Love & Ladyboys: Tales of Thailand

In 4 days, I must leave Thailand for a “visa run,” or I must extend my visa. Wow, that went by fast.

It feels like yesterday that I was departing from Bali, saying good-bye to my newfound friends and adventures I enjoyed in Indonesia.

I deeply missed Bali- it’s a place I must return to soon, but there is just something here in Thailand that nowhere else in the world has.

It’s got something that makes “Thailand” the place to live and “Bali” the place to work-cation.

In fact it even has me questioning the whole immigrate-to-Bulgaria thing that I had originally planned on doing later this year!

Now the thought of committing to a 3-month apartment lease in Sofia seems too much after the “take it day-by-day” vibe you have here in Southeast Asia.

With next-day flights basically as cheap as flights purchased 1 week or 1 month in advance, and abundant apartment rentals available on a month-by-month basis, any type of commitment seems scary.

Did you know that Asians, when their brains have been studied, literally process information different than Westerners? This is actually probably true of every culture.

I’ve taken many of the good pieces of their culture and integrated it into my personality. Now, while I do miss Bulgaria, I kind of want to stay…

So let’s talk about Thailand. For the past month, I’ve been living in Chiang Mai.

Last year I was in Bangkok for 1 week and Chiang Mai for 3 weeks. I also had just broken up with my ex, was in massive culture shock, had a surgery, and a motorcycle crash. Yeah, things were a bit dark…

I couldn’t appreciate the beauty and “awesomeness” of Thailand then. Now I do, and WOW, now I understand why people come here and stay forever!

Chiang Mai is just such an incredible place to live. It’s quiet, relaxed, filled with beautiful nature, near waterfalls and lakes and mountains, cheap, has tasty food, and even the night-life scene is pretty good considering how small the city is!

One of my most favorite aspects is the abundant number of coffee shops & cafes all over the place that are literally designed for work.

This place caters to students and digital entrepreneurs, so it’s an exceptional place to get some work done while also having a great, balanced social & party life.

At any hour you are sure to find a good place to work with good or exceptional internet connection. Coffee & Thai Tea is delicious.

“Ristr8to,” while not a place designed for work, is a place I love to frequent with friends as it literally is one of the best coffee shops in the world. Their signature coffee costs 98 Baht, or about $3.

In USA for a similar taste & size you’d pay at least $6, but probably even more. Especially in expensive cities like Seattle!

Here you can enjoy world class coffee by a Barista who literally won multiple international Latte Art championships around the world for just $3! If you follow my Instagram (@DrivingTheUniverse) you’ll regularly see I post his designs he makes on my coffee, including angels, unicorns, rabbits, and more!

Things are just good here. I am missing a bit of that deep social connection & social life that I had in Sofia, but I can see that the longer I stay here the more likely I am to find it here.

In fact, it is already developing like that. I’ve already observed myself coincidentally bumping into several people all over the place. It kind of feels like the Sofia, Bulgaria of Southeast Asia!

Thai culture is exceptionally kind as well. You can expect amazing service, smiles, and genuinely wonderful people. Learning a bit of Thai helps also.

One running joke about Thailand is about the ladyboys. “Be careful about hooking up with ladyboys,” everyone shouts!

One night me and a friend went out. I went home with a beautiful girl, a 10/10 in my book.

He went home also with a beautiful girl but… As his hand went down, he.. erm.. found out that it wasn’t a girl he took home.

It didn’t bother him though, and having spent some time here, I wouldn’t say it would bother anyone so much either. It’s only scary when you haven’t lived here. Once you’ve experienced life here in Thailand yourself, silly things like this don’t bother you.

If that happens, you just draw the line and walk away.

In your mind it is traumatizing because you know it’s a boy, but when the primal part of your brain really thinks it is a girl you can’t really be traumatized, even after logically knowing that it is a boy.

The next night after my friend pulled a ladyboy, I met with a ladyboy. We didn’t touch or kiss anything- I suspected it was a ladyboy from the start, given that her friends were ladyboys (typically they all hang around each other).

I was tired and a bit tipsy, and I couldn’t believe that it was a guy. This “girl” looked so real that if she were alone with a ton of other girls who weren’t obviously ladyboys, there would honestly be no way to tell.

They invited me to dinner, and I decided to go, because why not? It was an interesting experience hanging out with them.

Before I had felt resistant to being around ladyboys, and I’m not entirely sure why. Now I feel my mind is more open, I feel more compassionate and understanding towards trans.

I can’t say whether it’s right or wrong, but my thinking now is just that it’s a path that their soul must experience in this lifetime. In that way, it is perhaps right for them, and no need to judge.

I personally would not want to do anything sexual with a ladyboy, but after that night and hearing about my friend’s story the fear of accidentally kissing a ladyboy is gone.

Yeah, this sounds crazy, some of you are gonna freak out, but really it’s only one of those things you’re afraid of when you haven’t had proper experience in Thailand.

After you’ve lived in Thailand for some time (technically I’ve spent 2 total months in Thailand now!) the fear is gone. There’s sometimes no way to tell, and the primal part of your brain can’t get traumatized because the ladyboys truly do look so feminine.

Countless memories have already been made in this fast month of Thailand, so much so that I’m a bit sucker-punched because I really can’t decide what to do next!

My visa expires in 4 days- what the hell should I do?

I’ve tried just now writing down some ideas. I want to explore Vietnam, Bangkok, and even stay longer here in Chiang Mai. I also of course miss Bali and have friends there.

There’s just so much to explore and do, and now that I’m finally healing from my last relationship I’m feeling so much more mentally healthy and ready to take on the world.

I am regaining that self-confidence and self-belief that everything will be alright no matter what.

I am feeling stronger, happier, and more able of taking care of myself and working towards my goals.

I am reconnecting with myself, feeling alive, feeling energized.

In the next month or so, I plan on going back to Sofia. Of course, it seems that every month I extend my stay in Asia a bit longer… So we’ll see what happens.

For now, I must decide what to do. Visa extension, or visa run? Move to Bangkok, or visit it for a weekend while living in Chiang Mai? So much to do and see!

And the beautiful thing is, unlike Europe or North America, everything is so affordable and short-term that there’s no such thing as a bad decision.

Apartments don’t have to be booked for 1 year or even 3 months. I can do it for 1 week and decide day by day what to do.

I’d like to create a bit of mental stability, as I prioritize work & working out, but I’m truly relishing in the fact that I need not commit to anything.

At the end stages of healing from a relationship, I’m so happy to know that I don’t have to commit to anyone or anything now.

Who knows what I’ll do. All I know is that my experience of Bali & Thailand have been amazing and made me really question what I should do next. It was much more awesome than I could’ve ever anticipated.

-Michael.