The Southern Bus Terminal in Bangkok started to feel like home after the past couple of months. We spent hours waiting in it and made the trip to and from it at least two dozen times. We grabbed our backpacks and headed into the city center.
We arrived at the beginning of Songkran, also known as the Thai New Year. It is quite the event! If you’re anywhere in Thailand between April 13-15, or the entire week for that matter, be prepared to get drenched. Originally, pouring water on people was done to wash bad luck from the previous year away. Today it is still symbolic, but it is a bit more of a party than it used to be.
We were staying near Khao San Road and bought supersoakers to join in on the fun. Kids would get rides around in the back of pick up trucks filled with water and people would get drenched sitting in the back of a tuk-tuk. Thai people are known to be happy people, but it was especially fun to see them invite foreigners to celebrate their New Year with them.
The last morning we were in Bangkok we managed to get to the Grand Palace without getting too wet. Although the palace was packed with both tourist groups and locals (because of Songkran), it was still an incredible place to visit. The detailing on all of the buildings blew my mind.
That night, we enjoyed one last Thai meal and watched Bangkok disappear into the night as we took the sky train to the airport.
Backpacking through Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia was unexpected, but exactly what I needed. I thought I was ready to move to New York last fall. I was bummed when I didn’t get the job out there that I had been banking on, but as I look back on this trip and begin to write a story about all of my travels, I’m realizing that not getting the job was one of the greatest things that has happened to me. It pushed me to buy plane tickets to Southeast Asia with two weeks notice, and dive into another adventure headfirst.
There’s a certain beauty to traveling while we’re young. We can stay in not-so-nice guesthouses, eat street food, and get to know the world in a different way than we might see it after owning a car, a house, and having a job we can only get away from for one week out of the year. It’s not always glamorous; in fact, traveling on a budget for months on end can be extremely tiring. However, the fatigue is easily overcome by the beauty of seeing different corners of the world, getting to know new cultures, and experiencing first hand the kindness and generosity of strangers.