The Trivial Traveler

“Everyday People…”

There is a specific reason I film and share what some might consider mundane travel experiences such as: who says hello to me, how we meet, who invites me to dinner, who gives me directions, who fixes my laptop, how to get a colonic in Bangkok (oh, trust me, that’s coming up!), where to buy cheap produce, how to purchase airline tickets cheaply, and other seemingly trivial traveler tidbits (and it’s not just narcissism!).

For instance, in addition to the tour guides, restaurant owners, and hostel managers you’ve already met, there was–among many others–the techie in Da Nang, Vietnam who upgraded my RAM and fixed a non-responsive USB port as a courtesy….

Upgrading RAM with a smile

….there was Lala, the Da Nang, Vietnam hostel manager of Conical Hats Homestay, who came out to greet me as I walked through the streets…

“Nice to meet you! Come back any time!”
Conical Hats Homestay

There was the Da Nang, Vietnam appliance store rep who went out of his way to help me locate another competing store at which I might find a Lavalier microphone to record better audio for my videos….

“You can try this famous store on the same street as your hostel. Once you come off the Dragon Bridge just keep going straight…”

In Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), there was Khoa, the hotel tour clerk at a hotel around the corner from my hostel who printed out my inbound and outbound airline reservations on the hotel printer (at no charge) so that I could apply for my Thailand entry visa…

Thanks for the help, Khoa

In Saigon, there was Bun, the cute shoe factory worker who interrupted me filming a video intro….

…gave me a thumbs up for my all white suit… (that’s the extent of my fashion consciousness: I can match a white top with a white bottom! I got this!)

…and invited me to accompany her on a walk through the park. (This was mostly done through “sign language” since my command of the Vietnamese language and her command of English were both minimal, so we used Google translate thereafter.)

“Would you like to walk with me?”

….There was the Saigon Grab bike operator who, once I told him I was Jamaican, said he knew of Usain Bolt and taught me how to say Usain’s name in Vietnamese (I think). Then, after telling him I lived most of my life in the US, he–unprompted–went out of his way to point to his skin and mine and said that here in Vietnam: “we same,” and that “Vietnam people love everybody!”

Conversation while negotiating the organized chaos of Ho Chi Minh City

In Bangkok, Thailand, there were the two customer service reps at Tesco Lotus who made calls to my hard-to-find hostel to help me locate it…

“Sorry, sir. The line is busy right now. We will try again.”

…and the laundry service operators in Bangkok a few blocks from my hostel who were up early, and who ironed my shirt for me the morning after I arrived since I never learned how to pack a suitcase like an adult. (Yes, I was half naked in their open front shop as passersby may have wondered if there was a new Jamaican striptease show in town!)

Note to self: I’ve got to start that calisthenics workout program so I can add a few pounds to my non-existent chest

….or Nok, my translator at the Yanhee International Hospital where I got my long-anticipated coffee colonic…(film at eleven!)

Nok, translator at Yanhee, Thai local married to a Filipino

…or Beta (spelling?), the Nepalese tailor at PresidentSuits who has lived in Thailand for eleven years, who suggested I change my style from casual-baggy-Thai-neru-mandarin-monk-in-sandals to something western-traditional…

Here! You can hear it in his own words:

…or the Nepalese electronics vendors at MBK mall who tried to find me a lavalier microphone clone…

Thanks, gentlemen!

…or Sam, a customer in the 7-11 convenience store, who welcomed me to Thailand when he heard me tell another customer wearing a Bob Marley shirt that I was from Jamaica…then offered to help me find an authorized SIM card dealer (foreigners can’t buy SIM cards from just anywhere! Ask me why.). Sam has lived in the US for many years, so it was quite insightful learning a Thai national’s perceptions of Thai people from both the inside and outside!

Fellow nomad, Sam offers assistance
…while onlookers look on!

Yes, there’s a reason my travelogue includes these types of stories, and does NOT include much of the standard tourist sites while focusing more on the people and interactions in everyday places.

To understand that reason, however, it may first be necessary to understand the mission of my Jamaican in China blog, facebook page and Youtube channelTo create an alternative travel narrative to encourage anyone who identifies with me to follow his/her passions, become a nomadpreneur if they wish, break free and see the world fearlessly (and inexpensively)! 

As part of my PassionProfit philosophy and formula and nomadpreneur escape strategy, I’ve met and coached people who wish to travel, but who are afraid of how they will be received overseas. They don’t see themselves in many mainstream travelogues and guidebooks and so, they believe such travel is for others they can’t relate to. They worry about prejudice, about negative attitudes, about global perceptions and, faced with such paralyzing fears and unaddressed concerns, and no one to model, they never take action (plus, they are afraid it will cost too much)

My self-appointed mission, therefore, is to move such individuals to action. How will my mundane travel experiences accomplish that, you ask? Well, several years ago, I learned a little secret when I was part of a sales team with ACN (American Communications Network), a network marketing company. We learned that if you want to move someone to action (in ACN’s case it was to purchase a service or to sign up as a sales rep), you must take that individual through a process that has him or her thinking the following three thoughts:
1. “Me too!” (In other words, they need to relate to you and/or your background, personality, nationality, ethnicity, gender, etc., and see themselves in you)

2. “This makes sense.” (They must see the logic and/or common sense, or practicality or necessity of the action you wish them to take)

3. “I can do this.” (They need to be shown the details of how to do the thing you wish them to do so they can imagine themselves doing it and feel capable of doing so.)

Using a similar strategy, my mission, through this blog is to show the little human interactions of overseas travel, the smiles on the streets, the camaraderie, the welcoming gestures–the little things that can make or break a travel experience– and to show the images and videos of these that you won’t see in the mainstream guidebooks and travelogues so that readers who are fearful of travel for any reason, and who can identify with me in some way, can think to themselves:
“Look! He’s just like me (Jamaican, Caribbean, skinny, vegan, former employee, civil engineer, of African descent, etc.), and he’s having a great time! He hasn’t been kidnapped! People are friendly! (And it doesn’t cost as much as I thought) Wow, if HE can do it, then maybe I can, too!”

It’s also the reason I interview and/or profile folks like Ronnie from Trinidad living in Vietnam, and Ken from New York now living in Kyrgyzstan, and(coming soon:) Bayo the personal trainer who moved from DC and is now giving unique tours in Brasil! So, trust me when I tell you that my experience is not unique, it is simply underrepresented!

It exists for the express purpose of showing a reality others can point to and model in order to help them evolve into the sort of traveler they wish to be! If not for you, then please share this blog, and Facebook page, and Youtube channel with someone you know!

Finally, I’ll share two thoughts that are essentially saying the same thing and that I’ve found to be true in my life:

  1. “That which you seek is also seeking you.”

2. “Whatever you focus on will grow in your reality.”

Excelsior!!

Stay tuned!

Walt F.J. Goodridge
The Jamaican in China…and Beyond!
“I share what I know, so that others may grow!”

COMING SOON: “What’s in my suitcase?” (Confessions of an alternative-minded, health-obsessed, vegan nomad!”) Excerpt: “No, officer, the white powder in that plastic bag is Diatomaceous Earth. The other one over there is Non-iodized Sea Salt. That one over there is Bentonite Clay!”

“Sure, no worries, but, um, could you take the handcuffs off me now please?”

 

 

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