My First Solo Travel Adventure

There have been a lot of rather depressing things on my mind lately, things I’ve been going to write about. Maybe I will, another day.  Today, it’s time for some adventure. Since I haven’t been anywhere new lately, I think I’ll travel back in time to a trip I made in 2000.

Friends of mine are now enjoying Thailand, and reading about their adventures, on Face Book, sent me in search of my journal that I wrote when I was there in August/September of 2000. At that time internet access was limited, there was no Face Book, nor did WordPress exist, and I actually travelled without being “connected” most of the time. Trips to Cybercafes, when I was in towns where they were available, were enough to let people back home know where I was and how I was doing.

There’s an inscription in the front of the homemade-paper journal that I used. It reads, “To my wonderful mother, on your 50th birthday. I hope this year provides many good things to write about. Love always, Sarah (March/2000)”

Sarah made the journal. At the time, neither of us knew that later that year she would also provide me with many things to write about. She and her husband were living in Bangkok at that time, teaching in an International School. When their three-year contract was coming to an end at the that August, Sarah generously offered to buy me a ticket to join them in Bangkok and accompany them on their last Thailand tour before they returned to Canada.

My adventure began on Sunday August 27th, 2000 when I boarded a late evening flight from Toronto to Los Angeles. From there I caught my thirteen hour flight to Taipei, Taiwan, and arrived there at 6:30 a.m. on August 29th. The temperature was already 26 degrees Celsius and it was raining.

I’d managed to get some sleep on the plane and filled the rest of the time watching two movies – at that time they were included in the price of the airfare, as were the meals. My travel companions were all Asians and most spoke little or no English. I suddenly knew what it felt like to be a minority. I was amazed by how quiet and well-behaved the many children on-board were, compared to the very uncontrollable child who ran her mother ragged and was constantly underfoot of the attendants on the Toronto-LA flight.

Afraid of venturing too far and not being able to find my way back, unable to speak the language to ask for help, I made my way to the loading gate for my final flight, and then spent the next six hours restlessly alternating between reading my book and playing solitaire (with cards!) while sitting either on the hard plastic chairs or on the floor.  There was not a vending machine to be found. I was alone most of the time, with people occasionally joining me for an hour or two while awaiting their connecting flights. At times I questioned my decision to accept Sarah’s offer.

Over the next few days, I’ll tell you why it was all worthwhile.


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