Well, as that incredible photo essay from Nomadic Samuel explained only recently, I’m in Thailand. And more precisely, I’m in Bangkok. A trip which, for a time there I have to admit, worried me a bit more than it excited me.
The thing is, and this is a little strange to say, I was a bit apprehensive about setting off for a longer term adventure again. Since the move to France about a year ago, all my trips have been rather safer shorter adventures. Excellent adventures yes, including such pinnacles of excitement as hot air ballooning and banana flavoured beer, but safe, localised ones.
Nothing that has really challenged me. Nothing that has stretched me. Nothing that has really required much in the way of thinking.
Looking up at Wat Arun temple during sunset
And so, I was a little worried that perhaps I had lost my travel mojo. Maybe I was a “shorter trips” sort of person now. Maybe I needed lots of downtime between trips to write them up, and edit the photos. Maybe I had accumulated enough travel experience, and I was happy to just sort of retire. Maybe the buzz just wasn’t going to come back to me, as described recently in a bloody awesome post from the Globe Trotter Girls on losing the magic of travel.
These many maybes, and indeed fears, circled my head in the days leading up to our departure.
Of course, it turns out that my fears were an unfounded load of pre-travel bollocks. As soon as we stepped off the plane and sniffed the warm, moist, Bangkok air (through a fug of Jet A1 aviation fuel, although that stuff is pretty heady in of itself), I knew that it was all going to be ok.
Even such trivial things as seeing signs in another language, taking on immigration, and dealing with a new and unknown transit system sent a thrill through me.
And then of course, there’s Bangkok itself. The place is a sensory overload – I can see how it could be almost too much. It’s noisy, crowded, hectic, scented, never ending. It explodes all five of your senses and challenges you to deal with the fallout. It’s chaotic. I think I love it.
From the insistent tuk tuk drivers, to the roaming street cats, to the insane array of street food, to the temples, to the wiring that would give any Western electrician a heart attack, it’s all just fantastic. Fantastically different.
And that is what has always driven me to travel – the search for something new and different. Sure, Thailand is a country that has been well-explored before – but it’s never been explored by me. And the newness is gorgeous.
Boats on the Chao Phraya river
Bangkok has been the best way to begin the adventure, with the city jump-starting my enthusiasm. The coming few months are loaded with adventures, in part thanks to the lovely folks at the Tourism Authority of Thailand, who are sorting us out with all kinds of incredible stories to share, including nights on raft houses, mist-laden national park exploration and long-tailed boat trips between impossible to pronounce islands.
From what I can tell it’s going to be a hell of trip, and I’m so pleased you’re coming along for the ride. Stay tuned – and as always, thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post in the comments below.
Entry to the Memorial bridge, Bangkok