I live out of a Tortuga backpack now.
I’m typing to you from one of the innumerable coffee shops of Chiang Mai, Thailand. Imagine your coolest local coffee shop. Now multiply its best qualities– its charm, its atmosphere– by ten, and then duplicate the result a thousand times, each clone with a unique twist. Now scatter those coffee shops five to a block, with another six down the alleys. This is Chiang Mai. The coffee never stops.
This is my first major travel outside of the United States, my home. Once the plane landed and the stomach-clenching anxiety cleared, it turned out to have been easier than I had imagined.
As it turns out, every travel blogger ever was right. It’s not that hard.
So why am I here?
I am not backpacking, like the scores of Australians who can be found in the hostels down the many packed sois (alleys) of this city. And I am not on holiday, like the swarms of Chinese tourists, who are so ubiquitous, at times, they seem to outnumber the Thai.
Like my stint in Vail before this, I have simply uprooted my life to a more engaging place. I will slowly visit the connected hotspots of Southeast Asia and Indonesia, while using the Internet to maintain an income and pursue my personal projects.
I am trying to be a digital nomad. We’ll see if it suits me.
One of those personal projects I mentioned will be this blog. I feel it has struggled to live up to the promise of the name, as my time has been spent skiing, drinking, or climbing around the Rockies. The responsibility and work ethic maybe hasn’t been all there. That’s youth, I suppose. I want to address this failing, and make thisisyouth a destination for the young, conscientious and adventurous souls of the world (well, the English-speaking world, anyways).
“This is youth” is a phrase that has been kicking around my head for a few years. It is evocative— and it has a certain stickiness. In a lot of ways, it is the mantra which informs my life. However, the scope of the phrase extends well beyond my personal experience, making it unsuitable for a purely personal blog. Thisisyouth suggests a spectrum of experiences— mind-flashes of quiet afternoons reading under a tree, of a blurry last call at the bar, of high schoolers crashing cars, of sitting in an office scrolling endlessly through Instagram photos you have already seen. The phrase triggers different, but equally vivid scenes in your own mind. I’m sure of it.
“This is youth” inspires me.
I cannot bear to let it slip into uselessness.
With this is mind, this website will be expanding, pivoting from one man’s musings into a small network of contributors who will each offer their own thoughts on their very different lives, and their experiences of millennial youth. I am currently carefully curating and considering our initial contributors, with the final goal of offering a variety of diverse, complimentary, and balanced perspectives on post-collegiate life.
I’m aware that “post-collegiate perspectives” is a narrow lens on youth, even in America, but we gotta zoom in somewhat, if we want to have any measure of success.
I will continue to contribute my own writing, of course. I’m in Thailand, traveling the world— how could I not?!
However, we’ve been here for five days, and I don’t quite have my head together yet. There’s a lot to be said, but if you know me at all, you know I’m the sort of person who likes to pull my thoughts together and have them in a neat, considered package before I spew them out there for you to read.
For now, it’ll suffice to say: the city is awesome. The people are friendly, and the challenge has not been overwhelming. I feel more energized than I have in a long time.