Among the things social media has created, filters are most sought after. I’m not talking floating stars, floral crowns or farm animal filters. I’m talking about the filter that overseas travel projects. Something happens when a person posts a picture tagging a foreign location. All a sudden the “normal” guy you follow ain’t so normal no more. I mean 48 hours ago they were at Chipotle posting a pic of their meatless burrito, complaining about the price of guac like the rest of us. Now they’re on a beach in someplace called Koala Lemonpurr? So you make a dash for their profile page, trying to piece together their lifestyle, looking for evidence of how the slacker you went to school with has arrived here, literally. Hadn’t he, like you, convinced himself that travel is a non-essential opulence? So you scroll through his most recent posts, smacking your teeth and resolving, “His daddy got money…” or “He prolly got a few stacks back on his taxes“. This is how we chock up the travels of the non-rich, young adult. Unfair, but totally valid.
I’m hoping I can take transparency to another level by combining it with my first overseas vacation and using it to encourage other everyday people to travel. I’ve made a list of things I anticipate will normalize me and my 10 days in Thailand.
1. I Wore a Wig to Help Save Up
Months leading up to the trip, I swapped my signature stripper sew-in for a prim and proper pixie wig. To naturalistas, this is nothing. But if you have alopecia of the edges like me and can’t execute a straight part with even the pointiest of rattail combs, then bundles are life. An expensive life — one that I was willing to forego for a trip of a lifetime. And yes, I looked like your favorite “Let me speak to your manager” auntie, but I saved up so much money that I was able to buy souvenirs to all of my illegitimate nieces and nephews.
2. I Did Normal Stuff
Ok, so visit Thailand and hit yoga poses atop an elephant while petting a tiger all you want. But I don’t like cats in real life and can be found trying to make eye contact with the elephants at the circus — motioning for them to run for the exit. I prefer to view species in their natural habitat. So I tried my best to skip the traditional tourist activities. Lucky for me, Bangkok offers a top level shopping experience which ironically is where their equally awesome movie theater is, on the top level of the swanky Siam Paragon. No prearranged tropical day trip meant I could see a movie on the spot. What’s even better? It was a movie that hadn’t come out in the states yet. And did you know that before the film starts, you have to stand and salute the King of Thailand as imperial pictures of him roll across the screen? An unforgettable cultural occurrence that only cost me the price of a movie ticket and I didn’t have to risk my life in a tiger cage to get it.
3. I Put it On on Layaway
If there were a travel awards show and I received the award for ‘Best Regular Trip of a Lifetime’, I’d first dramatically thank airforable.com, “To whom none of this would be possible“. Then I’d blow a kiss to founder Ama Marfo who erected the travel-payment-program after not being able to visit her family in Ghana during holidays in college. “Thank you for making all my dreams come true in thee blackest way possible“, I’d ugly cry to her in the audience. Seriously though. When she (personally) sent me an email notifying me of my zero balance, I was elated. It was like how I imagine my mom felt Christmas Eve, Kmart, 1992.
4. Thailand’s Pretty Cheap
I’m no travel expert but somehow I managed to spend 3 days on a clifftop villa overlooking the beach in what is known as the Hollywood Hills of Koh Samui. Enjoy the freshest steamed snapper known to man on the same street where I met a friendly family of cats and rats. And I even got around Thailand seamlessly using a taxi, tuk-tuk, ferry, plane, train, scooter and bus. The gag? I still came back with all my rent money! Yep. Thailand is known for providing an array of activities and accommodations at unbelievably affordable prices. An ideal place for first-time travelers who wanna see how both the posh and the poor live. Am I starting to sound like a travel blogger? I’m totally starting to sound like a travel blogger.
5. I Gotta Room at a Hostel
Hostel. An item on my eternally expanding bucket list. An item, now that it’s been crossed off, don’t nevah-eva have to reappear. I’m an introvert. I’m an only child. I like my space and privacy. And any other excuse that’ll cover up the fact that I’m bourgeois and a sucka for a squeaky clean bathroom. Though just as strange insight as I imagined, this dormitory costs me $8/night, which is perfect if you arrive in Bangkok after 12 am and don’t want to pay for a full day in a hotel. Although, I recommend you choose a spot that’s centrally located in a happening hub. Khao San Road turned out to be excellent for its nonstop street food, vibrant nightlife, and energetic markets. I had so much fun exploring the neighborhood during the day that I was too tired to care why my bunkmate hung her panties up to dry on my bed at night.
6. I Have a Black Grandma Who Thinks I Went to Poland
Ok. This should lay it all out right here to confirm for you just how normal and necessitous things are over here. My grandmother, who has never been farther than a Carnival Cruise will take her, is still confused on where I’ve been for the last two weeks. All she knows is that I went somewhere that ends in “land”. She’s your typical “Cuss like a sailor, ‘My name is Bennett, I’m not in it’, don’t slam my screen dough!” Black grandma. Which also indicates, if you too have one of these national treasures, that she wasn’t too keen on me going anywhere. She believes that luxuries are reserved for the rich and retired and that once you’ve worked your way up “the ladda” you hate for 50 years then you may be able to spend 3 days in the Caribbean and that’s only if your house is paid off. But even then, “You bet not get yo hair wet!” She doesn’t understand that it’s lives like these that have convinced us millennials that we don’t have time for that. I mean, paying for a new experience versus a new mattress is a no-brainer to many of us. But that didn’t stop Grandma. When I called her to check in she urged me to return “before Trump build dat wall“. She questioned why I chose this place asking, “If you was gon go somewhere. Why not da Bahamas?” and declared nonsense like “You couldn’t pay me to go all da way ova there…kidnap, murder, slice, dice, blah, blah, because I saw it on the news…“.
What are some of the luxuries you’re willing to forfeit for an overseas trip?
Had a vacation recently that wasn’t overly planned but still had a blast? What are some of the atypical things you did? Going to Thailand? Need some tips? Been to Thailand? Got some tips?
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