Go West Young Man -- Chapter 1: Hot, Really Hot, and F***ing Hot
To be honest-- traveling for a year, coming back to figure out and start a career, then leaving for a 2 month trip again within 9 months, wasn't a very reassuring decision, let alone a responsible one. I bought this plane ticket when I was at one of the lowest points physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially back in the beginning of 2016. $350 flash deal for a round trip to Bangkok + Korea? My parents and my community raised me better than to pass something like that up.
As much anxiety and hesitation the idea of this trip gave me, it also gave me incentive to work my ass off and earn it. More importantly however, I convincingly persuaded my childhood best friends to finally come backpacking with me.
I've known these guys for more than half of my life. They've seen and witnessed me in my worst, dealt with my shit, and seen me fail and grow. We've hated each other, screamed at each other, cussed each other out, met God together, etc. Brotherhood. It's crazy how far we've come since 7th grade, 9th grade, through college, and now.
We departed LAX separately, me and Scott on the 24th of April, the day after he took his MCATs. The boys would join the fray and adventure on the 17th of May.
Traveling with Dr. Scotty has been balls to the walls. It's the first time he's really left the country, and sadly for him, he gets the rough introduction by having his first backpacking introduction with me :D. I always say that backpacking is always traveling, but traveling isn't always backpacking. There are times when things REALLY suck, Scott and I look at each other, lower our heads and sigh, then just have a good laugh about the crappiness that's about to ensue.
First place we hit was BKK and Chiangmai. It's been really difficult to pick up my camera, even after a month of being overseas. Part of it is just my laziness and the heat. My local friends who live in Bangkok once said this: "Thailand only has 3 seasons: hot, really hot, and fucking hell!"
It's fucking hell here.
But really, the problem is that anytime I pick up my camera, I'd get a sinking feeling in my chest because it's been a love-hate thing because it feels like work and not a joy. I'm coming to terms though. Although I suck at charging my batteries.
After a brief introduction in Bangkok, and a poorly planned/failed attempt to go to Vietnam. We ate $40 by skipping our flight to the 'Nam and followed our hearts to Chiangmai.
I love CMX. I plan on buying a home here when I'm successful enough. It's a beautiful city filled with artists, expats, locals, and amazing architecture and culture. I'll be going through again so I promise to provide proper pictures the next time through.
Our second day in Chiangmai-- Scott and I, along with our British traveling mate Jack, rented scooters and decided to take a tour around the city. I hit all my old spots from last year, and also took the boys to a secret off-the-grid boat noodle spot that I had found about 20-30 minutes outside of the main city, in some back road neighborhood. The dude got so stoked and confused, he asked us in his broken English how we knew about this place, then took a picture of us because I guess he rarely has foreigners come through. Again, I'll take pictures next time.
Anyone that's properly experienced Thailand, which is the backpacking Thailand, knows that Thailand, primarily Bangkok, is straight up The Hangover 2. I'm not much of a tourist, turns out Scotty isn't either, I guess thats why we've been friends so long. We don't spend our times walking around temples and taking selfies with the Thai Ronald McDonald. I prefer the unbeaten trail, or creating my own. And to my delight, as does Scotty.
After lunch, we found a cafe to shelter us from the flash thunderstorm. The next two hours we stared at maps on our phones, studying routes and regions. I followed a few back routes, tracing the forks and clicked on a blue icon: Tat Yoi Waterfall.
"You guys want to go find a waterfall?"