Awe: 23rd June Prompt

Awe

a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.

Awe is such a perfect word to write about and think of right now, and that definition explains it all. I used to think I was in awe of travellers, explorers and globetrotters, and I guess I still am. But now I think I’m more in awe of the countries themselves, not the people landing on the airport runway. And when I say countries, I mean everything that they contain; the culture, the locals, the food, the sights, the unique nature and environment of each place. I don’t want to just repeat the definition, but as I said, it sums it up so perfectly. I’m filled with wonder, with a small, but very real, spark of fear, of the many many different countries I’ve not yet been privileged enough to step foot in. The fear and wonder is one of those crazy mixed up emotions that fills me up, right to the brim, but it’s so intertwined with such a strong raging excitement, that it’s hard to contain. I feel so passionately about this and one of my favourite words always comes to mind:

Fernweh:

Literally “farsickness” or “longing for far-off places”, an almost tragic version of wanderlust, homesickness for somewhere you’ve never been before.

This blog post is just a documentation of the past few days that I’ve spent in Thailand, so I hope you enjoy, and don’t get too bored of my step-by-step experiences.

Travelling is tiring, my god. Why is it that when you come back off a holiday, you need a full day to recover? Even the most relaxing holiday spent on a beach with a book requires some post-holiday down time. My quick trip to Thailand (lasting from Saturday morning to midnight on Wednesday) was definitely no exception. They say time flies when you’re having fun, and drags when you’re not, but somehow that wasn’t so for this trip. I don’t really know how to fully explain it, but it feels like what we did at the beginning of the trip, was weeks ago, not just 5 days ago. We had an amazing time though, it’s not like we were sat watching the minutes tick by wishing we were home. We did, however, spend a great deal of time travelling via train, bus, boat and pretty much every other mode of transportation going.

We landed in Bangkok and swiftly (after buying a sim card and a Mars bar) boarded a train to the main train station, this was followed by quite a bit of waiting around, eating some amazing Thai food, and witnessing everyone in the area stand up at the same time at exactly 6pm while out of nowhere the national anthem blared out.

We then boarded out first Thailand overnight “sleeper train”. I’ve taken a few overnight trains before, one in Britain, a couple in Eastern Europe, and one in China. This was like nothing I had ever experienced. Travelling in an even number seems to be the best was regarding travel and sleeping arrangements, and as there were 4 of us, it worked quite well; 2 up, 2 down, facing each other. After this 12+ hour journey, we disembarked at Surat Thani, and proceeded onto a coach, and then a ferry, all to arrive at the main dock of Kohphangan; a.k.a. Full moon Party Island!!

We checked into out hostel for the night, Sucasa Dorm, and went out to explore the amazing food, juice, and market stalls just around the corner. Thai food is absolutely incredible, and I miss it already! I don’t care to admit how many fresh fruit smoothies I bought from that market, but at only 30 Baht each, I really didn’t mind! (£1 = 50 Baht). Later that evening was the big event, the Fullmoon Party. With neon paint on our faces, arms, and for Susann, everywhere possible, we made our way over to the other side of the island, not really sure what to expect. All I will say is that it was like nothing I have ever, and will ever experience again.

There was anywhere between 15,000-20,000 people on Haad Rin Beach all with bucket drinks in hand, having an amazing time. It’s still not really sunk in that I actually experienced and attended this incredible (slightly commercialised) event. The view we had from standing on a raised platform is something that I will never forget… what a crazy time, travelling in your 20’s sure is fun!

Me and Leah made the decision to leave the island the day after the party to make some more time to explore Bangkok, and I’m so glad we did even if we did have another long journey to make it to Fun Wan Hostel; bus, boat, sleeper train, MRT, Sky train and a walk. We chose to spend our day (after a much needed shower) going to visit Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, and oh my gosh, words cannot describe the beauty of this place. Entrance was only 100 Baht (~£2 with a free bottle of water), and despite the sweltering heat, it was truly incredible.

We also wanted to visit Wat Arun, which mum had highly recommended and was definitely listed as a top place to visit in Bangkok, but unfortunately it was under renovation so this beautiful place of worship was covered in scaffolding.

On our last day in Thailand, Wednesday (how was that only yesterday?!), Leah and myself had booked onto an excursion with the same company that me and mum had gone on in Siem Reap, Cambodia: Flight of the Gibbon. I don’t think I was really prepared for the heat and sweat (sorry to be brutally honest) of walking, climbing, and zipping through the Thai Jungle. It was more than worth it though, and we were very fortunate with our group, there were 7 of us, all girls, and all from various corners of the globe. We had a Kiwi, an American, a Welsh, an Eastern European, a Londoner, and two half Asian girls. I love that about travelling. You get to meet and experience things with people from all over the world who happen to find themselves in the same place for a short amount of time. In the package not only did we spent a good few hours in the tree-tops speeding down zip wires etc. we were given a traditional Thai meal, and a whirlwind tour of a zoo.

It was a really cool day out and I’m so glad we saw the leaflet and booked onto it.

So, that was my quick wrap up of my first experience of Thailand, and from this short trip, I must admit, I’m eager to head back. It’s an absolutely beautiful country, and the people are so friendly. Everyone was eager to help and assist in any way they could. I didn’t think it was possible, but I’m now even more excited to start mine and Shelby’s 2 weeks of exploring. Before that starts though, I have about 11 days back in Suzhou staying at Candice’s apartment while she’s off on her own adventures. I’ve just recently got back from meeting Leah in Starbucks for one final chat before saying goodbye “see you soon”. Yesterday I hugged and said my farewells to Susann and Lisa, two people I’m really not sure I’m ever going to see again, Leah though, is someone I’m actively going to try and meet up with in the future. After my year in Foshan, America is at the top of the ever growing, never ending list of places to visit, so I hope to make that happen.

To wrap up, I’d like to end on a thought I had while on a very bumpy, bright, not very sleepy sleeper-train in Thailand. You may be in awe of many other people in the world: celebrities, royalty, Disney Princesses, travellers, people with high paid jobs etc. etc. But I think it’s important to realise, that someone, somewhere is probably in awe of you too. Someone is envious of your life and your choices, and that’s pretty incredible to think about. Everyone wants something they can’t have, it’s human nature to never be 100% satisfied, and as sucky as that is, it means you always have a dream, something or somewhere to aim for, and I think that’s pretty cool too.
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