering like an idiot for 10 mins with my headlight on and the clean dishes on hand! my co traveler found it hilarious!

    1. awww where you really worried about me getting arrested? (i was!!). I know how organized can you be missy, i just didn’t realize that you missed an internal compass 🙂 glad to know you are not perfect either 😛

  6. I am so glad i found your website! I love every article, this one is particularly dear to me as i am a messy traveler too, and you describe and disclose your faults in such a brave way!
    I’ll try to be as much honest and open as you from now on. It always pays off.
    Thank you!

  7. I really admire your courage in writing this post. I think it’s natural for everyone to make mistakes. But it’s being able to admit them and learn from them that is the most important. Like you said the consequences could have been a lot worse. I understand that feeling though when you are just angry and disappointed in yourself when you are the one to blame.

    Wishing you all the best in your border run and although you are losing money now i’m sure the universe will give it back to you if you stay positive and soldier on 😀

    I’m also pretty messy in my travels. During 5 months in Latin America I luckily wasn’t robbed but that didn’t stop me from losing 10 of my own things due to not packing properly or misplacing them. Im just lucky it was nothing important.

    1. Thank you Brendon! I am so glad that you appreciated my honesty… being messy is not exactly something i’m very proud of, but nobody’s perfect. Today i went to Burma for the visa run, and apart for having a much lighter wallet, everything went well!(planning on writing a post about my mini adventure there). I’m also VERY released to know that i’m not the only messy person out there! You lost 10 items..not bad 🙂 glad it wasn’t nothing valuable or important. Packing is something i need to refine a bit, but i’ll get there! If you have any tip to share after what you’ve learned from your “troubles”, please feel free to share!

  8. Overstaying Thai visas is super common – I think you just need to pay a fine when you do the visa run. I think SE Asia really does have this effect on people – the lifestyle there is so relaxed, messy, and carefree, you sort of get sucked into it. I didn’t realize how disorganized I’d become until we moved from Thailand to Japan. Everything here is so punctual, clean and put-together – it really made me notice some of my new, and not-so-great, habits.

    1. Hey Jessica, yes i read that the overstay issue is pretty common, but even with that knowledge i was fricking out a bit :)Luckily everything went well today and i am now a legal immigrant again! I think you are right about South East Asia. The lifestyle is much more relaxed compared to the western countries, and you also made me consider that maybe all those years trying to be perfect, were simply exhausting and now i needed to relax a bit. But not too much!

  9. Cambodia is becoming dangerous: a friend of mine had been her iPhone stolen on her way to Sihanoukville: while on the bus, she closed her yeys just for a few minutes and… gone! She was desperate, but that’s what poverty is leading to.
    Concerning me, I’m totally disorganized in my life, but when it comes to travelling I become a little more organized. Apart from my rooms: in a hostel or a shared house, my bedroom is ALWAYS a big mess. But that’s me 😉

    1. True, poverty leads to desperation in many occasions. We didn’t know if it was the staff from the hostel or someone external, but you need to be very careful…and i wasnt! damn it. I’m glad to see that i’m not the only one to recreate the second world war in my room as soon as i arrive in a place 🙂 That is OK, i just need to pay attention on the important things!

  10. Don’t be too strict with yourself..while we are travelling, we are overwhelmed by some many inputs, so many decisions to take everyday and it might happen to lose the focus. Maybe you need to slow down..

    Last year after 8 months solo travelling across Australia and South East Asia, after I’ve been like a father and a boyfriend for myself, crossed the jungle, climbed a volcano at night, hugged a tiger…well I’ve lost my return flight from Bangkok! It was at 00.40 of the 20th Sept and I got confused with the time zone!

    Next time you will be more careful for sure, but now the important thing is that you sove the situation..just keep calm and everything will be ok! There’s a solution for everything..

    1. ah well, i am strict, i can’t help it…even more when it comes to safety. I really should have thought about it. What is done is done. Losing a plane is maybe more understandable if you lost track of time. I was also losing a plane once, i realized i had to board in 1 hour and i was still eating a good plate of spaghetti at home! I was lucky as the airport is 20 minutes away. I hope everything goes ok tomorrow. Thai jail is something i really don’t want to write about in here.

  11. In Bocca Al Lupo, Good Luck. Viel Glück. Held og Lykke.

    Just as disorganised and lost in Italy as in Denmark and anywhere really.

    Nice to hear, that you hate admitting your mistakes (though it was just us men thinking and believing arrogantly, that we NEVER make mistakes ;-)).

    If we start a collection for you, will/can you make more mistakes (not jeopardising your friends and travel mates of course!!), hence produce more tales for the site?

    I appreciate your effort. Takes a strong (wo)MAN to admit also the dirty laundry in ones personality 🙂

    Now get your Sardegnian butt to the office and get the issue about the VISA sorted. SUBITO!

    1. Crepi il lupo….the bad thing is, now the renewal it only last for 15 days, so i need to exit Thailand again in 2 weeks, and again in 1 month…ah well! Yes it is quite annoying to admit that i’m far from being perfect, but it is what it is, and this is not exactly a great moment 🙂 My Sardinian butt will go tomorrow to Burma. Let’s hope for the best!

  12. Crikey that is a little bit scarey. I think I have read somewhere that you can visit a visa office (?) and extend it even now. Maybe you will just wait until departure?

    Good quotes there in your article. We have to learn from our mistakes although to be honest your one with the visa is easy to make.

    1. Yes, quite scary and mostly annoying! i’m going tomorrow for a visa run in Burma, bloody expensive. I really hope I’ve learnt from my mistakes 🙁

Leave a Comment