Life Lately || 2022 Realizations

I need to give life the opportunity to surprise me.

I think that’s really it.

This year, I said yes to so many things I normally would say no to. Out of insecurity or fear or simply not believing that it was something that was meant for me. And oh my goodness, the places all those yes’s took me were adventures I never would have imagined for myself.

Admittedly, I’ve always felt lost and out of control whenever the plans were not in my hands. Like my sister would say, I’m the type of person who likes having things done my way which can bring a shitty amount of pressure to the people who are afraid to disappoint me. This is something my therapist likes to say, “you can let go, it’s not your job to make sure everything goes well for everyone in your life”.

But when I started learning where my boundaries are and simply leaving it up to people how to treat me as long as they don’t cross me, I now know just how loved I am. And weirdly enough, it’s one of those things I found surprising.

Everyone has rallied behind me with whatever I do and make out of life. For most of the past few years, I’ve always felt alone and isolated. I’m so attached to my pseudo-independence that I never really gave anyone the chance to support me.

The moment I let them though, they did. They didn’t just show up for me. They came full force in blinding light. And I was enveloped by its vibrance that I started glowing too.

While I’ve always known that I was loved and that I had friends, I was also a serial monogamist. And a lot of my self-esteem came from knowing there was one person in the world that was meant for me, knew who I am, and loved me for it. The longer I was being unfulfilled by it and when I was single and not dating (by choice), the more it dropped.

This year, I let life surprise me. And it was such a pleasant surprise to be loved in a way that didn’t feel like it was done out of obligation or that I had to beg for it. It was the kind of love that was given to me freely and wholeheartedly that I sometimes cry when I think about it. And it’s such a good feeling. I want to hold on to it for as long as I could.

Life Lately || Working holidays

Short update but honestly, I’d just like to apologize to the dudes who built their own businesses from the ground up that I dated and gave me the ick because they were working while we were out and about. I’ve always found it iffy to be giving someone my undivided attention while I didn’t get theirs. But I get it now.

When you build something yourself, you tend to it constantly. There’s a struggle there and the drive to bring it wherever you want it to go. It wasn’t just handed to you, it’s something you have to work on. It’s not all about the money (although admittedly, I’d be a few hundred thousand richer if I didn’t pursue this brand lol). There’s pride, there’s ego, and just about a shit ton of nuances attached to it. I have zero financial support from my family, didn’t grow up with an entrepreneurial mindset, and never really thought I’d own something. Everything I do and improve on, I learned from experience. It’s terrifying to be in this position and I always feel like I’m scrambling to make sure I stay on top of everything.

I’m someone who never saw herself working while I’m on holiday. I’ve always had clear boundaries with my corporate job. I’m only available for the 8 hours a day they pay me for. Otherwise, they can expect me to respond on the next business day. I never really considered work for sad girl scents as actual work.. so I guess that’s why my family was surprised I had been working throughout the holidays because there’s just so much to do, and so many suppliers to talk to. Even my sister stumbled upon me on my PC early this morning and asked “why are you working???” lol.

Sometimes, who I am now is a surprise even to me. My 2019 self would be shocked at how I’ve turned out.

Life Lately || End of year productivity

Been quite busy with work as both projects I’m working on at my day job are trying to tie up as many loose ends as possible before the office shutdown (which is literally just a week and I’ve had longer vacations than that so I don’t really see the fuss lol).

I’m usually fueled by strong emotions whenever I’m creating anything new for sad girl scents.. but for some reason, I’ve been feeling calm and stable recently so I don’t know where this sudden burst of productivity is coming from. It must be from doing all the site’s technical updates and the holiday rush, that in a week, I’ve managed to get the ball rolling on two new additions to the product lineup that we’re releasing next year.

I mean I hope this is what this means and not that I’m sad. Because I really don’t feel like it but now I’m second-guessing if there’s a feeling I’m working through because I’ve ticked so many things off my long list of things to do.

Product #1 – my custom vessel supplier is already working on my bulk order. My box supplier is doing the same (thanks to the vessel supplier who sent over samples directly to the box supplier FOR FREE because I’d like to think I’m his favorite client lol). Printing Supplier 2 (Printing Supplier 1 is one of my fave girls, and at this point, consider her part of the team behind the brand already … but she’s swamped right now) is waiting for confirmation while I check the smaller labels’ dimensions and give a go ahead. But once all this is done, I already have the formula and I basically just need to do all the pouring. Aaa can everything just come sooner.

Product #2 – my vessel supplier has already started the import (well, for them it’s export) process for me to get my vessels. My box supplier is still waiting on the sample box before proceeding. I’m perfecting the formulation on this one so this will not be released anytime soon. But my amazing illustrator (Louise Ramos) is already working on the art for the label and the art for …

Collection #6 – can you believe I’ve released 30+ scents at this point??? My weird fascination with candles and fine fragrances has turned into this weird huge chunk of my life (and personality).

Everyone in my life has told me at one point within this past year that it’s nice to see the sparkle back in my eyes. Seems like they’ve all noticed my eyes dull over time. One of my friends said that she missed seeing me excited over anything after watching my excitement deteriorate over the past decade and having to listen to me apologize for my excitement every single time. It’s weird because I never realized that people notice these small things. But as it turns out, the people who care about you do. Huh. Something to tell my therapist when we meet in a few days. During the bazaar, my sister mentioned offhandedly that she likes it when I talk about the brand to strangers because “you start glowing, and you looked so much like how I remember you when you were so much younger”. I guess it’s never too late to discover the parts of myself I thought I’d lost. What a year. What a time.

Life Lately || The idea of forever commitment

My mom was in the hospital and needed blood transfusions from time to time. Because our blood types didn’t match, I donated blood to offset all the blood she was getting from family friends, and strangers. One of the things on the checklist was no one with tattoos was allowed to donate, so while I didn’t have strong feelings about getting/not getting one, I went on with my life thinking I’ll probably never get around to having anything permanent done on my body.

I just secured a slot for my third tattoo. Tomorrow. Lol. I asked for a quote for a design I wanted to get and they had a free slot. So here we are.

I’ve thought long and hard about what I want permanently inked to my body. The idea of permanence is terrifying to me. I wasn’t this way before because life has always been stable. I’ve always had a support system (my mom). Always had a job. For the longest time, thought I’d already found a life partner at 17. But life has changed in so many ways that when I see old photos of myself (and some as recent as 2019), I don’t even recognize who she was. For a long time, I felt at a loss for what to do next. I’m a planner. Having a plan gives me peace and helps me manage my anxiety. For the past few years, I’ve simply been letting the current take me to wherever it flowed. While I seem overproductive to some (I’ve released so many things the past few years, it’s insane), it also felt natural and that I wasn’t forcing anything. I’ve always felt that I had to push or strong-arm my way into getting what I wanted – whether it was my relationship, my career, or whatever it is that I was doing. And whenever I got what I wanted, I always wondered whether it was worth it. Was planning this entire trip with a partner worth the stress and the budding resentment of feeling like I had to manage everything? Was climbing the corporate ladder worth the stress and the late nights and unpaid overtimes? Was writing/talking about all the vulnerable bits and pieces of my life so that hundreds of people feel like they relate to it and support a brand I’ve built from scratch worth losing the privacy to my own grief?

