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It’s the year 2010!
You’re 19 years old, and I’ve watched you grow. After your first real trip away last year to Rome, you have that itch. You want to go somewhere exotic, but you don’t want to go alone. You found an amazing trip in that stupid "singles" holiday brochure your mum got in the mail and you thought it would be fun. Oh, how many times I have looked back on this trip and laughed.
So rocking up at the airport won’t go how you expect it to: no hot 18-25-year-olds waiting for you, more like 50-60-year-olds. But hey, it's a good opportunity to meet new people and see a beautiful country. I am still so proud of you for how well you handled that trip, being so far from home, with what turned out to be a crazy bunch of people. Maybe you were stronger then.
Go off and wonder the streets on your own in Bangkok. It’s ok. It’s safe to do so; you never know who you might meet. Interact and get lost. Buy those humongous, baggy trousers and be a hippy. You need this time to be free. Just stay away from those Mai Tais; I think they use double shots out there!
Hey, look on the bright side, you’ll learn how to squat when going to the toilet (something you’ll need in a few years, when you head off to India – I know, you always said that’s the one place you weren’t interested in going!) You’ll see so many Buddha statues, but you won’t appreciate them. It’ll take a few more years and a trip to Nepal to do that.
Your love for Orchids will begin here. And you’ll actually get to touch an elephant. One word of advice I wish I could actually give you is to not ride one. How could I have not seen how wrong, how cruel it was to do so, and you loved them so much. Just look out for the little, baby elephant that will follow you, he’s hilarious!
And although eating those fried critters on those kebab sticks seems like a good idea, just stick to catching that flying cabbage (or whatever it was) in the dustbin lid! Trust me, you’re good at it. And don’t forget about packing that teddy. Those children in that hill tribe are going to love you for it.
Remember to laugh, especially when you reach the "Rubber Triangle." Don’t ask. Be respectful. This is a beautiful country and culture, and you can never have too many scarfs! Enjoy the tuk tuks and rickshaw rides, and don’t panic when the driver gets lost. You’ll find your way; you always do.
One word of advice: don’t sunbathe without sun-cream. Those ice, cold, cans of Coco Cola and Fanta from the minibar will help. Just don’t put them back in the fridge afterwards. Be generous with your money. People there need it, especially if, by any chance, you have this amazing neck massage, and it’s normal when they try to yank your arm out of its socket! Just smile and tip well.
Learn from this trip. Let it grow you. Your desire to travel has only just begun. One thing’s for sure – no more single holidays!