Being Black in Thailand

Sawadee Ka! (Hello in Thai)

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Being black in Thailand is an…interesting experience. It was for sure, 100% a welcomed break from life in the States. A respite, if you will.

I’ve heard some horror stories and some interesting accounts of the experiences of people of color in Thailand and in countries outside of the US in general. Everyone’s journey is different. Let me tell you about mine.

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I, a black american woman, highly recommend Thailand to anyone currently feeling the weight and toxic atmosphere that surrounds the black community. Pressure from within and from outside forces. I wouldn’t say I didn’t feel black while I was there but I didn’t feel like my blackness was viewed as a flaw or something to downplay. I felt like I could just be myself, wear my hair the way I want, walk down the street without worry that my skin tone would potentially cause problems for me that I didn’t solicit or deserve. The difference is very noticeable.

While I personally haven’t had any distressing situations with the police back home, it’s still a daily thought. The visuals are so prevalent in the media, on Facebook. Literally, everywhere you look. I have had minimal interaction with the police in Asia and none of them were negative. Not having to concern my thoughts with that feels amazing.

Outside of that, just about everyone else is friendly, courteous, and helpful. I can’t complain, at all.

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There are some drawbacks to being even more of a minority in a foreign land. Ladies, this one is for you. Any of your beauty products, particularly hair care and other specialty items, you won’t find them here. No kankelon hair, no hair mayonaise, no bonnets, no edge control, no nothin’. So bring it with you! If you plan to stay a while and will potentially run out at some point, make good with someone back home who will be willing to ship them to you.

To wrap it up, I couldn’t praise the Thai lifestlye more. I felt at peace, at home, and I loved it. I’ll definitely be returning, hopefully something a little more #beachvibes next time!

 

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Chiang Mai: Final Thoughts and Tips

 

See you later Thailand! I’ll definitely be returning. But for now I’m moving on. I’m currently in Malaysia. I’ve been here less than a week now but I have a lot to say. We’ll address that at a later date.

Final Thoughts on Thailand

Thailand is great. I enjoyed my time there overall. It is a very relaxed, laid back country with tons of things to see and do. I didn’t take full advantage but I wasn’t really there for that. I’ve never felt more peaceful in my life. The people are friendly and helpful. The weather is HOT HOT HOT. So if you’re into that, you’re in luck.

I chose to leave for a few of reasons. Reason one being that my 30-day visa was expiring and I didn’t love it enough to pay the $60 to stay and the fact that there were other places I wanted to see that would allow me to stay more than 30 days for free. Reason 2 is that I didn’t quite find my place there. Thailand didn’t feel….like that was where I was supposed to be if you get that. I still felt like I was visiting. Finally, I left because of the location. I needed more beach vibes. I came to Asia from Savannah, Georgia which is more a less proximal to the beach, a not that impressive beach, but a beach nonetheless. I didn’t appreciate it while I was there. I suppose I missed having the option to swing by the beach at a whim if I wanted. Funny thing is, I’ve been in Penang, Malaysia now for several days and I haven’t managed to make my way to the beach.

Now, these are all my experiences. Don’t take this to mean Chiang Mai isn’t a great place, because it really is. Loads of different people come and go at their leisure. Some stay and set up shop and call it home for years if not forever. It just wasn’t for me. I would definitely recommend giving it a try to see if it suits you. You really can’t beat the cost of living. The food scene was a bit disappointing, but I’m picky.

On to the Tips!

Guest House VS Apartment

If you want to be more immersed in Thai Culture go with a guest house in old town. If you want to be in a more western type environment, go with an apartment in Nimman. I found Old Town to be more expensive for less amenities than Nimman but there are more local attractions in Old Town.

Transport

Grab! That’s all you need to know. If its not walking distance, take grab. Tuk tuks and Red Cars are available in a pinch but they are typically more expensive and you have to deal with negotiating and the elements. So yeah…take Grab.

Socializing

There are too many events and social gatherings to keep up with. So if you want to mingle with people from around the globe, Chiang Mai is definitely the place to do it. I recommend joining Facebook groups that share your characteristics or interests in the area you’re going to visit.

