I’ve got the itch…to travel that is

Lately I’ve been getting that traveling itch again. This itch is not the kind that can be cured by a quick trip for a few days. This is the kind of itch that needs to be scratched hard, and for a long time. Excuse my graphic metaphor but what I’m talking about is quite serious.

I need to get back out there and travel; I need to experience more of the world again. I absolutely love living in Thailand and my plan is to keep this wonderful country as my base. Right now though, I need to be wild and free. I need to be out in the unknown for an unspecified amount of time that can only be determined by circumstance.

There really is nothing quite like the feeling that you get when you first arrive to a new and unknown place as a completely anonymous person. That new place is like the most interesting book you’ve ever read, it’s the best conversation you’ve ever had, it’s the most beautiful person you’ve ever seen, it’s the best cup of coffee that’s ever been made, it’s the scariest and most exhilarating roller coaster ever designed, it’s just everything. It’s a hard feeling to describe (as you can see). What I know about this feeling though is that it’s one that I’m ok with being addicted to. It’s one addiction I’ll welcome with open arms because the great thing is this world is massive I can keep chasing this feeling forever. As long as I’m breathing I don’t think I’ll ever want to stop exploring.

This need to travel, this itch, it comes to me quite frequently and I try my best to most of the time I scratch it. There are always things that hypothetically should stop me from dropping everything and going, for example no money, no plan, a steady job that I want to keep, love, no body believing in me and my dreams. These things have yet to actually stop me though. Bring it on, adversity!

No money – I make it work no matter what. Check out my other post about how to travel with a small amount of money.

 

No plan – I am a planner by nature and currently by profession but in traveling I’ve found that as long as I have a base plan, for example sticking to the eastern hemisphere of the world, everything else will work out in some way. If things do not go exactly the way that I envisioned them to, they usually end up turning out well, or at least are experiences that were worth having in some way.

 

Steady Job – I have to tell myself “Self, you can ALWAYS get another job.” I tell myself this because I know it to be true and I’ve proven it to myself multiple times. I’ve noticed that some people get really attached to their jobs; if you’ve had one before and you want another one, believe me, you will get one. Your dream job may not land in your lap but you can always find something to keep yourself sustaining life.

Also, I always remember to tell myself that even though I know working is an essential part of life for most people, working is not what my life is all about. So I don’t have a problem letting something good go because in the end I’m not going to look back on my life and think, “wow, I had a really stable and well-paying job. Well done Sophia” I’m hopefully going to look back and think about all the crazy experiences I had, how I helped people in some way, and how much I opened my mind and heart to the world.

 

Love – If I’m leaving love to travel and its real love, it can and will survive. This may not be true for everyone and I know that every relationship is different but if traveling is an important thing to you, then your partner should know that. They should also be willing to either join you in your travels or let you do what you need to do on your own.

 Nobody to believe in your dreams – I’ve been lucky enough that I’ve had some great supporters on my side over the years but I do get the occasional doubt from people. To these people I say – HAHAHA. I always make my dreams come true no matter how many nays the nay sayers say, and you should too!

In my opinion there are not too many reasons a person should not travel and get out there to experience as much as they can. I know cannot wait for my next adventure!

Thanks for reading

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Dating in Thailand as a foreigner

This is a topic i’m sure you could find lots and lots of different opinions on and could be talked about for endless amounts of time. However, I’m bringing a point of view that’s not often blogged about regarding this subject: A foreign woman dating Thai men. I should probably clarify that and say I am currently in a relationship with a Thai man (singular) but prior to this I did experience dating a few different people. **Warning** I have written about most of the things in this post just because of personal experience but I am obviously aware that these things do not apply to all Thai people or all Thai men.

Whether you’re on holiday in Thailand, living here permanently, or coming here just to look for “love,” I’ve put together a few tips that may help foreign ladies that are interested in dating Thai men.

