friday five: things I’ve learned from travel…

temples at Ayutthaya
temples at Ayutthaya

So anyways, we’ve been back from Thailand for 2 weeks now.

The 5am alarm is active, the ironing basket is full and the passport is back in the drawer. Things are back to business as usual.

I’m back into head down bum up efforts to earn enough money to bring the passport back out of the drawer.

In astrology, the sign of Sagittarius, the planet Jupiter and the 9th house of the birth chart “rules” travel in terms of the sort of travel that opens your mind to new experiences, new learnings, new cultures and new belief systems. It’s what I love the most about travel- the learning, the way your mind can be blown and your comfort zone expanded by visiting a place that is so different to where you live.

Todays Friday Five is about just a few of the things that I’ve learned over the years through travel- particularly through travelling in Asia.


Travelling in Asia can teach you more about plumbing than you would ever want to know.

As an example, the resort we recently stayed in in Phuket (Gracelands) had a shower that filled up. And by filled up, I mean it flooded the bathroom.

On the surface it was a nice shower, with a hand held nozzle thing and a whopping great rain shower fitting in the ceiling.

The shower itself was recessed into the floor by about 2-3 inches. All good, right?

Wrong. The water didn’t drain away as it should. Instead, it overflowed and flooded the bathroom.

By the time housekeeping came around it had (finally) drained and there was no way we could make them understand what had happened- so we sorted it out ourselves.

By running the tap in the bathroom sink at the same time as the shower was on, the shower drain would make gurgly noises and then work normally. Once the gurgly noises started the bathroom tap could be turned off.

Problem solved.


This one isn’t just confined to Asia.

Ever tried figuring out what switch operates what light/s in a hotel room? I rest my case.

The 1980’s ballad

Where would restaurant and hotel bar singers be without Michael Bolton, Johnny Logan and that guy who sang “Sometimes When We Touch” or “All By Myself”?


Travelling is seriously a selfish pursuit- and that’s ok.

What’s not ok is travelling with a closed mind or forgetting that the places you travel to may have different ethics and values to those we enjoy at home.

Recently in Thailand I had my photo take with a python. It was beautiful. It was also, I realised later, drugged. It had to have been.

By paying my few dollars, I’d inadvertently contributed to that. I didn’t like that about myself.

Throughout the 2 weeks, we saw many things that challenged my view of the way things should be. Some things upset me, some things offended me, some things excited me and many prompted me to question my own ideas or look more deeply for answers.

It’s the main reason I travel.


IMHO, to even start to get under the skin of a place, you have to eat where the locals eat.

That means leaving your hotel and the familiarity of the Western franchises.

It can be uncomfortable and confronting, but it can also be a surprising and not unpleasant assault on your senses.


4 Comments on “friday five: things I’ve learned from travel…

  1. Ack… I almost stopped reading at the mention of the python. Snakes – argh!!! I completely agree that there are a lot of lessons to be learnt from travel. I always hoped it’d make me more tolerant here at home – and in some ways it does (I’m not too worried about public toilets after what I experienced in countries with limited water supply) but I do tend to expect things to be ‘better’ here as we have the infrastructure and resources.

    Oh… but your Michael Bolton comment reminded me that – when I was travelling – Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey were BIG favourites.

  2. Travel ALWAYS broadens your mind (and sometimes your backside 🙂 )I am addicted to travel

    • I reckon the day it doesn’t is the day you should stop. us Pisceans get addicted to things easily- & this is one addiction I’m happy to acknowledge.

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