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My Banana Pancake Trail

2010 April 26

Via Wikipedia:

The Banana Pancake Trail is the name given to the well-trodden and constantly growing routes around South East Asia travelled by backpackers and other tourists. The Trail has no clear definition but is used as a metaphor for places that are well-visited by mostly Western tourists who have left their marks on the local tourist industry, which has created restaurants, hotels and entertainment catering to these travellers’ needs.

Ahhh the Southeast Asia circuit… what a majestic, inspiring and well-worn path. After a spending a couple of days in Bangkok, I slowly formed a rough itinerary in my head. I learned that there were two directions most people took: clockwise and counterclock wise. Most people start in Bangkok and either go east into Cambodia or north into Chiang Mai, followed by Laos. Both routes usually loop through Vietnam and end up back in Bangkok.

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The Freedom of Backpacking

2010 April 26

One of my favorite aspects of backpacking is the feeling of ultimate, unadulterated, freedom. It’s an almost indescribable feeling, akin to euphoria, that I’ve experienced a few times. I’ve found it to be that moment when you suddenly realize that you are completely free from all responsibilities, obligations and worries. Your only responsibility in your temporary reality is making sure that the sack on your back doesn’t get lost. Your only goal is to have as much fun as possible and if you don’t, the only person to blame is yourself. Other than that, you are free to do whatever you want, whenever you want and with whoever you want.



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Bangkok Continued

2010 April 23
by Paul

Suits – “Mistah, you wan suit? You look like you nee suit.”

“No thanks.”

5 minutes later: “Mistah, you wan suit now? Good deal I give you.”

“No, I already said no.”

I walk 20 feet down the road.

“Hey hey you there, you wan suit??”

Goddammit. There are guys peddling full, custom-made, suits every couple of feet on the streets. I came to Bangkok knowing that I’d buy a few but never would I have guessed that they’d be so plentiful, so accessible and so damn in-your-face. Like tuk-tuk drivers, suit makers are a dime-a-dozen in Bangkok (and this isn’t even the real hotspot of SEA – Hoi An; which I’ll write about someday). There seemed to be very two distinct groups of suit makers: 1) Indian/Pakistani and 2) Thai. The talk on the street was that the Indian/Pakistani one’s were really shady and the Thai’s were more trustworthy. Damned if I knew, both groups of people seemed pretty shady to me. These guys were some of the most pushy, high-pressure sales guys I’ve ever met. The minute you let your guard down, they got you.

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Bangkok, Thailand.

2010 April 22

How did I end up in Bangkok, the backpacker “mecca” of Southeast Asia?

It actually all started all the way back in Junior year of college. Back then, I was doing a double major in business and econ. I thought since a lot of the courses were overlapping, why the hell not, take a few more classes and grab myself another degree. Big mistake. Econ classes are hard. And I had to take a lot of them. The beast of them all was econometrics. Which was essentially taking calc, stat and econ all rolled into one. If you aren’t too great with math like myself, it’s pretty much suicide. So one day, I literally woke up with an epiphany and decided to drop my major. Fast forward to Fall of my Senior year, I realized I could graduate by that December. Do I dick around for a semester or just finish up and do something else?

I had heard of people going to South America so that was, at the time, my number one priority. Since I had ~6 months to kill, I wanted to do two trips. South America was one, the other one not so sure. I had thought about Australia but seemed pretty expensive and westernized. Europe, despite being the quintessential post-college trip, had “been there, done that” the year prior when I studied abroad in the UK.

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First Post

2010 April 22
by Paul

Why did I start this? Because I wanted to write about my travel experiences since I haven’t been able to do much of it recently.

Since 2007, I’ve been able to backpack Europe, South East Asia and South America. In between, I also snuck in a trip to Puerto Rico and China. I’ve really gotten to love the “roughin” it style of traveling and hope to find more time in the future to do it.

Although I’ve been able to share it with my friends through stories and experiences, I’ve never been able to put it on paper and add photos/videos.

Hopefully I’ll find the motivation to keep this up.