- West Side Current
Travel Life, Part One: Thailand and Beyond
By Anjie Moore
Now that travel restrictions are rolling back worldwide, my question is if you could go ANYWHERE in the world right now, where would it be? Where was your favorite trip? What is your favorite travel memory? For me, the answer to all three has and remains to be, Thailand, hands down! Reminiscing on life as we migrate out of lockdown and as the world opens back up after the pandemic, I get excited thinking about all the places on my bucket list. The majority of that list requires traveling. For me, my top three places I must visit are Dubai, UAE, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Istanbul, Turkey. I’m hoping these experiences will top Thailand in the very near future.
Thinking back to January 2019, I had the most amazing travel journey to both Bangkok, Thailand, and Phuket, Thailand which is about two hours south of Bangkok. Both places being extremely fulfilling, my only regret is having to come back to the USA after almost three weeks there! The best part about my trip to Thailand was that I was truly disconnected and away on vacation. No American celebrity gossip news, no social media other than my posts (and from friends), and hardly any phone calls because of the major time difference. For me, being able to disconnect and rest was truly the best part of my vacation there. The Zen culture of Thailand automatically pushes you into a state of relaxation. Not to mention the very cheap massages that stand to be about $15 for 1 hour!
Next, as the true Foodie, I am, I would argue Thai food is simply the best. Thai food has been one of my favorite cultural cuisines since 2013. Surprisingly, I first tried Thai food at one of my favorite restaurants, Busaba Eathai in London, the UK in 2013. The ironic part is the fact that I tried some of the best food in London - a city not known for tasty foods.
Since that humble introduction, I knew Thailand would be one of my favorite places on earth. The food was fragrant and warm, and to my surprise, when I landed in Thailand, the people were warm and friendly.
Contrary to this, I had the impression that Thai people and Asians, in general, were not very welcoming to African Americans. This is based on the very real experiences of anti-Blackness told by many people I know in the USA. Additionally, I’d heard stories from friends stating when they visited China and Japan the local people would uncomfortably stare at them. They also said how locals would sometimes randomly walk up to you and take a picture and in many cases not ask. I even heard some tourists were called OBAMA and OPRAH while out.
It sounds ridiculous but sometimes you can’t get these things out of your head and you expect the worst when “Traveling while Black” this, however, was not the case and I was so happy it wasn’t! My friends and I were treated very hospitably. What added to our experience was the fact that we had an amazing tour guide and translator with us. I would highly recommend researching a good one if you decide to visit Bangkok!
For my next international trip, I do wish to go to a tropical island but one that’s a bit closer by. The beaches of Phuket encapsulated by the Indian Ocean were indeed beautiful but rice and jerk chicken in Jamaica sounds better to me!
So, if you miss traveling, RAISE YOUR HAND! I’m raising both of my arms, legs, and feet, all of which are ready to ditch Chicago as soon as possible! When I tell my friends I’ve never ventured to any Caribbean island or Central or South America, they laugh and say “ But didn’t you go to XYZ across the world??” Yes, I have. Japan and Thailand were great, and living in London for a few years was even greater! But my heart belongs somewhere tropical. As I’ve always said, I must have some ancestors that were from a very tropical land because I love water and hate the cold!
I think many of us learned in 2020 that life can be short and is extremely fragile. 2020 taught me not only to value health and life, even more but also to live out my dreams! It taught me to never be afraid of what might happen. It taught me to love and appreciate those that I have and be proud of the things I’ve accomplished! Traveling for me has been such a life-changing and rewarding experience. It is my sincere hope that whoever reads this will take that extra step, save (if need be), and purchase that ticket to their dream destination! Stay safe and happy traveling!
Photos courtesy of Atelier du Afrikware, LLC