Tips

  • Thai people often marry quite young so it’s not unusual to meet guys that you might be interested in who already have a wife at a relatively young age. It seems to be a lot more common to marry young here than in America. I’m not quite sure why, i’d appreciate any feedback about that.
  • If you don’t like being cheated on DON’T date bar workers or “beach boys” as I like to call them – this means guys that work in popular bars or work on the beach (jet ski rental, fire dancers, bar tenders, beach bar owners etc). I’m not saying this because I want to be judgemental towards these people, I am saying this because I’ve been there done that and know lots and lots of other girls that have as well. The nature of the work that these guys do is all about meeting new people, charming the people they meet, and having a lot of fun. They are often the guys that speak the best English and have the best tans so you’re probably going to love them but it is best to keep them as just friends. They are probably great people to know because they’ll give you free drinks and invite you to fun parties but just knowing them is enough.
  • In general, be aware that monogamy is not as important here as it may be where you are from. It is not common for Thai men to have what they call “gigs” which are girls that they umm….associate with I guess is the nicest way to put it. These are girls that are not their real girlfriends, these are girls they see while their girlfriend is not around. I work with a lot of married Thai men, and some of them openly talk to me about these girls that they see or used to see while being married. I’ve found this not only with the guys I work with, but with many of my guy friends as well. Talk to most Thai women about the Thai men and they will say the same thing. This is just something again that is part of the culture here and something that you have to be prepared for. Not all guys are like this of course, but it is not uncommon.
  • Don’t feel like your boyfriend/new fling doesn’t like you if he’s not into pda- that’s just the way it is in Thailand. Pda seems to be super embarassing for Thai people and is not a common practice. You’ll see the ocassional hand holding and couples with their arms around each other but fondling and kissing just aren’t done in public. It’s a cultural norm and if you want to be polite you should follow it.
  • “Cheek sniffing” will happen to you. It’s a more reserved way of essentially kissing someone. Your boyfriend/love interest will probably at some point press his nose against your cheek and seemingly sniff it. Just take it a compliment. It’s super cute and enjoyable once you get over the intial weirdness of it.
  • Remember that you are from different countries, you grew up differently, you view the world differently, you value different things, you take offense to different things, and you just are different in general. Cherish this! Getting to know someone who is different than you is one of the best parts of life. Keep this in mind though when you think the person you’re dating is crazy or unreasonable or even rude.

For example: my boyfriend decided to tell me that my face looked fat one day and this did not go over well with me. You will find that in Thailand calling someone fat is not considered rude but to an American woman it’s not the nicest thing to say. I explained to him that this hurt my feelings and I didn’t like it etc etc but that was hard for him to understand. He felt that he was doing me a favor by telling me I looked fat because he wants me to be healthy and wants the best for me. This sort of communication mishap will happen a lot! Just keep in mind that something your Thai partner considers nice may offend you but it is most likely not meant to! Vice versa you will probably do something offensive to him (pointing at things with your feet) and you won’t mean any harm by it but he may think it’s extremly rude.

