Why do you travel? What should be the main reasons that urge you to travel? If there is anything that keeps you eager about the upcoming trip, what should it be? What type of traveler are you?
It is not easy at all to have right answers to all these above questions right at the first place. Sometimes, the answer which used to be right in the past may not be applicable to the present’s questions. The journey to figure out the answers is somehow like a piece of experience shared by one friend of mine 5 years ago when we were talking about our favorite clothing style. She said: “You should go shopping more and more. It is not necessary that you have to buy something. Simply, you should give them a try. The more you try, the more you figure out which style would fit you.”Her piece of advice was not quite a big word of wisdom; actually, it just reflected a simple truth that practice makes perfect. However, it was not until my first year joining the workforce that I started to follow her advice, which means spending more time and more money on shopping. That simple principle applies to not only the practice of choosing clothes, it is totally true when it comes to finding the most suitable shampoo, identifying your favorite genre of music, your favorite genre of books, and perhaps finding the right partner. Of course, it is the varying switching cost that makes the journey of finding the most suitable ones vary. It may not take much effort to figure out your favorite music genre but it may take a lifetime to find out the right life partner, even worse, some may never find out.
The same thing also happened to traveling. Actually, I found it a little bit more complicated when it comes to traveling. I used to think that travel is a joy itself and every travel will be surely a nice experience no matter where you go and who you travel with. I used to think travel itself is a journey. I travel to a new place with a view to being exposed to a totally new environment and opening up our own experience. Until now, what I used to think is not right at all. There is an inconvenient truth that traveling to a place in which you are not so interested and traveling with your not-so-favorite type of buddies may make your traveling experience a little bit disappointing. The truth is that when I expected to be stunned at the exotic scenery, the new people, I am more surprised at what I discover about myself. Perhaps, as what I have learnt while growing up, nothing is perfect at all and sometimes, a disappointing experience may have some saving grace.
Referring to the captioned subject, overall, the whole experience of mine during my seven days in Thailand is quite good. I have learnt a lot about Thailand and its people, of course. I have learnt a lot about my travel mates, all the good, the bad and the ugly. I have learnt a lot about my own self. At least for now, I knew why I love traveling and what I love the most during travel. I love observing the local ones, trying to imagine myself living in an ordinary day of a typical local. During days in Thailand, it was not the beautiful sea or the long beach that stunned me the most. I love traveling on foot or by means of public transportation. I love imagining how a Thai lives a day in their daily lives by observing a Thai student queuing up for the sky train, texting long characters that I have no idea about and smiling at herself. I love watching a couple that sat next to us in the food stall chitchatting or laughing at each other. I love watching a group of young Thai students hanging out in Chatuchak market at a typical day in a very ordinary weekend. I love to know how people from a different culture do the ordinary activities that we do every day. I love the peaceful night spent in Kinokuniya book store, picked up my books of interest and saw people around me enjoying their time with books. I love the cool evening spent at the Asiatique Riverfont at the Chaophraya River, enjoying the nice acoustic performance by a street musician and seeing how the young Thai spent their Sunday evening. All these aforementioned experiences may explain why I love Bangkok the most during my trip in Thailand. Another favorite spot of mine is Koh Phi Phi. Again, it is not about the beach. I love the tourist village we stayed during time on the island. Never have I seen such a place filled with foreign tourists that outnumbered the locals as Koh Phi Phi. What I love the most is the feeling of a close-knit community of strangers, who come there to travel, to make friends and to truly enjoy themselves.
Another significant learning point I have learnt by far during that 7 days in Thailand is that travel buddy makes a very important part of the travel experience. I realized that I may not be a typical Asian girl when it comes to traveling and traveling with a typical Asian girl should be the most disappointing travel experience of mine so far. No offense to a typical Asian girl traveler. Perhaps, a typical Asian girl traveler finds that traveling with a not-typical Asian girl traveler a disappointing experience as well. You may be curious about what a typical Asian girl traveler is like. Check out the picture below and you find out what I mean.
A typical Asian girl traveler often brings about a carry-on luggage. She spends at least more than 30 minutes doing some make-up, choosing the most beautiful costumes. Beautiful photos for Facebook or Instagram after the trip should be the most important things to her. She hates walking for being afraid of her legs getting hurt due to long time spent on the high-heels. She takes great pleasure at shopping and she does not mind having other people waiting for her during her shopping experience. I, however, admire the girl below.
I love to be confident with the backpack like them. I love the way they do not mind a lot about their outfits but still look lively and confident without make-up or beautiful dress. It is important to me that I can be myself during travel. I take some random walk, stop when I found something worth a further look and capture all the ordinary moments. I love to get to know the new people and to exchange small talks. I love to spend time on my own, to think and to enjoy the trip in the most original way of mine. I love to be on the constant move. I appreciate all the odd experiences coming up (provided that it is not a disastrous/ nightmare-type experience). Therefore, I felt a big waste of time when I have to wait for my Asian-type travel buddies doing their make-up and getting on beautiful dress. I was so upset when I have to wait for them doing their shopping while I do think there should be a lot of interesting things awaiting out there during their times spent in the air-conditioned shopping center. I love taking a walk while they insist on going by taxi. It is not the matter of right or wrong. It is just a lesson of choosing a right travel buddy.
After all the rambling above, you may find the subtle link between the two halves of the title. The second half should be the biggest learning point about me during my 7 days in Thailand. Of course, Thailand has more things to offer rather than a quest to your truly self, however, I would rather save them for some flashbacks in the future posts where any happenstance allows me to do so. In the mean time, you may enjoy some photos taken during my time in Thailand and consider about a trip in the near future to this beautiful land.
Or you may try a fun quiz on the BuzzFeed to figure out what type of travelers you are. Have fun!