Single Mom Out Loud

The joys (and desperation) of raising a boy without a man


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Relaxing in Phuket and Surviving in Phi Phi 

Let’s start this post with Phuket, because not only it was my destination after Bangkok but also because it was the easy part of this two destination leg of my trip. 

Phuket is gorgeous. Getting there was easy. You can either take a bus from Bangkok, which I don’t recommend, or fly there. I bought a one way ticket for $30 dollars and the flight was only one hour long. There was no way this tired bitch was going to sit on a bus for 12 hours just to save $15 dollars. I am too old for that shit. 

Anyway, I arrived in Phuket early morning and right at the airport you can get a shuttle to any destination you want. They have different shuttles for different parts of the city. They all cost 200 baht and they drop you off right at your hotel lobby. A taxi costs around 1000 baht. No thank you. 

I spent just four nights in Phuket and even though it was enough to do everything on my list I could have easily stayed longer. It’s just one of those places that you just don’t want to leave. 

Day one was spent pretty much doing nothing and just relaxing by my very awesome resort pool. The one I ended up having to pay all by myself because my friend bailed last minute. 

I literally spent the whole day drinking, relaxing, sun tanning and facetiming with my Alaskan friend Carrie, aka Pocket Pal (a story for another story). I was exhausted from Bangkok and still jet legged from the 24 hours it took to get to Thailand. Doing nothing was necessary for survival. 
 

Day 2 was much more productive. I visited the Tiger Kingdom and did one of the scariest things of my life which was getting into a cage with a wild beast 6 times my size. I am not quite sure what I was thinking. It must have been the three shots of their local rum that gave me the courage. 


NO they are NOT drugged. They are very alert. In fact there are two trainers with you at all times. One holds a meat in front of them and the other takes your pictures. They all look healthy and all I saw was love from the trainers to the cats. People that know me, knows I hate zoos and captivity. But this place rescues tigers from circuses and zoos and rehabilitate them. That’s why they are tamed. Not because they are drugged for my pleasure. With that said… we bonded over our patterns. 


Day 3 was spent at the beach sun tanning and getting all the massages I could get, each for $8 dollars for one hour. I had two that day. 

I stayed in Karon Beach which is a smaller beach just south of the famous Patong Beach. Patong is known for its party scene while Karon is more laid back. And since I was going to spend 5 days in Phi Phi Islands (the spring break capital of Southeast Asia), I was avoiding crowds and mostly alcohol while in Phuket. My liver needed to prepare itself for the beating it was coming it’s way. 


As usual, I always save the best for last so my last day in Phuket was spent at their elephant sanctuary riding one around their trails up the mountain. If I wasn’t atheist, I would have called the experience spiritual. Let’s just call it enchanting. 


If you are ever in Phuket this is a must do activity. Find the time, find the money, find a way. I can’t really put it into words what it’s like to be so close to these majestical creatures, let alone ride one around the highest point in town. Elephants are highly smart, sensitive and they will be extinct soon. Don’t listen to the negative things people say about elephant tracking. Yes, some places are horrible, worse than zoos and circuses combined so be sure to do a lot of research of the place you are going. I personally picked a sanctuary. The elephants are rescues from zoos and circuses and they stay there for habilitation. And the way these sanctuaries are able to survive are by allowing a limited amount of tourists to do tracking with the habilitated elephants. Reservations and required and you have to book in advance. 


After packing my days with activities in Phuket, I set off to Phi Phi Islands. My last stop in Thailand.  

Ahhh Phi Phi Islands. 

The most beautiful place I have ever seen in this lifetime. And I have been to many beautiful places. Phi Phi Island is Thailand’s island-superstar. It’s been in the movies. It’s the topic of conversation for travelers all over Thailand and even with all the hype it doesn’t disappoint. 

But it’s also the most dangerous for a borderline alcoholic like myself. I swear if I had stayed one extra day I would have died of alcohol overdose. Or something similar. 

Koh Phi Phi is like the Hunger Games Arena. Everything is either trying to eat you (in a good way 😏), kill you or completely blow your life into tiny pieces. 

I got there by taking one of their ferry boats from Rassada Pier on the other side of Phuket; an hour from my resort. The boat ride alone is about 2 hours and it’s a trip in itself. 


You pass many other islands and it’s hard to look away from the Hollywood style scenery all around you. The islands seem to rise from the sea like huge walls of rocks. 


