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Koh Lanta to Bangkok

After leaving my island oasis, I decided to head to Koh Lanta. A tourist based island but not nearly as busy as the most popular places like Phuket and Ko Phi Phi. I arrived after a bus that took two ferry trips and a quick walk to the hostel. I must say this hostel was quite a change from the others I had been at, very quiet with only a couple of people staying there. Nowhere near fully booked. To be honest I was a bit disappointed, as the reason I travelled to Koh Lanta was to meet more people and have a little more excitement before my trip home.

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I did make the best of the situation,and ended up hanging out with a couple guys from the UK and watched a football game. I also had dinner with group of girls I met at the hostel, but they were all headed out early the next day.

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I figured I’d like to see the island so the next day I headed out to rent a motorbike. As I became an expert on Koh Sukorn (ha ha, not!), I had the confidence to drive in a busier area. It was the best decision, as it allowed me to see a lot of the island without being tied down to paying for transportation each time I wanted to go somewhere else. I drove through the jungle and past beaches, shops, small towns and some other tourists. It was awesome, that is until the rain storm hit! I had popped into a local jewellery shop as my mom asked me to get her some silver or something, and a huge storm erupted. I hung out and talked to the shop owner whole I waited out the storm.

It kept raining so I gave up waiting and just drove through the rain. In the way back to where I was staying, I saw a sign for a mangrove swamp and fish farm. How could I resist? It ended up being really cool, walking along a rickety boardwalk through the swamp and out to a couple small fish farms on the river. I swear there was some type of shark in one own, but I’m not 100% sure.

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I also ran into a pack of monkeys as I walked back to my motorcycle, which was pretty cool. They ran off, but not before I got some video.

That evening a new person checked into the hostel, and we went to an Irish pub quiz night at a local bar. That was fun, but not nearly as awesome as hanging at the beach bar on the island.

The next morning I took a bus to the Krabi airport and flew to Bangkok. A quick 1.5 hour flight.

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It was nice that even though Nok Air is a super budget airline, they still gave us a snack.

After arriving in Bangkok, I grabbed the train to the area on Sukhamvit where my hostel was. I was tired, but wanted to see a bit more of Bangkok so I wandered over to the Soi Cowboy area, which is a famous red light district. As I arrived after all the temples and cultural things closed, I didn’t have many options!

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It was like a mini Las Vegas, with all the neon and scantly clad girls everywhere. I was there around 10pm, before things get wild. I also wandered around this amazing shopping mall that’s themed like an airport and each level represents a different part of the world like Tokyo, San Francisco and Rome. It was one of the nicest malls I’ve ever been to. Afterwards, I grabbed a bite to eat and headed to bed. This hostel was also pretty lifeless, so that’s 2 in a row that kinda sucked. Not their fault, just a bit disappointing.

Went to bed then in the AM headed to the airport on the sky train, which was only about $1.50. So efficient!

I Can’t Sleep!

The night before any trip is like waiting for Christmas morning to get here. I’m super excited, eager and cannot fall asleep. Tonight I went out with a group my friends from back home to catch up and it was awesome. The type of friends who I don’t see that often but when we get together it’s like no time has passed. Hence why I’m writing this post at 12:14am, and need to be up to leave by 7. This trip has been years in the making and I can’t even believe it’s happening. It’s simply unreal. I’m terrified, excited, restless, anxious, gracious and every other word you can use to describe the human condition. As they say…adventure is waiting.

Here we go!

Arrived in Chicago with enough time to spare to grab a bite to eat at my favourite: McDonald’s. Judge as you may, but it’s the only thing I knew I could stuff in my face while I ran to the next terminal. They are based in Chicago…so I view it was supporting a local business!

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Getting on the plane was quick and efficient thanks to the Boeing 747 double aisle design. I’m exactly one row from the back of the plane. I strategically chose this seat at it’s close to the bathrooms and only has two seats in the row. I get an extra foot on the window side and I’d say it’s quite cushy. I’m glad the seats on this plane are the old school padded kind, providing enough comfort for some sleep. My plan of attack is to eat the lunch they provide right after takeoff and at the same time pop a sleeping pill. This should knock me out and provide me with at least 7 hours of shut eye so I can wake up and enjoy the rest of the flight. Once landed I’m going to bed at normal local time and should be good to go for Disney in the AM.

