First, burn the cupboard. Second, travel.

The unexpected is what changes you, inspires you and gives you the courage to live the life you are meant to live. With hindsight; within a span of ten days, after two near death experiences, both involving a two-wheeler and the road was the cure to the chronic ‘someday I will do this and that’ disease.

That moment when the whole world slows down and you can sense every little thing around you combined with an unimaginable fear of dying is the moment of truth. This, my friend, you will only accept in retrospect. Unfortunately, the change in me did not occur immediately, my insomniac brain took an extra few months to process what was to come.

The first week of 2016 was a restless week, which followed a painful assessment of what seemed to be the biggest year of my entire adulthood so far. Filled with disasters, just because. And some golden rainbows, of course. It was an epic year. But my biggest regret throughout these moments had been that I sold a cupboard full of excuses for not doing things I actually want to do and that the time was ticking out. Shamefully, most excuses were so lame it makes me want to cry.

So, I set the cupboard on fire and took off to Thailand with my childhood bestie without an itinerary. The coolest thing I had done in a long time. Though my mom thought it was not so cool. She went on a rant that entire week before I set to travel. Her theories ranged from how safe is the country to it is not a good time for international travel according to my sun sign.

Like every good daughter who loves her mom immensely, I did not pay any heed to her concerns. Including, the suggestion to pack some warm clothes. I discarded with a wave of my hand, adding, it is sweltering summer in Thailand. I should have listened to her. Mom is always right. Sometimes, you should just shut up and listen to her.

It was my first travel experience abroad. I took a flight solo, from the Chennai airport to Don Mueang airport, Thailand. If you wonder what happened to that childhood bestie, she took a direct flight to a better airport in Thailand, Swarnabhoomi and landed five hours before I arrived. Only people who genuinely love you will put up an interesting task of traveling without any plan, without batting an eyelid. And more importantly, will also wait a miserable number of hours for you at the airport without dying of boredom.

There are more amusing stories we encountered along the journey, which will follow in the posts to come. However, here are some pearls of wisdom acquired from my little travel episode that I would like to share with you now.

  • Plan your trip. Don’t be stupid or lazy or both
  • Get a bank statement to produce at the immigration office, to ensure them you have enough pocket money to buy their country’s souvenirs. This is better than loading your purse with currencies to show other in the queue
  • Buy a map or a travel guide. More importantly, decide on the places you want to see before you arrive there
  • Download an offline language translator packages, because bad network follows everywhere
  • Carry enough local cash. International airports think Indian rupee is not exchange worthy
  • Pack few warm clothes. But before that, listen to your mom. Repeat until you learn packing tips from your mom.
  • Enable international purchasing capabilities in your debit card/credit card to buy duty-free liquor for Indian friends who come to pick you up from the airport
  • Unless you love the attention, do not order food on a flight without memorizing the entire ingredients list, so you don’t end up with fragrant but delicious prawns that suspiciously found its way into in chicken fried rice.

Yawn. That’s an overload of wise words for a single post. Other shocking discoveries will be revealed in future posts. laters.


Originally published at archiegoesto.wordpress.com on February 17, 2016.