Once you arrive in Koh Phi Phi, the main island, you are automatically pulled into the party atmosphere. There is a bar every 30 feet. The tiny streets are nothing but hostels, bars, clubs, local stores and restaurants. The music is blasting, the people are having a good time and it’s a non stop party. It can be very confusing for those used to a more organized city life but also an once in a lifetime experience. 

Like every other city before me, I stayed in a hotel rather than a hostel and it was located up in the hills a bit which helped me sleep at night. The main complaint I heard from the people I met who were staying right on the beach was that they couldn’t sleep with their walls vibrating from the music 24/7. 

The day after my arrival I rented a taxi boat and went straight to Maya Bay. It was that one place on my list that I had been waiting for my entire Thailand trip. It’s the island in which the movie The Beach was filmed and it was everything I expected it to be. 

It’s very important to get there early, around 6-7am before the cruises and boats loaded with people arrive. Anytime after 8am and you won’t be able to take a single picture without a hundred tourists and boats behind you.  

Once you leave Maya Bay, ask the boat guide to take you to Pileh Bay. It’s on the other side of the island and the PERFECT spot to snorkel and free dive. 

The next day I went to Monkey Beach which was also pretty amazing. Monkeys everywhere! But be careful because those fuckers know how to open purses and bags and they STEAL! You don’t want one of them taking your go pro and disappearing into the jungle with it. So keep your belongings next to you at all times. 

I then hiked what I call the “hike from hell” to the top of the island. There is absolutely no way this hike is from the lord. This was designed by Lúcifer himself. It kicked my ass. Mostly because I did it at noon, in a 97 degree weather and in sandals. Yes, I have this tendency of forgetting to pack tennis shoes for my trips. But even though the hike was cursed the view was worth every tear and “fucks” I said on the way up. It was by far the best view of the island. 

The rest of my time in Phi Phi was spent relaxing, getting drunk, passing out, getting drunk again, passing out again and repeating. With some rated R fun in between because only Jesus knows I am human.

On my third day I met the most amazing group of Brazilians in the island and the rest was history. I swear we are taking over the world, one booty at a time. 

Listen when I say that if you are ever in Phi Phi, you must, I repeat, YOU MUST go to the Ibiza Hotel Pool Party. This should not be an option for you. Repeat with me: “I will go to Ibiza’s pool party. I will go to Ibiza’s pool party”. It was crazy, wild, and everything that can possibly go wrong (in a good way) it will in that party. 

Obviously besides trying not to overdose on booze, you should try to do the usual beach stuff, like kayaking, paddle boarding, etc. you can find everything you want in Phi Phi. And I mean, EVERYTHING. 

On my final day there I decided to get a bamboo tattoo. You simply can’t go to Thailand and not get a tattoo. It shouldn’t even be legal to leave without one. So without any hesitation I tattooed a poem I had written for my son the day the Orange one, who should not be named, won the election back home. 

Translation:

“May your enemies run far away from you. May you know the power of your own strength. Always fly, but wherever you go, may you always be protected. If you see injustice, speak up. And every day may you find the courage to fight for what’s right. The world is beautiful and so is your kind wild heart.”

And that friends, is how I ended my Thailand Trip. 

So next time you are looking for a place to go in this beautiful world of ours, consider Thailand, more specifically consider Phi Phi Islands. I promise you it will be the best decision you will make. 

Check back in a week for my Bali Blog! 

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Solo Travel Part I: Hell in Shanghai and Love in Bangkok

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Stay with me because this is a long two part post on the first leg of my solo trip through Southeast Asia. (At least there are plenty of nice pictures.)

Let’s start from the beginning… Silly me thought I could book a ticket with the longest layover in Shanghai so I could explore the city a little. Who doesn’t like two trips for the price of one?
So there I went and booked a 12 hour layover. I figured it only took the bullet train 8 minutes from the airport to the city center which meant I would have at least 8 hours to eat some good Chinese food and breathe their impeccable air quality. 

As I packed my bag I checked the weather of every single city I was going to visit. Do I need a coat? Boots? Parka for -40 degree weather (hi Carrie!). The weather was fabulous in pretty much every town in all four countries I was planning on visiting. Low 70’s, high 90’s. What else could a Brazilian girl ask for?

So off I went. Alone, a bit terrified and totally relaxed on some Xanax a friend scored me. 


The flight was fine. Mostly because I don’t remember it. Did I mention the Xanax? Yeah, it put me to sleep for 10 out of the 14 hours I had to spend crushed like a sardine in the economy class. I swear I need to be rich in life. 

