Once we arrived at Don Mueang airport, that familiar combination of heat and humidity hit us like a rogue wave, confirming that yes we had in fact made it to Southeast Asia. Thailand had a familiar feel to me, it always reminded me of Kerala, and I felt instantly comfortable there. The familiar hordes of Chinese tourists, interspersed with weathered backpackers, sporting dreads and elephant pants, made for interesting people watching, while we spent what felt like an eternity in the immigration line.
It was interesting for me to look these backpackers up and down. Were they weeks, and maybe even months into their trips? Or did they just always look like that? Like every subculture, they have their uniform- unkept yet purposefully so, bearing trinkets acquired along the way- with the more well off ones sporting Fjallraven bags and Patagonia outerwear. I have to admit I harbored an immediate distaste for them for no apparent reason other than that I felt that they had this air of superiority and judgement around them. To them it would have been obvious that we were just beginning our trip, and definitely weren’t backpackers by trade (at least I wasn’t), looking very much like we were setting off together on our first high school field trip. But, you know what fuck them. I was happy in my BB8 t-shirt. Although I did wonder how different would we look on our return. Would I become…ONE of THEM??