  • Be aware that Thai men touch each other a lot more than men in the western world (especially the USA) do. They massage each other, hug, and even pat each other on the butt way more than you would probably see in your home country. This could potentially mean they are interested in each other but most of the time it doesn’t, it is just the way that it is here.
  • Most Thai people, including the men, do not like confrontation and avoid it all costs. Avoiding confrontation means that feelings will be kept secret sometimes, and saying no to things happens a lot less often than normal. Because they don’t want to “lose face” they won’t always approach you about something they want changed in the relationship, call you out for being offensive, or say no to you when request something ridiculous. You will ALWAYS get the last bite of food if you want it even if they are near starving. This is no way means that you should take advantage of them, it means that you need to be extra aware of what you are doing, and how potentially you could be trampling on someone. If you’re a nice enough person i’m sure things will be fine, but it’s always good to keep in mind this part of the culture.
  • Don’t let a language barrier stop you from pursuing something with someone that you have a connection with. It might be hard at first to communicate with your boyfriend if he is not fluent in the language you speak and you’re not fluent in Thai but you should not let that stop you from trying to make things work. It can be extremely fun, challenging, and rewarding, to develop your own style of communication with someone and at the same time to learn to speak and understand a new language. Google translate may be your new best friend when it comes to those tough words that you can’t get across but there is nothing wrong with that!
  • Speaking of translating services, once you’ve become friends with your new Thai crush on Facebook you’ll probably start to see what he’s writing on his profile and you’ll probably wish you could read it (if it’s not in English). Once you press that handy dandy little translation button on facebook you’re in for a whole lot of nonsense. Be prepared to be out of the loop with social networking stuff that your boyfriend posts. The translation app on there just never translates things as they’re supposed to be. So when you think your crush is talking about going to a concert with a pack of monkeys on the moon, he’s probably not, but your translate app will tell you he is.
  • Another thing to keep in mind about facebook is that in Thailand people seem to be quite “like” crazy more so than in America, not sure why. I am trying to say that the “like” button on facebook gets a lot of use. If you’ve got a few guys that are liking all of your photos, don’t take the wrong way, they are probably NOT trying to send some secret message that they want you, they probably just love that “like” button. I’ve made the mistake of thinking I had an admirer based on the fact that he liked pretty much every photo i’d ever post on facebook but sadly I was mistaken. I’ve also heard many girls that take these sorts of things on social networking the wrong way so it’s always good to keep this in mind!

In most ways, dating in Thailand is similar to dating in most countries, there are just some cultural differences that are good to keep in mind. It can be a lot of fun if you find the right person and if even if you don’t find the right person it can be a good experience! I’d love to hear anyone else’s experiences with dating in Thailand if anyone is interested in sharing. Coming soon I may do a post about foreign men dating Thai women. That should be quite interesting.   Thanks for reading!

Being a wedding planner: The basics

It is really kind of funny that I’ve ended up being a wedding planner and it has turned out to be my most favorite and the best job I’ve ever had.It is not even a job to me anymore- it is my long term career. The reason it is funny that I’ve ended up as a wedding planner though is because I remember when I was in university studying Hospitality & Tourism Management (with a focus on event management) I told myself and I declared it to my classmates as well that I would never be a wedding planner. Never say never, as the saying goes! My reasons back then were probably that I did not want to have the pressure of being in charge of one of the most special days of peoples’ lives which as you can imagine is quite a pressure to put on yourself. Now that I have been doing this for almost a year I can say though that I want to continue my career in wedding planning for as long as possible, and I really do love this work.

The pressure of being in control of someone’s wedding always turns out to be wonderful because if you are successful, you know that have just helped people to have the best day of their life. What’s not to like about that?

The title of this post a little be a bit misleading because in my opinion it is a little difficult to actually pinpoint the “basics” of wedding planning as every wedding is different and all the clients are different. I’ve put together a list though of what I find to the basics things for me to do or remember with each wedding and things that help me to make my experience as a wedding planner the best it can be.

Most importantly – Have a great attitude

Weddings can be stressful, especially if you’re like me and tend to take other peoples’ stress on as your own. The most important thing that you can do though is keep a positive attitude. If things are going wrong or you have a bridezilla, or even if the wedding is just not enjoyable in some way, you have to remember to keep it together. If your attitude goes sour, this will show and will likely affect your clients.

Treat each wedding like it is the only wedding you’ll ever work at 

I mean this in the sense that you have to make sure to dedicate yourself fully to each wedding and not constantly be thinking about one you had in the past, or one you have in the future. In January, I planned 8 weddings….I repeat, 8 weddings. Some of them drained me physically and mentally but I had to go into each new one with a clean slate. The way I do this is by reminding myself that the bride and groom don’t know (or care) how many weddings I have to work at, all they know as that their special day is the most important thing to them so that is how I treat it. I don’t bring any baggage from my previous weddings with me.

Be as flexible as possible 

I mean that figuratively, not literally although being physically flexible may come in handy being a wedding planner as you never know what crazy request you may have to fulfill!

You need to make sure that you can adjust to pretty much ANY situation, anything can happen at a wedding.

Be quick on your feet and creative if you can! 

