Reaching out from Thailand. It’s been four days but already feels like a week has gone by. Can’t keep track of which day it is and loving every moment from the monkey temples to the nine hour plane and train rides. I have also learned an important lesson..
Although my overseas journey is just beginning, I have a feeling one of my first lessons is letting go of materials. This is my first long-term backpacking trip and before I hopped on a plane to Japan I moved out of my room (which I share with my boyfriend) and realized how many things I own.
Much of this stuff sits in drawers most of the time and I always justified their occasional purposes. This notion applies to my closet as well. I should know my sense of style by now, but seeing all of my belongings in storage bins made me realize full picture as to how much I own and what I truly do not need. It was already my intent to switch most if not all of my wardrobe to Thai and Indian style clothing, so I am looking forward to purging everything when I return home to Hawai’i.
I am still trying to make sense of an event that happened to my boyfriend and I on our first full day in Bangkok. We went to Chatuchak Weekend market and let me tell you- it was the most controlled chaos I have witnessed thus far. (I am sure India will knock it out of the park and I really look forward to it.) Chatuchak is one of the biggest markets in Thailand spanning over 35 miles of vendor after vendor selling everything from gorgeous sinks and houseware, incense, body care, belts, wallets, handmade goods, knickknack signs, to blue jeans and traditional Thai clothing. It was so easy to get lost in alley after alley of vendors we had to keep our eyes on each other at all times.
I bought a few beautiful scarves for myself and friends as well as some spices- nothing too fancy or elaborate. However, before departing to Thailand, I was in such a rush to get my 85+ hour work week over and move out of my room and pack, I forgot to bring a second outfit. The only clothing I had was what I wore on the plane – a pair of leggings, a camisole, and a very light sweater. I only intended to bring minimal clothing so I could buy all Thai and Indian clothes as my wardrobe and intended to bring a second pair of clothes I could leave behind once in Thailand.
The main purpose of going to this market was so I could buy some clothes, which I did. I got a beautiful dress and skirt as well as a pair of Thai pants. I had all of these in a bag with the scarves I bought. We left the market and tried to go to the Thailand Cultural Center.
While running across the street, my shoe got completely stuck in the mud and we had to dash back to the sidewalk to clean up my feet before going into the center. I handed my boyfriend the bag as I cleaned up, then we went off to the center unintentionally leaving the bag behind. Of course, we didn’t realize this until we were on the MRT halfway back to our room. Did I forget to mention I had my Ray-Bans in there? We went back to try to find the bag but since we left it on a seat at a bus stop, there was no way it would be there.
We both see this as an important learning lesson and are actually thankful it happened early on with replaceable materials because this would be a different story if I had handed him my bag with my brand new camera, prescription glasses, passport, and bank cards. Now, if either of us have to shuffle our stuff around and have to hand a bag to the other, we make intense eye contact recognition as we hand the bag over to the other. This lesson may be a blessing in disguise as maybe something worse could have happened in the future for us either in Thailand or India.
As for my clothes, I was only able to find a pair of elephant pants that don’t fit me the best (big hips) and have not been able to find another similar dress or skirt that fit well. The search is still on and I will find something I’ll love. Until then I at least have two pairs of pants to choose from! I am reflecting a lot on things I want and what I can manage parting with.
Currently on a train to Chiangmai. Wondering what lessons are to be learned there..
both photos in this article are mine