Those who travel internationally by choice and for pleasure are all looking for variations of the same thing: new and foreign experiences that will, in some way or another, take them out of their daily routine.
Did Aunt Bessie vacation at an all-inclusive resort, never once leaving the hotel property? Yes. But she wouldn’t travel to another hemisphere just for luxury and convenience; those things can be found within the borders of almost anyone’s home country. Even those flocking to beachfront boutique hotels, paying to be waited on hand and foot, are looking for something unique to brag about at their high school reunion or annual office picnic.
Some would say that the “edgier” and more fearless travelers have easier access to such experiences, but like anything that gives pleasure, the effects weaken and fade over time. By the end of several months in Southeast Asia, the “weirdness” was fading and I was getting comfortable. I got hired as an English teacher and asked to be placed in a rural and remote part of the country, seeking the rush of being a stranger in a strange land that months of sleeping in dingy hostels with equally dingy dreadlocked Rastafarians had dulled for me.
Rural Thailand (known as Isaan) would have dumped a frigid monsoon on my increasingly cozy comfort zone—if a military coup hadn’t taken place during the second week of my teaching placement.