I’m delighted to present an exclusive sneak peek book excerpt for my new travel memoir ‘Backpacker to Nomad’
If you are a regular reader, you will know since the pandemic hit, I’ve turned my attention to writing books about long-term travel life and over the past year I started work on my first travel memoir. However if you were not aware let me just give you a little insight. I started traveling in 2010 and didn’t return home to England until a global pandemic put a pause on my crazy nomadic life.
Backpacker to Nomad overview:
From his early calamitous struggles with solo travel, the odd brush with death, to ghetto snobbing (his words), it’s been a ‘take the rough with the smooth’ type of journey for British budget backpacker, Amit!
This selection of humorous yet thought-provoking travel tales dives into the adventures, discoveries, and despair of Amit’s nomadic life. He gets into sticky situations others may think twice about, especially when he’s trapped with a lunatic pilot enroute to a deserted island in Australia, scaling active volcanoes in New Zealand completely underprepared (not his smartest move), or getting propositioned by opium-addicted locals in Southeast Asian jungles to name a few of the soaring highs and crashing lows he shares.
Amit’s life isn’t normal and provides a unique perspective on long-term travel, but these true travel stories will fuel wanderlust for armchair travellers and free-spirits alike.
Book Launched: July 27th 2022
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Sit back, grab a snack and enjoy Tuk-tuks and Bangkok scams
Tuk-tuks & Bangkok scams overview
Amit landed in another country & continent reunited with a familiar face, both felt experienced having traveled for three years. But life and the new alien chaotic culture smacked them in the face to make them realise they were novices once more. Amit was not prepared for this crazy first day, nor for the Tuk-Tuk driver!
Crazy Tuk-Tuks & Bangkok scams
Utter chaos. There were no other words for it. Relentless, never-ending chaos and it was coming from all directions. And it wasn’t even the heart of the city—just the outskirts! The constant ear-bursting horns papping from mopeds, all other vehicles, other unrecognisable noises, and the traffic was never-ending.
It hadn’t since we arrived in the early hours. We had stepped out of the hotel straight into a dysfunctional orchestra of noise. In an instant, the humidity wrapped tight, squeezing the life out of me while caking me in the same dust that covered the broken path and roads. ‘Welcome to Bangkok, enjoy your stay,’ said the sign at the airport last night—how could anybody enjoy this madness?
A knife was needed to cut through the thick orange glinted air. That giant ball of fire pulsated down but was barely visible. The side street covered in wooden broken-down shacks and crumbled concrete buildings didn’t provide any reprieve either.
How the fuck are we going to survive this? I’m dying, melting away. And the noise—when will it stop?
My skin felt like it was melting, and my insides were on fire; Australian heat felt like a walk in the park compared to this. It wasn’t even a case of getting in the shade, it was all shade, but the humidity was so suffocating.
Heaven & hell
“There it is, this is the one she said about,” Alex pointed to an orange pastel-coloured building, her bare arms glistened from sweat.
It was hard to tell if that was the actual colour or just the glint from the visible smog. This was a new experience, and I had no idea how I would get used to it. A new culture awaited to experience—one I didn’t have much knowledge about. All I knew was this was going to be a completely different experience to Australia and New Zealand.
We were both leaving a trail of sweat behind, this oven was unbearable, so much so, I couldn’t even smoke. A wrinkled face popped up out of nowhere trying to sell us a paper, saying something in Thai, but we just apologised not understanding her words, shook our heads, and sidestepped her. Our pace quickened towards the café as we kicked up more dust—all the buildings, even the overgrown tropical plants, were caked in it.
It was like walking into heaven after spending time in hell as a blast of Arctic air wrapped around us as if somebody had put the fire out. My lungs welcomed it and sucked in the crisp cool air I had become accustomed to in Queenstown. My sweat was even jumping for joy at being frozen as I moaned in relief. It was hell out there.
“Ahhh, that feels so good, I can breathe, I think I’ll stay in here all day.” I basked in the cool café with my arms spread.
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Follow British backpacker Amit’s humorous wild ride into nomad life. From his early calamitous struggles with solo travel, the odd brush with death, to ghetto snobbing (his words), it’s been a ‘take the rough with the smooth’ type of journey
Don’t just imagine the journey – see it through this FREE photo album
Like a fly on...
