FAQ: Why I am going to Thailand Solo.. What I am going to do.. and how to hopefully afford it!
Just a girl with a dream of backpacking Thailand for the past 8 years and that dream is now in motion! Many people have asked me "Why are you going to Thailand.. alone?! And what are you going to do there?"
Why am I backpacking Thailand for 2 months solo? I am an independent person, but kind of get ‘stuck’ in the familiar when it comes to travel. Years ago, after a difficult time in life, on a whim, I booked a bus ticket to Chicago for a long weekend, solo. I just needed to literally get away. This was my very first trip on my own and I was on a mission to prove to myself I could do it. I booked a ticket one day and the next day I boarded the MegaBus in Minneapolis, destination Chicago, with no place to sleep. Along the bus ride, I found a hostel in a unique part of Chicago and booked it – sight unseen. I got off the bus at Union Station, found a train to Lincoln Park, and walked to my hostel. The moment I opened the red door I was in love. The place was chill and that is just what I needed. I checked into the hostel, found my way to my dorm room & after introducing myself, the 3 girls in my dorm room invited me out with them that evening – I said yes (secretly nervous) and off we went. They were all from Brazil with Portuguese being their native language. I felt brave for going on this trip solo and now I was headed out on the town being the only girl in the group who didn’t speak another language. Nerves quickly subsided and I had a great time with these gals, who I am still in contact with to this day. I did other things I had never done before – ate at a bar solo, watched the Vikings Bears game amongst all Bears fans, I did a sightseeing tour solo, and walked the entire city – taking in the sights, the sounds, and the freedom of just going with the flow. To this day, I still think of the things learned from that experience. I booked the bus ticket to escape reality of the moment – I didn’t think, I just went and hoped for the best. And it was one of the best trips I have taken because it reminds me that it is important to set foot outside of my general comfort zone, go with the flow, and learn from the experience.
What am I going to do in Thailand for 2 months? I want to explore national parks, ancient ruins, pristine islands, and modern cities. I want to experience the Thai culture, outside of the typical tourist places. I want to trek through hill tribes, do a homestay with a Thai family where I sleep in their home, eat meals with them, and learn about the culture first hand while helping them with various needs (home improvement projects, farming, learning English – its totally up to the family). I want to learn how to dive. I want to rock climb over the ocean. I want to eat local street food, check out local floating markets, explore the history of the country.
Places I want to go/things I want to see/experience: I want to learn history of the country, such as Ayutthaya – an ancient city that was burned to the ground, with any remaining structures buried for hundreds of years until archaeologists unearthed then ruins which is now part of the archaeological park. I want to learn about Buddhist culture and see Buddhist Temples. I want to go to a floating market. I want to go to Chang Mai where they have a more laid-back culture, several beautiful Buddhist Temples, and the host of a nightly bazaar/market where locals craft goods to sell to others. I want to go to Elephant Nature Park which is a rescue and rehabilitation center for abused, elderly, and injured Asian Elephants. I want to go to Bo Sang, a tiny village that specializes in making handmade bamboo parasols (umbrellas) where you can watch the entire process from piecing them together to painting them. I want to go to Chang Rai to see the Wat Rong Khun ‘White Temple” – a non-traditional architectural temple that is all white- to represent Buddha’s ‘pure nature’. I want to visit the hill tribe villages and learn about the ‘long neck’ people –women in specific hill tribes wear brass coils around their necks, some weighing up to 30#. I want to hike in Khao Yai National Park to see the waterfalls within the untouched landscape. I want to explore the temples of Lopburi – ancient ruins that have not been restored and have resident monkeys. I want to go to Doi Inthanon National Park – the highest point in Thailand overlooking the ocean. I want to explore Khao Sok NP to see jungle covered cliffs and natures beauty. I want to see the numerous pristine beaches that Thailand has to offer and partake in canoeing, snorkeling, and other water adventures. I’d like to learn how to dive – Thailand has a ton of excellent diving centers to learn at. I want to take local transportation – trains, busses, tuk tuk’s, and such. I want to explore local cuisine – which should be interesting as I am 100% Norwegian – land of meat, potatoes, and vegetables that offer salt and pepper as the spices. I plan to stay in hostels and ‘live like the locals’ as much as possible – to get the full cultural experience and come back to the States with a new awareness of both myself and my surroundings.
What about my job? Well, that part is TBD. I requested an unpaid leave of absence, but because of red tape, it has to be approved by several people on all levels, which takes ‘up to 30 days’. I am currently at day 13. I am hopeful that I will have a job to return to, but, if that opportunity is not given to me, I will come home and begin searching for a new job. This is the most stressful part of my planning thus far - how to make it all work with zero income for two months while also making sure the bills get paid! Crossing my fingers it all just works out.
Summary: I am so excited to go on this trip of a lifetime! I have saved money and prepared to have no paychecks or income for a couple of months, but I am coming face to face with reality and there are many things that I didn’t know about or think about of ahead of time and are costly. Things like needing several vaccinations which health insurance most likely won’t cover. Getting travelers insurance in case I need medical attention or to get medi-vac’d out of the country. Paying my employer the premium for me to maintain my health insurance while I am gone. Getting the right ‘equipment’ to backpack an entire country. Getting gear that is as light as possible, learning how to pack for 2 months in ONE pack, and getting things like first aid supplies, water filtration devices, mosquito everything (nets, spray, clothing wash, lotion..), GPS tracker so my family and friends can know I am alive if I don’t have WiFi.
Fundraising: If you would like to donate to any portion of my adventure here is a GoFundMe link!
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