Upon graduation from college, people take different paths in their lives. Some jump right into a career and become “grown-ups.” Others decide to further their education and go to graduate school. Those who gradated with a degree in History or Humanities spend the next year trying to find a job. And then there are those who travel. I fit somewhere between all of those (minus those degrees).
In three short weeks, I will depart to Asia for a six-week venture that is part business, part pleasure. For the first three weeks, I will be venturing to Thailand and the Philippines: backpacker style (minus the inclination to attend international raves and drink local drafts). I plan to shave my head, put on my Chacos, pack my stuff into a backpack and let my beard grow out (that last part is a lie, my beard turns out as patches that make my face look like it has cancerous blotches on it). I’m not going over for a wife, so there’s no one I need to impress with my ruggedly good looks. By the time I get back six weeks later, my hair should be back to normal.
My question is why would more people rather travel to Europe than Asia? Having sent two years there already, I may just be biased, but consider it! Talking with my friend who recently left for Europe, she told me how she bought her EuroRail pass for a mere $700 (bunks not included)! Contrast that with the $50 flights I can take to get around the country, the $10 overnight train from Northern Thailand to Bangkok – room included, and the $6 scooters I can rent to get around the city. There are 1000’s of temples to explore, hikes, waterfalls, elephant parks, night markets, rice terraces, cultured food, cultured people, and so much more!
These first three weeks will all be done flying solo. It could just be my gradually attained introverted attitude I have developed. It could be that no one else wanted to foot the bill to join. It is however, something I am looking forward to greatly. Traveling via bus, ferry, and plane and staying in dormitory type hostels will allow me to reach out and meet new and fascinating people. My ability to speak Filipino will permit me to make more personal connections with the lovely people of the Philippines.
The second part of my travels will have me volunteering for a nonprofit called CharityVision. CharityVision is dedicated to eradicating blindness by performing restorative eye surgeries in developing countries. Leading a group of 8 students, we will be working at one of their clinics assisting in surgeries, providing recommendations for improving processes, and making building improvements. We will also be doing weekend vacationing in Cebu and Hundred Islands National Park. Stay tuned for pictures.
If you have experience backpacking or have been to Thailand, what are some of the things you would recommend?