I wanted to take a little time to answer some of the questions I have gotten from friends and family about traveling and living in Thailand. For those who have the same reoccurring thoughts about living or experiencing a different life, that quickly get pushed away to the part of your brain where memories from freshman year of college live, this one goes out to you. To those of you who is looking at participating in the CIEE program, and anyone that wants to travel but is scared, this one is for you too.
The Unwritten Rules-
There are unwritten rules in life that we follow. We don't know how we know them, we just do. These include but are not limited to treating your server like a queen because they hold all the power, whistling in any context is only fun for the whistler and absolutely no one else, and responding to a text with "k" is code for, go sit on a cactus.
The same things applies when traveling, don't be "that," traveler that adds to our countries bad name, cover your shoulders especially around holy places, and live fast, travel slow. Don't try to mm-bop, Hanson your way through the country. My best advice on traveling in Thailand is that spending quality time in one place outweighs going to many places in a short amount of time. What does that mean? If you are going to come to this country, figure out how to be here not just spark-notes skim over it, there is too much to understand it takes time to truly unfold.
To Work it or Not-
There is a stark difference to living abroad and working abroad. As a teacher in a foreign country, I have a purpose and a direction to stick to, and Mondays still feel like Mondays. If you like to multi-task, a pay check and a beach vacation at the same time, find a job abroad. They are easy to find especially if you have heard about resumes, and actually utilize them. It is mostly a good option if you are anything like me and your current bank account balance is equivalent to one road-trip worth of snacks at 7-eleven.
If taking a side road to your career and life is in the cards and you can put things on hold, travel to all the places, see all the things. For the love of all things right in the world, find time to shower. I am sick of dodging bed bugs in places that foreigners rain down upon in great numbers.
You Can Go Your Own Way-The Bucket Un-list
I read a quote recently that said, "travel not to find yourself, but to rediscover who you have always been." This struck me because, this isn't the typical song and dance that you hear. You always hear ideas about finding yourself, growing, changing, becoming the person we are meant to be. To me, that just sounds like a lame way to describe the life cycle of a butterfly. Those things already imply that you are lacking something and that you will have to travel many miles, in order to stumble across some profound, Societies-level insight about life. It doesn't work like that.
Go out in the world to find out what exactly you’ve got to work with already. We are equipped with many more abilities then we actually use, (see: drive through windows and online shopping.) Discover your own dark side of the moon, so to speak, the areas of yourself that can only shake out when you’re forced to live a different life. Turn that Bill Nye like, potential energy, into forward movement. I don't know much about science but I feel like I gathered that nothing changes if nothing changes.