Travelling requires you to learn to pack lightly, and with that in mind, the ideal piece of luggage to carry is of course the backpack of all official “backpackers”. Hard not to miss, and apparently easy to lose; as in the case of my first two days being in Thailand. Thankfully I had kept my toothbrush, the essential pieces (wallet, passport, money), a spare shirt, my sunglasses and a cell phone all in one small messenger bag. Being without luggage and without any change of clean clothes is really tough, especially if you’re a female and the country you visit just so happens to have 100% humidity. Imagine that. Not good. Although it was really frustrating that my airline carrier had lost my luggage, I made every effort to make the most of my time and reminded myself that having gotten to Thailand safely was the most important thing. Remember that your bound to encounter some sort of problem that will frustrate you when you travel, but if you can give yourself a moment to reflect on all the other things that aren’t a problem, you’ll begin to be grateful for all the little things you overlook. So how do you make the most of your time in two days in Thailand with no luggage and with only just the bare essentials that you have? The first thing is to tell yourself that “you will not waste a single moment or second waiting for the problem to be fixed.” Hop on the “railroad to somewhere” and take in the views of the city you’re in–and in my case, I hopped on a motorbike taxi. Most travel books and travel experts will probably suggest taking a taxi first instead of a motorbike taxi since the drivers tend to give you more of a thrilling ride–one with close encounter accidents that leave you with your heart pounding in your throat, but hey, they do get you to your destination quicker! And another thing, you might want to have real good bargaining skills and speak a little bit of Thai but since I possessed neither of the two, using finger gestures always work. Anyway, here is a list of things that I did and would suggest doing if you ever are without luggage for two days:
- Take your chances, take a motorbike taxi.
- Get acquainted with the public transportation system by finding an “Info” center at a public location (like a mall).
- Go to a book store and buy yourself an “Essential Thai phrases to Know” book. Assimilate yourself to use their language instead of them using yours.
- Take a river taxi to see the temples for 5 Baht (16 cents) and just walk around, take in the scenery and contemplate.
- Be fearless, try the street food. It is really really spicy compared to the western style of Thai food and so indescribably delicious.
- Try a local neighborhood eatery even if water is served in a tin cup.
- Drink 5 Baht beers and mixed drinks at Red Wagon in Nana.
- Dare yourself to make friends with locals. Not everyone living outside of the U.S. or a Western civilized country is a threat. Thai people are immensely friendly, respectful and genuinely peaceful in nature.
“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener
The underlying point I’m trying to convey here is that, ultimately in the face of a problem or, waiting for your luggage to arrive in my case, you can’t let time pass you by–that you really have to make the most of what you have with you and make every moment worth remembering. Too many of us confine ourselves to the problems we face and preconceived notions of “what ifs” for no good reason when there are so many wonderful things worth discovering. Feed your soul by giving yourself the chance to try different things, to do different things, and step outside of that confined world that lives in your head. The very act of having compassion for yourself by allowing yourself these chances to be moved, teaches you to have compassion for other people who will reciprocate that kindness to you and others. What you take away is a deep and permanent change in your soul and perspective of life and that is the lightest piece of luggage of all.