A Little Twist…Turning Tail & Traveling to Thailand

The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
`To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
And whether pigs have wings.’

Tree over Pushkar

This fragment of a Lewis Carroll poem wandered into my wayward thoughts as I sat down to write tonight;  I often quote these lines to my niece and nephew when they spout nonsense…

…but worry not, I’ll keep away from nonsense and instead note that my travel plans, like the winds of the world, have changed direction.

Several months ago I was giddy at the thought of heading to the Middle East and traveling through Syria, Israel, and Turkey with a couple of fellow travel bloggers – we hatched the plan over beers but all were serious about seeing if we could make it work. Although I have been talking about settling in somewhere since last March, it didn’t take much convincing to forgo that notion for new travel plans.

And then plans changed, and I find myself confounded by the fact that the very first plan I hatched up during my sad travel fatigue session in Guatemala last April is finally coming to fruition.

The New Travel Plan

My plane sets sail for Thailand in mid-January (mixed metaphor, I know) and I am pleased as punch with this development.

Actually, I’m content, excited, and enthused in a way I haven’t been in ages.

Thailand was the very first location that floated into my consciousness when I dreamed about an ideal location to both relax and work.

I instantly connected with the promise of a vibrant expat community and delicious (cheap) Thai food.

Curbside Balinese offering

And then for some reason I went to Bali instead.

Don’t get me wrong, Bali’s character, culture and charisma stunned me. The smiling locals, the fragrant frangipani wafting up from the dozens of nearby offerings – all experiences and memories were measured and logged, recorded and remembered.

I enjoyed Bali.

I will go back to Bali one day for a bit longer than the mere two weeks I spent this past fall.

But Southeast Asia is alluring in a way I simply can’t name or number…

So why all of these sudden changes?

I am constantly amazed by my ability to embrace rapid change and planlessness in a way that is so not a pre-travel Shannon character trait. I still battle twinges of doubt and resistance every time a new idea pushes forward and an old one is abandoned, but split second decisions and the unpredictable nature of perpetual motion altered me at a core level. As long as I have the promise of an internet connection, sure, why not, let’s go!

I chalk this change up to an inherent attachment to certainty that we all crave, and conversely don’t crave at the same time. I want a plan. I want a bit of consistency. And yet I thrive on last minute decisions and the adrenaline rush that comes from rapid travel adjustments and a general “unknown” lying endlessly in front of me.

Another way to say all of this: I don’t know what the heck I’m doing with myself half of the time!

I follow whims, so when I announce new “plans,” I use the term “plan” pretty loosely :-)

So now I get the certainty of settling in Thailand with the uncertainty of making and breaking that decision for the past eight months.

It’s to Thailand with me on January 14th for near certainty (the plane ticket has been purchased!). And as much as any plan of mine actually forms fully into fruition, I am setting my sites on Chiang Mai for the next five months-ish.

Religious Statue in Luang Prabang

And in my Asian daydreams I am most looking forward to:

Mangosteen and rambutan – two delicious Asian fruits that will make up the cornerstone of my breakfasts.

Fragrant foods in plenitude from chatty street vendors.

Community and friends already living in the region as expats.

Culture and temples; I’ve been away from Asia too long, since I’m far from being “templed out.”

Hikes, mountains, tigers, animals, adventure.

People and places, new sites and smells.

Simply put, I’m excited.

Are you also in Thailand? Going to be in Thailand? Love Thailand? Have a great “that one time in Thailand story?” Do share!  :-)

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35 Responses to A Little Twist…Turning Tail & Traveling to Thailand

  1. fierytree December 25, 2010 at 7:09 pm #

    Ok – just one more time – go to the SIMILAN ISLANDS!!!!!!! (The bus ride down was my creepiest experience in Thailand but completely worth it. :D)

    • Anonymous December 26, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

      Lol! Duly noted, I will definitely add the Similans to my “must see” list in
      Thailand :)

  2. Spencer December 23, 2010 at 4:31 am #

    Awesome picture. I’d love to spend a couple of hours sitting on a bluff and taking that view in!

    • Anonymous December 23, 2010 at 5:32 am #

      Thanks Spencer, it was shot in India during my hike to the top of a huge hill with a Krishna temple at the top and 360 panorama views! :-)

  3. Anonymous December 22, 2010 at 5:55 am #

    Hooray for Thailand! We’ve been in Chiang Mai for the last month and have loved it here! We’re staying here until mid Feb so we’ll be able to bump into each other :-)

    • Anonymous December 23, 2010 at 5:31 am #

      That’s perfect! Our times should overlap if all goes as planned, pretty sure I am heading straight to CM when I get to Thailand we can hunt down some yummy food and swap stories :)

  4. Michael December 21, 2010 at 4:29 am #

    See you Thailand then? Yeah? :)

    • Anonymous December 23, 2010 at 5:29 am #

      Yes, yes, absolutely! Can’t wait to catch up with you and Steph :-) Oh the fun we will have!

  5. Michael Hodson December 21, 2010 at 2:21 am #

    well, I certainly wish you’d have stuck with the Middle East, so I could have run into you there, but suppose I will wait for the in-person introduction until Tbex. Then…. trains…. ;)

    • Anonymous December 23, 2010 at 5:29 am #

      That would have been great – but we’ll have to make sure to grab a beer one night during TBEX! :-)

  6. Claire December 20, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    Been to Thailand, loved it, want some more of it. Heard awesome things about Chiang Mai. Go and enjoy!

