When I heard that a friend of mine was heading to Bangkok I needed to get more details! I met Juliette when she was living with my fiance’s family two years ago in a little town south of Boston, Massachusetts. She was in the states for an exchange program going to high school where I went to high school and we became quick friends, connecting about travel and her life in France. I reached out to her and she agreed to tell us a little about her life so far in Asia. Enjoy!
Eva: Tell us a little about yourself!
Juliette: My name is Juliette, I’m from France and I’m studying tourism and event management in a business school in Troyes, 2 hours away from Paris. I’ve been traveling since I was a child, first with my parents who took me to many places (India, Florida, Italy, Portugal, many parts of France…). When I was 17, I went to the USA to study there as a senior in high school in Sharon, Massachusetts [that’s how I met Eva]. I was staying with a host family and this experience abroad is probably what made me want to travel so much. After my graduation back in France, I spent one month in Dublin, Ireland, right before starting college. Since that, I did not have the time to travel anymore, until now!
Since one month I’m living in Bangkok, Thailand, and studying in BUIC (Bangkok University International College). I came here with a friend from my class but I also met a lot of students from all around the world (Mexico, Norway, Sweden, France, USA, Germany, Austria and so on).
Since then, we’re always traveling, visiting and partying together. Talking about travels, I have a big bucket list while I’m in Asia. I want to see Thailand, obviously, but I also want to discover Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Taiwan. I’m staying in Bangkok until May as a student, and after that I’ll spend two months in Koh Phangan, a beautiful island where I found an internship in a hostel. I will then have two extra weeks to travel around one last time before heading back to France around August 15th.
E: How is Asia different than where you are from? What’s the biggest difference?
J: As I’m from an European country, I had a big cultural shock when I arrived in Thailand (but in a good way). First, the weather. I left France late December, so it was around 0 degrees [Celsius] , and when I arrived in Bangkok 24 hours later I had to face a nice 30 degrees [Celsius]. Fortunately I got used to it quite quickly, as well as all the other students.
The way of life here is probably the biggest difference for me : There is no defined schedule, no meal time (people here literally eat anything, anywhere, anytime. I often see people having rice and fried chicken at 8am). It was hard to get used to that at first, but you just have to take life as it comes and not plan things too much time in advance. Also Thai people are really relax, always smiling, not worrying about anything, so as you can guess, it’s the total opposite of French people!
E: Have you learned any of the native language?
J: I tried to learn a few words when I got there in order to be able to order non-spicy food, give my address to a taxi and negotiate price in the street markets. However, so far I only know how to say “Hello” and “Thank you” and still manage to mingle these two words…
E: What’s the most exotic thing you’ve eaten?
J: During one of our nights out in Khao San Road (aka Backpackers street, one of the most touristic and party streets of the city), my friends dared me to eat a scorpion, which I did. I’ll probably try other insects later on, but I don’t know if we can consider that as proper food. If not, I try to eat local as much as I can (I’m in love with green curry) but I can’t handle spices yet.
E: Tell us one of the most exciting things you’ve done since being in Asia.
J: One of my favorite activity here was elephant riding in Pai, Northern Thailand. We even went to a river with the elephant and they were throwing us in the air from their trunks. It was like a dream come true! More generally, I love to leave Bangkok with my backpack and travel around for a few days, ride a scooter around and see as many things as I can.
E: How do you record your travels?
J: For Christmas my family gave me a GoPro Hero 4 Silver with many accessories in order to record my travels here. Since I arrived, I posted a bunch of short videos on my YouTube channel. I like to videotape short clips everytime I see something interessant or beautiful, and to create a video with a music that fits it. It makes also nice memories for later, and it allows me to keep my family and friends update about what I’m doing without spending hours writing individually to everybody, which is pretty convenient as I’m not a lot in my apartment! Here’s my YouTube channel.
E: What’s the most exciting place you’ve been thus far in your travels?
J: Last week I went to Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party, which was really exciting as it’s one of the world’s biggest beach parties, but also because the island is absolutely beautiful. With some of my friends we rented scooters and we just drove around for two days, trying to discover the island’s best hidden parts (and also the well-known beaches). It was great to make a balance between partying, relaxing and visiting. I felt in love with the island and I can’t wait to spend two months there.
E: Where is the one place you want to go in the world and why?
J: I would love to visit South America in the future, especially Peru, Brazil and Mexico. I met a lot of people from these places and they’re kind, open-minded and always in a good mood. I think it tells a lot about their countries and life-styles and I’d like to see it by myself. Also these countries have wonderful landscapes, monuments and cultural heritage.
Juliette may be back in the future to tell us more about her life in Bangkok. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Juliette! Au revior for now.