My blogging schedule has taken a beating. I had been preparing for my first overseas trip. A vacation in Thailand. I gifted myself a week-long break from the hassles and tassels of real life. I’ve always wanted to do everything, go everywhere and learn everything possible. This is possible in 2% of cases. The other 98% are bound by commitments such as home, family, money etc. I am one of the 98%. Travelling costs a pretty big chunk of change . And mine was very chunky indeed. Nevertheless, it was an exciting experience. Scuba diving, the sunsets, tuk-tuk rides were different and, at times, strange; but it was a marvellous experience.
The calm and relaxing Phuket (pronounced poo-ket) and Krabi complemented the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. The one important lesson I learnt while in Thailand was to explore any place like a local, not as a tourist. This is because, as a tourist, you have a guide, a ready taxi/cab to take you places, a booked hotel room and a fixed itinerary. Though an itinerary helps, it also limits your experience to tourist spots that you’ve seen umpteen times during your travel research and common sights. By becoming a local, you become one with the place, see it through the eyes of someone who lives there. You get to drink coffee at the local cafe, eat the staple food, make friends with the people, learn their language, browse through the neighbourhood and so much more.
I went as a tourist and missed the street food, the temples of Bangkok, the metro ride, the neighbourhood browse, the cafes in Krabi and the nightlife in Phuket. I was being a little arrogant in thinking that everyone would know English and that our group could survive; but I was proven wrong. We had a lot of trouble communicating with the locals but their warmth and friendliness was all the communication we needed. The next time I travel anywhere I am throwing out the itinerary and surfing the place on my own. There will always be people to help you out of a sticky situation.
Before going to any place I would recommend making a checklist of things to do, pack, carry on and wear. I am not an OCD-type but this helped me a lot as it took me three weeks to shop for all the things required.
There is not any place in particular that I would like to visit. But I would like to travel around the world in my lifetime. Thailand, hopefully, is the beginning of this journey. It is good to get out of your comfort zone once in a while. To not be a frog in a well. To go to a different land. It makes you feel like you are part of a universe alien to your own yet familiar.
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