July, 1 2018

Saying Goodbye Is The Hardest Part.

Have you ever left your family, your friends, your dog, sold most of your possessions and moved halfway around the world? Yeah, we hadn’t either. I’ll get to how we did it in a later post, but to say that it’s a big change is a bit of an understatement. 

We decided not to have a going away party. Since we made the decision to leave less than three months ago, it seemed like a better idea to spend some solid one-on-one time with close friends and family. I don’t think we would have done it this way if we knew how taxing it would be on us, mentally, but we’re grateful to have made some lasting memories before heading out. 

We wanted to spend as little as possible on the trip from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to Chiang Mai, Thailand, so we started with the flights. I watched the flights for about month and a half, noting patterns in pricing so that I could find the perfect time to buy. Google Flights was insanely helpful for this, but Kayak’s Explore feature is also worth a mention. I found that trips from Seattle were regularly MUCH cheaper than from Spokane, so we booked our flights with less than a week to spare - from Seattle to Singapore for under $1k. That just left us with the task of getting TO Seattle and FROM Singapore. 

Trista’s Mom took us to meet my dad, who took us the rest of the way to the Greyhound bus station. She could’ve taken us all the way there, but Trista and I decided a tearful goodbye would be much harder. Now, Greyhound bus’ are fascinating places; you meet all sorts of interesting people with all sorts of interesting stories. Even the bus driver was a little off. He even made an unscheduled stop to load up a bunch of coolers - side hustle?

Travel Hack - buy a Greyhound bus ticket 6 months in advance to anywhere, get the $20 insurance, then change the travel date to the one you really want (thanks random bus stranger who went cross-country for under $200). 

Anyways, after the bus, we stayed with Trista’s Uncle Edmund and Aunt Christine's place, who are both from the Philippines and are very well traveled. We had a great time talking about different cultures and the need to spend time on experiences while you’re young. It was funny to see how similarly Edmund and I prioritized our time; after his heart attack and my UC trying to kill me annually. Almost dying encourages you to make the most of every opportunity, because you acknowledge that it may be the last. Grim, but true.

Around The World In 30 Hours.

The next morning we began the long journey to Singapore. We went from Seattle to Vancouver, B.C., had a quick layover, then took a very long ride to Tokyo on Japan Air. Trista slept for a bit of it, but I was too paranoid. Here we were with ALL of our belongings in two carry-on bags, and the only thing I could think about was the safety of my beautiful bride. Reality had started to set in. After a quick layover and security hassle in Tokyo, we had another long flight to Singapore. Since I knew we would be dreading the idea of another cramped flight after a 10.5hr international one, I opted for the extended leg room - I stand by it. 

A few days before the flight, I booked another from Singapore to Bangkok. Once you’re in Asia, flights to anywhere else nearby are pretty inexpensive. This one was on an airline called Scoot and they are an ad-hoc service; you’ll even pay for water. 

Travel Hack: find an inhaler and pack it. If you’re ever in a situation where you need water, just pull it out and ask for water. Nobody wants to be the a-hole who refused water to someone who might REALLY need it. 

When we finally arrived in Bangkok, we decided to drop our bags at the Airbnb before exploring. We asked around and were able to discern that taking the bus was the way to go. We took the bus to the light rail, then the rail to our destination - both of which were pretty easy; even with the language barrier. Chalk one up for Google Translate.

From a Greyhound to a Tuk-Tuk

After reaching our stop, we still had about a 15 min walk to get to where we needed to be. We were early, so the AirBnb host was nowhere to be found, but a random stranger at the building assured us we could check in early to another room. When we walked in, I immediately pulled out my phone to look for another place. When all you care about is the comfort and safety of your wife, a room that locks from the outside and looks like murder room just won’t do. We thanked the stranger and headed back to the rail. 

When we got there, we couldn’t find our new stop on the map, so we decided to try a Tuk-Tuk: three wheeled ripoff machines that are definitely worth the risk, because tourism. Our new room was further away from the sights, but it was MUCH nicer. We dropped off our bags and found a nice little bistro up the road to spoil ourselves on a fancy dinner - for $15.

After that, we slept from 2:30 pm to 7 am. Apparently, traveling without much sleep makes you really, really tired. 

Tomorrow we'll hit Chatuchak Market and MBK Center. Two more days until we're in Chiang Mai - Can't wait!

Thanks for reading!

Till next time,

Erik

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