Traveling alone, to many, seems frightening and often unpleasant. The thought of navigating a distant metropolis, with its meandering roads, foreign culture and strange language does pose an intimidating challenge to those who seek comfort in their daily lives. However, it is not comfort that forces us to develop as humans full of conscious thought and awareness. Rather, it is the moments of unease that allow us to question our thoughts and emotions of our present state. With that being said, I departed for Thailand for a 10-day solo adventure.
My journey was not easy, as I often found myself sprinting through airports in desperation to make a connecting flight, bargaining with hard-headed taxi drivers who perceived me as some ignorant American tourist, and waiting three hours for a ferry whose ride was but thirty minutes. But all was part of the experience, for had traveling gone flawlessly, I quite possibly may not have appreciated arriving at my end destination.
Stop 1: Bangkok. Upon my arrival in a city seemingly more dense than New York and an impressively more “Asian” than Beijing, I was immediately welcomed by a few lads who sat in my hostel’s lobby discussing their adventure-filled day. Although they seemed interesting, I declined an invitation to continue the conversation, as I was tired after a long day’s journey and so retreated to a hot shower + a beckoning bed. For the first of many times throughout my next few days, I was able to experience the thrill of doing exactly as I wished. Throughout my five days in a city of exquisit detail, my time alone enabled me to explore my senses. I tasted my way through a culinary feast at May Kaidee’s cooking school, indulged my eye (and my camera) with the opulent and often humbling temples that littered the city as well as re-centered and reconnected with my sixth sense, my inner consciousness, through a two-day Asthanga yoga workshop. Not once on this whirlwind tour of Bangkok did I long for a companion, for friends were a plenty and were easily found in my hostel, cooking class and on a jaunt through Chinatown. The beauty of these passer-bys, who shared knowledge and a warmth that made you feel but human, was that I could continue my adventure with or without them, should I have and did choose to do at any point.
Stop 2: Ko Samet. While still in Beijing, a friend asked how I could possibly visit Thailand without journeying to the beach. I was dumbfounded by the question, as considering I find the ocean to provide myself a mesmerizing amount of comfort, it was surprising that not only was it not my first destination, but that it has been excluded from the itinerary all together. After contemplating white sand beaches + warm ocean water, I decided to spontaneously change my flight the night before my planned departure. Upon leaving Bangkok the following morning, it was torrentially raining. I will leave it to you to imagine the idiotic thoughts that ran through my head as I boarded a three and a half hour bus ride to the ferry pier. Despite my seemingly endless journey through the rain, I awoke the next morning in a quiet bungalow, a mere 30 feet from the sand, to the bluest of skys. Although I could not have asked for more pristine weather throughout the duration of my three day stay, I found myself more or less having taken an oath of silence, as there was a dearth of young, friendly faces roaming the sandy isle. Yet I happily welcomed this quiet retreat, as similarly to my yoga workshop, I found myself in a serene state that allowed me to connect fully with my thoughts and emotions as well as finally digest the chaos that has imbued my life since my move to Beijing.
For the first time, I experienced the thrill of traveling alone. To say the least, there is a roller coaster of thoughts and feeling that accompany journeys of this nature. Yet the ability to single handedly overcome the troughs of the adventure are beyond liberating, as it only strengthens the relationship you have with your conscious self.
Please see the PORTFOLIO tab for more photographs.