No sooner had we cracked the door open, it all came flooding through like opening a furnace door—the noise, the papping, the dust, and the unforgiving heat. It swept through, and in less than a second, my cooled body was on fire once more while being choked from the humidity. The noise made everything overwhelming, especially when the tuk-tuk driver pounced like a cheetah on a gazelle.
“Where you go? You need tuk-tuk? I take you anywhere. Cheap, cheap.”
It was too much; my brain couldn’t compute properly. It was stimulation overload. Instinct took over and my legs started to walk away, but the humidity sapped my energy, my body was like a pierced water hose. He didn’t give up easily, jumping in his tuk-tuk and stalking us like we were prey.
Both of us were summoning the courage to just stop and negotiate a price. We had no idea where we were going, and from the way we were dressed, we looked like lost tourists. Finally I stopped and turned, he was right behind us.
“How much to the city, to Khoa San road?”
I don’t know why I said Khoa San road, that was meant to be the last stop, but I said it and wasn’t going to change the destination at the risk of sounding like a dithering tourist.
“Very cheap for you but you want to see the city? Too early for Khoa San. You go there in the night party, party. I give you city tour.” The brownie orange tint of his teeth appeared and matched air around as he nodded.
“No. No city tour, just khoa San Road please.”
haggling in bangkok was...too easy!
It took us by surprise when he gave a price much lower than what the girl in the café had suggested. We didn’t know what to. I had prepared to knock his price down. I looked over to Alex and back to him.
“That’s the price? Can’t change it, that’s what we pay, and you take us to Khoa San road. No city tour.”
“Yes, I take you to khoa San.” He replied while ushering us into the back of the Tuk-Tuk.
The price was agreed before sliding into the back of the three wheeled open taxi. Another first experience and time to get involved in the chaos also known as normal Bangkok traffic. I had watched plenty of movies where westerners got screwed over in Bangkok scams and heard plenty of horror stories.
Ultimate chaos & culture shock!
It was fair to say the senses were on heightened alert. It might have been our first day, but I wasn’t a newbie backpacker, I knew signs to look out for as did Alex. Both were street smart enough to know if we were about to get fucked over.
He span the tuk-tuk around taking us past our hotel on the main road and into the traffic. Instantly the paps shot through like rapid fire machine gun. A swarm of mopeds surrounded us and every other bigger vehicle on the road. Both of us were instantly poking each other and pointing seeing the most random things on mopeds.
In just a couple of minutes we had seen a family of seven crammed onto a little bike, pets in the footwell and seat, even a guy carrying a wide screen TV barely able to see the road. They were like ants covering every little gap in the road. I’d never experienced anything like it, nor had Alex but this was the cultural norm. It was only strange for us, not them, and something we had to get used to.
Playing chicken with death
The mix of fumes from exhausts, dusty roads, all types of spices from vendors and street stalls fused with the heat created the thick stale oily air passing through which made it so hard to breath. The only reprieve came while there was a little space. The driver was able to speed up a little for the slightest warm breeze to pass through. The streets were manic, mopeds pulling out all over the place, it was almost certain we would crash at some point.
It wasn’t as if the driver was being safe either, yanking the Tuk-Tuk in and out of different lanes. This was just as bad as the crazy pilot on the castaway trip, with no regard for our safety. Fear of death was becoming quite a reality the more he pulled in and out, even people on their feet were just walking out in front of traffic playing chicken with death.
Not once did it occur that he knew what he was doing and this was just a normal day for him.
It was carnage on the road, thankfully hiding behind sunglasses the fear couldn’t be seen but it was running through my body as it must have been through Alex’s as neither said a word.
On heightened alert!
“Hey where are you going? Why did you leave the main road? Alex demanded before I could say anything.
“You don’t like the traffic; this is short cut. It’s ok you relax.” He nodded back through the rear view mirror
‘Fuck that, relax in the back streets of Bangkok, shit I’ve seen too many movies, you’re going to try and fuck us over. Nah huh mate not us. I will fuck you up if you try anything.’
My eyes kept peeled as he turned from one alleyway to another backstreet…
Read full story in new travel memoir
This was just the start of the story, nothing is ever how it seems, adventures can easily turn into misadventures on the drop of the hat and not revealed itself yet.
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