Today is the day I purchased my flight to Yangon, Myanmar. An idea I’ve had for over a year now that formulated over beers at the Magazine Street Bulldog. An old friend from middle and high school and I were catching up over a couple drafts. Shortly after we both graduated college, she moved to Yangon to work at a University. Three years later and she is still there. At the time I told her, “2015 is my year. I’m coming to visit you, I don’t care what it takes.”
What was my dream scenario if I suddenly had all of this free time? Well, I’d always wanted to travel. My curiosity for eastern culture and religion had peaked during my yoga training. I had former UGA classmates galavanting around the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, and Vietnam. Southeast Asia could be cool, right? I voiced my travel ideas to my fellow yoga trainees and all were extremely supportive and encouraging. Even my parents were being supportive! but also wary of my traveling solo.
I checked my savings account. Not bad after living with my parents for 11 months. My yoga training and yacht club website obligations were looking to wrap up in April. In early May my brother and sister were graduating from undergrad and grad school, respectively. Fine, I’ll look into flights after these life milestone events. I got in touch with Helen and turns out her teaching duties are lightest in late May. How was this all seeming to come together? I think I willed it to happen, but that might because a friend just forced me to watch The Secret. Y’all, it is real. The only catch is the time delay. Could I have willed the universe to let me lose my job, so my dream of traveling could become a reality? I think so. As the cliché goes, when one door closes…
Once I realized I definitely wanted to go, I began researching blogs and arranging phone and coffee dates with people I knew had done this type of backpacking in the countries I wanted to go: Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. I brought my mom on an all-day sporting goods shopping spree to try on backpacks, super ugly hiking sandals and other necessary living supplies.
Next, I needed the flight. One way ticket to Burma, please! After hours of researching Cheap Fares Guru, Expedia, Kayak, and Cheap O Air, I narrowed down my search. A few tips I learned:
- Mondays are the cheapest day of the week to fly
- Flights cost nearly half as much out of LAX versus a smaller airport, like New Orleans
- Check layover times carefully, some flights had 10+ hours overnight layovers in the Tokyo airport (which does have a hotel, FYI)
- Check airline reviews if you are unfamiliar with a particular airline like I was with China Air, Singapore, and NHA Airlines. Cheaper is not always better, but it depends on your priorities.
My priority was fewer layovers to keep the travel time and my potential for confusion low. I found a flight out of LAX to Taiwan to Yangon with China Airlines. Since I’m petite, I don’t require much food or leg room, which were the main complaints I read online. Next, I found a direct flight from New Orleans to LAX arriving 3+ hours prior to the international flight’s take off time. In L.A. I’ll be able to charge up, buy some food and relax before my 14-hour flight over the Pacific.
Now that the flight is booked, it’s time to finish purchasing and gathering all my supplies and plan my country itineraries. More posts on those topics to come.
Southeast Asia, here I come!