There are many places still left to tick off the bucket list, but in less than 24 hours I, David, will be on my way to ticking off two more. That’s because at 12.30 tomorrow I will be leaving Heathrow, boarding a non-stop Thai Airways flight, and heading to Bangkok, before driving onto Cambodia.
Thailand. And Cambodia. Wow.
We all have pre-conceived notions about various different destinations around the globe – visit the US for fake cheese and Lucky Charms, visit Italy for wine and romance, visit Greece for pristine white buildings and fine food. For me, I’ve always thought of Thailand as neon lights, street food and rice fields.
And here’s the thing. I couldn’t be more wrong if I tried. Living with someone who would drop everything and move to Thailand in an instant means you very quickly learn Thailand is about the locals, the beaches and a totally different way of life to what Westerners are used to. Yes i’ve had a Thai massage before, but soon I’ll have the real thing. Yes, I’ve heard Bangkok is an incredible city and Khao San Road is a must, but soon I’ll be soaking in the atmosphere like a local, with the locals.
The reason I’m so excited is I have genuinely no idea of what to expect. It’s a part of the world that fascinates me. Curiosity killed the cat (I know this having seen new kitten Binx in action), and that’s how I feel right now. I don’t know what to expect from any of the places we’re visiting in Thailand and Cambodia, no matter what people tell me or reviews I read.
I don’t know what Ban Dong Bang Village will be like! I have no idea what to expect from the night market in Kampot. And I definitely don’t know what the Bokor Hill resort will look like.
This is the beauty of a first-time backpacker. Everything is new. I even had a tutorial on how to use the backpack. A TUTORIAL! It looks complicated, and my chimp-like ways mean Laura will need to show me this again tonight or tomorrow. I’ve always folded stuff neatly into my suitcase, packed my hand luggage, and been on my merry way. Now I have to roll stuff up and store things in secret compartments. It’s like a Swiss Army bag. I’ve got most of my stuff laid out neatly ready to go in, but the changing nature of the weather means I’ve got to pack differently. This week thunderstorms have been rolling in for a couple of hours followed by sunshine in the places we’re visiting, all at a comfortable 38 degrees.
Like pretty much everything about this trip, this will be a new experience. Follow along using #GoThailandGoAsean and #AmazingThailand on Twitter and Instagram. I won’t make you all too jealous, promise.