When traveling you form connections with people you would have likely never met in your “other life”. (Yes, it’s my other life now.) Sometimes I imagine another version of myself is still there behind a computer in downtown San Francisco, waiting for that 5 o’clock hour and an evening of Tae Kwon Do or guitar lessons or happy hour with friends. And this alternative, free-spirit version of me is here in Thailand. Currently just sitting in a sweet little hotel room getting ready for the evening out with Ada, my cool new from New York.
Ada’s a sunshine blond with a constant smile and a constant hunger for adventure. (She could write a book on Burning Man.) We met a week ago in Koh Lanta and decided on the fly to go to Koh Lipe together. Then yesterday, realizing that costs more Baht than we were ready to dish out, we decided to re-route to Koh Phi Phi — the famous island were Leonardo DeCaprio’s 1999 film, The Beach, was filmed. Beyond the natural beauty, it’s a place known for its college-like crowds of liquor-crazed men and women (mostly men) in search of little more than the next big party.
We didn’t have any reservation or any plan of what to do when we got here. And it’s freaking awesome. Upon stepping off the boat a Thai woman asked us if we wanted a “cheap cheap” place to stay and she told us our options. We ended up at a nicely renovated little hotel called Garden Inn with our own bathroom and balcony for just 700 Baht (about $21). There’s no AC and the shower is cold, but it’s mad hot here and I promise, the longer you travel the more your standard of luxury will change. (I mean, we have a flushing toilet… it might as well be the Ritz).
And what’s on our agenda?
8:00pm – Chill
10:00pm – Chill some more
Tomorrow – Go with the flow
It’s a great schedule! Today we walked around the shops and chatted about boys and life’s challenges ‘til our hearts’ content. Then we laid on the beach and traded book recommendations and compliments. Easy girl time.
The thing about traveling alone is you never have to be alone unless you want to be. And most of the people you meet have a very laid back attitude, so there’s no rushing around (we’re on “island time”). In two days I’ll join another friend from Koh Lanta in Krabi, and we’ll see others we’ve met in Koh Phangan a few days after that. There’s a traveler community that builds the longer you backpack around and you find yourself on new spontaneous adventures with friends you’ve just met. Creating reunions in exotic places. Staying longer than you planned… Weeks feel like months. Bonds are quick. Good-byes are frequent, but never permanent.
And so Ada and I have a balcony and a warm evening on the island to attend to. You never know where your life is going. Only where it is.