When I first read our episode guide or “Thai-tinerary,” and saw that Jess would be singing with locals in Bangkok, I thanked my lucky stars that it wasn’t me!
Of course, it would never be me, because I am not an uber-talented singer/songwriter who’s rising up in the popular music scene in famous Canadian hotspot, Montreal! After discovering that Jess was a singer, I got super-interested and started researching my co-host a little further. I wouldn’t say that I stalked her… but when you’re about to travel across the globe with someone, you want to at least find out the basics.
At this point, the basics I knew were that she most definitely does have an amazing voice and the wildest head of bright red hair that I’d ever seen; and although petite, she seemed fiery, spontaneous and adventurous.
Turns out, I was right! A few weeks later, happily bouncing down the escalator in Toronto’s international airport was my adorable co-host, Jess Abran. Her vibrant energy surrounded me and we connected immediately. Thailand, here we come!
Our adventures unfolded every day and with each passing experience we became as close as sisters. Finishing each other’s sentences and laughing at each other’s ridiculous jokes, we formed a bond like no other. Rather than it feeling like the three weeks it was, it felt like I’d known her for a lifetime. Thrown into an adventure together as strangers from different sides of Canada and not knowing the outcome was certainly the most unique way I’ve ever formed a relationship with someone!
Then came the day that she was scheduled to sing with a local band in Bangkok. I was nervous and scared for her but also excited! How on earth was she going to communicate with people that hardly speak English, never mind sing with them?
It was that night that I learned music has no language. We were at Phranakorn Bar and Gallery, a local hangout in downtown Bangkok, perched on the rooftop overlooking the city lights. I sat at a picnic table under glowing white string lights and watched Jess bravely stand at the microphone, take a breath and pick up her guitar. What I saw next I will never forget.
Jess, who maybe weighs 100 pounds, belted out “Come Together,” a classic by the Beatles, better than anyone I’d ever heard. Her love and passion for music shone out of her soul and radiated throughout the crowd, setting the mood for the entire room. All eyes were on Jess and she deserved every second of their attention. The way she worked the crowd was mesmerizing and her talent poured out all over the stage. I was nervous prior to her performance, but I was the proudest friend in the world by the end of the night.
Jess proved that great things come in tiny packages. A stranger that is an extremely talented artist turned into an epic travel buddy who turned into someone I am so proud to call my friend. Thanks, Jess, for showing me that determination, passion and hard work pays off. Thank you for making my Thailand trip unforgettable. Let’s do it again!