Ingredients for “The Perfect Adventure”
When I’m considering traveling to any new country, I try to assess where that country fits in with my ideal criteria of “The Perfect Adventure.”
The basic ingredients for “The Perfect Adventure” are as follows:
1 cup of beautiful scenery to explore. Any scenery will do (stunning beachings, sprawling mountains, windy deserts, etc.)
⅔ cup of “unknown.” The “unknown” may include language, sense of direction, typical customs, food or gestures.
4 teaspoons danger. Danger is relative, but knowing that it’s real and present always makes things exciting.
½ tablespoon of kind locals. The more welcoming and hospitable, the better. Preferably people who aren’t averse to inviting weary travelers for a cup of tea or meal inside their home or favorite eating establishment.
3 sticks of discomfort. No adventure is complete without a certain level of discomfort. Laying on the beach for a week isn’t an adventure (even though there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that).
A dash of inexpensiveness. The cheaper a place, the better. In my experience, it’s the countries that are more expensive (food, accommodation, transportation) that are what I consider, “living museums.” And, while I love a good museum, it’s not the first place that comes to mind when I think of an international adventure. At least, not when you don’t have an energetic and knowledgeable tour guide. But, I digress.
Okay, once you’ve assembled your basic ingredients, throw them all into a bowl, mix vigorously for ten minutes and then bake for 30 minutes to a crisp.
After I created my own concoction of “The Perfect Adventure,” I took a bite and was instantly transported to another place. And, thanks to the universe, that place was Thailand.
Why Go to Thailand?
After six months of no travel, I was itching to get out of New York City and embark on “The Perfect Adventure.” But, where would I go? I drafted up a list of places and, even after comparing prices, I was still unsure. A few days later, I was on the phone with one of my brothers, and he couldn’t stop talking about Thailand. “It’s the greatest place on earth, man. I’m going to move there,” he said. “Yeah, right.” “Nah, I really am,” he affirmed. If it was good enough for him – someone whose thirst for adventure is never satiated – I had to check it out. And, with that, my decision was made for me.
Thailand was my first solo adventure of 2016, and it didn’t disappoint. The people were some of the kindest I’ve ever encountered, the scenery – from the endless greenery of Chiang Mai to the never-ending parties on Koh Phi Phi to the sweaty, maniacal hustle that is Bangkok – is an utterly surreal experience, and the endless amount of opportunities for adventure is almost unmatched.
Why Thailand is “The Perfect Adventure”
I rented a scooter in Chiang Mai for $6 / day and drove over 100 miles in one day, bathed (not rode on their backs, which is horrible for their spines) majestic elephants, fought (and break danced) in a Muay Thai match at Reggae Bar in Chiang Mai, conversed with monks at Wat Chedi Luang, ziplined through gangs of Gibbon apes, partied my (broke, because I lost my debit card...rookie move) ass off at “Ibiza” beach club in Koh Phi Phi, got pretty exhausting Thai massages for $5 (the kosher ones), went snorkeling in the Andaman Sea and met a handful of people who I’ll never forget.
Now, that’s not to say everything was cupcakes and sunshine. I also found myself in a handful of sticky scenarios (I was looking for 4 teaspoons of danger, remember?). One being that I got into a pretty bad scooter crash (if you watch the video above, you can probably tell why), and had to head to the hospital. Another being that some guy threatened me with a gun after I did something that, at the time, I thought made sense, but may have not. And a few more mishaps that are often (at least, with me) typical when exploring a new and amazing place. But, it’s important to note that every mishap was no one’s fault other than my own. It’s also equally important to point out that 91% of the trip was smooth sailing, and only 9% constituted mishaps. So there’s that, too.
Regardless, Thailand is truly the definition of “The Perfect Adventure.” I honestly don’t think any amount of time there is enough, nor will you want to call it, “one and done,” after your first trip. It’s the type of place that always has more in store for you, if you know where to look and are willing to endure a little discomfort.
Mateo is a writer who quit his flashy job in NYC to live life on his own terms. He’s done everything from working at an orphanage in Nairobi to building a new university in Abu Dhabi to sleeping on volcanos in Guatemala. And right now, he’s working to get an agent for his book. Regardless of where he is, he’s always working. To keep up with him, follow him on Instagram & Twitter at @AskMateo and subscribe here to read more of his upcoming elaborate stories.