To be at peace with where I am and who I am and what I’m doing. I guess I just haven’t felt that for such a long time.. or ever. While it’s not a feeling that I constantly have or acknowledge, it’s still a headspace I’ve had multiple times throughout the year. And it’s such a pleasant surprise for me to know that I am capable of ever feeling this way.

I like having my tattoos on parts of my body that people can’t casually see (lol it’s on my rib cage area and I don’t share the photos online). Because I feel like with the brand, the blog, and to a lot of people – I’ve already shown so much of myself, my pain, and a lot of the little things that make me who I am. I’ve only always wanted to get happy things inked into me. I never want to look at a piece of my body and think of something I’ve had to overcome or go through or survive from. I want it to be a reminder of those fleeting moments of peace and quiet happiness that I never thought I’d have. So that when I look at myself in the mirror, I have those moments of gratitude etched into me. I want my body to be a mosaic of everything good, of everything that has made me feel loved, and everything I have to be thankful for. And three tatts – I have so so much to be happy about and thankful for.

Life Lately || November Musings

There is something about the holiday season that brings out the seasonal depression. I guess it was because, for most of my childhood (and maybe up until I was 20), my mom always made such a big deal over Christmas. She loved it. She would start planning her decorations early, and when she learned of Pinterest, she’d DIY everything to whatever theme or concept she was going for that year. She didn’t necessarily gift us expensive things, but always thoughtful gifts. On the year I discovered The Babysitters Club (I think it might be Book 20), mom spent months going to all the bookstores and thrift shops to scour for the series – she managed to get me Books 1-15. You need to understand that we live in a third-world country and sourcing things is hard over here, especially during the 90s. But the year I got so obsessed with playing Pokemon (I even had a notebook where I tracked all the pokemons, levels and evolutions included, I’ve caught in my saved game), mom went to different malls to try to find me Pokemon Gold and Silver for my Gameboy Color (in translucent purple!) because dad could only get me Pokemon Blue. She never really understood my fascination with a lot of things and she’d comment how I have a tendency to hyper-fixate on one thing until I get good enough at it before I drop it, but she would always find a way to be supportive of me nonetheless. And her holiday gifts always reflected that.

Mom died so close to Christmas that the lights along the boulevard (that they set up this time of the year) near where we lived would never fail to remind me of drives between our house and the funeral home. Every year, it feels like there’s an impending sense of gloom that creeps in slowly inside our house, and it eventually fades away once all the festivities die down.

We started doing the podcast this year under the sad girl scents umbrella (I don’t know how this brand has expanded over so many things), and I think one of the things I’ve loved about it was that it kind of just started on a whim of me just rambling on. So I had to pull my siblings to join in so that I’d actually have a conversation and it’s not just me.. and it’s kind of ended up with the three of us having actual conversations about our feelings. It’s really just unmanaged family therapy of sorts at this point haha. And I think we barely have conversations about how we all handed our grief separately, and it’s a bit healing to be doing it together now.

It also didn’t help that MY PHONE BROKE right after my trip. I had to purchase a replacement phone online (cheaper than buying from the mall) and also had to make a decision on which phone to buy. I’m a use it until it breaks kind of person when it comes to gadgets, so it had been very upsetting for me to have to let go of my 2019 iPhone 11. It’s only been 3 years! I feel like I didn’t get to maximize its value, but oh well. Because I was waiting for my new phone to be delivered, I had to last about a week without access to a working mobile phone. It took some time to get used to, but I like how much time I spent without checking my phone when I finally did. My sister and I bought those diamond paintings (like paint by numbers but bejewelling, cue Bejewelled by Taylor Swift lol) because it was marketed as art therapy HAHA, and we had been hanging out while watching cheesy holiday movies (how nice was the latest Lindsay Lohan film???) and other movies from the 90s/early 2000s. At one point, my sister turned to me and said “I miss being excited about the holidays” because we all are truly deep in our seasonal depression lol.

Over at sad girl scents – we finally released our new product line (eau de toilette) with some good reception, and some of the merch we’ve been planning to release. The brand is now available on multiple e-commerce sites and I’m hoping we clear out our inventory by end of the year (because I just wanna clean by end of the year HAHA). I’m not sure what the future holds for this growing brand, but I do feel good about it at the moment. 🙂

Other notable things that happened this month were all the social events I went to. I had dinner and some wine with Mao and planning for our Europe trip has now commenced. Mao is my favorite travel buddy so far because we’re on a similar wavelength and have similar travel styles. I think we might be traveling with one of his friends, so that might be fun. I’m looking forward to it.

I’m finalizing the dates for my trip to Melbourne (and my first trip to Australia) with Alex. She’s flying to see her boyfriend/fiance/I honestly don’t know what their relationship will be like when I finally get there, while I’m really heading there to see what the fuss is about with Australia. Two of my closest friends, Alex and Kara, have a weird thing about wanting to live in Australia that it’s made me curious. When I think of Australia, I always think of kangaroos, maybe lots of nature (the typical stereotype), and Chris Hemsworth (so hot guys in general). But I also did work for an Australian firm and they were all nice people, so I have a positive experience associated with the country even though I just never really put it on the list of places I want to visit. But having friends that consistently fly back and forth has made me want to go, so I wanna see what the deal is.

Kara and I (along with Miyuki, her shiba inu) went to La Union to work from here. We’re currently benched (unassigned to any project) at work, so we thought hanging out in third-wave coffee shops by the beach with our work laptops and playing with her dog would be a good way to spend our time. I’m actually writing this from a Japanese-inspired little home because we’ll be here for a few more days.

Overall, November has been such a mixed bag of emotions and experiences. And I think I’ve gotten better at embracing that life is always going to be this way. It’s what you make of it. I think it’s time to be more proactive in my own life and take steps into living the kind of life I want to live (generally uneventful in nature, but spent meaningfully with people I care about). Let’s see if I still feel this way by the end of 2022.

Life Lately || Blood moon witch gang

November 8.

I’ve been grappling with a lot of emotions recently. So I thought what better to do than release our EDTs.

And it’s funny because I wanted to encapsulate how I felt at that moment in that caption – and I guess it worked because my sister cried. She said it perfectly reflects my vibe after this trip.

“The scents I personally love in cologne form. I’ve actually been using them for a while now but was terrified of sharing them because I like my personal scents lowkey and simple.

