Bruce Springsteen’s “Meet Me Out in the Street” plays vibrantly in my head as I wait in the passport line at Bangkok International. Apropos, since so much of our travel in the cities had been in and out in the streets of Thailand. Memories of motorbiking, of the night bazaars, of the bars, of the massage parlors, of meeting friends and of meeting strangers… all out in the street. The Boss moves onto his next song on my track list, “No Surrender”, also apropos: “With wide open country in my eyes / And these romantic dreams in my head” a synopsis of how I view every incoming adventure.
I am already nostalgic for my journey these past two weeks, quickly coming to a close. So much of Thailand is memorable, but of course it’s the people and our interactions that I will remember the most.
The Thai people themselves are so friendly, open to a quick smile. The oft used “khaaa” or “khap” ending many Thai responses could not be said without a smile, so their demeanor made sense. Their easy-going manner and lifestyle also contributed to their friendliness. Of course, that also meant things were done at a significantly slower pace than to what we were accustomed. And they coiled back from any negative word or confrontation. The word “no” was almost an affront, so much so they would rather smile than say “no”, which of course meant you had to be careful and sometimes decipher what that smile actually meant. Still, as a whole, they were a wonderful people.
We acquainted ourselves with a great many strangers, having a wonderful time getting to know them as our lives passed for a few moments, or for a day, or for an evening. Chris’ friends gave us a sneak peak into Pattaya – Joe, Joy, Sandy and Nikki. Our cooking class gave us some of the loveliest travelers we’d met – Tom & Tam, Jo, Chef CarToon, and a host of others. And our train journey brought us into contact with the friendliest young adventurers – Roddy & Beth, and Alice. It was no wonder in our minds, they spent each day living – travel and/or adventure central – as much as they could live, at least for the window of time we met them. And I just loved that.
Of course, central to our travels were our friends, not just the ones we were blessed to hang with, but also the ones we were not able to see, but instead gave us loads of great advice on what to do, what to see and where to be. Seeing Annile and meeting his fiancé Joy in Bangkok was a gift. Staying with one of my oldest and closest friends since junior high Chris in Pattaya was a gift. Running into my old work buddy Nick in Koh Samed through the magic of Facebook was a gift, an amazing one at that. Then there were my friends Jocelyn and Beini in Thailand who gave such great advice and recommendations, though unfortunately did not get to see. We also did not get to see my friends who were visiting Thailand when we were – Dominique & Justin, Chris, and Steph. And of course, there was my buddy Derek, partners in crime since this whole adventure started, not to mention living travel and adventure all throughout the year.
Friendship is a wonderful thing. True friendship is truly beautiful. To connect with someone, whether for a moment or for a lifetime, a gift to be cherished and never taken for granted. I’ve been blessed, cos I know what that feels like. I’ve given my undying friendship; and I’ve received it back a hundredfold. This trip just another reminder and example of undying friendships, both old and new.
Our trip has been truly epic. The people we have met? Even more so.
Go Adventure. Go Travel. Go Live.
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