I’m now in Bangkok – my last trip was in Oct 2019, so that makes it slightly more than 3 years since I’ve last travelled. When covid first descended upon the world I thought it would be an episode that would last months, and then with disbelief I thought it wouldn’t be more than a year…and now it is just never going away is it?
We’re trying our best to avoid getting infected by wearing 3M n95s and using nasal sprays, though these days I feel resigned about our chances. What made me change my mind about travelling even though to me objectively the risks of getting infected has not changed: I think the risk of getting infected in Singapore is now similar to travelling in most Asian countries with good mask-wearing etiquette. Apart from the plane itself the Thais seem to be more on the ball about masking than us Singaporeans even outdoors, and they have way more outdoor dining options, so I would argue that the risk of getting infected here is lower. We brought along our CO2 monitor and they seem to have much better indoor air quality here at the newer malls compared to Singapore.
It has been more than a decade since I last visited Bangkok. It has changed considerably, and yet the same in many ways. I couldn’t help but going back and forth in my memories about my younger selves who were here. I have changed so much too. Bangkok was only about shopping to my younger self. I don’t buy much anymore since I wear the same black tee wherever I go, but I have found it very enlivening to find and eat good food.
Weeks before the trip I spent quite some time researching vlogs/blogs and studying google maps. It is paying off as we chalked off one Michelin Bib Gourmand place after another, experiencing a whole new dimension of Thai food that I have never encountered in my life before, even though I have been to Thailand more than a dozen times. Who knew pork noodles can be so delicious? Singapore has bak chor mee, but they just have a different taste profile here with their different range of spices.
I am usually on a low carb diet but decided that time is limited and I am not sure when I can travel next so I wanted to experience the great food here. Thankfully the portions are usually small and I still avoid rice as much as possible. My Oura ring scores have been terrible since I’ve been here though. I am not sure if it is the carbs or the oxidised oil or all the walking or all of the above. I think of it as the price to pay for this aliveness.
What I don’t really understand is that my migraines would miraculously disappear during my travels no matter how badly I am eating or how much stress my body is undergoing. Back home, even just a little deviation can cause days of distress. Am I just existing on dopamine and adrenaline now? Will I have a very expensive price to pay when I get back?
I don’t really know. The older I grow the less my decisions are black or white. These days I am more like I am not sure what is the right thing to do, but I am going to do this and hope for the best. I accept that sometimes I may suffer for my own foolhardiness. But I think this is all part of life, to navigate knowing that it will be uncertain.
Travelling is a continuous journey of letting go, a much more condensed version of life itself I guess. There are many surprises along the way and also disappointments. It can be a lot more enjoyable if one is creatively flexible. I have learnt from this trip that I am not very flexible, but just being here makes me want to loosen up more. It is difficult to be flexible when I have to manage a chronic illness so tightly for the past few years but there is always the cliché: the tighter we hold on to sand, the faster it seems to slip away.