lost my groove...

Bangkok Travel Blog

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What is on my mind this week is emotions, and how they can get so magnified and intense when traveling, both positive and negative. Almost the whole of my trip until a week ago has been filled with free-spirited lightheartedness. Although traveling solo, I really have been blessed by continually meeting lovely people to travel with, share my time, share bungalows, and laugh. Everything has fallen into place, with few wrong turns.

I've had the opportunity to scuba dive, travel to 4 different countries, and do everything with people who I am so fond of. But then when a wrong turn happens with these people, especially the ones you grow quite fond of, and spend considerable time with, the sensations of the trip and travel dampen. I am not one who has ever been good at saying goodbye, especially when the goodbye is provoked by sour events. Thus, when Daniel and I hit a crossroad last week, it was not handled well, and I have not had the strength to rise above it yet. I know I will, and have no fear that the remaining month of my travels will have highlights, my traveling spirit has temporarily dampened.

I have returned to Bangkok for several days respite from the backpacking scene and to finally hit the mainland and stray away from the tropical islands, Chang beer, and frolicking that I have been indulging in for months now. Perhaps I am done with the islands, perhaps they hold memories that I don't want to deal with right now, or perhaps I don't just don't want the daily indulgences that presented themselves to me there. Thank goodness my dear friend Paige lives here, so I can have the comfort of an apartment, a kitchen, a hot shower, and quiet.

On the bright side, though, isn't travel about exploration of the land, others, and oneself? I have learned something from this sadness that I feel right now which hopefully will be useful in the future, as good lessons should be.

Perhaps some of the sadness comes from the fact that I have been constantly smiling and carefree for several months now. So when a fight and a split from a wonderful friend while traveling is magnified because I haven't had to deal with stress or pain or interference of any sort for so long. Or perhaps it is because special places in that I have visited are not tied to the sad ending with a friend who I was there with. Will the memories of pleasure and happiness be dampened or extinguished by the sadness of what occurred later?

Ok...now on for some specifics of where I have been and what I have seen recently...
Laos was nice, but not the paradise that Daniel and I envisioned. We stayed in rickety plywood bungalows overlooking the Mekong for several days. $3 a night. Laos is one of the poorest nations on earth, and also has the sad distinguishing characteristic of being the most bombed nation on earth. They still have mass expanses of land with unexploded devices left over from America's heinous campaign to flush out any VietCong that crossed the boarder. What is most sad is that Laos wasn't even directly involved in the war, but US Defense still spent millions of dollars a day to bomb them to smitherines.

We left Laos after one week because Daniel needed to start considering heading home, we missed Thai food, and all the other sights that people visit in Laos were hour sand hours of bus rides away, far to the north.

So we took a 28 hour journey from the 4,000 islands in Laos via Pakse, Ubon, Bangkok, and then finally reached Koh Chang. Happily, we met up with Alexis, who I had gotten to know and enjoy very much on Koh Lanta, while Scott was here. After only one night on this beautiful but very touristy island (I dont think I had seen that many people gathered together on my entire trip), the three of us headed out to my final island,Koh Mak.

Another thing Ive thought about on this trip is how each destination has a vibe and energy of its own. Koh Mak's energy was not grooving for us, and thus was the point of fighting and departure for me and Daniel. Another sad thing about Koh Mak was that some of the beaches were extremely dirty, not only with trash, but with oil! Days later, I still have black splotches on the bottoms of my feet from the beaches. While my personal travel crew had difficulties on Koh Mak, we did stay at a bungalow run by the most lovely and happy of Thai people. We laughed a lot with them, they taught us some Thai, and they were a pleasure to get to know.

Since arriving in BKK, Alexis and I spent her last night in Thailand on Khao San having a bucket and even attending a pingpong show. Funnily enough, we sat down in this decrepit and depressing place, and the guy sitting next to me says, "I think I know you from somewhere". yeah right! Im bumping into someone I know late at night at a sleazy ping pong show in Bangkok. But then he says, "Weren't you on the plane with me on Jan 3rd from Chicago to Beijing, and then we got lost in the airport together? You're a teacher!". Holy shit! I actually knew the guy. He was the Thai boxer from Toronto! Hands down, the most random run in ever.

So now I am laying low by myself in BKK while Paige is away for Easer. I think I am going to head out today to see Jim Thompson's house again, which I found utterly peaceful and delightful the last time I was in BKK. And crazy as it is, I may just hit Khao San road later, even though I swore I would not. Maybe I am missing the backpackers afterall. That is probably an excellent sign.
ted332 says:
Story quite sad but I can see you're movin on and still manage to travel and have fun. :)
Posted on: Apr 23, 2008
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