I made it to shanghai. At that point I was wide awake. I was excited. Let’s fuck this bitch! I get my passport stamped with their 24 hour transit visa and off to customs and security I go. If you didn’t know this, you don’t need a visa to visit China if you are staying for less than 72 hours. They have three transit visas: 24, 48 and 72. A great way to visit of you have a long layover like me. 

Back to security. 

I put my huge ass backpackers bag down. It goes right through. I was pretty sure I ate the whole Xanax so there was nothing to find there. Except that there was. As they tell me to open my bag I am start to sweat. Did I forget anything? Shit must be my pepper spray. Please don’t be my pepper spray. 

No it wasn’t. It was my goddamn $40 power bank for my iPhone. Aparently that’s not allowed in their communist country. 

If you know me you KNOW I can’t live without my phone. It’s just as part of me as my beating heart. In fact, one day while holding my infant on one arm and my Cel phone on the other and tripping through a set of stairs, I seriously considered dropping my infant instead of my phone. Baby’s bruises heal fast. An iPhone’s broken screen not so much. Don’t worry, I was able to hold on to both. 

So that Was how china welcomed me. By taking away part of my life. It’s ok though. I still had the regular wall charger. All I needed to do was find an outlet to plug that baby in. 

Success. 

Wait. Why the Fuck can’t I access my gmail and Facebook? What the fuck is going on? I promised my boss I would be connected. 

I start to panic. At this point I start to feel the tears coming down my face. 

I search for the next white guy I can find and ask him if he is having the same problem. “Mam’m this is China. Facebook and google are not accessible.”

What the Fuck did I just hear? 

Oh yeah it all came back to me. I chose a long ass layover in a goddamn communist country with no access to Facebook, google, gmail, google maps. Plus did I mention it was pouring raining and 45 outside? This bitch wasn’t going anywhere for a long time. The only option left was to call my Alaskan friends who I knew would cheer me up by savagely laughing at my situation. 

At least FaceTime still worked. So I bought myself a big ass gin and tonic and got drunk right there and then. Thankfully China hasn’t forbidden booze yet. 

So that’s how I spent 10 hours in shanghai. Stuck at the airport freezing my ass to death and completely unable to access my life. 

Now here comes the better part. The best part I should say: Bangkok. The land where you go to Bang cock. God I’ve been wanting to say this joke forever. 

And it’s true. Hot men are everywhere here. Australians, French, Argentinians. It’s like dick grows on trees in this place. And it’s 2-1; Way more guys traveling alone than women. Trust me, this is every single woman’s paradise. 

But back to my arrival. 

I arrived at 3am. Customs and security was easy. Everyone spoke Some English and they were extremely friendly. And most importantly, Facebook and google are fucking allowed. 

The first thing one must do after arriving in Bangkok is getting a local SIM card. You can do it right at the airport. Pick up your baggage, go though customs, walk out and there will be at least two local Cel phone booths waiting to help you. They are open 24 hours a day. I set mine up in less than 5 minutes. It cost me 300 Baht which is about $8 USD for unlimited internet for 8 days. You can’t beat that. 

I then took a long nap until sunrise before going to my hotel. For safety reasons I just don’t feel comfortable taking a cab or the subway at 3am alone in a third world country I don’t speak the language of. 

May I just take a moment though to emphasize how magical Bangkok is? Yes it’s dirty and underdeveloped but I think that’s why I love it so much. It reminds me of Brazil. It’s real life. It’s messy and chaotic and passionate and warm and above all it’s happy. 

I had rested so much on the plane (damn I love Xanax) and then again on the airport floor that by the time I got to my hotel I was wide awake and went straight into exploring the town. 

The temples, the local merchants, the bright blue sky. Everything felt so right. Just like I imagined. I was able to see the grand palace and the reclining Buddha. I watched people from all over the world praying and even though I am an atheist, it felt good to see genuine faith. 

I then went wat pra kaew:

The next day I took a ferry across the Chao Phraya River to Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn). 


In my opinion It’s the most beautiful temple in Bangkok.  A must see! But get there early before the crowds. I woke up at 5am and I was there by 7, right when it opened. There was literally  no one around so I was able to really enjoy the peace and quiet, and obviously take some awesome pictures. 


Wat Arun is Especially majestical at night when it lights up. Unfortunately my iPhone camera and all the lenses I bought still didn’t do justice to it’s night beauty. 