Being a wedding planner is a great way to let your creativity really shine. You are going to have to come up with crazy ways to put broken shoes back together,  make a garter (learn how to sew!), to make dresses fit when they might be a size or two too small, make a beach look wider than it is, to make a bouquet morph into a table centerpiece, or even to fix a wedding cake that accidentally looks like the leaning tower of Pisa. You’ll be asked to move mountains and you’ll only be given 20 minutes to do it so be prepared to come up with something genius, and come up with it fast!

Do not be afraid to say NO

It is so hard to have to disappoint someone but you have to be strong and tough to be a wedding planner. You cannot be afraid to say no to people, especially the bride and groom. In my last point I said you will be asked some crazy requests, and to the best of your abilities, try to do them but do not forget that some things just cannot be done. When it comes down to it you are not the bride’s friend, you are her wedding planner, so even though you’re ultimate goal is to make her happy, you have to have your limits.

Don’t take the romance for granted! 

No matter how many weddings I have been to or how busy I am at a wedding I always make sure that I catch the look in the bride and grooms eyes when they first see each other. Nothing beats seeing that pure look of love, terror, excitement and every other emotion in the world. That moment to me is the most romantic in the entire wedding. You may be surrounded by love, happiness, and emotions all the time as a wedding planner, but don’t take it for granted, appreciate it and bask in it because it’s one of the best parts of life.

Ask for help

As the wedding planner, you are going to feel like the pressure of everything running smoothly is put completely on you, but there are times where you are going to need help to make this happen. Do not be afraid to ask people for help, it does not make you look incompetent, it just shows that you care and want everything to be as perfect as possible. It’s really important also to have a good wedding staff. Get people that have experience, that you can rely on, and people that have a great attitude just like you!

Stay organized

I cannot stress how important it is to keep everything organized. As a wedding planner you will have about a million different tasks, appointments, papers, things to remember, and things to do. You have to have a good way of keeping this all on track. Lists will become your best friend! Make sure you have a good planner/diary/calendar, and if you can, make sure you have some sort computer system set up specially for weddings. I am lucky enough that at my company we have an extremely well organized computer system where I can keep essentially every detail that I would need to have about a wedding. Without having everything organized and all in once place I am not sure i’d actually be able to do this job; it is so important to stay organized.

Have fun!

You have got to have some fun at your weddings! You have to remain professional and on top of things but don’t forget that what you are doing is amazing, creative, and super fun. Laugh as much as possible, meet new people, and take in all the beauty and excitement around you at each wedding.

 

There is so much that goes into being a wedding planner but for me these are the basic things that will help get the best experience out of this career. Coming soon will be a post specifically about planning weddings in a foreign country, or working as a destination wedding planner.

 

Thank you for reading!

Silent Romance

My romantic comedies could be put on hold for an unknown period of time. A sweet surprise of what seems to be a relationship has smiled upon me. Let’s not get our hopes up people, we will see where this goes. By people I mean all my adoring fans (I think maybe 2 people read my blog).

What I wanted to really delve into here though is the subject of dating someone who’s native language is not the same as yours. Wow! It’s interesting. It’s confusing, exciting, frustrating, informative, and most of all it makes you learn a lot. Not only do you learn a new language but you learn about a person based on what they do rather than what they tell you about themselves. I don’t want to say with any conviction that I prefer to get to know someone this way because for me words are highly important, but, I will say that this is teaching me a lot of lessons and i’m really enjoying getting to know someone this way.

Our communication relies heavily on this magical godsend called “Google Translate.” That along with books, friends, and our very little knowledge of each other’s languages get us by day to day. A lot of the time when there is nothing to say (because neither of us know how to formulate what we want to say into decipherable sentences) I take those precious silent moments and try to learn something about him. Without him telling me what he’s done, bragging about himself, or explaining his values to me I can tell that he is kind, genuine, funny, and polite. Without him having to describe to me the reasons he likes me I can see by the look on his face or the way that he hugs me that he likes me because of those things he learns about me in silence.

What a grand way to fall to for someone.

xo