60 Things that I learned in 2016

By Ganteng Boy

2016 has been a phenomenal learning experience. I have traveled to far away countries (Indonesia, Hong Kong, Maccau, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, The Bahamas), lost a job, found a new job, moved to a new city, accepted national board presidency of my fraternity, grieved at a death of a family member, and officiated a wedding.

Here are a few things that I learned along the way:

1. Good luck with trying to find Perrier in Thailand.
2. If you don’t know where you are going, don’t just stand there – do something.
3. Always save the address in English and in the local language, and get a screenshot of 3 different map views of the location.
4. There is a reason why women wear too much makeup. Try not to look too surprised when the secret is out.
5. I can always help others with one small act of kindness; no need for grand, audacious acts of charity.
6. Don’t let one bad emotion blow over other people’s moment to enjoy life. There is a time and place for everything.
7. Thai food doesn’t necessarily have to be very spicy, it just has to taste good
8. Alcohol can be enjoyed two ways: chugged all at once or sipped slowly throughout the day; the latter has a lower probability of embarrasment the next day.
9. When in Hong Kong, get yourself a tailored suit.
10. Pack a half empty suitcase. The rest of your clothes can be found wherever it is that you’re going. Refer to point 9.
11. A Thai massage is more like an intense yoga workout than a relaxing massage.
12. Muay Thai fighters are not jacked. But what they lack in muscle culture, they make up in kicking ass.
13. She might be the most beautiful girl you’ve seen in Thailand, but then again, she might have completed her post-op and just took her hormones this morning.
14. The world is fraught with communication barriers – from spoken language to cultural norms.
15. No matter how egregiously drunk a person might be, the gentleman must not succumb to the their taunts or negative emotions.
16. There are seven times more Chinese people traveling overseas than Americans.
17. There is always a way to deal with rude people.
18. Time is a relative concept, in Southeast Asia, that stretches to suit the circumstance
19. Fresh fruits can always appear to taste sweeter, that’s because they were dunked and soaked in sugar
20. Aloe Vera is your friend, after a day out and about in the sun
21. Snorkeling is always more fun when you know how to swim well
22. 5HTP and Melatonin are handy companions in your mission against jet lag
23. Don’t eat the ice, they say. Blatant disregard. The sooner you have diarrhea, the sooner you can enjoy all the foods that that country has to offer. Why hold back?
24. Don’t pack workout clothes, unless you are committed to exercise for the full week.
25. You can never thank someone enough
26. It’s okay to act weird overseas. What are the odds that you’ll see them again? Just don’t go overboard and be obnoxious.
27. Youth and whiteness (pale skin) is prized more in Asia than in the US.
28. There is a reason why I’m commonly mistaken as Thai. I got over it. Even the native Thai people think I’m Thai.
29. Traveling is always more fun with people that have the same tolerances – alcohol included.
30. When in Thailand, bargain with a smile
31. When in Hong Kong, bargain with a friend. First, complement your friend on how good they look in something, and then walk away. The desperate vendor will always drop their price twice before you can move 5 paces.
32. Lust and passion is cheap; true and honest love is expensive
33. Traveling is more fun in groups than by yourself
34. White Vans (the shoes, not the vehicle) can be cleaned with a toothbrush and whitening tooth paste
35. When presented with a choice between Chang beer or a European imported beer, always choose Chang. Your body will thank you for averting a nagging hangover.
36. Be prepared to either dump your camera photos into Flickr, or bring extra memory cards.
37. Americans are the new elusive tourists. Let’s keep it that way. Refer to point 16.
38. Don’t be the American that looks down on local foods. For the love of God, that burger or pizza can wait. Eat local!
39. Massages are cheaper overseas; electronics are more expensive. Having a good time is always priceless. Use the Chase Sapphire Preferred card whenever and wherever your next priceless memory may take you.
40. Everyone cringes at a broken nail.
41. No Tommy, the monkey will not get along with Hachi
42. People in Hong Kong dress rather stylish
43. Korean Airlines flight attendants are hella tall
44. Crashing at your friends’ place is always more fun than staying at a hotel
45. One day, I will pursue a mobile lifestyle where I pick which stocks to buy and sell, which beach to lay out on, and which friend I should go visit next
46. Getting laid off from your job is not the end of the world
47. Have a 30-60-90 day plan handy, and bring it with you to your next job interview
48. That one hobby that your ex-girlfriend never thought you would like, may end up becoming your passion. My newfound passion is now photography/cinematography.
49. Get drone insurance if possible
50. You never really know how much someone has impacted your life until they are no longer there in person
51. If it’s your first time officiating a wedding, it’s okay to let the crowd know that it’s your first time. Execution and delivery is key
52. Just because you think something is easy, it might be difficult for someone else to grasp. Always be patient when teaching someone something new
53. Trust your gut when you feel like you have already received 3 warning signs
54. There is always inefficiences in large corporations. Live above the line
55. Do not ride with Fasten on Halloween
56. There is a way to politely let someone know that: “I am flattered that you find me attractive, but I am not interested at this time”
57. Everyone deserves a second chance
58. You will be surprised by the friends and family that help you, in times of dire need
59. Lean forward and aim in front of the target when one goes skeet shooting
60. Happiness is in the journey of learning something new and mastering this skill

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