It’s dangerous to play the what-if game, but my biggest regret when it comes to my trip to Asia: that I didn’t grab at the offer to travel with this really amazing girl from Chile when she invited me to join her further north in Thailand. Instead I went back to Chiang Mai.
With her went my dream of forming a badass all female travel group through Southeast Asia…
Then again maybe if I had gone of this detour, I would have never have gone to Japan and met the people I did there, which would have been a shame. In the end, you can’t change the past, but you can learn from it! (I’ve become one of those motivational fridge magnets)
On my last day in Tokyo, I did get a small taste of what traveling with women might have been like, when I spent the day with Kelly and Caitlin. Praise the company of women.
First impressions: Singapore is a clean city, which warns you, on the back of the immigration card, that smuggling drugs into the country will result in the death penalty.
The first night I was able to find AMAZING street food in the form of barbecued meat on a stick, however, I really didn’t like it the first couple days there. Staying in a hostel with no windows that smelled like dirty laundry probably didn’t help. Chinatown, where we were staying, was extremely touristy and, therefore really crowded and gimmicky. Thankfully, the last day we wandered into the shopping district, which was incredible to see. It was ultra modern, but still very green.
I have this distinct memory of the hottest I have ever been. I am 19, and it’s the middle of summer in Georgia. That means it’s 98 degrees fahrenheit with 99 percent humidity. There’s not one cloud in the sky, and I am trapped in my car at a stop light, the sun mercilessly beating down on me. All four windows are down, but there is no breeze. My car’s air conditioning has been broken for years and my back is stuck to the leather seat. The red light seems to last forever as I drip sweat. I felt like a chicken cooking in the oven.
Cue to 6 years later. It’s 10am, and I am walking around Angkor wat. Even though most of the tour has been in the shade my entire shirt is soaking wet with sweat. This is not an understatement. When I got back to the hotel I had to wring it out, and it was still damp a day later. As I walk around the compound, instead of admiring the spectacular buildings, all I can think about is that 3 minute moment in my car and how right now is 1000 times worse.
The sun is so intense on this side of the world I can feel my skin burning in direct sunlight. Maybe this is where the idea of Vampirism originated: The moment Europeans popped up on this side of the world and had to battle this sunlight. It’s brutal.
Traffic was INSANE in Cambodia and by insane I mean absolutely terrifying. No one paid any attention to the very few traffic lights or the dividers or other cars. Crossing the street was like playing russian roulette (or what I imagine playing russian roulette is like). I suggest adrenaline junkies rent a scooter over here and take it for a spin.
Tokyo is a strange city. It wasn’t at all how I pictured it, but that’s all part of the charm. I ended up falling in love. There were beautiful parks, so many different areas to explore and even the train system started to make some sense (and by that I mean I finally figured out how to get back to my hostel from almost anywhere).