The past few years have turned me into a recluse, where every single step outside of my comfort zone induces so much anxiety. But there’s growth in going out into the world scared. We hope that every spray lends you the courage to be vulnerable, as we all grow and bloom together. 💖”

Maybe it’s coming home from a long trip where I felt a brand new vigor for life. Or maybe it’s because my life suddenly seems empty after being constantly stimulated for 2 weeks. Or how I found that kilig from a minor crush and knowing that the last message we’ll ever exchange is “all the best” (such a conversation ender). Or maybe it’s all just hormones – the most likely reason why I lowkey go crazy every month for a few days.

November 9.

Fuck that, I knew it. It was the moon coinciding with my period.

I woke up today feeling completely fine and like my life is back to normal.

As usual, woke up at 5 because Siopao decided what time I woke up as he makes a ruckus by my bedroom door. Went on my walk at 5:30. Drank my fiber and coffee around 7. Signed a contract for a consignment spot for sad girl scents before 8. Started my day job. Did a 15-minute walkthrough of the questions I was about to be asked with my sister (someone from a local university asked if they can interview us for a business immersion thing). Did more day job things, went on two more walks and sold the most number of EDTs (so far – I hope we break that record) within 24 hours.

Life is good again. Ugh. Finally clearing my head and getting out of that funk did wonders for my mental health.

Bangkok 2022 || Wholesome trips to strip clubs

After trip edit: I wrote this series almost in real time. I documented every single day of the trip at the end of each day (or during the wee hours of the morning when I couldn’t fall back to sleep) and just publishing them now. Initially, I was going to post chronologically but I want to do it from the last day to the first day. It’s fun reading them slowly too because I get to relive the trip again.

Last 48 hours of this trip.

My flight to Chiang Mai leaves at noon. Around 7:30 AM, I went for a walk around the vicinity of my hotel and kinda just soaked in my last few hours in Chiang Mai. Did a quick market run (not a literal run, can you imagine me actually running lol) to buy whatever breakfast food they were offering (they had ginger taho which was a shock to my system). I went back to my hotel and asked if I can eat the set breakfast in my room. It was nice to sit on the tatami mat, facing a full-length window of greenery, and eat my Lanna breakfast set. Sometimes, life feels like I’m in a slice-of-life art film with not much of a plot or dialogue, just beautiful cinematography.

I was already starting to nod off (from being full and being too zoned out that I started to daydream haha), so I reached out to Jono to ask if he was already headed to the airport because I might just go now. While I was checking out, had another good chat with Pailin about how great my trip turned out and she was telling me when next to go back to Chiang Mai haha. She waited for my grab car to arrive outside the hotel and hugged me goodbye.

Funnily enough, Jono arrived at the airport before I did. I guess because my hotel was a bit further from the airport than his. It’s been a while since I traveled with anyone (or at least anyone new, my last international travel was in November 2019 with Mao and we’ve traveled before) and all my recent trips (all my random 2-week domestic trips to work from holiday) have always been alone, so it was a bit weird to be in an airport with another person. But it was a nice change because I could roam around the airport and not look too weird doing it because I was at least chatting with someone.

At one point in our chat, we eventually got to the topic of our jobs (my least favorite topic) and what we do to earn money (which I guess started off with wanting to win the lottery – ironically, my favorite topic). I tried to gloss over my work because I really don’t feel like it’s something that defines who I am in any way. It’s always just been something I do for the day and that’s it. And I don’t really throw around all the other side projects I work on (like my small biz or my lowkey editing gigs) because it seems highly personal and I wasn’t sure if it was something strangers would be interested in. And since these feel more like an extension of who I am, I’m terrified of sharing them with people. You get what I mean?

Anyway. A habit I’ve developed over years of traveling solo (sometimes I remember that I started roaming cities alone at 22 and I think to myself that that’s too young to be doing that lol) is to keep my family and a few friends updated on my location for safety purposes. If I hang out with other people, I keep my location shared the entire time until I get back to the hotel. When I let a few friends know that I was at the airport waiting for my flight with the same dude I hung out with, they were a little surprised because I rarely hang out with men when I travel. Personally, it always felt unsafe and I find that hanging out with men on trips makes them think you’re trying to sleep with them (never really hooked up with men while traveling because I was in the same relationship for most of my solo trips before 2019. In 2019, I was on those solo trips to cry my heart out.. then the pandemic happened and I no longer know how to talk to men in a non-platonic way even if I want to flirt and put myself out there hahahahaha). I can count the number of dates I’ve been on IN ONE HAND since 2019. It sounds lame just typing that up, oh god.

I usually get a vibe from people when I travel. Some people, I can already tell after spending a few minutes with them that I have to be careful. Something in me gets all tingly, and I spend the rest of the time quite anxious because I have my guard up. With this one, he made zero inappropriate comments, wasn’t crossing any of my personal space, and really just treated me like a friend. When I used to travel with my ex or when I travel with my family, I usually take on the mental load of planning, making reservations, navigating, and making sure we get to where we were supposed to go. I enjoy traveling solo because I manage my own time and don’t have to think for anyone else, and even if I get lost in cities alone, I’m not inconveniencing other people. But this dude was so good at getting to places that I got to enjoy the sights while he navigated. It was so nice to hang out with someone (technically a stranger) and be so relaxed.

And his itinerary was so similar to mine (it mostly revolved around food and wasn’t jam-packed!) that he’s like an ideal travel buddy (I swear, when he was telling me about the restaurants he made dinner reservations for, the one thought in my head was “why can’t this person be my actual *real life* friend I can book dinners and travel with, kinda like another Mao” lol). When he was showing me photos from his phone, I managed to catch a glimpse of his albums and there were literal folders of food. All our interactions were so platonic and he’s so seemingly harmless that I can turn my brain off and just have fun. Not gonna lie, I found that surface-level personality attractive (let’s be real, I developed a low-key crush when I saw the food folders which I never/will never have acted on so it will remain this untainted wholesome memory for the memory bank) – I think whoever bagged/bags this man is pretty lucky. I think that limited time with someone from the male species actually made me feel a little hopeful too. I was genuinely telling my friends earlier in the trip that I think I may need to fully accept that I’ll have to live life alone because I like my way of life too much, but finding out that there are actually men out in the world that I’m on a similar wavelength with was nice. I now have at least a bit of a semblance of proof that they do exist. I find a sense of peace from having that knowledge. I’ve also never crushed on anyone since college so this was such a cute feeling while it lasted. (And I feel safe just publishing this with his literal name on it because I know he’ll never find it haha)

Our hotels were 3 km apart so we shared a taxi from the airport. At one point, he asked if I chose my hotel for a reason. I made up some shit about it being affordable (which it was), but my general reason was I thought the room looked nice. Karaarom Hotel had quite the industrial theme going on in their rooms and I’m a sucker for that aesthetic. Hahaha! Bangkok traffic was crazy enough that after I got dropped off, it took another hour to get to his hotel. I spent some time in the shower and washing off all that airport grime and repacking my entire luggage so I don’t have to the next day.

