Overcoming Fears and Other First World Problems

Thailand makes me want to do the unthinkable…take pictures of every meal I eat and post it on social media. Ive actually been close to tears with how damn insanely good some of the food is.  Some of the best things Ive eaten seem to be cooked on a grill on the side of someones moped and I often have no idea what I’m eating. If anyone tells you to stay away from street food in Thailand, ignore them please!

Ive noticed that the best way for the kids to get the most out of a place is to stay there. Its better to find a place you enjoy and settle in than move around a lot (for us anyway). This kinda goes against my nature and it has been a challenge to stay put. I want everything to be just right and I don’t want the kids to miss out on anything, but I also need to listen to them when they say they want to stay in one place, even if I’m getting antsy.  So…we spent a week in Koh Lanta because we just loved it. Our time there was priceless and unforgettable. That being said, we are traveling and traveling we must do.

Perfectly on point with all travel in Thailand, our speed boat trip to Koh Mok was weird and seemed totally unsafe. There is something unsettling about speeding through the ocean on a boat being driven by 2 twenty years olds, while one is fixing the engine (thats running) with a socket wrench and the other, who is suppose to be steering,  is watching him with a look of concern and yelling what I think are instructions. It was so theatrical I began to wonder if it was a show. I had to stop watching and just stare into my book. I’m speculating on their ages actually, they were somewhere between 12 and 30 years old. Anyway…we made it and didn’t die, which was an unexpected outcome really under the circumstances, and a good one because Koh Mok was gorgeous. We loved it in spite of the fact that wifi was shoddy (this is the first word problem I was referring to…and also possibly the worst real fear for teens–no joke ) Im happy to report we survived that too and loved that island with its stunning jungle beauty, minimal tourism and authentic culture and community. We rented bikes and found it really easy and fun to explore the island that way.

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And then…we come to the island Im writing from now. Koh Lipe. So pretty you quickly understand why everyone wants to be here. We rented what I expected to be a rustic bungalow away from sunbathing tourists…but I was very wrong. Probably the nicest bungalow we’ve been in. In the jungle yet on the beach with a charge it to the room lifestyle. Making the strenous 3 min walk to the turquoise sea seem almost impossible and like.. you really deserve a cocktail by the time you get there.  Yoga on the beach and expensive (for Thailand) massages. I would say this place isn’t my cup of coffee…but then I would be a hypocrite because its actually wonderful. There it is…that push pull between enjoying the luxury of being a first world tourist, and feeling a little gross because of it at the same time. For 3 nights, Im sure we will manage 😉

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This brings me to an interesting parallel between Canadian culture and Thai culture that I hadn’t seen before. Thais are very polite. In fact, Thailand is rightfully called “the land of smiles” because of the warmth and kindness they exude. Of course one has to expect that some of that is wrapped up in the fact that their livelihood depends on serving tourists, and its like they are hosting 24-7. Even when you have done something that they are irritated by, the smile and kindness remains. I relate to it when I see it, which only makes me want to compensate more for their inconvenience. Its a dance of sorrys and thank yous and passing tips back and fourth.  A coping strategy that should most definitely be recognized by Canadians. That somewhat passive aggressive smother them with kindness…even if your smile really means go F yourself…because our cultural conditioning demands it. Its kind of funny and makes me love this country even more.

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Snorkeling and gorging on turquoise water and sunshine. Koh Lipe was beautiful and lively. Unfortunately I didn’t capture images of Sol fearlessly (eventually fearlessly) navigating the coral reefs in a dorky snorkel. He said seeing the bottom of the ocean was his biggest fear…however apparently fear of missing out rules. Once he tried it he couldn’t get enough. Highlight of the Trang Islands for sure.

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