Right now I’m freaking out. In exactly twelve hours, as this article is auto-published, I will be flying through the air from Bangkok to Rome, via Dubai. This will be a CRAZY shift after nearly five months in Southeast Asia!
How to take this in?! How to process this?! Here’s how I’ve tried:
1. Acknowledged: I AM ready (and even super-psyched!) to move on to the next chapters of this trip: Italy and Ghana.
2. Squealed: “I can’t wait to meet up with my family in Italy!”
3. Took a taxi for 90 minutes (total price, $3) through the Bangkok traffic to Khaosan Road to plunge one more time into the seething heart of tourist Thailand. Bought seven shirts (four teal blue– whoops), a pair of flip flops, and one elephant-emblazoned handbag for less than $25 total. Sweated a lot, and a few stores wouldn’t let me try on clothes because I was too drippy. Embarrassing!
Stuffed my face with street fruit for seventy-five cents and sighed: “I will miss you so much, papaya and pineapple man!” Stuffed my face with mango sticky rice for seventy-five cents and sighed, “I will think of you every day and night, M.S.R.!”
4. Canceled all plans to meet up with friends because this melodramatic “Bangkok Alone on Christmas Day” thing was what I needed. Spent Christmas dinner eating Indian food by myself on a second floor balcony and watching the Western hippies and sex tourists flow by.
5. Thought about the hilarious signs pictured in these photos. Viagra sold on the street: Par for the course in Southeast Asia. Here, everything is sold and anything is possible– but it’s always still hilarious! Toilet Chair: What is there to say about this but, “WHY?!”
Clearly, there must be a story behind it. A clown convention last year that ran amok, cackling behind their red noses as they dumped balloons upon the tracks and watched them pop? A small child in 2007 who was lifted by her buoyant balloon to the ceiling of the train and then accidentally groped by the raised hands on the handrails? We may never know.
6. Returned to the hostel to smush all the sweat-and-dirt-smelling old clothes and chemical-smelling new clothes into my big blue backpack, freak out verbally with the Lub-d staff (“I’ll miss you so much!”, “No, I’ll miss YOU!”, “NO, I’ll miss YOU”, etc.), and wrote this article to regain some shred of sanity and pull the torrent of thoughts together.
Thanks for reading this! Writing to all of you truly keeps me feeling good and centered. Kop khun ka (thank you, in Thai)… or, as of tomorrow, GRAZIE!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 3.7 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!