For the record, when I am at home I am quite reserved (except when round close friends/when drunk). I am happy(er) to spend time alone. My friends chat to the guy who owns the pub we go to every weekend, I don’t. He knows their names, not mine. I don’t chat to the person behind the counter, I look down and pay for my petrol as quickly as possible. There is one petrol station I particularly hate as their card machine takes ages, so prolonging the awkward silence that inevitably takes places during the purchase. To be honest if there wasn’t silence and they tried to talk to me I would be even more annoyed, I hate small talk. I would rather go to a drive through so I don’t have to stand in Burger King with other people and directly communicate with the staff.
In terms of friends, I have had the same group of about 8 of us for the last ten or so years. We are all really close and I love that. I also have close friends dotted round the country who I visit occasionally. I tend to invite myself over, there are only a few people who would come to see me, I have no idea what I would do if someone came to my house, I don’t have Sky TV and there isn’t much to do int he area so I am glad that people tend not to invite themselves to mine.
So hopefully you have a bit of an idea of my personality.
ALL of this goes out the door when I went to Thailand alone. There is only so long you can stand before you make yourself go and talk to someone. The situation makes you actually want to go talk to people, and that is why, after 30 days in Thailand, I got home and immediately started making plans to travel the world for three years.(link to travel plans)
I have read a lot of posts about how good travelling alone is, and having been to Thailand by myself over Christmas and New Year and loving it, I am going to add my voice to the long list of people who have loved travelling by themselves.
Before travelling alone, if I had thought about the risks, I would have probably asked how you meet people, because I am weird like that. So I will list a few of the situations that led to me forming some really close friendships in Thailand.
I suppose it was a bit of a risk, doing my first lone trip over Christmas and New Year, as they would be two pretty shitty events to have to do by yourself. Before I left though, I had planned to spend Christmas alone, maybe walking in some nice mountain, it was pretty much the opposite of that. But I was fine with the concept of spending time by myself. I quite like my own company, but I also love being around good people, so whatever happened was good with me.
Whilst in Bangkok I spent a lot of the time by myself and didn’t make any long term friends. I was there for a couple of days after arriving in Thailand and on the first night I arrived at about 9pm, everyone seemed to be out, so I went out and got drunk by myself. Didn’t really talk to anyone. I was new to this travelling/socialising thing.
The next morning I went down for breakfast and sat at the table where there were a few people. I butted in on their conversation and asked about what to do, they gave me some recommendations then left. First attempt failed. Not sure what happened that day but I amused myself during the days. I think it is important to get stuff booked to do during the days if you are by yourself. Either go explore, or go on tours etc. Anyway I was at the hostel having a beer at the front and a guy asked if I wanted to come watch a Thai Boxing fight. So of course I said yes. We went for a bit, then came back, had a nice dinner together, went for a proper Thai massage (he was a kickboxer and had these every day) and then went back to the hostel. Success
That night there were a few people outside the hostel, he went and talked to them and I lingered awkwardly behind, looking for a way in. I managed to get an opening and chatted to a few of them throughout the night. Some guy mentioned a group of his friends were going out but they never emerged and then some girl from Surrey shouted to the group to try and get people to go to Ko Sarn road – the butthole of Thailand. So I piped up and said yes. We went together and had an interesting night. You can read about that here. So both of the above never led to any friendships, but I at least had good times with good people..as they say
The next day I went down to the Islands. I was on the ferry with someone who was going to a different island. I never seemed to have luck with meeting people whilst in transit. Everyone said I would meet people on the long buses and ferries but this didn’t seem to happen. On the bus from Bangkok to the south I was sat next to an old Thai man who slept the whole way, and the guy I was chatting to all the way on the same journey ended up going to a different island. So I arrived at the first island, and as I was about to set off alone, the guy behind me on the ferry (Ray) catches my attention and mentions we were in the same hostel in Bangkok. I was quite relieved that I knew someone going to the same island but then as we got off the boat we got separated in the crowds. I was by myself again so I wondered around the island on foot for about an hour. I managed to find the strip where most of the hostels were and was walking along when I looked up and saw Ray. It was so random, we were the only people walking down that path. It led me to believe that a lot of the people I met were ‘meant to’ come in to my life, but I am still wrestling with that idea. He showed me to his hostel and I got a room nearby. He was doing a scuba course during the days so we met in the evenings, ate and drank together, and became really good friends. I plan to go see him in LA when I am in America.
Next stop was Koh Phangan for Christmas and New Year. I arrived alone again and came out the ferry port and headed towards the hostel I had booked (I had been told to book in advance for Christmas and NYE as they would book up fast. This was the only pre-booking I did). I walked around the area and it was deserted. I was thinking this might be a shit one. I had some food at a deserted restaurant, two Russian girls came and ate there too. I asked them something and we chatted briefly, then I left. I got to the hostel and it was cool. But the people there were not who I would usually hang out with. Ray calls the guys ‘chads’ and the girls ‘barbies’ I think. Hopefully that helps in terms of the stereotypes. I resigned myself to a shit Christmas and NYE and decided I would drink though the next ten days and endure the people around me. I went to the main communal area and saw a group of friendly looking people. I went and sat next to them and I think I just butted in to their conversation when they had something I could comment on. Josh invited me to come with them to the night market for food and the rest is history. I made ten really close friends. We had Christmas dinner together which was so nice, we drank every day on the beach and played card games, and went to the full moon parties. Part of that group was Holly, who I spent the rest of my 15 odd days with after we left Koh Phangan.
It turned out that we all had similar plans for the next few weeks so us meeting was perfect. The lads parted after new year but we met them again for the final week in the North. Holly and I spent the days after NYE with the other half of the group till the departed for Cambodia I think it was. Holly and I became best friends immediately and we travelled up to Chang Mai together and met the lads for the night before we all went up to Pai for our final week.
Loads of people came and went within this time but these are the ones that I know will be friends for life.
- I can’t remember making any friends from hostel rooms. I moved in to friends rooms, and got rooms with friends though
- I can’t remember making friends on transport services, I did take a few long journeys with new friends though.