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Bathrooms Are Travel Hazards?

I present to you the greatest Don’ts of International Travel, all from personal experience.

1. Don’t be scared of new animals.

So many animals are harmless—the trick is just finding out which ones.

Though non-venomous, kutri snakes will bite.
When handled, a rhinoceros beetle may use its long, black feet to tickle.
I was stung by that thing in this post. The caterpillar showed no visible signs of remorse for attacking me.

2. Don’t be afraid to make new friends—even when awkward situations are possible.

There were 14 or so young employees standing around when I asked the employee at a Malaysian restaurant how to pronounce a certain phrase in Malay. He was the only one who seemed to speak much English. The young man helped me out with my pronunciation quite a bit, so I was happy to oblige when waved down by him. He asked me how old I was.

When I told him, the entire staff burst into laughter, as if I had proven something—except for one girl, sitting on a stool. “She likes you.” My interpreter in the kitchen was asked by his excited friends to tell me.

Everyone but the English-speaker, the Malaysian girl, and I thought that was simply hilarious.

I stood there, flustered. What could I do? Say, “Uh, I like you too? Oh wait, no, I don’t actually know you….”

As I’ve seen firsthand, making friends in a foreign country can get very awkward sometimes, but it’s well worth the effort. Being able to go to a grocery store and wave and say hi to 5 “friends” who don’t speak English—it’s all totally worth whatever strange scenarios come up.

As for my Malaysian encounter at the restaurant, I ended up just offering a weak “Uh, okay,” and saying goodbye.

What would you do if that happened to you? Let me know what you think in a reply to this email!

3. Don’t be afraid to eat something new.

My grandpa always says, “What won’t kill will fatten.” So why not try something new?

We picked up a savory, garlicy, Thai snack made with rice and some other things. It tasted like Chex Mix… not at all like blood.

4. Don’t be afraid to learn about new worldviews.

The Apostle Paul tells us to honor everyone (1 Peter 2:17). What better way is there to honor someone than to learn about his or her beliefs?

The entrance guardians at the Temple of the Dancing Tiger.
A statue is of the Chinese goddess of mercy, Gaunyin, in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

And finally….

5. Don’t get stuck in a bathroom.

Take caution when closing any door behind you before ensuring it will unlock. I spent around 10 minutes trapped in our hotel bathroom before my older brother busted me out with his pocketknife.

I’m very glad to be out of the bathroom. I’ve never felt so trapped as when I stood there, trying to twist the horrid lock that wouldn’t turn! Worse yet, my sister was about to call the front desk of the hotel, which would have literally mortified me (I would have died of embarrassment!).

Thanks bro. I almost died in there.

Imparting valuable truths,


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