Travel

My First Night Traveling Alone

Jolts of excitement and adrenaline rushed through me as I sat on my train to Bangkok. My first impression of the city was that it was old and like many developing cities, Bangkok’s skyline was a mix of jagged glass skyscrapers and short concrete buildings

My train to Bangkok glided smoothly beneath me, passing many intricate highways with green and pink taxis. I sat across from a man who stared at me like the monkey at the zoo. I was painfully obvious as a tourist. My giveaway? A backpack, half the size of me. I wondered how many backpackers he sees on his daily commute.

A half-hour later, I arrived at Phaya Thai, the last stop on the line and where I’ll have to catch a cab to get to my hostel. I stepped off the train and carefully weaved my way through. I descended onto the street and waved at the first taxi I saw. He looked at my guesthouse address and drove off. Did he not know where my guesthouse was or did he not want to go there?

I tried again and this time a smiling middle-aged driver greeted me. I made sure he turned on the meter and hopped in.

Folk Thai songs blared through the stereo. Thai sounded strangely like Cantonese-Chinese but not quite. I tried to see if I could make out any words, but I couldn’t. All of a sudden the driver turned around and shouted at me.

“Me! Thailand! You?”
“Me? New York.” I replied.

Out of nowhere, he produced a New York City subway map and a postcard of Niagara Falls.

“Son! Canada!”

I stared at him wondering if he was telling the truth, or if this was just a ruse he played for all the tourists. I decided that he was genuine, so I nodded and smiled.

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About twenty minutes later, we arrived at my hostel. I counted my Thai bills carefully and handed them over to my driver, and waved him goodbye. Then I dragged my fifteen-pound backpack to the entrance of the guesthouse, where a metal gate with several pots of plants and a tree greeted me.

At the back of the guesthouse, I found the receptionist. She greeted me in Thai and checked me in. I slumped my bag onto the ground and looked around the hostel, noticing baskets of toiletries other travelers left behind. She handed back my passport and led me to a tiny 4×7 room with no air conditioner. This was my first and last night in a non-air-conditioned room in Thailand.

After I closed the door behind her, I flung myself across the bed and breathed a sigh of relief. I had finally made it to Thailand, the place I’ve been imagining myself in for months, no, years. And now I didn’t know what do.

I decided to quickly text my parents to know I was alive, take a shower, and slumped back onto my bed. I thought about going straight to sleep but it was only 7pm and I was hungry. In the room next to me, a bunch of German guys chattered away.

I was scared to go out but decided to boldly brave it anyway. I needed food but most importantly, bug repellent, before I become food. So as the sun started to set on this little alleyway, in this part of the world, I stepped out into my first night abroad alone.

 

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LTFW is a travel blog that emphasizes giving ourselves permission to do the things we love and stepping outside or our comfort zones. You can learn more about the author on the 'About' page.
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