As the semester here at Thepnaree school draws to a close obviously I want to be basking in the last moments with my students, but I keep finding my thoughts drifting to the impending travel plans.
So let’s just let the mind go where it wants shall we!
So for the benefit of anyone reading who is also in S. E. Asia (OEG friends) or maybe friends from back home who want to visit (*hint*hint*) let me lay out the plan.
Or lack of plan.
There’s not really a plan.
What there is is one flight.
March 27th from Vientiane, Laos to Hanoi, Vietnam. (Pretty sure it’s the 27th, thanks for booking it Annie)
Before that I’m gonna be in Laos. And after that Vietnam, maybe nit noy (lil’ bit for you non-thais) Cambodia, and then SoThai islands. (That’s an abbreviation for southern Thailand that I just made up…tho I’m sure I’m not the first to use it)
And hopefully Malaysia right in the beginning of May before I return to Thepnaree and start the second half of this experience. (Good lord can you believe it’s only half way done?!)
And in honor of the impending trip I’ve decided to craft my own list of backpacking essentials/rules and regulations/just some total b.s. from Teacher Boo who really has no place to pretend to be an expert.
These are just the 5 things that I believe to be essential and I’d like to encourage others to adopt into their own travel doctrine. I digress.
5. Be able to entertain yourself
For someone who (as previously mentioned) is very impatient…it is essential for me to have a slew of ways to keep myself entertained. Whether I’ll be waiting for a bus, riding a bus, waiting to book a bus, or any other (most likely bus-related) waiting situation.
So make sure you’ve got your obscure podcasts, Spotify playlists downloaded, or other time wasting activities down for the ride. (Including but not limited to: ukulele, friendship bracelets, Rubix cubes, books when not driving, audiobooks when driving, and always nit noy snacks)
4. Be money smart
Kay I feel like a super hypocrite writing this one because I’ve always been a bit of a…spender.
It’s not a big problem and I’ve totally got in under control. Mostly. Kind of.
But honestly when I say money smart, I don’t mean be a penny pincher. I mean maybe you don’t have to spend 100 extra dollars to get a facial, but maybe 100 extra dollars to go to a new island for a night.
Or you know what? If you want to get the facial get the damn facial. Who am I to decide what it worth money?
What I mean by money smart is just to appreciate what I am using your money for and make sure that it has value for me. You know you can skip out on a night of changs if you aren’t really feeling it and then look at that: 200 extra baht for a Thai massage the next day.
Don’t say I never give great advice.
3. Ask a lot of questions.
I feel like it’s just inevitable that I am going to look like a total fool, lost and confused and so I think some great advice I have gotten (and given) is to lose the pride and just ask for help.
Ask where the bus station is every 20 ft until you eventually make it.
Also ask questions of others. Backpackers love nothing more than to give advice about good things to do or see to fellow backpackers.
Literally nothing more.
So let someone give you some advice. You don’t have to take it. But it’ll make their day, and actually might turn out to be awesome.
Really? What do u have to lose?
2. Take it easy
Goodness. I think the most exhausting thing about backpacking is the constant pressure I put on myself to always be doing something exciting.
I am in a foreign country! For Christ sake, isn’t that exciting enough in itself?!
And even though logic is saying “but you’re only going to be here once! What if you don’t do every single exciting thing that this country has to offer in this one trip? GOOD LORD THEN THE ENTIRE THING WILL BE A WASTE AND YOU MIGHT AS WELL BE SITTING ON THE COUCH IN MINNESOTA DRINKING A BIG GULP YOU PIECE OF SHIT!”
No one else?
Okay okay. Hyperbole aside. The moral of the story is this:
If you want to sit at a coffee shop and read a book for a lazy morning (even when there are temples and monuments and waterfalls within reach) just do that.
You do you girl. You do you.
And the final piece of advice I have, and I mean really if you chose to take any of these into your personal mantras may a suggest the following.