That’s all folks!

So those are my final thoughts and opinions on Chiang Mai. I wish anyone planning and hoping to visit soon all the luck in the world! I’ll have my updates on Malaysia coming soon. As always you can keep up with me on my social media and YouTube channel! Drop me a comment below!

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Chiang Mai v Bangkok: Fight!

So I’ve been in Chiang Mai about 3 weeks now. I’ve done a decent amount of networking and exploring and I’ve made my evaluation.

Simply put, I think I like Bangkok better. Though it was a bit, quite a bit hotter and more humid for sure, Bangkok felt more peaceful to me. If you ignore the crazy traffic, densely populated, sprawling enormity of the city, its pretty cozy. Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit. I have a few reasons I prefer and Chiang Mai isn’t all bad, let me explain.

 

Food

BY FAR the Bangkok food scene is much better. I did not have one bad meal while I was in Bangkok. From street food to sit-down places, everything was great. I’ve had good meals in Chiang Mai too, but I’ve been disappointed almost half the time. I find myself eating the same handful of things over and over. I need some variety! Let me recommend a few dishes while I’m on the subject.

Khao Soi, a soupy curry-based dish, with veggies and your choice of meat, I recommend chicken. Very flavorful.

Thai Fried Chicken, straight forward fried chicken with some Thai flair, with an amazing sauce to go with it. I literally LOVE this sauce.

Thai’s make good sauce in general. Some of the best sauces I’ve had.

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Transportation

Ok, here it gets a little tricky. I have to give Bangkok the W because it has a viable and affordable public transportation system. In any other sector the two cities are pretty close to the same if you compare similar types of neighborhoods. In Chiang Mai I live in a pretty popular commercial/residential area. Everything I need is within a very short walk and some of the extras are a 10-15 min walk or a quick Grab ride away. If I were to compare it to a similar neighborhood in Bangkok. They’d be about the same, with the exception of price. Bangkok cost of living is 26% more than Chiang Mai according to expatistan.com.

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Scenery

Easy W for Chiang Mai. Bangkok simply is no match for the beautiful mountain views in Chiang Mai. The views from the top are pretty amazing too. I hiked up Doi Suthep and looked down upon Chiang Mai and I was blown away. It is a beautiful city from a bird eye view. Bangkok does have the advantage of being closer to the Thai Islands and other beaches. So if you don’t mind not having a 24-hour view of the glorious mountains, and a weekend get away is ok with you, Bangkok might be better.

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Overall, both cities are fine. Chiang Mai has a more local, family vibe while Bangkok has a much more fast paced international vibe. It’s all going to boil down to what mood your going for. Which feels better to your spirit? I’d say check them both out and make your decision based on that.

If you plan to go to both or have been, drop a comment below and let me know what you think!

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First Time Long-Haul International Travel: My Experience and Tips

Ok so it’s 2018. The year of me. I recently took my first big international expedition and I have quite a bit to discuss. I’m going to attempt to narrow it down to the key points. Let’s get into it!

#1 Packing

If you are going for longer than a week, pack like your going for a week. That means if you’re going to be at your destination for 2 weeks, 3 weeks, 6 years, pack light. I know, I know, but follow me on this one.

I’m speaking from experience here. I’m a notorious over-packer. This latest trip has really opened my eyes. If its not an item of clothing that truly makes your heart sing or something you wear on the regular or something you need to wear like a coat, leave it at home. Those are your three categories for clothes. Singing hearts. Reg stuff. Necessary stuff. Stick with it.

In addition, you’re going to want to shop when you get there. Save a few coins for that. Functional souvenirs are the best ones. Imagine for a minute your at the function and someone asks you where you got that swaggy blouse. You can feel super exclusive and name your recent exotic (or domestic) destination as the inspiration for your look. #Schwag #VacationBae

#2 Being Comfortable/In Flight Entertainment

My longest flight was about 10.5 hours from San Francisco to Shanghai. I almost died. Okay not really but I felt like it. This is by far the longest flight I’ve taken and I am sincerely dreading doing it again when I go home to visit. BUT! Don’t let me whining deter you. If you have the schmoney definitely spring for the business class seats or better. If not, try your darndest to get the exit row seats. The flight attendants will ask you, they’re obligated to I suppose, if you’re willing to assist in an emergency evacuation. Just something to consider.