I then HAD TO go to Lebua Sky Bar. If you have seen the movie The Hangover II, it’s that rooftop bar/restaurant they go to look for their friend. To me it was the icing on the cake. It’s a must go destination in Bangkok. Not only the food and drinks are amazing, but it’s also the tallest open air bar in the world. You get the most breathtaking view of Bangkok… if you are not afraid of heights of course. 


The rest of my time here in Bangkok is being spent just literally wandering the city alone with no destination, people watching, eating like a cow and appreciating every little detail around me. 


If there is one thing you have to give it to Thailand is their attention to detail. Every street corner is a surprise. (This elegant man is the deceased king of Thailand. I’ve heard he was an amazing man). 

Here is the best advise I can give a solo traveler: invest in an iPhone tripod with a remote shutter (that’s how I took my own pictures) and create a bad ass soundtrack on your phone. 

I can’t emphasize enough how amazing it is to cross the city canals on boats, to wander the crowded streets and ride buses listening to your favorite music. It’s takes you even further into your experience. It emerges you into the moment. A few years from now I will listen to “To Binge” and “Cough Syrup” and I will remember exactly where I was during my trip. 

There is no better way to refresh the memory and pull us back into time than music. 
In summary, the first few days of my solo adventure have been pretty amazing (Fuck you China). Check back in a few days for some tips and adventures in Phuket and Phi Phi. 

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My Own Eat Pray Love Adventure

Ah, Eat, Pray, Love.  Is there any book that has been so simultaneously embraced and reviled by women everywhere?

To those of you unfamiliar with the book, Eat, Pray, Love is the memoir of a woman in her early thirties who was left broken after a terrible divorce.  She decided to spend a year around the world: four months in Italy, where she would rediscover pleasure (EAT); four months in India, where she would meditate in an ashram (PRAY); and four months in Bali, where she would learn how to fuse the two (LOVE).

And without giving too much away, she rebuilt her soul in a beautiful way.

I read the book back in 2009 when I was just 23 and right after ending an engagement and soon later finding myself in a very passionate and chaotic relationship with an older man who 4 years later would become the father of my child. At the time the book resonated with me in ways that no other book, movie or story has ever done. 

I knew I wanted to go on a solo trip myself. Some type of journey to find myself just like Liz from Eat Pray Love. But at that age I lacked the money, the strength and the clarity to take the plunge. 

I started dating when I was 15. He was 23 and very abusive. After I turned 20 and gained the maturity and strength to leave him I found myself jumping from relationship to relationship with sometimes not even a week between them. I was codependent, terrified of being alone, completely addicted to the idea of love and repeatedly filling my life with drama and chaos in order to fill the void. 

During these 15 years of broken hearts, failed relationships, and horrific life choices that always pushed me in the opposite direction of where I wanted to be in life, the one thing I always remember wanting to do was travel the world. I wanted to see everything. But I just never gained the courage to do so. A lot of times I did travel. But always with a man. Always because thats what HE wanted to do.

Fast forward to mid 2014 when my son’s father (the guy I dated after my broken engagement) kicked me and our 6 month old son out of his house. I was homeless, jobless, and completely emotionally shattered. It took me roughly a year to get back on my feet. I spent many nights on friends couches with my newborn, I depended on food stamps and relied heavily on my mom for support.

When 2015 came around I was in a much better place, I had rented the loft of my dreams in downtown LA, I was succeeding at my career, my writing was starting to be recognized and featured in major sites and money was starting to flow once again.

But something was still missing.

It wasn’t the desire to be in another relationship again. It wasn’t men. It was my desire to travel.

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For years I had put that desire away due to boys and self created dramas and entanglements with the law. Then later came my big break up (that one that changes everything about us) and all the stress and responsibilities that came with single motherhood. But once my life started to fall back on track and I was finally emotionally stable, I knew that it was time to do what I always wanted to do. Slowly I started to take short trips. I went to 7 different states last year and 2 different countries. One of them was Costa Rica. I spent 10 days there in a solo adventure that empowered me in many ways. I stayed in hostels, I hitchhiked, I made great friends who since then have come to visit me here in LA.

But I wanted more. I wanted a longer trip to a farther destination. A place I did not speak the language. I speak Spanish so Costa Rica wasn’t much of a challenge. And thats what I ultimately wanted: a challenge for my soul.


But I also knew that I couldn’t take 6 months off work or away from my son. Time was limited so I had to plan accordingly. I then reached out to one of my girlfriends and asked her if she wanted to spent two weeks in Thailand with me. To my surprise she did and we immediately booked tickets and I booked all (non refundable) hotels. When traveling alone, I highly recommend hostels and airbnb so you can meet other people who can show you the local hidden gems of your destination. But because hostels charge per person and it was two of us traveling, we came to the conclusion that hotels would be a better option. In Thailand you can book 4 star hotel rooms for $50-60 if you go off season like we were going.

