It was April 2012 when I finally decided to make the push to travel to Asia. Before then, it was just an idea that I played around with in my head. My worst mistake was probably when I decided to get opinions from my Asian friends, who by the way, never had been to Asia. You know, those type of people who think they know some much about a part of the world because their parents are from there? Yeah, you can see where I’m going with this. Well, they basically told me that Asians hate black people and that I wouldn’t have a good time. How encouraging right?
What they told me did storm a little on my parade, but I think they only told me this in good faith. See, I’m the type of person who will give you it to you straight or sugar-coat it. I don’t think that necessarily makes me fake but there’s a time when-to and a time when-not-to for just about everything in life. You don’t just walk up to a random girl who is crying and tell her you want to have sex with her(well actually… some people might do this). At that point I had already bought my plane ticket so there was no going back.
I always tell people how scared I was. I had never been to a non-English speaking country nor had I traveled to another country by my lonesome. I knew it would be an adventure, a struggle, life changing experience and most importantly I would learn new things about myself and the world that I could not learn unless I left America.
You think your a strong black male but leave the USA where Racism isn’t kept in check.
-I quickly realized how terms like “politically correct” are just concepts in the west for respecting others. In America we are kept in check with laws that prohibit discrimination and prejudice. In Thailand the only thing that you can hope for is that your dealing with someone who is ethical and well-rounded. Well that’s not entirely true, but if someone doesn’t like you or wants to say something to you because your different the only real option is to walk away. Thailand is very nationalistic so the in 99.9% of most conflicts the Thais will side with their fellow Thai. Trust me when I say you can’t take them all on…
What is logic? Does it exist?
For the most part it does… It’s kind of hard to say. You really can’t apply western logic to eastern customs and vice-versa. A perfect example would be if you order some food from a mom & pop shop and you find a hair while eating. Saying anything would be seen as extremely risky. One, you will look like a spoiled falang taking the piss. It also may seem as an attempt on your part to make the establishment “lose face” aka respect and prestige. They might take your plate back and make you a new one but, in most cases you can guarantee you will get the ‘stank eye’ if you continue to come back. Remember Thailand is a very passive aggressive country. They won’t outright say it to your face. It’s probably a good idea to master your understanding of body language… You’ll quickly learn how different other parts of the worlds rationale is.
learn more about yourself
This should be the #1 honestly. Take yourself out of your comfort zone! I can’t stress that enough. When I was back in America life was becoming too routine. We as human beings crave routine but to what extent? I would seriously wake up, go to work and come home and sleep. All my friends had jobs and girlfriends so hanging out was usually just a weekend thing. Putting yourself in a new environment, let alone country will teach you more about yourself. Traveling will mold you into an independent individual.
When your 6000 miles from home and all you got is a passport, all you can do is welcome the unfamiliar. I never thought I’d be able to maintain a conversation with a taxi in an Asian language. Asian languages are so backwards for westerners with all the tones and pronunciation. I mean how would pronounce this word “ngoo”? Go head, have fun with that…
Meet and make friends with people from all over the world
I almost forgot this part and my goodness what a part to forget. Probably one of the top reasons to travel to Thailand or any country is meeting people from all over the world. It’s really unique because Bangkok has a huge tourist population. There are people from all over America,Middle-East, Europe, Africa and Asia. You really never know who you’ll run into. Just last week I was with a group of friends who hailed from various countries such as Italy, Spain, England, Netherlands and France. I’m pretty sure that combination wouldn’t be so easy to find in the states.
The beauty of it is you become friends, share ideas and make life-long connections. I can tell you it feels good to know that I have friends from all over Europe, Asia and Africa now as a result of my time in Thailand. Who knows where these connections may take me? Maybe no where or maybe a new opportunity. I think we should embrace the unknown and explore it!
Thanks for reading and as always leave a comment and share