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foreign destination


foreign destination

Scott Bahlmann

Dear M,

With the sale of my house I get to fulfill a distinct desire that probably everyone experiences. A large bulk of the profit is going to savings, but I’ve decided it’s finally time to travel outside the country. I got my passport a few years ago, just because I was hungry to have it, and started following travel deals from an online booking company. With no more excuse to put it off, the time came to choose my first destination.

So, with the entire world as an option, where did my husband and I decide to go? Well, maybe not quite the whole world. All the travel packages for Australia were out of my self-chosen price range, and some areas wouldn't work due to political climate. I pulled out a bunch of viable options, from Morocco to Costa Rica, China to Ireland and we ended up with four top contenders.

The one we were all ready to book was an Amsterdam, Bruges and Paris package. With grandparents who immigrated from Holland, I’d love to get my feet on home soil, as it were, and Paris seems like a place any traveler should go at least once. But the package wasn’t available for the months we wanted so we begrudgingly revisited our options. Now it was between Ireland, Thiland, and Greenland. A foreign ‘land’ it was destined to be!

Greenland would include gorgeous geological phenomenon, as well as a good chance to see the northern lights. But the cold climate gave me pause, and flying from the west coast could add to the airfare cost. The additional cost would also apply for the Independent Ireland option, where we’d be able to stay in a castle and drive around exploring suggested itineraries in a rental car. Aside from the added airfare, would the countryside be a bit similar to the Northwest? Thailand would certainly be the most exotic with a different language, alphabet, architecture, and climate. But it would also be quite crowded, in Bangkok especially, and we don't really prefer big crowds.

With the expectation that we’ll do future travels, we decided to go all in on our first experience, submerging ourselves in the completely foreign culture of Thailand. Since we’re booking through a travel group all the accommodations and transportation are taken care of, which saves a lot of stress and planning. I also really like that they contribute part of each purchase to support schools in the underprivileged travel destinations. We’ll have some guided tours of temples and such as well as some independent exploration. Most of our independent time will happen in Bangkok, so I’m putting in some extra effort to learn about the city and what we might do in the “Venice of the West”. We’ll also get to spend time on the River Kwai, and in Ayutthaya, the old capital of Siam.

It certainly is exciting to anticipate, and I’m sure it'll be here before we know it!