We picked the best options I could find. I paid for them and we would later figure out the details of who owed who. I sent my child to Brazil with my mom for 2 months and things were all set to go.

Then 3 weeks before our trip my friend backed out due to reasons that I rather not discuss because everyone has different morals and opinions on whats right. But I was angry, disappointed and terrified at the same time. I had spent all this money on hotels (that she obviously would no longer pay for her part), I had spent money on my kids ticket to Brazil, I had requested the days off work and I was then faced with two options: Cancel my trip as well and lose all the money I had already invested in it or suck it up and find an alternative.

If this had happened when I was younger I am positive that I would have not had the courage to venture out to southeast Asia alone. But now, at almost 31 ( and with my birthday planned to be spent in a spectacular resort in Phi Phi island), I just couldn’t back out.

I studied carefully my options, safety statistics of Bangkok, Phuket and Phi Phi and I jumped right into what I call my own Eat Pray Love Adventure. I went even further and extended my trip two more weeks to Indonesia (Bali) and Singapore.

If we are going to take a leap of faith might as well jump from the highest cliff.


So in 5 days, my month long Southeast Asia journey begins and I have to admit I am equaly excited and terrified. 

Adventuring alone is exciting, but it’s also scary. But until I realized that I had places I wanted to go and no one to go with, I struck out on my own because my desire to continue traveling was greater than my fear of traveling alone.

Don’t wait as long as I did. When you are in your 20s time is your most valuable asset. Not money, not your job, but your time. Use it wisely.


If you have some place in mind and can’t find anyone to go with, take the plunge yourself. Once you make the decision to go it alone, you can get started planning your awesome solo adventure. The nicest thing about a solo trip is that you get to pick exactly everything you want. One of the best things about solo travel is that you don’t have to compromise with others on what they want from the experience. You can eat wherever you want, do whatever activities you enjoy and spend as much (or little) money you want. Everything is about YOU.

People who have never traveled alone often describe their first solo trip as an almost religious experience. To take in new surroundings unfiltered by the prejudices, tastes or preferences of a traveling companion can be heady stuff. Traveling alone gives you the chance to indulge yourself fully.

12994542_10153686699143892_7109618277710404360_n.jpgOf course, single travel has its perils too — such as safety concerns, loneliness and the dreaded single supplement. But a little preparation and common sense can save you money and get you through the rough spots. I learned this when I went to Costa Rica.

While you shouldn’t let safety concerns totally dampen your wanderlust, you should take it into consideration when choosing your destination. Do research before booking your trip to make sure the place you’re going is okay for you to travel alone.

Also, make sure you know your basic self defense moves, familiarize yourself with scams common to your destination, be aware of your surroundings, let friends and family know our itinerary and keep them updated throughout the trip so they always know where you are. Make sure you also have the necessities on you at all times in case you need to make a quick escape. This includes enough cash for a cab, a phone card, your ID, and the contact info for your accommodations. Know a few helpful phrases in the local language, such as “help”, “hurt”, “doctor”, and “hospital”.  If you’re in a foreign country, know where the embassy is and roughly how to get there from areas you’ll be spending most of your time. And lastly, time your arrival and departures for daylight (especially if you’ll be lugging a big suitcase with you) so that you can try to avoid anyone wanting to steal your stuff. This was not possible for my SE Asia trip. All my flights are overnight and I don’t arrive in Bangkok, Singapore and Bali until around 2-3am. So in this case I am choosing to wait at the airport until sunrise to get a cab. This will also save me a couple nights in accommodations. 

Solo adventures offer you a sense of freedom in many ways, but the most important thing is to keep yourself safe.

Lastly, document your experience. You’ll be able to give recommendations when people ask in the future. One of my favorite things to talk about with other people is where they plan to go, and to share my suggestions. Making someone else’s trip a little bit more awesome with insider information always feels great!

Traveling alone isn’t for everyone—but you should at least give a try. You’ll have a chance to completely embrace your interests and engage in some self-reflection. Remember, it’s okay to go alone.13015434_10153690508418892_128315276921738469_n.jpg

And don’t forget to check back here and on Instagram/brisaoutloud for (almost) daily updates of my Eat Pray Love Adventure starting March 11th!