Thailand Shmailand

Sometimes trips are long anticipated, awaiting years as they slowly climb up your bucket list. And sometimes, they just work out. So, when your roommate and her cousin are going to visit her brother and cousins a few short weeks after you graduate from 6 long years of college, you take the chance and go. Luckily for me, this brother lived in Thailand.

Betty, Erleen, and I all aboard the all day, not so express- with layovers in Istanbul and Bangkok, flight to Chiang Mai, Thailand. Leg one, we smiled.
My first cross the ocean flight. Needless to say, I was impressed with so many things, especially the hot towel they provided at the start!
So… maybe my eyebrows weren’t quite straight back then. All the better to exclaim with my dear.

In the nearly 5 years since this trip my memories have dimmed to facts, photos, and a residual feeling of rest. I remember that Thailand was so hot that cold showers were preferred. I remember learning about 3 words and conquering a list of adventures (like taking a cooking class and staying at a resort). But most of my Thailand time was me unprogramming from 6 straight years of college and wondering if I’d find a job when I return. So, Thailand was a lot of me becoming a real person again instead of a homework robot and at least 1 midnight phone interview.

Even Ronald McDonald has some cultural competency in Chiang Mai.

The other thing I remember about Thailand is that it felt manageable. Manageable in that it pulled on a lot of skills I already had from my New York life and my traveling Central America life. We took public transit on our own, shopped, and adventured without guides by our sides. I suspect this cultural accessibility is what makes Thailand such a popular travel destination.

In summary, from personal experience, I would recommend Thailand to people who like to travel after enduring many years of struggle. It’s relaxing, adventurous, accessible, and yet, far. Really, it can be anything you need it to be I think.

This is post 1 in what will be a slow trip down memory lane of my trip through Southeast Asia. In total, it covered 5 countries and 5 weeks. I’ve already written briefly about Vietnam here. Of note, unlike traditional Mennonites, I managed to travel Asia without any commitment to a mission organization. Instead, our trip was a hodgepodge of personal connections and lists of ‘must-see’s. Does that make sense? Well, it’ll make more sense as I go. Stay tuned!


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