I am writing this post this week because I have received a few emails from other kids who will be traveling with their parents abroad, like I did. They wondered what it was like to move, and they told me they are afraid of the changes, so this is the advice I have given the kids and their parents. When I first learned that I was traveling to Thailand last year, I didn’t like the idea at all and I was really scared, mad, disappointed and uncomfortable. I wrote a post about what it felt like to leave my friends and family. It was hard to make that change.
I have advice for other kids who are in the same situation and have questions about their move. First, when you arrive wherever you’re going, think positive and how great the rest of your journey will be because it will make the rest of the trip so much better and enjoyable. That’s the first part and makes all the rest of the tips work better.
Keep a Travel Journal
Also, I suggest keeping a journal. I started keeping one and I put things in it like how fun my day was or what I want to do tomorrow, and I glued in tickets from transportation and things that I saw happening around me. I drew pictures in it too, so I could remember all the little moments while I traveled. Keeping a journal also helps when your feeling sad and miss home. When you’re missing home, I think you should try to think about a time that you had a lot of fun, or a time that you were hanging out with family and friends, then write about it and tell your journal. That’s what I did when we were traveling.
Have Your Own Camera
One of the things that are at the very top of the “Things I Suggest You Bring” list is a digital camera. You’re going to want to remember your trip and be able to capture all the beautiful moments you had all throughout your journey. I had one and so did my 8 year-old friend and we both took so many pictures. It’s not so fun sorting out the pictures and having to transfer them into your computer when your memory card gets full, but it’s all worth it in the end. And take pictures of everything, even the things you think are small because there are many things that I regret not taking pictures of when I had the chance.
Try Local Transportation
The first couple days you’re in your first place, go on a songthaew or tuk-tuk ride, and then try to get a motor bike because that’s my favorite transportation of all here in Southeast Asia! It’s fun to take those first couple of days to do the neat types of transportation and things you can’t do back home, so try them all out and see which ones are your favorite. While on rides to other places with locals, don’t be shy to try to communicate with them, they absolutely love it, especially in Asia. If you’re on a motor bike, do the craziest thing you can think of as long as you’re still being safe, because locals love that too.
Do Art and a Favorite Toy
If you like doing things with art then don’t worry, they have great art stores overseas too! We found things for painting, books, coloring books, markers, paper, and all sorts of things with the school supplies for local children. And if you go to school in a place like Thailand, there are dance classes, art, and that sort of thing so it’s nice to know for sure that you can still do outside-school stuff. I was surprised that really, we could get most anything in Thailand. They have a lot of Western stores, my aunt says they sometimes cost a bit more, but sometimes (like the art stuff) it’s way cheaper! Also, if you have a favorite object or toy, that would be great to bring as long as it’s not too big. Something like a necklace, stuffed animal, pictures are nice to have with you.
Eat and Order Your Own Food
Smoothies, sticky rice, fruit, curries and all sorts of different varieties of Thai food. Yum! (Minus yum on the curries, those WERE NOT my favorite choice of food in Asia, I just skipped that section of the menu.) I loved that I could order my own food, and my aunt really encouraged this so that I would get used to it. She made me talk to the vendors and the people in the city, and because I took Thai lessons, my aunt encouraged me to order in this new language. This helps you feel closer to the local culture and I was able to practice my language skills, which I really liked.
If you’re worried that you’ll never eat Western food again, then don’t worry, there is western food everywhere. Just be warned, it will not taste as good but don’t worry, you will have plenty new things to try that are far more interesting than they stuff you’ve eaten for most of your life anyways.
Be Adventurous and Try New Things
Most of all, I say any kid traveling to a new country should be really adventurous and try new things. It’s always a great way to get into the swing of things and I promise, with a bunch of things to do and see.
For teens and kids moving to Thailand, here are some words that might come in handy:
Hello – Sa-wat-dee-ka (feminine) / Sa-wat-dee-kup (masculine)
Thank you – khob-kun-ka (f) /khob-kun -kup (m)
Not spicy – Mai ped
The “not spicy” one is important because I thought I hated Thai food when I first arrived because it always came out way to spicy! But now there are a lot of not spicy foods I really like that I can’t get at home in the US so it’s good that I know how to order my food how I like it.
I think all these tips will help out a lot to kids who are moving to an unfamiliar place, at least I hope they do. I used all of this advice on myself and I had such a great experience, just remember that within being brave and curious, you’ll try new things and have a great time!