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Bon voyage!

The Travel Canuck – Prepare for Takeoff

Today I’m excited to announce the launch of The Travel Canuck website & blog. For three years now, I’ve had my blog Theme Park Canuck focus mainly on trips to parks & resorts around the world. While many of my travel adventures include parks as part of them, a lot of my trips do not. For a while now I’ve wanted a place to showcase all my other adventure, so here we are with this new venture. Please comment and let me know what you like, don’t like and and anything else. As I start this new venture you can look forward to beautiful photos, amazing videos and much more.

Thanks for taking this journey with me.

Brad – The Travel Canuck

First World Problems

America….spread your golden wings!

Being connected is a big part of my daily life. Not only do I work in social media and spend most of my time on a computer, I just love having the power of a smartphone in my pocket. Almost everything I will ever need is right there. When I’m here in Canada, I’m happy with my smartphone by my side at all times, connected with my unlimited texting and decent data plan. Like many others, I literally sleep with my phone at my side. It is my alarm clock 🙂

I realized that I am addicted to social media when my first priority on a recent vacation was to update my Facebook status, send out a Tweet and check-in on Foursquare the moment I crossed the border. It’s not necessarily about bragging for me, more so that it’s a fail safe in the case my phone, camera or iPad gets stolen on my trip. I’ll always have a copy on the web, plus years from now there will be some server in Palo Alto with all my memories in case I need them implanted back into my brain.

Each time I visit the U.S., the biggest stress & challenge I encounter (other than the border questioning what a Q-1 Visa is. FYI: It’s the Visa you get when you work for Disney!) is how to stay connected without paying a billion dollars for data. In case you weren’t aware, if you roam in another country with your phone, you will get KILLED with extra charges. With this roadblock, I’ve found two great ways to stay connected when abroad:

  • First, beg and plead with your friends who have decent phones with data to let you use them. They most likely have unlimited data, and by now they should understand your need to stay connected (they do see your constant stream of updates after all). Use this first technique as sparingly as possible and always be gracious.
  • Second, make it your personal mission to seek out free Wi-Fi as soon as you arrive. I am that guy you see wandering around attempting to find a free Wi-Fi signal, and when I do it’s pure magic. Starbucks and McDonald’s are always great for this on road trips or if you’re in a pinch, and most likely your hotel will have it too (if you’re in a hotel that doesn’t offer free Wi-Fi, leave).

Staying connected without spending a mint is pretty challenging, even in the great country of the United States.We shall call this a first world problem. If you’re not familiar, according to Wikipedia a first world problem “refers to issues perceived as difficult to those residing in the more developed nations (i.e., the First World), but which are banal when compared to the difficulties encountered by those in the less developed Third World.” Finding free Wi-Fi and staying connected definitely falls under this category. At the end of the day, we all have our own first world problems, this just happens to me mine.

What’s your first world problem?

Adventures in Invisalign

After months of deliberation, dental impressions and consultations, I’m finally getting my Invisalign tomorrow. In addition to the other random things I post here, I’ll be documenting the process. I get them first thing tomorrow, so I’ll likely post a video soon after I put them on.

If you unaware of what Invisalign is, it’s basically a form of clear braces that are more like mouth guards that you can take out to eat and brush your teeth. You get new ones every two weeks, and they progressively move your teeth to where they should be. The idea being you don’t look like a metal mouth, and you can practice better oral hygiene.

I originally decided to get it to straighten my teeth, and after my consult realised it could close the gap between my teeth in the side of my mouth (see bottom right shot of my teeth below). I’m getting it done at a place called RiteBite, by an amazingly friendly and efficient orthodontist named Dr. Luis. Many people have documented their journey through this process in blogs and on Youtube, and I felt since I’m a social media guy and had a blog already, I should too. Look for future posts talking about the cost and answering other main questions people have.

Welcome to my journey.

For the record, I’m not being paid or compensated in any way for this blog.

Blog Neglect

I’ve been neglecting this blog lately, and it shows. The reason? My true passion: Theme Park Canuck.

It’s my passion project. Reporting on news and views from the theme park world.

So if it seems like I’m not doing much here, it’s because I’m putting all my energy into that blog.

Thanks for understanding, and I hope to find more social media & marketing insights and advice to showcase here soon.

Brad