“There’s no better advice than making then living by your own advice/mistakes – which pretty soon into any trip you will find yourself assessing and reflecting on who you are, your personal needs, must haves…”
As many may know I am off to the lands of the untraveled, underdeveloped, never before conquered or written about- Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and if my budget belies- Myanmur and Indonesia. Aka these are the atypical trails followed by gap yahhh students, often the 18-30’s destination for today’s season workers or who I like to call “Malia scum”. Lucky me!!!
Ha, I jest. I am somewhat painfully aware at 27 years old with two previous travel escapades behind me, being here has made me what we call a fully fledged travel snob (oh just that time I did Nepal, India and South America *sigh*). I’m only jiping because I write this whilst out in Asia at the moment having met the youth who think themselves Christopher Columbus because they attended a full moon party with twenty thousand other Brits but managed to fit in a brief Island tour and a quick selfie with a local child they passed on their way to the mini mart.
Anyways to those thinking or starting a journey, I won’t go on too much as there’s no better advice than making- subsequently living by your own advice/mistakes which pretty soon into any trip have you assessing and knowing yourself, your needs, must haves and items you wish you’d left at the departure lounge. This statement also holds true to certain behaviours, activities etc. For example: I know with a 95% certainty I cannot and will not ride a motorbike or underwater dive. However these rules can be fun or indeed horrific (maybe even fatal) to test but can also provide memorable or even memorial wake entertainment. Not that motorcycle accidents or malaria are hilaria butttt some humour has been born out of the; ‘Don’t sleep with your tour guide or dorm mate’, ‘don’t jump off that waterfall ‘, ‘that wound will probably heal’ , ‘ let’s all drink tap water and then we will be immune’ ‘don’t drink and smoke weed’,’don’t order the cheese on the side of the street’ ‘ oh look a monkey lets pet him’.😝🙊
“Are you not going to take any cans of tuna?”
Now packing for me was and is always one of those things I put off as much as I can and then dedicate my god damn life to in two full days inclusive of first, second to third/50ish draft. These are all overseen by my poor mother who is often made to leave the room to then have me wailing at her to come back and decide between dresses for me, most advice of which I usually disregard (no I won’t need 60 denier tights mother). After three previous trips I have a good understanding of my body and needs, what I can physically handle and what I can sacrifice. Put down those straighteners ladies! This year for me I sacrificed my usual 40 packs of immodium and my blue hair dye 😦 who will love me now?
I try to pack the minimum; leggings, two “temple shorts”, linen trousers, three t-shirts, two dresses (casual) and my signature leotard – turned out to be a shockingly light weight 10.4KG which had me “wehey-ing ” all over Heathrows terminal 4. This is because:
1) I’m a weak lanky monkey but and most importantly- I’m self aware of this!
2). Mummaz gonna buy loadsa shit out there in the end.
Essential packing for South East Asia
- Mosquito repellent with deet!!!! deet deet deet!
- Antibacterial gel – Not only does this little gem come in handy for basic sanitation it also fairs well for treating mosquito bites and using as a gauze for wounds, as you will quickly find nothing heals properly in Asia (except broken hearts swooooooon).
- Sun cream– a reputable brand like Nivea factor 30
- Hiking shoes for those jungle treks and also a plimsoll type primark shoe setting you back £3 you’d be surprised how much you will use and then ditch at a later time to fit last minute presents in.
- A vanish stick (cut off a small square in cling film) / travel wash – a cheaper option to constantly doing laundry for those soiled undies and in the asian heat they dry in no time!
- A travel neck pillow – preferably a blow up one that then folds down in your small pack, these are a God given blessing for those many hours spent crammed with locals in minivans
- A lip sun protector factor 30 and other various lip balms- if like me your lips blister in the heat or the line of your lip completely melts into your face when burnt (which famously happened to me one trip to Greece) this is A MUST HAVE and has served me loyally.
- Buscopan and brunch bars along with the staple travel medications and condoms (no not milaria tablets either, unless you are Michael palin or Cheryl Cole, you will not need them). As an IBS sufferer (such a victim) I would always take buscopan and anti acids for those greasy meals and aching bowels! I would also reccommend hiding brunch bars in various parts of your bags for those times in peril, or for added surprise value when months into a trip you stumble upon a lowely brunch bar! I have tendencies to do his even when at home and going on long nights out at clubs, nothing worse than going hungry! (It’s true I once ate a Mars bar on the dance floor ).
- A decent red lipstick – lastly for me this is my luxury item, my connection back to a reality where I am semi attractive. With one decent lipstick I can wear only that and nothing else and feel like I’ve spruced up my 5 day work creased smelly outfit on a potential night out. A bold lip can rescue a dry barren devoid of anything else face.
The rest is up to you, do not be ashamed if your heart desires a hair dryer, compensate and substitute with something else, if you can justify it to yourself that’s all that matters – just don’t be moaning when it’s on your back! I’ve known people warrant straighteners or a £150 hat, everyone is different as is each trip.
Soooo now you’ve got your dollars and a bit of Thai baht and you’re ready to hit the big city of Bangkok- goodluck my doves!
Let the adrenaline fly the plane for there is no feeling equal to that of beginning a solo journey. The buzz of the airports, smell of the cabin and the feel of foreign airs is among you, bask in it.
Next chapter will talk about my journey to Bangkok and the adventure that was my journey into scambodia. Spoiler alert, there’s drama , fake border crossings, a metaphorical show down/ stand-off at immigration and some terrific island sex.
– Stevie 😬😬😬😬
Instagram – @lightofthedragon