Bangkok: Part One

Day 1

I Love Bum Spray!

My initial arrival was filled with worry. I was weirded out that the airport wifi demanded I put in my passport number and was reluctant to enter it in case it was a scam. Half of my SEA prep consisted of reading up on local scams. I hadn’t prepared well. I hadn’t prepared at all actually. I had done a lot of reading but hadn’t bothered to book a hostel or research public transportation. A traveling companion I had yet to meet in real life was already in town but it was midnight and the check in desk at his hostel was closed. There was a large hotel across the street from the airport. It screamed money. After a lot of back and forth with my brain I decided to try to get into the Monkey Nap Hostel that I had been browsing earlier on Agoda. It was more affordable than the place he was staying, looked clean, and had good reviews. This was to be one of the best decisions I’d make.

Continue reading Bangkok: Part One

The Changover

So let me tell you about Changovers. It’s a term that Guy introduced me to. His name was actually Guy, I’m not slacking here. I thought it was a joke that he made but when I googled Chang it was the first thing that came up. I had been wondering why I was getting buzzed so easily when in tiny lettering the bottle stated that the beer was only 5.5% ABV. Of course I was drinking the larger ones.

There are three main beers you will encounter in every bar. Chang, Leo, and Singha. Chang in my opinion is the least flavorful and what I drank the most of initially. It’s similar in taste to a Pabst Blue Ribbon or a Budweiser but less pissy and goes down smoothly. Singha is the most hoppy somewhat resembling an IPA. Leo falls somewhere in between and over time has become my favorite.

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Southeast Asia: The Preamble

“WOW!” I pointed to the sign and shouted at my sister as she drove through the exit to International Departures at Logan Airport in Boston. It was starting to feel real now. A couple of weeks ago I had been planning a trip to Iceland. WOW is the premier airline for cheap flights there. We were now passing it. Three months ago I had returned from the West Coast to work seasonally, recoup funds, and pay off some debt so that I could travel without worrying about my jeopardizing my future— as much. It’s a careful balancing act coupled with some self-sacrificing for some of us who don’t have remote IT jobs or trust funds to rely upon. I planned to take a small trip to Iceland to satisfy my travel bug. I soon realized it would be much too cold to hitchhike and camp around as I’m accustomed to. With no one to split bills with my plans were falling apart. A Facebook post would change the course of my life for the next couple of months. My friend Lief, whom I had met in my previous travels had made a FB post asking if anyone could watch his dog while he was in South East Asia.

Just months before I had been debating Thailand or Iceland and had actually considered asking a couple of people, that friend included, if they’d be interested in either destination. Ultimately I decided on Iceland which would be a shorter trip and more inclusive to my general social group. I found it ironic that I now found myself in the position of asking if I could hop onto his adventure in one of those very places . A phone call later and it was decided. I was going to South East Asia. I had two months to prepare and not a penny in a savings. I hadn’t paid off shit. Buuuuuut. Asia. Those other plans could wait. I could adult when I got back.  I spent the next two months working for Instacart doing 45-65 hours of grocery deliveries a week while a friend let me stay at his place in Somerville for well below market rent. My nicotine addiction was killing me both literally and financially but I managed to switch to vaping for the most part. I wasn’t too happy when I found out they were illegal in all the countries I was to visit. Not that anyone really cares here in SEA.

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A Shameful Epiphany

I was driving up the 7 last week listening to the Twilight soundtrack the other day. Yes, I own a Twilight soundtrack. I was broke and homeless in Eugene and the used cd store, Skip’s Records, was selling them for than the new retail value at Target (thanks a lot hipsters). After searching around several St. Vinnie’s and Good Wills I was coming up short. By the way every thrift shop has a copy of Seal and Celine Dionne. Every. Single. One of them. Kind of makes you think about how movies influence the music industry and vice versa. Anyways, I found the Twilight soundtrack and “Blue Eyes on Fire” reminds me of good times with a partner of mine so I purchased it for $1 at Good Will. Oh and it has Muse on it. They’re alright when not associated with vampire movies.

Back to my drive. So I’m driving through these mountains listening to the soundtrack. I get the most wonderful feeling when I’m driving solo with nothing but the trees, the steep curves of the road, and the music playing on my stereo. It can’t be described as anything less than euphoric. But then this song comes on.

You know that feeling when a song sums up your feelings in a way that you can’t? It’s that aha moment. Well I had that. Funny cause I didn’t like this song at first and now it’s my favorite song on the cd. But that wasn’t my epiphany.

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An Update

Its September 2nd and I’ve got a half an hour before I head into work. Why am I working? I’m supposed to be traveling? About a month ago I decided to buy a truck so I wouldn’t have to decide between hitching alone or spending a ton on buses every month. I wanted a place to be able to rest my head and feel a little safer at night. So I got Lucy. Lucy’s alright, she gets me where I’m going. For now. You see I sold my car, my last tie to my old life in Massachusetts to my mom when her transmission started to go last month. After purchasing Lucy, a 1996 Nissan Pathfinder for $1300 I found out that she needed new tire. New tire rods meant I needed an alignment. And oh what do you know she needed all new tires. Instantly I was out an additional $500 and there’s still a couple of things that I chose not to take care of. Soon after I developed a severe dental infection and I was off to Portland to get the care I needed. I went from three grand to about $200 in the course of two weeks. Did I mention that Lucy’s probably going to die? Oh yeah, her engine’s going and she’s going to die in the next couple months if not tomorrow. I was pretty heartbroken. I had plans for Lucy. I wanted to drive her across the country and back in October. I still might take her on a suicide mission but that’s all in the future.

Anyways, at that point I didn’t even have enough to afford gas money, insurance, and all those other expenses you get to deal with when you have a vehicle. So yeah, I needed some cash. In Eugene, Oregon I was able to get craigslist job after craigslist job. I shoveled dirt, cleaned up after construction crews, and bought pantyhose and underwear for a crossdresser who was too nervous to go into the store and make purchases for himself. He liked my style. The craigslist game takes a lot of energy. It’s a competitive market. You have to check and post several times a day and I soon tired of having to spend so much of my day on a website. I decided to suck it up and get a job. But I wasn’t about to settle down somewhere and get just any job. No, I was going to make this a damn adventure.

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General and Solo Travel Advice for backpackers on a budget.