lolamatopoeia: (marilyntiredhead)
[personal profile] lolamatopoeia
Thank goodness we have only one more night here. It's not that Bangkok is a bad city, it's just that I don't think that I have spent this much time in any big city ever. I don't feel comfortable in big cities, at all.

Today has been a big struggle for me. I broke down today. Today has been a bad day. I ended up paying 500 baht for a phone call to my bank, where I was mainly on hold the whole twenty minutes, just to find out that they have no partner banks in Thailand or anywhere in South East Asia and that they couldn't help me or advice me on the best way to get Canadian traveller's cheques while I am overseas. Awesome. The tears started welling up a bit as I handed over the baht to the guest house manager for the phone call, and became uncontrollable as I explained to Bianca why I was so flustered. I felt like a child as I couldn't stop crying about the situation that really wasn't about the situation at all. The situation is fixable. I'll learn, it's fixable, but when it comes down to it I think I'm just getting really emotional about this fear of failure I'm having. I was told by my parents and Tudor before I left that if I'm miserable in Canada I'll be miserable anywhere else and that I'll be alone and crying in a corner some time during my trip. Well, yeah. I'm struggling. I cried in a corner and I felt miserable. Things are fine, but I'm not.

I knew, going into this, that it would be a process for me. I came here because there are things that I don't like about my personality and way of life that I knew I couldn't change by just staying in my situation. I came here because I know that I am not a strong person, and I would like to be a strong person. I came here to be more independent and adaptable and strong and confident. I am currently none of these things, although I so desperately want to be. I knew that this would be a struggle in changing myself through this journey, but it's one thing to anticipate that struggle and another to actually go through it. I'm scared. I'm scared that I'll never be the strong and adaptable traveller that I've always wanted to be because lately all I want is to go home. I want my Daddy. I want my dog and I want my boyfriend and my friends and my bed and my tv and I want potatoes and not living out of a backpack and sweating standing still and I want comfort and familiar sights and faces. I'm scared. I know that it's all because I'm just scared and that I am not actually going to run home. I've committed to this, but I feel like a child right now. I'm growing up through this trip, and that is what I wanted, but it is much more painful than I thought it would be.

Today has been a bad day. I hope that tomorrow will be much better. Especially for the sake of my travel partner and everyone around me.

It will work out. I will just have to decide whether it's better to go to a bank and get the rest of the money I budgeted for this trip out in canadian and convert it to traveller's cheques (so that I can safely travel with them and just exchange them as I go) or if I should do the original plan which was to take out local currency from atm's in whatever country I go to along the way. I don't know yet. I don't know that I will know what is best, but I'm just going to have to do one of them and deal with it. Like a big girl.

We are off to Chiang Mai tomorrow, which is such a f**king good thing. I am so ready for a more laid back atmosphere I could cry (again). I think that's part of the reason that I am struggling so much - I hate being in a big city. It's too much. The city is dirty and hot and wet and smelly. I'm tired of cramped and crowded streets where there are random drips coming down on your head and random smelly puddles and piles of dog shit and garbage and drivers and random people constantly shouting things at you on the street. I am tired of the wafts of garbage and shit and urine mixed with food smells and exhaust. I am tired of being constantly worried about hands dipping into my backpack and about bumping into people and being bumped into and not being able to breathe. I'm exhausted by this city. I need mountains and greenery and clean air. I also want to get over this urge I'm having to retreat and go home to my Mommy. I'm 27 years old and I still feel like a child.

Date: 2009-07-05 03:52 pm (UTC)

*hugs*

Date: 2009-07-05 11:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bibliotropic.livejournal.com
Don't be too hard on yourself... the first few days, or even the first week on the road are always really difficult and exhausting (both physically and mentally), but you'll get used to it, and then you'll see how strong, independent, confident and grown up you really are. I think you're doing just fine; homesickness is perfectly normal.

Try to take time to yourself every day. I actually often do yoga in my hostel bed when I'm travelling because city backpacking is way more exercise than it seems to be and it helps ease tired muscles. Don't worry if you don't see every important site... you'll have a better time if you focus on feeling good while you're travelling. Push yourself, but don't push yourself too hard; there's no shame in starting slowly.

I've always done the local currency thing and would have no idea what to do with a traveller's cheque, but I've never been to Asia either so I have no advice there.

Where else will you be visiting?

Advice from a seasoned traveler...

Date: 2009-07-06 04:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] loverfishy.livejournal.com
(I'm here by way of Tudor... he's a Flickr contact. I work for an airline and I've traveled quite a bit- much of it solo- to Asia, Australia, and Europe)

1. ATMs tend to be the best way to deal with currency. From past experience, travelers checks can be more of a hassle than anything else. I have run across quite a few places that either do not know how to deal with them or refuse to deal with them or try to charge excessive fees to use them (generally against TC policy, but you're sort of at their mercy). For the cash you do take out, get a money belt if you don't already have one. Keep just a bit of currency accessible for small purchases and keep the rest in the money belt that's worn discreetly around your waist under your top layer of clothing. If somebody does pickpocket you, you will have only lost a small bill or two from your pocket. If you have a purse, make sure the top zips or snaps shut. Wear it cross-body instead of just looped over a shoulder- it helped me keep mine in an unsavory part of Shanghai a few years back...

If you are planning to travel to small villages, or if Vietnam or Cambodia are on your itinerary, you may want to plan ahead as far as cash goes. ATMs can be few and far between in those locales if you step off the beaten path.

2. If you have not already done so, email your bank's customer service to let them know your planned itinerary.

3. Make a photocopy of your passport and tuck it into the lining of your suitcase. If you do lose your docs, this will go a long way towards helping obtain replacements.

4. Remember- a lot of foreign travel is pure culture shock. The best thing about it is the new and unusual experiences- when you're in a bit city like Bangkok, try to find something beautiful in the chaos. Sure, the traffic is awful and the aromas can be horrible, but the people are beautiful and quite warm for the most part. Beautiful temples and shrines appear in the middle of nowhere. Exotic fruits abound- try dragonfruit if you haven't already- it's a must, as are rambutans and mangosteen. Remember to look for the hidden jewels that make a place special. Having said that, travel can be hard. SE Asia is a cool, but sometimes difficult, place for a novice traveler. I commend you for making the journey. Heck, I've had breakdowns in far more civilized places where I've just felt like I've had enough- and I've found that usually the cure is to have a nice meal in a dive-y local place along with a pint of the local brew- and then just hit the sack early- so I'm recovered and rarin' to go the next day.

Safe journeys to you.

-JJ

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