SE Asia travel insider tips/advice!
I love talking about S.E. Asia and will provide you with insider-knowledge and advice on where to travel, eat, explore, sleep, etc... with a strong emphasis on Thailand, since I've spent the most amount of time studying and traveling there.
I have traveled with groups and independently all over the area (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanamar, Indonesia and Malaysia, specifically) and absolutely love talking about my travels and recommendations!
I can provide the best advice for those seeking out an alternative travel experience. I know many "non-tourist" things to do (especially in Thailand -- things off the beaten path), though I am still happy to provide more traditional travel information and advice as well!
Always down to just chat about SE Asia as well to anyone (those who've traveled there before or not)!
Training & Qualifications
I spent most of my time in SE Asia studying, exploring all over and embracing Thailand for everything it is (not just the pretty beaches you see on the cover of travel guides). I know the country inside and out. Most people who travel there as tourists are given just a small glimpse into what the country has to offer. I was fortunate to learn basic conversational Thai while I studied there and can pass down that knowledge if you're interested. Being able to converse exposed me to food, culture and places that I would have never known had I not taken the effort to meet and become friends with other Thai students in the area (NE Thailand; Khon Kaen).
I can write a small dissertation on the political landscape of the country and the ins and outs of it's cultural paradoxes and norms (e.g. did you know Thailand, i.e. "the land of smiles," carries the harshest legal punishment for defaming the Royal Party?). A powerful experience came out of planning and implementing a human rights festival in Thailand; the day before the event, we were approached by the Thai military police and told to censor all of our videos.
While my experience in Thailand was very "real," you could say, I do want to emphasize that it is very much a safe country to travel to. While my experiences in Thailand ranged from tanning on the shore of Phuket to partnering with an activist group and implementing community public health initiatives, I can say that the richness of the country stems from it's multi-faceted nature. You can make your experience traveling through Thailand (and truly any country) what you want it to be. I am happy to talk about all aspects, so you can find a path that works best for you!
I also traveled to unbelievably enriching and breathtaking parts of the surrounding countries. To this day, traveling through Myanmar has exposed me to some of the most breath taking sights and has shaped my perspectives on the world and what it means to live in a global community. My experience there was raw and untainted by tourist infrastructure (they opened up their borders to foreigners fairly recently, and while more are starting to pass through, it is still very underdeveloped). I wouldn't recommend traveling through Myanmar if you're looking for boutique living arrangements, but for the adventurous and open-minded type, spending time in Myanmar will inevitably affect you in some way. I will never forget the brief and scarce conversations I had with natives about oppression, fear, hope and perseverance.
My off-the-beaten-path travel changed my perspectives on international politics and it was as much a self-reflective journey as it was one filled with excitement, spontaneity, and most importantly, connection. I highly recommend in traveling to SE Asia straying away from tourist hot spots (they're fun to check out but I wouldn't recommend you spend all your time there).
Life gets put into perspective in a way you can't possibly fathom until you travel, step out of your comfort zone, and surround yourself with human experiences so fundamentally different than your own.
Availability & Preferences
We'll find a time!