This will be the first part of what will be a multi part write up. Capturing all that I experienced in Thailand and Cambodia is to large to fit into one post.
So, I finally made it to Southeast Asia! A land of lush jungle, crystal clear water, and flocks of spectators.
Preparation and planning
Our diligence and perseverance to make this trip happen paid off. Months turned into weeks, weeks turned into days, and days into hours. Prior to our departure, my partner and I had ideas on how to get prepared for this long trek. We ended up coming up with was a half concocted idea to deprive ourselves of sleep. You know so we might sleep on the long trek to Bangkok from Portland...mistake!
We ended up leaving on about three to four hours of sleep for a twenty-six plus hour journey. Not my smartest move I will admit. The sleep deprivation couldn't hold back the excitement, though. When I step into an airport, and I know I'm the one departing, I get excited! Like a kid in the candy store excited! The rush of endorphin's running through my system glossed over the feeling of being tired, soon we were off to San Francisco.
At our first layover, we connected with some fellow travelers and started up a conversation. We met at the Korean Air gate when we forgot to check into our connecting flight to Seoul. Two men, one by the name of "Chapta" said, "You guys going to Bangkok, so are we!”
This minor connection would turn into a connection of solace, a temporary, but familiar face in the sea of unfamiliar, a passing friendship.
After months of talking about it, we found ourselves about to embark on the longest flight of our lives. Very Eager to see how the little one would do with this specific piece of the entire experience. I knew if she could get through this, we were good. After settling in our seats, we found small screens staring directly at us, stocked with movies, TV shows, and games. I knew we were starting in a good place.
We jetted into the clouds and it was time to say goodbye to the U.S. Prepared for the unknown in every sense. We had ever never been to SE Asia, and being truthful, only half-assed planned this thing out. Ensuring each experience would be a jolt to the system.
Flying around the World
The flight across the pacific catapulted us into a time suck. Each check -in with the flight navigation, and it seemed we weren’t any closer to our location. Secretly I enjoyed this – I hoped it would mirror our trip. A time suck into a foreign land, leaving our commitments and routine lives behind and losing ourselves in the adventure of travel.
The arrival in Seoul came smoothly. We ran into Chapta and his travel mate again. We conversed about our trips; Chapta mentioned that he was going back to his homeland of Myanmar. Heading back for a social project in the villages has had once called home. He asked, “what brings you to Bangkok”. We informed him it was our first time in the region and were simply there to venture about. Chapta provided us with some minor tips for our arrival. Specifically tips for getting a cab when we arrived “make sure the taxi is metered” he said "that way you know you’re getting a fair price". The announcement to board rung over the terminal speaker; Bangkok was on the other side.
Six hours later and we made it to the other side of the world. We landed at midnight and were ushered like cattle into a long queue to await immigration checks. We linked up with Chapta again and carried on our conversation from Seoul.
At this point, Avi treated chapta like a long lost friend. Even at two in the morning, she was more than willing to discuss what she had on her mind, he followed along graciously.
An hour and a half passed and we began to see the light. Chapta and his friend had gone before us in the immigration line. Both of them cleared their entrance and just like that they were gone. The last sight of them was on the street as we zipped by in our taxi using the advice he had provided us. No formal goodbye or 'see you around', just a passing glance.
Fortunately, our paths would cross elsewhere.
Our next stop was a cozy AirBNB just north of the city center. As we zoomed in and out of the streets, I admired the city. My window went down so I could take it in. The signs were new, the people new, the cars new, everything new, well new to me.
Settling in for the night we dropped all of our belongings, got comfortable, and slept like babies.
The next morning Avi woke me up promptly at 7 am local time. I awakened to a bustling city. Looked out the window and I could hear it, it was alive. We sat and watched DVD’s our host left behind for guests. It was something so simple that brought me so much joy. My partner resting comfortably in a foreign bed half way across the world, and here we were watching bootleg movies comfortably in a place we'd never been. It evokes the beauty of traveling for me - the notion of being somewhere so unfamiliar, yet finding the familiar in it.
Later that day we ventured into the surrounding area. We stumbled upon the Chatuchak Weekend Market by chance of proximity. There we were presented with all the Bangkok had to offer in one place. Street food, small trinkets, bustling ambiance, touristy clothing, and hoards and hoards of travelers.
This was the beginning of a new adventure!
Father, traveler, self trained creative, and spectator of life. The quest is to live a life intentionally, to construct a life of my choosing. I left the comfort of home at the age of nineteen and have been enjoying the Viaje as it unfolds ever since