Where does the time go? Seriously.
I remember rolling my eyes when “old” people used to say this to me. And now, all of a sudden, I’m the old one saying this. (Well, not old, but “old-ish” according to my teenage students). It seems like overnight all of my friends got married and had babies, and my bedtime became something of an embarrassing topic of conversation. I’m also about to wrap up my fifth year teaching abroad. It just doesn’t make sense.
But I’ll spare you the esoteric questions about life and get to the point of this post.
I’m heading to Krabi, Thailand tomorrow to meet my parents. They’re wrapping up a 2-week tour of Cambodia and Vietnam and are looking to relax and enjoy the sunshine. I’m looking to escape rainy Shanghai and enjoy some much-needed beach time. We’re all looking forward to catching up after eight months apart.
I started doing some research this week on what we could do during our week-long vacation, and asked my parents about their interest in things like scuba diving, boat trips and cooking classes. My dad responded on both of their behalves, stating that they wouldn’t really be interested in much unless it allowed for the consumption of ice cold beer.
I totally understand, and his reasoning is sound. They’ll be exhausted from their tour, but also (and the fact that brings me to this nostalgic state), we’ve all been to Thailand before.
Usually I shy away from returning to a familiar country, as I try with every vacation to obtain new passport stamps and experiences. But there’s something really special about Southeast Asia. And I’m eager to return after a four year hiatus. I can’t believe it’s been four years. It feels like one.
Thailand holds a special place in my heart, as it’s the first country I ever traveled to solo. Four years ago, after my contract ended in Korea, I boarded a one-way flight to Bangkok, without so much as an itinerary or clue as to how long I’d be gone. I remember leaving the BKK airport, walking into a curtain of humidity, trying to navigate my way through the metro and side streets to find my hostel. Horns were honking, neon lights buzzing, and my backpack was weighing heavy on my sweaty shoulders. I was overwhelmed, but completely energized by the unfamiliar. Simply put, it was the start of my love affair with travel.
So here I am, my last day of work before spring break, and I can’t concentrate. I can’t plan. I can’t grade. The only thing I can do is tap my feet and stare at the Google Image results from my Krabi and Ko Phi Phi searches. But I take comfort in this. Because, while things are rapidly changing, and time is racing, I can always count on one constant: the excitement of travel.
Image courtesy of forloveofexploration.com.
What country first made you fall in love with travel? I’d love to hear your stories!