Sunday, October 25, 2015

Off to Southeast Asia

October 14th, 2015. Money saved. Travel insurance purchased. Flights booked. Quit my cubical based office job. Bags packed. Off to the airport, final destination ... Bangkok, Thailand with a one way plane ticket.

This trip is one I have been wanting to do for a very long time, and spent the better part of a year planning for. It's worth noting that not only would I be completing this trip solo, this would also be my first time leaving North America. While I have been to many places around Canada, the United States and Mexico, obviously this trip would be far different and I would be stepping into an entirely new realm and comfort level. I would also like to give huge thanks to all of the friends and family who helped me get to this point over the last year, for without all of you it just wouldn't have worked out.

Off to the Calgary (YYC) International Airport I go with what I can only presume is a couple bags full of the right gear and clothing for my trip, my life in two bags ... pretty bizarre to comprehend actually.
I am currently travelling with a 46L Osprey Porter as my main pack, and a 12L Osprey Orb as my day pack. While it is very common to see most people using larger packs, I wanted to become better as a minimalist and so using a 46L as my main pack forces me to take less non essential items. The pack is carry-on size so I don't have to worry about checking baggage at airports which is one less thing to worry about if multiple flights start coming into play as I move around. Here's a quick snapshot of some gear for photo's, clothing and other random items that I'll be flying to the other side of the world with, I'm sure within a few weeks I'll find some items aren't necessary but only time will tell. First of my flights is from Calgary, Alberta (YYC) to San Francisco, California (SFO) which is about 3 hours flying time. I only had about an hour or so layover there before I would board the longest flight I have taken to date. San Francisco to the Narita airport in Tokyo, Japan (NRT) was a 10.5 hour flight, and when you're like me and can't really sleep on air-planes ... it's a tough one. I was pleasantly surprised to find out I got 2 free meals included, oh and free booze ... they sure know the way please a Canadian. 

By the time I reached Japan my body and mental state was a bit rough. I mean, by this point I had now crossed several time zones and jumped ahead a day in time not to mention I had been awake since 4am MST. After a 4 hour layover which I had spent most of hanging out with a chill dude named Ryan from Banff who was also heading to Bangkok, I boarded my 3rd and final flight. Tokyo, Japan to Bangkok, Thailand (BKK) which was another 5 or 6 hour flight (I cant really remember to be honest as I was pretty bagged. Luckily I was seated at the back of the plane where I had the entire row of seats to myself so I was able actually able to lay down a bit and sleep for several hours, bonus!

I arrived in Bangkok. 14,530 km's (9030 miles) in the bag and somewhere in the neighbourhood of 26 hours of travel and layover time.

Holy hell, it's midnight here, and insanely hot and humid!
This will take some getting used to...

(I plan to post more frequently now that I'm a bit adjusted to everything, stay tuned for more on my week in Bangkok. Head to www.neilmcelmon.com to connect with me on social media to follow along)

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