We met up at Jodd Fairs that night. And I realize now that I’m writing this down, that I felt safe enough with this stranger that I forgot to turn on location sharing with my family and friends for the rest of the night. Anyway. Night markets are the best way for me to lose weight. This is the same reason why shopping in malls makes me buy fewer things. When there’s an abundance of anything right in front of me, I get anxious that I won’t get the best deal and that I end up not buying anything. Jodd Fairs had hundreds of stalls with multiple booths selling the same thing that I ended up losing my appetite from stressing over which one to eat first. The good thing about having someone to share food with though is I get to try more! And ugh, eating coconut ice cream in Bangkok is always a must in my opinion. I’ve been to Bangkok multiple times and I still can’t get enough of it. The pandan bread was meh for me – I should have taken a page from Jono’s book and forced a stranger to take a piece to taste it. It was so funny, some girl asked me if it tasted good, and I said yes, and Jono was like “take one” a little too aggressively nice. Asian women are terrified of nice gestures like that, sir lol. We also ate those takoyakis with gigantic bits of seafood in them – now that was GOOD. There was a flag stuck into it, and the dumb person that I am asked “what flag is that”, and I can tell Jono’s immediate thought was “damn this bitch is dumb” (can’t blame him HAHA), before reminding me that that’s Thailand’s flag. I still find it funny just writing that out. I wanted to try some of the seafood skewers but ALL THOSE CHOICES and I can’t make one. Pft. He did get more food than me and I get to taste a tiny bit of it. But ultimately, my dinner was coconut icecreamS and iced milo (which totally brought back memories of college where I bought 10 peso cups of watered-down iced milo in Agno).

We separated for a bit after that. I went to go shopping at Terminal 21 and found the cutest snow globe with a bunny that bikes around a ferris wheel! I’ve been on the lookout for a snow globe as a souvenir for this trip and it was nice to find a cute one in such a random way. I also had my Pomelo haul part 2 (this brand has got me in a chokehold), as well as this cute Shiba toy I bought for Kara.

Jono was closer to Terminal 21 and we were supposed to meet there. But I went back to my hotel to pack all the extra last-minute stuff I bought before we even went out again. I kinda assumed Jono was maybe a bit tired so we probably wouldn’t be doing a lot and I’d have a lot of time/energy to burn just so I’d fall asleep, so I asked some dude I met while clubbing last week if he wanted to grab drinks around midnight. Alcohol works better than melatonin anyway.

We met up outside Jono’s hotel and started walking to Nana. I told him all about the time some woman asked me on the BTS if I was a tourist and where I was headed. When I told her to the night market, she gave me directions and I somehow ended up in Patpong (? where rows and rows of scantily dressed women sat outside massage parlors and there was a strip club somewhere called Golden Balls – see this memory remains vivid). On our way to Nana Plaza, sex workers and pimps, and stalls of sex toys and performance meds (like viagra ???? from the street??????) lined the sidewalk. The deeper we got into the red-light district, the more aggressive the marketing of their services was. When we got to Nana Plaza and walked around, you literally can just take a peek in the doors and you’d see women in their underwear (or naked) *not* really dancing but just standing over at the platform and faking dancing. We decided to first have a drink in the open area and take a look at whether anyone of the old men are going to go home with some of the women. Then we tried to take our pick of the strip clubs to go in and just see what happens inside. I’ve literally never been inside a strip club nor do I plan on checking out red-light districts. As a solo female traveler, it just seemed unsafe to do. But checking this out with a stranger who’s up for anything was fun. We had a weirdly wholesome time (at least for both of us).

The first stop was too full (I can’t remember which one was it – Rainbow # or Billboards), and hmm, honestly feels like a den with so many men ogling at naked women in the jacuzzi. Fascinating and creepy. Our next stop (UPDATE: It was Rainbow 4, I asked because it was bugging me) was weirdly ok (as ok as strip clubs can get – again, I can’t remember which one it was but it was on the third floor). We wanted to sit in a booth so we could people-watch, but apparently, newcomers are seated by the platform where the girls strut. The girls had numbers pinned to their barely there underwear and you can just take your pick. Jono described it as having front-row seats in a cinema, it was too close to enjoy the view. And it truly was. But omg these women’s skin is so tight. I wonder how much rice I need to let go of to be that skinny. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t blame anyone for doing sex work. Most of them would probably have chosen not to commoditize themselves to earn a living (it’s a physically demanding job too), and for the rest who do enjoy it – I say, good for them. I’m 31 and I have limited experience with sex (in the sense that I have a creative mind but I also like to overthink. The fun things I want to do in bed require trust, and how do you even trust a stranger with your body?). And if I had gotten paid every single time I engaged in intercourse and did not enjoy myself, let’s just say, I would have had more budget for this trip. Lol is that a sick thing to say out loud?

When we eventually got sat at the booth, we decided to pick one girl (for the heck of it, UPDATE: Jono mentioned to not forget that it was Girl #100) to buy a drink for and she sat between us. She was one of the few who actually looked like she was having a great time while she was up there. She was quite touchy too – she kept touching my arm and holding my hands, and playing with the thin ribbon that was holding up my top. We tried talking to her but I don’t think she understood and we had so many questions (like what kind of services men usually ask for, how many drinks is your average etc because we were so so curious). To be honest, writing this at the airport is still making me wonder if it was an ethical thing to do to support sex tourism. Because simply going down there to look around is participating in it. I also grew up and still live in a third-world country, where a lot of people (not just women), peddle their services for foreigners in the hopes of earning enough for a better life. At what point do we draw a line between curiosity and supporting an industry that just seemed so unethical? While I know it’s a systemic problem that my not going wouldn’t solve, but did the fact that I *did* go make me a part of this problem? Honestly, I don’t know. And I’m not sure if it’s misplaced guilt because I did have an awesome time. But I doubt the women we ogled at felt the same.

BUT to be honest, I now get why some couples do go to strip clubs as foreplay. There’s something about watching other women strip in front of you that makes you want to take off your clothes yourself (for a partner, I do not strip for everyone LOL, what did I say about my creative mind and the long list of things I want to try). I guess it’s also because of my hedonistic nature that I get turned on by the stimulation of the senses. While I was in there, I decided on finally meeting up with this dude that screamed like he was a one-night stand waiting to happen (justifying to myself that I need to welcome new experiences and not make it so limited hahaha). I wasn’t checking my phone the entire time we were there though and I found that he was blasting my phone the entire time and we were actually in there for a few hours. It was nearing 1 AM when we got out and I got turned off by all of the club dude’s messages that I would rather go 7/11 hopping to find snacks.

