I learned early on in life, like most children, that you can’t judge a book by its cover. I also learned that the world is full of different people, (especially thanks to growing up in New York). There are numerous genders, sexual orientations, motives, cultures, norms, languages, religions, and practices. That no one way is the right way per se, but if you have good intentions and lead with your heart that is all that matters. And the great thing about all of that; that this culmination of variables and differences is what makes each and every one of us unique. Unique enough to judge our own moral compass to tell when what we think may be right or wrong. So it probably comes as no surprise to all of you (especially my close friends), that when I looked at the calendar last month and saw September coming, I was not scared for the normal reasons most people are i.e., summers over, or back to school, etc., rather I was a bit in disbelief that my birthday was coming up once again. We all know that last year hit me hard, and I did what I had never done before and ran away to Southeast Asia for a month, alone.
So this year, I promised I would not do the same thing. I promised myself that I would cherish the golden age of twenty-four, a number that seems somewhat meaningless as others consider you a “young twenty-something,” and others have already classified you as a “mid twenty-something.” You are looked at as sort of an odd age and number, and you are in between two different age brackets essentially. You would think that this age alone would have its own term, perhaps the young-to-mid twenty-something, or perhaps the chic trendy twenty-something because you theoretically could have the potential to have the best of both worlds.
So it may also not surprise you that I did again decide to run away to Southeast Asia once again. Not much of a shock there, really. However, tonight I agreed to meet with a young twenty-eight old Italian boy over drinks and travel tales, in the gay area of Bangkok known as Silom Soi 4. For a Tuesday night Stranger Bar, Telephone, and Connection seemed to have still drawn a crowd, and the street was alive as always.
Usually I plan my stops in Bangkok to be short and sweet- enough time to rest in between landing from the states and my next destination, and a fast-paced walking tour to see some of my favorite sites, shop the countless markets, and grab a drink at the local gay bars. And even though I have come to Bangkok alone every time, I have always found myself with company when I head over to Soi 4 somehow. I have my layovers in Bangkok down to a semi premeditated routine from knowing what airport exit door number for my Uber driver to meet me outside of, to what time all the shopping malls I want to go to open and close at, and there locations. Today I even experienced the local transport system for the first time to get a more local vibe of everyday Bangkok versus ordering an uber or hailing a taxi, and I could not have been happier with that decision. For those of you that have taken the public bus in Bangkok before, you know exactly what I am talking about.
I met with the Italian boy at one of Bangkok’s premier rooftop lounges initially- Octave on the forty-eighth floor of the Marriott hotel, for drinks and a splendid 360 degree view of the entire city. We soaked up the views and some cocktails, and then decided it was time to move on to the gay area Silom, Soi 4. Countless gay bars line this Soi (alley), each competing for your business and the chance to serve you a cocktail. Of course we casually decided to bar hop around a bit, and have a cocktail at most of the crowded bars on Soi 4. We quickly learned intimate details about each other’s lives, and shared our travel plans for Southeast Asia, with one another.
An hour or two into conversing and what seemed like an endless happy hour, we were more then pleased to welcome a new friend into a group, a boy from Berlin. We reminisced about all of our favorite Berlin nightlife hotspots from the legendary Berghain, to the infamous Kit Kat Club, to the bit more classy Watergate. A part of my heart lives in Berlin’s nightlife and currywurst, and I always enjoy meeting the gorgeous boys that roam that city. All blonde hair and blue eyes, tall and fit, the perfect cookie cutter look, one after another.
But I am certainly not here to write about my favorite bars and nightclubs on each continent, rather to share with you my experiences as I travel through Southeast Asia for the next month, predominately alone, for my birthday. And while the real reason of my trip looms dreadfully in the back of my head, I realized tonight that it should not. I should embrace twenty-four with open arms, and welcome the thought of a new year full of hopeful prosperity and happiness. To welcome the idea of exciting new adventures, challenges, and desires. To welcome the idea of enjoying another year of life on this beautiful earth.
Because as these boys, who were both twenty-eight made me realize, twenty-four is still a relatively young age even though it’s vastly approaching a quarter century (yikes). It’s an age where you can still be young and explore, be slightly wild, and yet still be a bit naive. It’s an age where the world is still full of promise, hope, and wonder, and your dreams can all still come true.
But ultimately, these boys made me realize it is just a number. A number between twenty-three and twenty-five. Seriously just another number in the long algorithm of numbers. So as it rapidly approaches I can rest assured that twenty-three was an amazing year. It’s brought me to a total of two new continents (I am running out of new ones to visit!), countless new countries, opened me up to cultures I had previously known little to nothing about, and gave me unique experiences that can not be taught or learned in school. Nothing that I have learned in the last year can be taught from a textbook, rather my experiences have proved to teach me way more about the world.
So twenty-four, I may not know exactly what you have planned for me, but I have decided that instead of trying to run from you, I am going to try to embrace you with open arms. Here’s to you, 24 .
Until next time, XoXo.