how this international student made his college experience worth it, one weekend at a time…
By Diana Odero, Chapman University
For most of us the college experience involves a lot of late nights, a lot of partying and a lot of trips to Vegas. And that’s basically it, but for my friend and fellow travel lover Snook Chaipornvadee, the college experience was a much different one. He never cared much for the party scene, or the late night lifestyle but instead was more interested in early morning hikes, weekend camping trips, theme park and museum visits. And oh yeah, he has never been to Vegas. Snook started his adventure seeking lifestyle in his sophomore year and decided to document it in a blog called ‘One Cool Thing Every Weekend’ because he wanted to make sure he had done one cool thing every weekend throughout his college life. And now having recently graduated, he still stays true to his mantra and his blog clocks about 1000 views daily with visitors from all over the world seeking information on different places to hike, or just following his sense of adventure as they plan their own.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
What inspired you to start ‘One Cool Thing Every Weekend?’
I remember distinctly at the end of my sophomore year when someone asked me what was my favorite place in the U.S. I didn’t know the answer. After being in the U.S. for over 6 years, I couldn’t really pin point on where my favorite place was. Not because I couldn’t decide where but because I didn’t really know much about the U.S.
The question made me think deeply about my time in the U.S. My time here is as good as the student visa allows me, so in two years (from when I was a sophomore), I would have to leave the U.S. permanently. The thought scared me. I was disappointed that I took all of these years for granted and never really tried to explore and take advantage of this wonderful place. I promised myself to do something cool and see a new place every weekend. I always enjoy writing, so I decided to originally start the blog just for fun. It would be a way for me to journal and keep track of things that I’ve done and revisit later. But today the blog has grown with over a thousand readers daily so I’m even more motivated to keep it up.
Did your choice of study have any influence on your blog?
No not at all. I majored in Public Relations and I want to do marketing for living but it has nothing to do recreationally. But the knowledge that I learned from school will hopefully help me start my own outdoor / tour company one day to help inspire others to travel and explore as well.
What is you current profession?
I am currently doing graphic design and account management at a phone application company.
Backpacking on Mt Langley, Inyo National Forest
Do you find it useful to your future career goals?
Yes, the job I have now helps me acquire many more skills in design which will be very helpful. Also very useful is the new knowledge that I learn about phone technology in general by being surrounded by developers and people who are really well versed about technology.
How did you make time for outdoor adventures every weekend while still in school?
I think that there’s always time. People just waste that available time. We always wish that there was more time in a day but we waste our limited time doing things that don’t matter. We have to set our priorities straight and just go!
I think that laziness is the number 1 reason that prevents people from going exploring. A lot of time people know where they want to go but they don’t because travelling involves work and it actually takes effort to go and do fun things.
First, you should make a list of places that you want to go.
Second, research everything about them; from directions to accommodation and what to do once you get there. By researching about these places, you will feel comfortable about going and once the weekend comes around, you already know what to do. This will prevent you from giving up last minute. Normally you can just get up and go to the grocery store spontaneously because you know exactly where it is, what to expect, and what to do there. You will feel just as free to get up and go to a place that you want to go even if you haven’t been to before by preparing beforehand. By researching it makes you feel comfortable and more motivated to go.
Third, set a date and tell people that you’re going, invite friends, make yourself feel committed. When you’re involving other people, it’s more difficult to cancel last minute. If it’s just you, then you have to talk yourself into committing.
How do you make time for it now?
As a recent graduate, I find that there’s more time now to do what I want to do. There’s no homework, so there’s plenty of time after work and on weekends to do whatever I want to do. It’s the greatest thing.
Where do you see yourself in 5 Years
My passion in life is to make outdoor activities and travel cheaper and easier for people to access. The biggest barrier that keeps people from travelling, aside laziness, is cost. Gas, plane tickets, food, campsite fees, hotel costs, and all the gear you need for these activities all cost a lot of money. I want to make it more affordable. I’m not 100% sure how and that’s why I’m going to find out in graduate school.
In 5 years, I hope to co-found a startup company that help make adventure travel and outdoor recreation more affordable.
Snook has now travelled all over northern and southern California, and Utah, hiking the vast deserts, fishing, free falling in San Diego, bungee jumping, discovering the weirdest yet coolest museums such as the Joshua Tree Desert Art Outdoor Musuem in Joshua Tree National Park and so much more in just the past 2 years alone while still in school. Now with more time on his hands he is making the outdoors his permanent travel buddy and inspiring all of us each day to do a lot more on weekends then just laundry and catch up on Law & Order.