When I got back to my hotel room, I had to wash off all the smoke/red-light district smell that clung to my hair and skin. Which in turn, woke my senses up. I was trying to find anywhere to go to and just decided to book a motorbike to Chinatown at around 1:30 (I know). While on the bike, I suddenly thought about how nice my life was and then had a meltdown. I asked to get off the bike and walked back to my hotel full-on sobbing. When I got back, I wrote about how I felt at that moment and published it immediately (see the previous post).

I woke up to dirty sheets because as it turns out – it was my period all along. Oh god. Thank goodness it was all just hormones. Everything started making sense – the sudden bout of horny and just so much crying.

I felt like a zombie the entire morning as I head to the airport. Suddenly, all my joints hurt and all these period side effects started showing up. My voice was so hoarse from having to shout the entire night. My eyes were swollen and I had a headache from all the crying. My legs feel so sore from walking back to the hotel.

And just my luck too. On my supposedly 30-min ride to the airport (turned 1.5 hours), I got an email from Thai Airways that my flight got pushed back for 1.5 hours. When I got to the airport, the previously lifted e-arrival card for the Philippines requirement for boarding was required again (it was easy to apply for though, fortunately). Dropping my bag off took another hour. Security check and immigration were 45 mins. I went down to one of the food places inside the airport for a drink and to relax after all that.. and the power cut off. So I’m now in an airport without air conditioning and lighting. Crazy.

I think this is where I’m closing the book on this trip. In my art film supercut, my highlights would have to be bathing the elephants, that thing with the birds flying around me, and developing an untainted last-minute crush for the first time in forever (a little sad because I know we will never talk/meet again and he’ll just remain as a message thread that’ll soon get overwritten by other work-related messages).

But I guess the best part about this trip was actually going out of what was comfortable for me. It’s always outside of my comfort zone where I feel like I’m adding something of value to myself. When I went to Dumaguete/Siquijor before – it was truly one of those trips where I was more in nature and I legit was just talking to myself while climbing down cliffs to get to secret beaches. This trip was one where I went out with strangers multiple times, and Gin was right – I really do need to get out more. That I’m currently feeling stuck because I refuse to put myself out there (literally and metaphorically). All the stimulation I got from this trip has jumpstarted my work on my next collection and I can’t wait to start producing new things for both my brands with this new inspiration.

Plus I had fun reliving the day like I’m talking to myself in these senseless ramblings during my trip. I shall do it again for the next one.

Planned trips for 2023: Melbourne in July/August (for Alex), Korea in November (I was initially thinking of going for Halloween but I’m terrified of it now). But Taylor Swift’s tour is coming up and I’m not sure which one I’m going to go to yet. Aaaa exciting times!

Bangkok 2022 || It’s so hard to feel enough

It’s past 2 AM and I just got back to my room. I had a fun night out with someone I met during the trip.

And for some reason, I still felt so awake and lively that I just need to go somewhere else. At one point, I even thought maybe I should open a quick profile on a dating app and just get this energy out of my system.

Instead, I booked a motorbike to a market across the city. I’m only a few hours away from flying home – and at first, all I could think of was how nice my life is. I can go on long trips, I can do whatever I wanted, and I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I could afford most of the experiences I want to indulge in.

And then suddenly it hit me. If my life was so nice and good – then why doesn’t anyone want me. Like a switch, an overwhelming sense of rejection washed over me. While I know that I have people back home who love me dearly, still one has to wonder why I’m single at 31, on the back of a motorbike at full speed with no helmet on. I can be as reckless with my life as I’ve been because I have no one else to live for but myself.

When that feeling hit, I just started full-on sobbing. At the back of a motorbike. In Bangkok. At the very least, it was a main character moment.

But it’s so hard not to stop crying when you realize that in 30 years, no one has ever known all the versions of me, including the ones I’m ashamed of – and thought “that’s my person”. That I’m a free independent spirit because no one has deemed me worthy to anchor me down and let me rely on them.

I felt everything kinda just start crashing down and every single little thing that I can feel insecure about started popping up like fuck, no one’s even just trying to sleep with me. Am I that unattractive and unlikeable? Logically, I know that it doesn’t make any sense given that I’m not even on any dating app. Haven’t been for a while. If a dude does anything sexual in nature, I would get the ick. Never mind that I’m lowkey a recluse and I also keep my circle small. I almost never welcome any new people in my life.

But feelings are feelings – and they are rarely logical. And in the middle of a breakdown, I can’t even muster the comforting thought of having a person to come home to. Because there’s no one. Maybe someday there will be one and I can look back at this night and smile at how far I’ve come and how much peace I’ve acquired within myself. But right now, I have no one. And it’s just one of those moments where I just need someone, anyone, to hold me while I cry my heart out in a foreign city.

Chiang Mai 2022 || Sunrise hikes and spa dreams

Last full day in Chiang Mai.

It’s way past midnight and I just chucked in the rest of my stuff inside my luggage. I folded half of them and I just can’t quite muster up the energy to fold them right knowing that I’ll be reopening and possibly repacking all my things when I get to Bangkok. LOL I was just writing that and a notif from Jono came in with “do you have a lot?” (referring to the things I’m packing). If he was female, I would honestly just start talking about how I tend to overpack because I have a tendency to hate my body and how it looks in clothes (and without clothes on, which is making it hard for me to date anyone because being intimate terrifies me now that my entire sense of self-esteem has been warped – ooo my therapist must be so proud I took baby steps in actually acknowledging that. I’ve danced around this topic for so long, I could tell she wanted to just shake me and force me to say that out loud. ANYWAY), so I feel safer with a lot more options in my luggage but I’ll probably just respond with “I overpacked” haha. I find that females (even though they’re almost strangers) relate more to body issues than men do. Even my closest male friends (like Mico) sometimes make well-intentioned comments that stick with me and haunt me whenever I step on the weighing scale (yes, Taylor, it’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me). I don’t think any dude would want to know just how many trains of thoughts this little head can have running all at the same time – busier than Siam station.

Response sent.

I’m so tired but I’m also not that sleepy. I wish I was. Sleeping has been hard for a few years but I’ve noticed during this trip that something about being in anything that’s moving (cars, planes, trains, boats, EVEN MOTORBIKES – you name it) makes me start yawning. Maybe I really am an escapist to the core. Knowing that I’m in transit and headed somewhere (anywhere, really), my body relaxes enough and makes me feel like I can sleep. Huh. I just realized that maybe I developed insomnia in the months leading up to my breakup because I could tell the relationship got stagnant and was no longer moving forward. My sleep went back to normal post-breakup (it even got so much better). And then got worse during the pandemic (when everyone literally got stuck). Hmm. Something to talk to my therapist about when I get back.

