Reflections on Consumerism and Feeling Naked…

Reflections: “a calm, lengthy, intent consideration”. Can’t quite define my consideration as calm, but lengthy it is, and I am most definitely putting consideration to Consumerism with a capital C.

I am not a shopper. When I travel I rarely buy things. Only a select few may get an “I remembered you” gift that will undoubtedly be small. I don’t even shop for myself. And when I am at home, my attention span for shopping is practically nonexistent, unless I am at an estate sale or thrift shop where I can pretty much be all day and buy a heck of a lot more than I expected. There is nothing like the thrill of a bargain and of discovery. Perhaps that is why I love traveling. I mean for the latter, the discovery. The bargain part just doesn’t qualify my trip any longer.

BLT+* started as a much needed escape from daily life, a way to mend a broken heart, to understand myself better, to overcome fears, and to discover and assimilate more cultures, people and landscapes. Then, well into the process of healing, it started to mushroom unexpectedly. With the infamous “When am I going to be back to this part of the world?” I started to consider staying a tad longer in the area. So I called the tour company and meekly asked: “How much more would it be to change my air portion to remain a bit longer in Thailand and well, maybe Hong Kong too?” I was hoping they would come back with a huge sum so I would discard the option completely but no, the response came back at: “$100 Ms. P.” How could I pass that up? And since I have no middle ground, I added 8 days in Thailand. Surely I could find something to do. And 5 days in Hong Kong -until I saw how much the hotel would cost- then whittled it down to 3, also due in part to people telling me that would be enough. My travel company had a post-trip to Chiang Mai in Thailand but was fully booked so I could not take it. Why not go on my own? I decided to fly to Chiang Mai where I plan to be one with the elephants and tigers. What to do with the next 4 days? My dream had been to go to Phuket -only a flight away. But friends and forum contributors convinced me that Koh Samui (Thailand) was less developed and just as wonderful. So Koh Samui it is. After all, I would need some mental and physical R&R after traipsing all over Southeast Asia. Then I chose the area of Kowloon to stay in Hong Kong. Then, I made no other move. Period. No move at all.

This is where consumerism comes in. 31 days to blast off (I wrote this blog a few days ago) and I have made no reservations. Purchased nothing. Planned nada. OMG! Just do it! Nike: any possibility of a commission? I’m repeating your slogan an awful lot.

I start off making reservations for a hotel in Chiang Mai, then a hotel in Koh Samui, then reservation in Hong Kong (almost), and since I’ll be alone in Hong Kong why not hire a local guide for a day? I call her; I book her after a PayPal invoice arrives. I want to go to Dialogue in the Dark but the website says they have no room. I call and ask for an English guide. I get one, along with a reservation. Skype, I am publicly declaring my love for you! I need to have a safe backpack that safeguards me from pickpockets so I go on the PacSafe site and select one. My Kindle Touch has already arrived ‘cause I can’t carry as many real books as I would like. Bought my first book for it, The Holly Brown Chronicles, some days back so now I buy some more. Haven’t booked the internal flights in Thailand yet and I’m already broke! Checked with PVS International on the status of my visas and only Laos in missing. Am asked if I want to know the running total so far and I say no, just tell me after Laos is done. Ah, the power of denial. Need to book or find out about airport transport in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui and Hong Kong. Some temples require people to remove their shoes and socks. Need to find one that is easy to slip on and off and very comfortable. Found. Bought. Clark’s, I may start loving you too if you turn out to have a product that does not give me blisters. Did a lot of research on a camera with a power zoom. I speak with a friend that refers me to a camera shop in NY he’s dealt with a lot and that can give me a good discount. I call. They don’t have the one I wanted in stock but suggest another they say is better. I buy. They ship. This non-shopper (even less so through the internet) has just redeemed herself in a grand way!!!! I am drained physically (my fingers are moving hyperactively), financially, and mentally. My head is spinning. Is it absolutely unconscionable that I sport a huge smile on my face, regardless? Ay, ay, ay!! (Don’t forget to infuse a bit of “Latinoess” into that expression.)     Do you think Myanmar -where I am going to first- a land predominantly Buddhist, of quiet semblance and controlled emotions is ready for me, a bundle of strong emotions and powerful voice? Will have to channel my mom, who was so subdued and quiet, to be able to blend in!

Was going to delve into the feeling naked part of my blog but this one has already run too long so I will be leaving it for the next blog which will come in rapid succession to this one…

* Please refer to previous blogs for a full explanation on BLT+

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Categories: Laos, Myanmar - Burma, Ramblings, Thailand, Visas | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Reflections on Consumerism and Feeling Naked…

  1. cras credemus, hodie nihil
    (tomorrow we believe, but not today)

    I believe in your quest.

    Blessings,

    AC.

  2. jes.

    “Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit.”
    — Frank Borman

  3. 🙂 AC, hopefully you believe today as well!
    I believe you are the best of traveling companions. Thanks for coming along!

  4. I just signed up to follow you on your journey my friend. The way you describe things helps me taste, feel, and see where you are or what you’re eating. So excited for you! And now I will experience vicariously through you! Love you dear dear fried, LIDIA!

    • Mary,

      I am thrilled that you are coming with me on this trip!! Lovely to know that I will have you with me to experience what, I have no doubt, will be an amazing journey! Always felt such an affinity with you. I am thankful to Native Voices to have brought us together.

      Oh, but I hope I’m not fried and am a frieNd with a capital F. 🙂

  5. Hello there! Thanks so much for visiting my blog! The places you will be going are AWESOME. 🙂 Just a tip for Hong Kong. Hotels are insanely expensive over there. You pay a lot and get a closet for a room – no joke. We found a company/website called airbnb where you can rent apartments (all over the world, not just in HK), and especially in Hong Kong, it’s much better value for what you get, at least at the two apartments we tried. Here’s my post about it if you’re interested: http://alongthewaytj.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/current-events-recharging-and-recalibration/
    🙂 Happy travel-preparation!!!

  6. Jenny,

    How wonderful of you to give me the Hong Kong tips! You are right, Hong Kong gave me quite a jolt when I saw how expensive it was. Loved your post on it and will definitely look into the apartments. I am almost now regretting not having stuck to my 5 days that I had initially planned for!

    Thanks for writing to me and thanks for writing your blog!

  7. Go for it!

    Like you, I’m not a shopper. I easily get bored in malls. So my relatives and friends don’t ask me to shop with them. I normally buy what I need and then I’m done.

    When I travel, I become very choosy when I shop because I always think of what I’ll be doing with whatever I buy. And so, I stick to hats or something I could use. Once in a while, there are some good finds, like a rug in Turkey or a bowl in Cinchon, Spain.

    I do buy postcards though. I still write postcards to friends and family wherever I am. It’s a very old practice that’s probably dying. But people who receive it from me always tell me it brightened up their day.

  8. I really like the idea of postcards! Easy and I have no doubt it brings a smile to everybody’s faces! You also gave me a good idea as to what to take to an orphanage that I will be visiting in Vietnam. They may like the images of sunny California.
    Thank you for reading my posts. I look forward to yours!

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