Traveling light requires letting go of anything unnecessary for the journey. The things that slow you down have outlived their usefulness. Don't choose to hang onto rather than let go of them. They're dead weight that you drag with you from one season to another. Unless you recognize those things as dead, their weight will make you wait far past the opportunities missed because you refused to rise from their death. – Dr. Mark Chironna
First of all, trust me as I'm fully aware that there are two blog entries for the same day (November 14th), but in all of the confusion of traveling through 3 countries and an overnight bus, the past 36-hours just ended up being a blur. So, apologies for this. The experience of taking an overnight bus is completely like Russian roulette–it’s a gamble of whether or not you will have a comfortable seat, an icebox or a sweat fest of an experience, onboard raw sewage plant for a toilet, an inescapable chatty Kathy of a neighbor, the ninja shoulder sleeper that uses you as their own personal pillow or drool rag, or the other endless variables that can come in to play on this adventurous ride through the night. The two things I feel that experienced backpackers carry at all times for just these, such occasions; Imodium pills, to plug up your unwanted and unexpected exit discharge and sleeping pills, preferably that are also a muscle relaxant, because sleeping for 8 or more hours in an upright position will leave you more crippled than the Hunchback of Notre-Dame. And, while on the subject, things that you should always keep with you for overnight bus rides, in my opinion of course, would be:
Arriving in Bangkok at BKK just after 4pm I already knew that the clock was ticking and WiFi was going to be my largest nemesis as I was supposed to meet Ashley at the Mo Chit bus terminal as soon as possible, since she had our overnight bus tickets that departed at 7:30pm. The mad dash through customs, gathering my bag from the luggage carousel, shuffling through security, and then making my way on to the express train to the Phaya Thai BTS subway station before transferring lines to Mo Chit, I could feel the anxiety of not knowing how we were going to find one another in this massive bus terminal. The second I arrived at Mo Chit I knew my best option would be to grab a taxi as it was already dark and a long walk to the bus terminal. Thankfully there was another traveler, an older middle-aged man from Singapore that spoke English and overheard me asking taxi drivers to take me to the bus terminal. After four refusals that still drives me crazy, thinking–this is your job, you’re a taxi driver–we finally found a a kind enough soul to drive us to our destination. While I had no idea where to meet her because there are numerous lines of buses all with different companies heading in different directions, the only piece of information I had was the name of the bus company. Since the man from Singapore could tell I was in a bit of distress we tried speaking with a police officer, the tourist information desk, neither of which were of any help, and so he decided to call the bus company from his cell phone that thankfully I had from the screenshot I took from what Ashley had sent me. After two or three separate phone calls, we finally received the information we were in dire need of receiving–Mr. Thai Bus Company (yes, that was the name) was departing from stall #18, which was on across the two buildings on the backside of the terminal. Running to get there carrying close to 100lbs, sweating profusely as I’m adjusting from near freezing temperatures in Korea just hours before to the sweltering 90 degree weather, we are looking up at the numbers posted above us and begin the countdown. Stall #36 is where we begin and as we approach stall #18 I notice a girl with brown hair in a ponytail and yell out, “Ashley?” Shocked, she turns around and we gave each other a huge hug, as we were just thankful to find one another with about 20 minutes to spare. I thanked the man from Singapore over and over for his assistance and before I knew it he was off to catch his own bus.