Weirdly ironic that I’m still up when I woke up at 3:30 AM today (or yesterday ? – all the days are starting to become a blur). Real-life Teesh is quite content with slow living, but Travel Teesh gets ambitious. The guide (Liw) told me to dress comfortably and maybe bring a jacket because it gets cold (10-15 degrees). Fuck that. I didn’t bring a jacket. So I brought a sweater and wore a cute thin cardigan underneath. I was chatting with Pailin/Tul the other day (I swear, I can’t remember which day it was HAHA), and told them I was doing a sunrise hike to Doi Suthep. When I got to the hotel lobby to wait for the guide at 4 AM, a paper bag with packed breakfast was on it. It had two sandwiches, orange juice, and bottled water. Aww.

I was the first one to be picked up by the guide. And surprise, surprise – most of the people that were part of this tour were honeymooning/doing couple trips. Sometimes, happy couples make me want to fall down the trail lol. All throughout the hike, Liw was chatty (he used to be a novice monk and did that trail quite often). My dude, I have not had coffee yet – you will not get any response from me. And to be quite honest, I don’t remember a lot of it until we got to the top. Because I found out that a lot of people actually just take a car to the temple.. and there was this “cable car” going up. I took the option of taking the cable car instead of walking up some more stairs. I am definitely not that ambitious. When we finally got to the top, it was still quite dark and you can see the skyline.

As I watched the sunrise, I vividly remember the same feeling filling my body at the exact same moment when I watched the sunrise at Angkor Wat at the last leg of my solo Vietnam-Cambodia backpacking trip. It’s so fucking weird to be doing all this alone (not technically, but you know what I mean) and having this fleeting moment of “oh my god I actually fucking did it” that I wish I could just bottle up and drink whenever I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing and have limited life experience. I love my slow boring uneventful life, but god do I love these little pockets of moments in time of feeling triumphant that I pushed myself to be here.

The hike was a blur, and I was probably half asleep the entire time so I don’t remember much from it. But after the sunrise, we made some food offerings to the monks and they made us kneel while we got blessed. I HAVE A WOUNDED KNEE. The pain woke me up. When I got a rib tattoo, I almost fell asleep. But this bruise was bad enough that it was so painful having to get blessed. That monk better blessed me enough just for that alone lol.

I had the guide drop me off somewhere with a good exchange rate because I was running out of cash and I wasn’t sure if my leftover coins can survive Bangkok. I might try to go to Chatuchak Market to do some shopping if I get back early enough tomorrow (later today?). I’m not sure if 2000 baht is enough lol. Anyway, I then went back to the hotel to change into my spa dress (it’s just one of those linen button-up dresses that I don’t have to wear a bra in because 1- we’ve established I hate wearing one and 2- sometimes they don’t wash/towel off the oil they use for the massage and it gets uncomfortable to be in clothes, and I’ve gotten lots of massages while I have this dress on that I only use it now to get a massage LOL). I knew I was gonna get tired from that hike so I got the 4-hour massage from this place called Fah Lanna Spa. This place is quite popular that even Jono had the same idea of booking a package from this spa. We were in the spa around the same time too! My massage started off with a trip to the steam room and I’ve been to saunas before, so I should have been fine. But for some reason, 10 minutes in, I started having a hard time breathing that I had to leave. The sign of an amazing massage is when time becomes a blur. I half pass out, and I get into a spa coma. And that’s literally what happened. One moment I was laying down on the spa bed, and the next, the masseuse was waking me up at 5 PM and telling me that the massage is over. Really good massage places are a time portal. So this spa place – I highly recommend it. (Plus, I remember at one point when I was soaking in the milk bath with a shit ton of rose petals in it – having this fantasy of being on my honeymoon and getting 4-hour massages with a husband I’ll possibly never have and having so much fun sharing the experience of passing out in the spa lol and adding another thing to this secret list on my Notes app that I would rather DIE than be leaked to anyone I know haha)

I had a dinner reservation at 6 PM that I totally forgot to take note of when I booked this long-ass massage I really just changed into a cute pair of heels (that I can walk miles in), and random pair of clothes that looked cute together, and booked a bike to my dinner. I had the 15-course meal at Cuisine de Garden, along with the wine pairing. It was quite good! I’m bad at describing food because I can only do yummy/bleh, but most of it was dishes I would eat again in a heartbeat. At least 75% was great!

I had a moment during dinner when I felt a bit emotional. I can’t believe that I actually do this, you know. Spoil myself with fine dining restaurants. Make reservations for me. And simply exist and have the best time while I’m at it. I’ve never had any dude try to spoil me because while I dress and look feminine, I’ve never been a soft girl. I’ve been raised to do things for myself – and at this moment, I like that I’m able to.

I had been in contact with Jono and Erin separately during this time. This two are so weird. They took a car ride together but never exchanged their details. I actually thought they maybe hit it off while we were all on the food tour because they kept talking to each other. There were other people on the tour that was also from Australia, and maybe it’s my nuanced take that I would usually gravitate to either other Filipinos/other Asians when I chance upon them, that when he kinda just talked to Erin alone, I immediately went YES, that’s who I’m betting for. I think I’ve written down before that I make internal bets of which solo travelers will couple up by the end of the tour and at the first half of the food tour, I made an internal bet that these two would. Ugh, I hate losing (even if it’s against myself lol).

It took a while to get a bike from the restaurant to the market. I think at one point they changed markets because it was, in Jono’s words, boring. When I finally got to Anusorn Market, both of them had already walked through it and found a spot. There were too many western tourists in the market, and maybe I’m severely prejudiced because of my experience with all the tourist spots but I immediately thought “hmm maybe nothing good to eat is in this market” lol. I wanted to do another walkthrough but felt too shy to ask if we can. Erin did say though that it was mostly clothes, and we both agreed that Asian sizing can hurt your pride if you’re not petite enough for them (this is what I meant about females and body issues!).

We then took a car ride to another busy food market (it was one of those gates, I’m sure. UPDATE: Jono confirmed it was the South gate) and sampled some of the items. I had charcoal-flavored jelly and coconut jelly. I only finished the latter and had to throw away half of the charcoal one, because why. During the degustation dinner at CDG, they had this dish with longgan charcoal sauce in it that I found yummy, so I thought it would be the same. It was not haha, but it was ok. I guess I was also just too full to enjoy it.

I wanted to see the lights at the Tha Pae (East Gate) because the last time I went, they were still setting them up. So I started walking to see it. Jono went back to his hotel but gave us instructions on how to get there (this dude is weirdly good at navigating – it always amazes me when I meet this kind of people), while Erin and I walked to the gate together. We talked about life back at home, rats/roaches/among other pests (she’s from Boston, previously Wisconsin, and have seen her fair share of pests). Our previous and future travel plans, how traveling is like when you’re a solo female traveler – and it’s always been fascinating to me how you can be from opposite sides of the world, and still have shared experiences. She gave me pointers on dipping my toes in with travel to Central America before I go do my dream of traveling to South America. She went to Argentina and had the nicest experiences. I’ve always wanted to do Peru and Bolivia – none of my friends wanna go, it would probably be safer to go with a partner which I don’t foresee I’ll have in the near future, so I’ll probably see it alone. Fuck how could that sound lonely and exciting at the same time hahaha!

