Why me and my friends are planning a trip to Laos 2 years in advance
A dream vacation to my friend's hometown Vientiane
Living in a small town in Georgia always plagued me with the thought that I would never live beyond small town life. But when I got a job at a local Thai restaurant my eyes were opened to quite a few things.
A new friend
A waitress at the restaurant ( I will call her Ta in this article) was family of the owner and close to my age so we became closer despite our shyness. As we worked together more, I found out new small things about her every week. She is talented at drawing, she doesn’t like sweet foods except for Coca Cola, she look pretty with bobbed hair and long, and she loves Olive Garden Carbonara. I learned she is from Vientiane Laos, and she can speak Thai, and Lao in addition to English. After knowing her for a few months I noticed how much her English improved, which made me realize just how smart she really is, even if she doesn't think so. After shopping trips, movie nights, and many lunches together we started to entertain the idea of us visiting Laos together in the future. Since she hasn't been back in 2 years it meant a lot to me that she would invite me along with her to her home. I have long been interested in seeing the Kuang Si waterfalls in Laos, not to mention all of Thailand's countless tourist stops. So, The idea of traveling with a someone who knows the area better makes the suspense and excitement for the trip greater than ever.
Since she hasn't been back in 2 years it meant a lot to me that she would invite me along with her to her home.
A dream within a dream
One dream we share now is going to her hometown together.
Ta works hard at the restaurant every week to make life like any American; she has a car payment and goes to college as many 20 somethings do. But she is also waiting patiently and working hard so she can obtain an American citizenship and passport. I always felt that I would never get to know the Lao side of Ta since he did grow up in quite a different world from me. But naturally, we have become great friends because of how much we have in common. I have my own dreams, and so does she. But one dream we share now is going to her hometown together. I have no idea where exactly I will be in 2 years, but I want to hold it to myself that I will be there when she finally does plan a return visit to Laos. Although it will be another 2 years before she can obtain citizenship, I like to keep our trip in mind to show it's not as far as it seems.
A vague plan
it's worth more when you travel with a friend.
Ta has mentioned to me the beautiful scenery in both Laos and Thailand. Many of these scenes also hang on the wall of her family's restaurant, and they always fueled my fantasy when work was slow. In my experience however, the places are always more dimensional than their photos, so I'm more excited to feel these scene in person. I can imagine the bustling markets, the scents of hundreds of spicy sizzling foods, and the breeze of the sea, but it's worth more when you travel with a friend. I have always put Thailand on my list on countries to visit, but having a local friend truly enhances the experience. However, I often think now that if I didn't have Ta as my friend, going to Laos and Thailand wouldn't mean near as much.
When my boyfriend came from Seoul all the way to my small town it was finally time for him and Ta to meet. I had told both of them about each other many times, but what is more heart racing than your favorite people meeting for the first time? Sadly since we were on a tight schedule we had had to visit her at work, which left us little time to talk. I have no doubt however that we will all meet together again, whether it be in America, South Korea, or Laos.
The idea of us traveling together one day keeps me hopeful.
Since the start of quarantine I haven't seen Ta much even though we live so close. I can text her, but the idea of us traveling together one day keeps me hopeful. Since I also plan on attending university in South Korea, so our plans may be affected. This is when the idea of my boyfriend joining us on our trip was introduced. To ease the thoughts of doubt and worry me and my boyfriend routinely look at Airbnbs to make the trip more vivid in our minds. By studying the local language we also feel closer to our departure date. And although Ta has kindly tried to her best to teach me some Lao and Thai, I definitely need to brush up on survival language before we go. Every time we look at photos together or send each other Airbnbs, we feel like we are working toward the goal of Ta's citizenship and our vacation.
When we finally travel together, I want to be in a mindset for enjoyment.
This whole giant planning concept was slightly shattered once I talked to Ta about when she visits Laos. People like Ta who immigrate to another country view travel slightly different than people like myself. When Ta mentions going back to Laos she isn't worried with planning like me, and I frankly wish some of her calm demeanor would rub off on me. When we finally travel together I want to be in a mindset for learning and enjoying more than anything. Once we come back, I can feel my thoughts will be focused on our next trip together. It's worth pondering since by then so many things will change with "progress", probably even her hometown.
All of these gorgeous photos of Laos and Thailand are provided by Unsplash. A unique platform where you can download free high quality photos submitted from photographers around the world. You can also submit your own photos, or download hundreds of photos for your screen background like me.