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I have an amazing story that I never wrote about. It’s now very applicable with what happened this week. Last year, I sent my dad the best Christmas present ever, which catalyzed the amazing events which have occurred recently.
In Autumn last year, I had been bouncing around SE Asia for a couple months. Aside from being the perfect place to live on a budget, I also attended the Asian TBEX Convention, received my Thai massage therapy certification and worked for a couple hostels through Workaway.
While I was there, my brother notified me that he wanted to come join me for his Christmas holidays. I made plans to meet up with him in Bangkok and explore Thailand and Myanmar. Unfortunately, shortly after that his plans fell through, and I was left in Malaysia with a lack of plans. That wasn’t anything special, as I hardly ever knew where I was going to be a week later in my travels.
At this point it had been a year since I had seen my dad and the rest of my family in the states, so I came up with a wonderful idea for the best Christmas present ever. Using my knowledge on how to get cheap plane tickets, I bought a last-minute ticket from Bangkok to Los Angeles for $420. As a note, that flight was over the holiday season (two weeks before Christmas), and even other travel bloggers said I would never get a deal that good when I had waited till the last minute.
First I had to get from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok. On Saturday night I called up my dad to say I wouldn’t have internet to make our weekly call on Sunday morning, but I would call him in a few days when I could. With that, I jumped onto my flight to Bangkok and stayed at the Lub-D hostel there overnight.
The next morning I posted a photo of me on a bridge with my massive backpack on, with a caption of how I was off for my next great adventure. Over the next couple days I had dozens of friends asking me where I was and where I was headed, all of whom I replied to by private message. With that, I boarded my next flight to Guangzhou (China), enroute to Los Angeles. What was interesting about that flight was leaving at 9 PM on Sunday night, and arriving at 6 PM Sunday night. I get the mechanics, but it still messes with your head to get an extra day like that.
I had a friend waiting at the airport for me, since I had to get out of LA as fast as I could. It’s not a pleasant city, but that’s the subject of another blog post. I went north to a beach town an hour up the coast, recovered from my jet lag for a day, and then on Tuesday morning began a long series of buses and hitchhikings to get up to Portland, Oregon.
At 8 AM on Wednesday morning, Pacific Standard Time, I called up my dad. He had just woken up. “Good morning, Dad!” I said. “I finally have a good internet connection, but before I forget, I wanted to ask what Christmas present you wanted from me.”
“I just want to know that you’re safe,” was his reply. “I saw your post on Facebook without any replies, and I haven’t been able to reach you. Where are you? Is everything okay?”
“I’m totally fine,” I reassured him. “I’ve been traveling all around. Actually, I did send you a birthday present from SE Asia, and I’m pretty sure it arrived this morning. Can you just check the porch to ensure it’s there and no one takes it?”
With that, I put him on hold, and started the video recorder. Here was the reaction:
It had been exactly 367 days since I had last seen him. He thought I was still in SE Asia, and the shock you can see in the video lasted a whole two days, when he finally exclaimed “You’re really here!”
Yep, don’t think I could have given him a better Christmas present.