For those of you that knew my travel plans prior to starting this journey, you may know that I intended to spend three months in Thailand learning Thai massage and island hopping. After touring the islands, I intended to move to Bali for the remaining 9 months of my journey and continue to grow my Shaklee nutrition business while learning to surf. I hoped that my massage training could come in handy when strapped for cash and I made myself a goal to learn to drive a motorbike because I've always wanted to look like a bad a$$ muthaf*cker. However, if you've been following this blog, you'll know that these plans changed shape more rapidly than Alan Cummings as Nightcrawler in X-Men 2.
I was lucky in the sense that I had no set time limit binding me to a specific schedule or direction. If I found a place I felt comfortable, I had the freedom to stay. Conversely, if I felt bad energy, I was free to leave. The first stop on my "island tour" was Koh Phangan, which is known to many travelers as a home base while traveling Southeast Asia. I was no exception to feeling the warm and inviting energy exuding from that island and before I could realize it, I was working daily as a masseuse,
living in a house,
and driving my motorbike between beaches,
yoga and parties.
(or yoga at parties).
I ditched my plans to travel further through Thailand and onto Indonesia because Koh Phangan became home to me.
Spending three months on Koh Phangan challenged me personally in ways I hadn't expected. As always, I found that the challenging moments provided the biggest mirror to my limitations and allowed the most opportunity for transformation. But I reached a point on the island where I felt like I'd received as much as I could digest for the moment, and I felt a new hunger to explore another place.
Not knowing what direction I wanted to go (literally and figuratively) my plans changed on a daily basis as to what area of the world I wanted to explore next. I still wanted to see Bali, but it didn't feel as urgent or practical anymore. Some of my yoga friends told me there was potential to earn money in India as a Thai masseuse and I bought what I'm pretty certain was the biggest impulse purchase of my life...a double entry 6 month Indian Tourist Visa.
In the blink of an eye, I realized I was leaving this
The realization that I was leaving the easy life of Thailand to willingly travel alone through India instilled within me a sense of panic I hadn't felt in a very long time. India may be the hardest of the easiest places for a Westerner to travel alone. No, I won't be in the same risk category as if I was going to Afghanistan, or Pakistan, or any 'Stan for that matter (although I hear Any-Stan is lovely in the Springtime), but I'm still going to a place I know I'll need to keep my wits about me. But if there's anything I've learned in the last 5 months of traveling and living far outside my comfort zone, it's that things tend to work themselves out in the best and most unexpected ways.
I packed my bags and left the beautiful island I called home, trusting that I will return when the time is right. And without a second thought, I boarded a bus that looked like it was straight out of the Magic Mystery Tour and went to Bangkok.
With every intention to fly out of Bangkok one day later and go straight to Rishikesh, life (again) had other plans for me and I stayed in Bangkok an extra 5 days exploring the incredible malls,
I'm leaving Thailand grateful for the memories and lessons I've learned here. Although I'm still scared about what the next part of my journey will look like, I trust that it will work out.
#Laa kawn. #Namaste. #Andallthatjazz.
Catch you on the Indian flipside...