The second my dad drove away from the airport it hit me. I am free. My heart flooded with warmth and my cheeks were flushed trying to hold my enormous smile. I am alone. I am alert. I am me. The entire 25 hour flight (that’s including the 3 layovers) went by like a breeze. Each destination in between was equally thrilling.
I’m writing this from my hostel bed because I woke up a few hours before the sun rises. It’s one of those days- I’m too excited to sleep.
Leaving my flight I was standing in the Chiang Mai terminal wondering if I should go out into the dark and hail a cab alone. Sometimes “hello’s” are difficult, but sometimes they lead to the most wonderful things.
“Hello,” I said to two young men about my age that I had noticed had been traveling with me along all the flight changes. After a quick conversation, we were buddies. I joined them as they were picked up at the airport by two other friends. We all piled into a big cab and went back to the hostel. Then we went to the Sunday night market. The colors and variety of the goods and food for sale were food for my eyes. Plus we ate all sorts of street food. I tried fried milk! Who knew you could even fry milk?
Thailand is interesting so far. It’s jungly with vines falling on you as you walk down the street. It’s also a major tourist destination and clearly full of people from all over the world.
We saw some cheesy big tourist-pleasing Wats made with what looked like plaster and gold spray paint. Still beautiful- but definitely inspired by a select audience.
When the sun comes up, I’m going to walk to the train station about 3 miles away and buy a sleeper train to Bangkok for the 15th or so. You need to buy them in advance. My goal is to go to Pai today, which is a 3 hour busride from Chiang Mai.
Costs of the trip so far:
Flight from LAX to Chiang Mai: $317 USD
Taxi from airport to hostel in Chiang Mai: 50 Baht ($1.38)
Hostel: 150 Baht ($4.16)
Dinner: 40 Baht ($1.11)
Water: 14 Baht ($0.39)
My goal is to average $4 a day. That would be possibly if I continue to use couch surfers and Servas for hosting. I actually prefer this oftentimes traveling alone because of the way it allows me to immerse myself in the culture rather than buddying up with other tourists, but I expect to have a balance between the two! The group of friends I spent the day with were too phenomenal to not crash in a hostel with. But a rate of $7 per day is still great and a sustainable number since that would make $210 a month and $2,520 for the year.
I only brought a day pack and in it are some of my favorite things. I have exchangable lenses that make my phone into a photography tool, 6 shirts, two pairs of pants, 30 pairs of underwear, a 170 ft long slackline, 1 travel book for Thailand, 1 for India, a bluetooth keyboard to blog easily though my phone, some chargers, my favorite jacket, and a really huge impractical circle scarf.
I feel confident in each item I have. Even the scarf I feel can double up as a pillow or serve an important functions in terms of modesty or even a hair cover for mosques.
Cheers to feeling free and capable!