“So… what backpack is that?”

In the sea of people waiting for the airport gate to open, she looked like she looked a little bit like me – a worn out female traveler about to backpack through Thailand.

I wondered what to say to her for the longest time as I felt my fear of being awkward grew. I knew we had some common ground with the fact that we both survived a layover flight to Shanghai from the States, but I didn’t want to sound stupid.

I’m an introvert. I’m shy. Just stay glued to the phone and don’t bother people.

I truthfully didn’t want that, though.

I was going to a completely new country solo and if I couldn’t work up the courage to talk to this one person, when will I ever with anyone else? Would I never converse with people outside of what was convenient for me? If there’s one place where you can reinvent yourself, it’s in a whole new country where you don’t know anyone.

I finally worked up the nerves to ask a question.

“So… what backpack is that?” I asked to a girl sitting right across from me at Gate 21.

“Oh this? It’s just a Bago.” She answered, smiling.

We ended up chatting the whole time before boarding and during the grueling hour of visa/customs. In the end, she asked if I wanted to split a taxi with her.

And that’s how I made my first friend in Thailand – not by staying in my comfort zone, but by taking the initiative to ask what backpack she was carrying.

A month away as a solo female traveler

I’ll be in Thailand for a month! I’ll predominately be staying in Northern Thailand. It’s going to be an exhausting and amazing four weeks.

February 2 – Depart LAX
February 4 – Arrival in Bangkok, Thailand
February 5 – Bangkok
February 5 to 9 – Make my way to Chiang Mai with pitstops in Ayuthaya, Lopburi, and Sukkhothai via train
February 9 to 11 – Workaway volunteer opportunity at Kad Sala Sanpatong (roughly an hour away from the city of Chiang Mai)
February 12 to 18 – Tentative Muay Thai one week training camp in Chiang Mai
February 19 to 25 – Elephant Nature Park! I’ll be volunteering for the next week.
February 26 – Chiang Mai
February 27 to 28 – Silent Meditation Retreat in Chiang Mai
March 1 – Flight back to Bangkok
March 2 to March 5 – Bangkok and tentatively a Music Festival
March 6 – Heading back home to Los Angeles!