On just about any flight longer that 2 hours you will have some complimentary free in-flight entertainment. Take advantage of that and bring maybe 2 alternatives. I’m a fan of bringing a tablet with a few pre-downloaded netflix programs and ebooks. Factor in sleep time too, so don’t overdo it. Sleep on the plane so you won’t want to sleep so much when you land. I’m a competitive sleeper. Take my word on this.

Dress comfortably and warm (Layers). That is all.

#3 Customs/Layovers

Keep your passport/travel documents handy. It’ll save you sooo much trouble. For international connections in China they wanted fingerprints from all non-native passengers. Security I suppose. I had to throw my nice BIC lighter away I had my rechargeable battery packs examined at every check point. With some light weight googling I found out that there have been instances of battery packs and other electronics with lithium-based batteries exploding on planes. I got mine from 5 Below FYI.

This should go without saying, but do some research as far as Visa’s go in the country you’ll be visiting. Some require a round trip ticket (i.e. your departure date) and possibly the address where you’ll be residing for the duration of your trip. Do your googles people.

 

To sum it up. Be prepared. Dress Warm. Do your research. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be fine. I have many more trips planned for the upcoming months and into the new year. I hope my adventures inspire and reduce any apprehension newbie travelers may encounter. BE BRAVE! BE BOLD! The world is waiting on you.

 

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World wide baby!

And It Begins…..

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Hi!

Thanks for taking the time out to see what I’m up to! I’m currently in the infancy of my world wide, international, intercontinental, interplanetary adventure. As I write this I’m in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I left the U.S. from Charlotte, NC on May 9th headed to Bangkok.

But we’re getting a bit a head of ourselves, let’s take a few steps back

I’ll start with a little about myself. I’m a 27 year old, single, childless, college grad with itchy feet (a phrase I recently learned). Probably a result of my nomadic childhood as an army brat, possibly a result of my star sign, Sagittarius, non-committal by nature.

Being a part of the millennial group that was thrust into the workforce with little hope of a decent job and 5-figure student loan debt, I got “lost in the sauce” so to speak. I graduated Decemeber of 2012 and moved to Savannah, Ga to be closer to family and look for a job. I had saved up some funds to support myself and had plans to re-room with my college roommate Chizzy.

Fast forward 8 months and I still don’t have a job. Welcome to the real world! Things in Savannah were clearly not working out. I called up my old job at the arena in downtown Atlanta, re-enrolled at Georiga State and I was back in Atlanta in August of 2013. From that point I got a full-time job in addition to my part-time job downtown and went to school in the evenings.

I’m never satisfied and after two semesters I had gotten homesick and bored again. Back to Savannah I went, this time with a job lined up. I became a dispatcher for the county 911 center!

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It was great, exciting and I finally felt like I was helping people. I did that for over two years then decided to get back into school. Due to scheduling conflicts, negative impact on my health, among other things, I decided to quit my job and focus on school. Career student I suppose.

Here’s the fun part

Long story short, I’ve always wanted to travel. ALWAYS. But sometime life and your own doubts can get in the way of living your goals, not dreams, but goals. Honestly, I cant even recall how I came across the topic, but the term “digital nomad” came into my view and I knew I had found something. I needed a job that would allow me the freedom to live on the move. I am for sure nomadic by nature (tagline?) I thought about getting a tiny house, getting a job that required me to move around, but landed on working for myself. Why not? I’m very keen on the idea that what you produce is what you have. Work hard and all the fruits are yours and yours alone.

Several months of research, planning, prepping,explaining to my friends and family (some repeatedly), I made the leap. I’m here. I’m in Thailand, but not for long. The itchy feet are back. Where to next? Stay tuned to find out!

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