When Erin and I finally got to the East Gate, the lights have already been turned off because it was already too late. A bit of a bummer because I wanted to see them all lit up. Initially, I wanted to ask Erin and Jono if they wanted to check out this cafe/bar that was on my list that seemed cool. But given that they both seemed tired and not into cafes as much as I am, I chickened out of asking hahaha. I booked a bike to Mars.cnx and omg, it truly was the right choice to still go. The cafe was already closed (they close pretty early), but the bar at the back was a nice otherworldly experience. They had smoke (ugh mind isn’t working – one of those dry ice things I bet) and the design of the place was just A+. The music was good too. It was one of those places I kinda wished I could have spent time in with a friend/anyone because I would like to gush about the environment with someone. I ordered a mocktail (can’t get any more alcohol in my system after 5 glasses of wine – Travel Teesh is 31 after all) but I wish I could have hanged out over there more. I would have if the bartender was chatty, but they don’t seem to speak much English, so I left after taking a shit ton of photos and finishing my one drink.

Overall, it was a good last day. The feels of leaving Chiang Mai and my trip almost being done hasn’t hit yet. But finally, the drowsiness has kicked in and I’m just fighting my eyelids to stay open to finish this because I’m on a roll ey. Good night!

Chiang Mai 2022 || Lost in the labyrinth of my mind (and of night markets)

I’m so full. It’s 11 PM and I have no idea how I’m getting up tomorrow to do that sunrise hike. I should probably sleep to get ample rest and prepare for that hike. But I’m so uncomfortable, I feel like I’m going to barf any minute. I maybe should not have indulged that much tonight. On a side note, I have gotten back the photos from the photoshoot of the latest product line for sad girl scents and they are STUNNING. I’m speechless at how they turned out so well and I got to distract myself from this dreary feeling of overeating by being emotional over how far my small passion project has come. I’ve always wanted to release eau de toilettes (even went to workshops on how to make them!) and I’ve lowkey been doing market research while I’m here and dropping by every single store I see that carries perfume. But that’s for another day. As per usual, I’m rambling.

I thought I was going to have such a chill day today, which was partly.. eh, mostly true. I didn’t have anything booked aside from the food tour that I had to move from Sunday to today. If my flight didn’t get delayed, I was planning on doing the Doi Inthanon/waterfall day hike today. But the flight gods said no. I already have the food tour paid off and today was the only time I can reschedule my slot, so here we are.

I liked that because I didn’t have anything scheduled until late in the day, I get around to waking up when my body was ready to wake up. I will forever be a morning person through and through, so I was up around 7 AM. But it was nice to wake up naturally and not to the annoying sound of my alarm. I took my time getting ready for the hotel breakfast and did my daily streaming of Midnights (3 AM version) because there is zero rest for Taylor Swift fans haha. I remember eating my durian/salted egg/custard daifukus from last night while in my room, listening to Labyrinth, and wondering WHEN I’ll feel that way again. They say you heal your relationship trauma in parts, and most of the healing comes when you get into a healthy relationship because that’s where you confront all your unhealed parts. And the only time ever since I became single that I came across a dude who seemed healthy for me (got me into biking, he had so many other hobbies that I didn’t feel like he was too clingy, my friends/family telling me how peaceful my aura has become etc), I went running the other way. He never made me feel like he was just trying to get into my pants (not gonna lie, the unhealed crazier version of me felt rejected at that), and even watched all the Taylor Swift material he can get his hands on to relate to me (yes, everyone say aww now). He was even so respectful and understanding about it when I had to say I really can’t do whatever we were doing because it made me feel so guilty and I don’t wanna waste more of his time (after 3 months of dating back in 2020, and him starting a pinterest board because we shared house pegs all the time – and I shit you not when I say that I have a thing for fit dudes with glasses who is ALSO organized as fuck. The vibe that comes with that look is what makes me interested, but it’s the ‘being organized’ aspect of their personality that hooks me in lol. Even Gin/Mico/Kara/Alex aka all my friends who were aware of the physical attributes I gravitate towards said “ugh here she goes again with that type”). He’s in a relationship that he deserves now though, and of the handful of dudes that have come and gone in my life, this is the dude I’m the happiest for.

Ugh not another Taylor Swift song making me relive all these random tidbits from the past. I’m an out-of-sight, out-of-mind person. And I usually forget about people, especially ones I didn’t really connect to on a deeper level. It also doesn’t help that I delete inactive message threads all the time (unless they’re from friends I just don’t talk to a lot / people I met while traveling because sometimes, they come to visit or vice versa). Where were we again though? Oh, Labyrinth. It’s such a beautiful song about being terrified when you actually meet someone healthy for you. Will I ever get to that point again? Maybe. Maybe not. I’m not too sure, to be honest. At this moment, I lean towards never. Ha!

I have so many thoughts in my head, partly because of Midnights. But also because my first stop for the day was Pluto. It’s a pretty nice cafe a bit further out the moat/Old City. There’s something about being on long (ish) motorbike rides in silence that makes me introspective. It was like digesting this song and assigning a lot more meaning to it while I headed to the cafe.

Boom was the one who recommended this cafe to me, and when I got there, I immediately understood why. IT WAS A HUGE BLACK SPHERE. I’m not even kidding. And the outside was designed to look like it was a building built in outer space. I’m sure whoever built it did some research about it but it’s immediately the vibe you get upon walking up the steps to the entrance. The furniture went so well with the entire structure that I’m sure Boom and Not have taken so many good photos up in there. I got the cloud nine coffee (mainly because I really like the term “on cloud nine”, I like Cloud 9 chocolate, and it’s just a phrase I relate to with quiet happiness – I’m rambling again, aren’t I?). There were also so many people taking photos in the cafe. Meanwhile, I get to enjoy my coffee and this delicious chocolate and banana (I’m still thinking if it’s banoffee or not) while listening to more songs from Midnights. It’s part of my personality at this point.

I booked a car (and not a bike because ooo boy, it was noon and I’m not aiming to toast myself) to Roast8ry Lab. Another from Boom’s list of recommended coffee shops. They have two branches, and Boom told me to head to the flagship store. I’m a sucker for industrial-ish aesthetics and it was that. Apparently, the owner of this cafe won numerous world championships for latte art so I went and got a cup. One thing about me is I’m not really a coffee connoisseur. I just like hanging out in cafes. Haha! So while the latte art was undoubtedly pretty, I found the coffee quite basic. Like something I’ve had before. BUT again, I can’t really be the judge of what tastes like great/nice coffee. I’m a yummy/bleh person. Sometimes I have an “it’s ok” rating too. But yeah. Mico likes coffee though, so I went and bought him coffee beans. The dude by the bar looked cute (maybe it was maskfishing) so I asked him for recommendations even though I already know what kind of coffee beans Mico buys (me and my friends talk to each other too much, I suppose).

