Imagine yourself staying in a luxurious penthouse suite with a panoramic view of Bangkok. Picture yourself sipping a glass of the finest Champagne while dining on the 65th floor of the world class hotel while indulging on some of the most elegant dishes in the world at a two-Michelin star restaurant.
Then, imagine the next morning, shoving your designer suit into a backpack, hiring a motorized rickshaw, and having them deliver you to your new home; a cramped, dorm room filled to the brim with strangers that are young enough to be your offspring. For lunch, you are enjoying a fried scorpion that you purchased from a food stand on the side of the road.
This is exactly what Ryan Jacobson did for an entire year when he took a year off of his job as a middle school English and Geography teacher to pursue his passion for world travel. In the months prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ryan decided to get the full experience of each destination he ventured by spending four days on a very stringent backpackers budget, staying at hostels, eating scorpions, crickets, or other street food, and spending relatively no money on entertainment or activities. The next four days he would travel on a moderate budget, staying at appropriately-priced hotels, eating at moderately-priced restaurants, and having an allotted budget for entertainment and activities. And the final four days in each country, he would spend on an all-out luxury budget; indulging on the best of what each destination had to offer.
All to answer the question of who truly has the more fun, authentic experience when it comes to travel? Is it the backpacker crew that isn't afraid to get down and dirty with the locals or mingle with strangers that don't speak their language? Or is it the luxury travelers that spare no expense to get the full experience of what it means to travel like a rock star? Perhaps the moderate budget traveler has the best of both worlds and truly gets the most out of international travel?
Regardless of the budget Ryan was traveling on, his adventures take him through unique journeys that will elicit both humor and horror, many of which at the same time. With Ryan's uncanny ability to find himself in peculiar situations, The Adventures of Mr. Brightside will concurrently leave you with a sense of immense wanderlust, as well as a substantial appreciation for reading this book from the comfort and safety of your own home.
The group of family members and friends in front of the party bus that dropped me off at the airport to start the venture. (Chapter 1)