Trump's victory in the eyes of a traveler

And so it happened. Against all predictions, Trump was elected President of the United States. We were in Bangkok on election day. We spent the previous week in Koh Lipe, beautiful island in southern Thailand. Our travel pace has been fast and we were looking forward to finding some peace on a white beach for a week. Only problem? It was the week before the election.

When you don’t have much to do it’s hard to stop the thoughts so we found ourselves in dark conversations where the fear of a Trump presidency emerged. We didn’t think it was a real possibility but clouds were prevailing, in our minds and in the sky above us.

On November 8th we took the boat back to mainland and headed to Bangkok. Rested bodies, restless minds. The night before the election I wasn’t able to sleep. I dreamed about Trump’s victory, I woke up and I breathed knowing that it was just a nightmare. I fell back asleep and I dreamed about it again. This time I woke up all sweaty and scared and I didn’t want to go back to sleep. When morning came, I immediately looked for a live streaming to follow the election marathon.

I never cared so much about an election before. I didn’t vote, I’m not a citizen yet, but I knew that it wasn’t a normal election. It was love & unity against racism & division. I never particularly liked Hillary but with time I grew fond of her because she was the alternative to Trump and all that he represented.

I never felt so nervous in front of the tv. I got away from it just to take a shower. Hours passed by and the U.S. map was overwhelmingly red. My American husband explained to me that the central states close the polls before the others and they are typically Republican. I tried to stay calm. Hours passed by and blue dots appeared on the map. Then Florida went to Trump and the battleground states were dangerously becoming red. My husband told me that cities have big density and they can balance the vote. At that point we were both silent praying in front of the tv.

We left our hotel room when they were still counting votes around 3PM. My husband told me it might take hours before knowing the result. We went to the immigration office in Bangkok and we didn’t have internet connection to monitor the situation. I felt close to a nervous breakdown. Sitting behind us there was Canadian girl and I couldn’t help it: “Hi, sorry can I ask you who won the American election? We left the hotel room and we don’t have the last minute news.” “It’s Trump” she said. There, in that moment, something broke inside me. I started to cry, loud. I couldn’t stop. All the tension, all the fear and the hope that I had kept inside exploded all at once. Boom. This was my election day and I imagine many people had a terrible day too.

We are away from the U.S. traveling and our thoughts are stuck at the election day, trying to process what happened. I wake up every day and I have to repeat to myself that now we live in a world where Trump is the elected President. We want to enjoy our trip, but we feel angry and sad.

Trump is against all our core values and ideas. He said so many disgusting things about women and minorities that can’t get a pass. We believe in the power of a globalized connected world where everybody is treated in the same way and everybody has the same rights. We believe in travel as a way to overcome barriers and get inspiration to bring back home. We are idealists with a heart full of hope.

On one side it’s good to travel and take time to process before going back to the U.S. but on the other we feel more and more isolated, sometimes we don’t feel part of this world. Today, we face an America that chose an ego maniac racist business show man to run the most powerful country in the world.

I am an Immigrant and I fight against the broken system in the U.S. and the gender bias of the laws. How do you think I can tolerate the direction where America is going? The racist episodes happening after Trump’s victory are as scary as hell. Do the people who voted for him and claim are not racist see this? Do they realize what they have done? I’m in shock and still trying to process all this. We can’t make America great again together with Mr. Trump for two reasons:

  1. America is already great.
  2. We are not racists.

Chiara Townley