My next stop was Free Bird Cafe. It’s a social enterprise that helps Thai Freedom House (an organization that helps refugees), and I keep seeing this place consistently in where to eat in Chiang Mai lists. While I don’t regret supporting a great cause, I’d have to say though that.. the food was meh. I guess it’s because I’ve had amazing vegan food before so I always have high expectations for vegan food. And it kinda did not live up to the hype. But they’re doing something for the greater good, and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

I was getting a bit full so I only dropped by Magokoro Tea House. Whoever started the trend to adapt Japanese-themed cafes/tea houses in Chiang Mai should be given an award. Because this one was just pretty nice. I went and drank some green tea and it was so zen when I dropped by. Also, I’m lowkey planning a trip to Japan, but traveling when you own a business is hard because I still do most of the things and I can’t just do things willy-nilly. Oh, if it isn’t me and the consequences of my actions.

I went back to the hotel to drop off all my random purchases before heading to the food tour. We were told to meet at a temple, and I dropped by early thinking that a currency exchange place would be nearby (in my head, temples mean lots of tourists = money changer). But surprise, surprise, there was none. So now I was too early for the tour and I’d already managed to roam around the temple. I was getting a little queasy that I might be the only one or maybe I misunderstood my rescheduled tour. Fortunately, nearing 5 PM, I saw some people also roam around the temple seemingly waiting for the tour to start.

Our first stop was the Cowboy Hat lady who makes stew – honestly, I believe it’s the Thai version of patatim. It was good though, but since I’ve tried it before (at home and in Chinatown), it ended up kind of underwhelming. The next stop was some clay pot roast where they roast meat inside an actual pot. We had roasted pork and chicken – and omg that chicken was so tender. Stop 3 was in a market where we roamed around and she explained all the things – then we got to try different local fruits (quite similar to our local fruits – it was funny that guyabano is called something entirely different in English), as well as some snacks such as two different versions of chicharon (the one with soy sauce was very good), chili, rice crackers, those meringue tacos, and some of the fried worms. We also got to drink sugarcane juice afterward before we left for the next stop.

Now my memory’s a bit blurry, but I believe the next one was a vegan place. I do remember that the group had to split up between tables with the couples in one and the solo travelers in another. Got to talking with this old man from the US (forgot to note down his name) and he mentioned how often he makes the trip to Thailand (without his girlfriend, so who knows what kind of things he’s into lol). He asked me if I travel alone often and how I find it – I simply said, well, I’m used to it and it’s actually quite fun. Which to be fair, it is. But the long answer would definitely be “oh god, sometimes I get super lonely that I join tours to find some semblance of not being alone. However, it’s hard for me to not travel solo because I do quite enjoy having the time to only manage myself and no one else, and I personally don’t think I’d find someone (anyone) who enjoys the same things I do. Mao is the closest I have to an ideal travel buddy because we balance each other out so well, but he’s currently happy in his relationship bubble + our schedules mostly conflict. I always do have an open invitation to all my closest friends whenever I travel, I give them my travel dates and a rough draft of my itinerary (which mostly revolves around food and only a handful of tourist spots) and they’re always welcome to tag along if they wanted (something Gin used to do before meeting Mikko). It’s not really like choosing to travel alone, but more of not waiting for anyone to travel with. This girl from Boston, Erin, immediately agreed because she travels a lot alone too. And we kinda hit it off because she’s traveled to a lot of places I want to go to (like South America). Another guy was at the table with us (Jono from Melbourne) as well. But overall, our table of solo travelers barely ate anything and just chatted away.

During the tour, a lot of the local culture and history of Thailand was shared by the guide, Moui. As it turns out, not a lot of locals cook anymore because it’s easier (and sometimes, even cheaper) to just buy food from all the food markets before heading home. And as a loyal food delivery customer, I would have to agree. As much as I enjoy cooking, the clean-up and constantly having to think of a menu really drove me crazy. I’ll stick with my meal plan, thank you very much.

Our next stop was to this place where they served some curry, chicken soup, and the famous water buffalo salad. This salad uses the juice found in the intestine of the water buffalo as a sauce for the salad – which honestly sounds bad, but generally, I kinda thought it was on the same spectrum of weird as foie gras and people think that’s fancy. I still tried it because unless it looked/smelled gross, I always knew I would lol. The thing about local food is just don’t think about it too much, to be honest, and just enjoy it. Then we had another stop at a noodle place where we ate two different kinds of noodles. They have a Michelin star but at this point, I’m really just too full and too overstimulated to enjoy anything.

I did get to chat with this dude from Melbourne, and it was funny because we will be on the same flight back to Bangkok. The same one I was trying to rebook to an earlier time haha. He was having a few suits done in Bangkok, and I’ve watched a couple of tiktoks of people doing this in Thailand and Vietnam as well.. and I got upset at myself for never thinking of doing it too. I wonder how it will turn out and I probably would never know. I hope for his sake that it turns out well enough. We also got some free pandan-flavored kaya toast that I didn’t even eat and just put in my bag. Melbourne dude mentions how much he enjoys kaya toast and basically just ate that while he was in Malaysia. It’s funny because it instantly reminded me of my brother’s kaya toast phase every single time we spend a few weeks in Singapore.

Our almost last stop was this dessert place that served the Thai version of ginataang bilo bilo. It’s basically that. I got a throwback to spending hot summer afternoons in my mom’s kitchen, rolling sticky rice dough into small balls and throwing it into this huge pot of coconut with pandan soup. And that’s basically what this dessert was. They do add soft-boiled eggs too, so maybe that’s a difference.

The final stop was at Warorot Market. I’ve been there before multiple times so all I really wanted to do was head back to the hotel because I was tired. But I soldiered on and ate a few bites here and there (of snacks I’ve already eaten before). Since us solo travelers will still have some time to hang out, we exchanged contacts between the three of us (me, Jono, and Erin) before going our separate ways. We’ll probably go by a night market tomorrow. Who knows. The three of us quite have similar itineraries so maybe it’s going to be fun.

And now I’m in bed with wet hair (too tired to dry it), waiting for sleep to come to claim my consciousness.

I just realized that I do have the tendency to ramble on. Whenever I start writing, it’s hard for me to stop. It’s weird because it’s like dispensing every single thing on my head on paper (digital paper as it is). Hmm maybe this is why Pensieves exist. I feel a lot lighter writing down my thoughts even if they’re all over the place. Maybe I should take the time to do this back home too.

Good night!