Thailand Bound Once More

Tomorrow morning I head once again to Thailand, starting from my local Valley Transit bus stop a block from my front door. As part of my growing awareness of how my movement around the planet impacts the very Earth I am filled with an unquenchable wanderlust to experience, I have started avoiding travel by plane whenever possible, relying mostly on the bus and train.

Of course, some plane trips are unavoidable. A bus, train, ferry to Thailand from Midwest, USA is nearly impossible, unless you’re able to secure a rare berth on an ocean-crossing cargo vessel, a time-consuming and costly option. So in this case I am limiting the number of flights necessary to reach Bangkok. Instead of using the regional puddle-hopper from Appleton to Chicago or Minneapolis, I will take my local bus to the Appleton bus station, catch the daily intercity bus to Milwaukee, then transfer to the commuter Amtrak service to Chicago. There I will catch my flight to Bangkok, with a long layover in Dubai.

At first it may appear to add hours to my trip, but it’s roughly the same if you add in security, check-in, travel delays, and layover time. Added bonus: an overnight in Chicago chilling with old friends before I catch my flight from O’Hare (one of the many dimensions of hell, especially in winter storm season, but for some trips O’Hare is truly unavoidable).

It’s also a much more relaxed journey – less stress from multiple layovers, infinitely more leg room (even on the bus), much better food (Korean BBQ! Old-world German! Polish sausage!) and more control over my baggage (instead of having to gate check my carry-on for the smaller regional jet).

I also save a surprisingly hefty chunk of change. Those shorter regional legs of a plane ticket itinerary add up quickly. By flying to Bangkok out of a major hub like Chicago, I am saving roughly $500. That’s enormous. That $500 will get me through 2 weeks of travel in Thailand, including my obsession with shopping at the night markets.

So off to bed and dreams of fresh mangoes and giant bowls of khao soi. Tomorrow I lock my front door and roll my pack down the street to the bus stop for my next adventure.

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About chronictraveler

Chronic Traveler starts as a dream, one that I thought I had lost, but that has slowly changed into a mission to realize and live that dream every day. In December 2007 I became seriously ill and the doctors did not know what was causing my illness. I had to stop teaching as my life tumbled into a never-ending nightmare of doctors, hospitals and tests. Finally, in May 2008 I was diagnosed with a chronic condition - fibromyalgia. I was only 26 years old at the time. I have had to give up teaching, and now work part-time at a performing arts center as I learn how to manage my condition and improve my quality of life. What helped me through the months of uncertainty and sickness, and continues to inspire me, was a new focus on what truly mattered to me: family, friends, gardening, the arts, and especially travel. I have always fed my soul by traveling, ever since I first stepped off the plane at age 16 in Kathmandu, Nepal to help with an orphanage's building project. Meeting new people and experiencing how they live and how they view the world infuses my life with a richness I was so afraid I would lose when the doctor first said, "You have fibromyalgia". This blog is my story, as I begin to forge a new path. I am embracing my life as it is, with the fibromyalgia pain and fatigue, and learning to do what I love regardless. It may mean I have to go slower and take more naps or breaks! But I am determined to learn how to travel and experience the world, and hopefully what I learn will help others like me who believe their medical condition stands in the way of their travel dreams.
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