Thailand was wonderful and awful and everything rolled into one. I found out a week before leaving for this trip that my relationship was really over so I began to build out the trip on my own. This was the first time I actually had to put my hands all over my experience. Up until this point it was just about getting to the destination city and then I could rely on my partner to have everything planned. He was always ready with a spreadsheet and an itinerary. Traveling was a breeze because I just held on. I went over to my sister and brother-in-law’s house with a stunned stare fixed on my face a few hours after my breakup conversation. I stopped at Starbucks in order to keep the familiar close and filled them on what was happening. I needed help figuring out what the hell I should do next. My brother-in-law has been the voice of reason through this entire experience. “You have to go.” Alright, then I will. I just needed someone to believe in me. Others had said “Oh, can you get a refund?” “Just take a wash on the flights, it’s not a big deal.” Well, no. I wanted to travel and had honestly fallen for Asia in my brief experiences with it. While they were buffered by an American male guide the previous two times, this felt like the inherent next step. Malaysia- we flew out together, I left him out there. Vietnam- I flew out by myself, navigated flight exchanges and terminals on my own and then had him to pass myself off to once I landed. Thailand- Good luck, bitch.
Being on this side of the trip, I’m so glad I went. If I’m completely honest, I didn’t know what to expect beyond knowing I was going to have to negotiate taxis on my own, find food and navigate mass transit on my own. Haul my own clothes and bad decisions on my own back and still find a way to have some self awareness.
My first night in Bangkok was a little rough in the sense that I was depleted of energy and wearing sweatpants in 90 degree heat- suddenly a little less able to communicate. I landed around 11:30 p.m. and then waited with several other travelers until our specific shuttles were ready to take us to our hotels. The van drove down a large highway, then took a turn down a very dark, skinny alley and that’s when it hit me that the pictures online were definitely not going to match the reality at any point on this trip. We pulled up to the “hotel” which called itself a hostel, the letters were falling off the sign that was partially lit and I was led inside to the desk. A guy greeted me at the desk, made a copy of my passport and had me pay the balance of my reservation. He led me up to my room. Along the way we stepped over Dora the Explorer towels that were absorbing puddles and sandals that seemed to just be discarded in the middle of the hallways. We made it to my room on the fourth floor, no view, just the neighboring building and a few mosquitoes. I needed to be ready for the shuttle in the morning at 7:50 am, so I set my alarm for 6 a.m. and set my stuff onto my bed. The floor was slanted at a pretty noticeable grade, but at that point I was too tired to care. I started throwing away paper from my flights and accumulated junk I had been throwing into my pockets and then unpacked my bag to find pajamas. I hand washed my clothes I had been wearing for 24 hours on my flight out to Thailand and hung them to dry. I fell asleep quickly after spraying myself with DEET in order to not get but my the misquotes that had found their way into my room. I woke up at 5 a.m. No alarm. I blow-dried my clothes until they were nearly dry and did some yoga to get rid of the soreness that was already settling in. I was excited to get out of my hotel but still had a smile on my face at the reality of being in Thailand on my own. I went downstairs, waited for the van and and climbed in with 6 others heading to the airport. My next stop was Krabi, aka heaven.