    • Anonymous December 23, 2010 at 5:34 am #

      Like you, I’ve been to Thailand but not CM – with all of the current expats there though it sounds like too much fun to miss :) Any plans to head back to SEA?

  7. Maria Staal December 20, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    Congratulations with our change of plans! I am looking forward to reading about your adventures in Thailand. I have never been to Thailand, but my ex-housemate spent quite some time in Chiang Mai. It sounds lovely.
    I have travelled in south-east Azia and got addicted to mangosteens and can imagine them having for breakfast very well. It’s such a shame they’re not for sale in Europe…
    Anyway, enjoy! :)

    • Anonymous December 23, 2010 at 5:27 am #

      Thank you so much for the moral support Maria! I’m looking forward to blogging about Thailand. Like you, I’m sad that the mangosteens can’t leave the region…something to do with the plant diseases they carry, but I have literally never seen them exported to other regions :( Guess that’s one way SEA keeps us coming back for more! lol :)

  8. Candicewalsh December 20, 2010 at 3:09 am #

    Hooooray! I may just have to join you. ;)

    • Anonymous December 23, 2010 at 5:00 am #

      Really?! Come to Asia and play Candice, that would be excellent! :-)

  9. camorose December 19, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

    This was my plan before my plans changed and I bought a ticket for Australia instead! So I know how you feel :) Can’t wait to hear how you enjoy it–it sounds like an amazing place to spend some time!

  10. GlobalButterfly December 19, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    Have the best time!!!!!! Everyone is in Thailand it seems.

    • Anonymous December 23, 2010 at 4:59 am #

      Thanks Andi! It is strangely popular right now…I’m taking it as a sign though that I should be there too! :)

  11. Sarah Wu December 19, 2010 at 10:29 pm #

    Plans changes the most important thing is that you’re happy with your decision. Plus Thailand is beautiful. I heard so many beautiful things about it. Who doesn’t like Thai food and temples right? And I’m sure Middle East will still come around. It just mean more traveling for you in the future and more fun! Good luck with your 2011 travel plan, I’m looking forward to your adventures.

    • Sofia December 20, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

      I second that, change your plans as much as you like as long as you’re happy with your decision. The worst thing ever is to stick with something you no longer want.

      You’ll love it in Thailand!

      • Anonymous December 23, 2010 at 5:01 am #

        Thanks Sofia! It feels really right for me right now so I’m glad I am just following my gut and heading to Asia – from your enthusiasm for Thailand it sounds like you jived with the country too! :)

    • Anonymous December 23, 2010 at 5:25 am #

      Thanks so much for your thoughts Sarah. As you said, it’s not like the Mid East is going anywhere and I have no doubt the opportunity will arise again. Good luck in 2011 for you as well – do you have any fun travel plans lined up?

  12. Kyle December 19, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    You’re going to have a good time here in Thailand! There’s no shortage of social opportunities and things to do around here.

    • Anonymous December 23, 2010 at 4:57 am #

      Thanks Kyle! I have been following all of your fun adventures as #TeamCM and am looking forward to joining the community…even though you two will be on your way outta there :( We’ll have to try and catch up at some point though :)

  13. Ayngelina December 19, 2010 at 3:00 pm #

    Seems like everyone’s plans are changing! I too used to be really set in my ways and am really embracing my new ability to make these split second decisions. Besides you can’t go wrong with Thailand!

    • Anonymous December 23, 2010 at 4:59 am #

      I love that you are staying in South America – knowing how much you love it, and raves from @unmarket and others, has inched S. America higher on my list of travel wants. Cheers to us for doing what feels right! :-)

  14. Adam December 19, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

    I’m planning to finally get to Thailand sometime in February I think. Too bad about the Middle East – it’s such a cool, fascinating place, but it’ll likely still be there later on.

    See you in Thailand? :)

    • Anonymous December 19, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

      Brilliant! Thailand it is then :-) I will make it to the Middle East at
      some point, but apparently the travel gods decided now is the time for us
      travel bloggers to converge on Thailand, great that you’ll be coming too, I
      had no idea :)

  15. Anil December 19, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

    Thailand, and especially Chiang Mai, is becoming travel blogger central! Seems to be where many people find the energy to recharge their batteries :)

    • Anonymous December 19, 2010 at 1:25 pm #

      It’s crazy how many bloggers are ending up there, but I figure that
      many people can’t be wrong! Any Thailand in your future plans? ;-)

  16. Earl December 19, 2010 at 8:21 am #

    First, my apologies for messing up the Middle East plans, although it seems that this is working out quite well in the end of course :) So, hooray for Thailand!

    Looks like I’m headed to Australia for the month of January but should be back in Thailand right after. And the community here in Chiang Mai is so wonderful. I haven’t had this kind of community in such a long time so I have no doubt you’re going to love every minute as well!

    • Anonymous December 19, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

      Oh gosh Earl, that is so not something you need to apologize for! More
      than anything, it’s interesting now my first plan is so right. I need
      to recharge and the Mid East would have been more traveling and
      pepetual motion, so this is perfect :)

      Yay for Australia and double yay that you’ll be heading back to
      Thailand! The Trio of Champions will reunite and we’ll have to do some
      more brilliant beer brainstorming :)

      • Jodi Ettenberg December 20, 2010 at 10:28 pm #

        Trio of Champions, FTW! Very happy to see you’re heading to Thailand and looking forward to catching up over a bowl of khao soi.

        • Anonymous December 23, 2010 at 4:56 am #

          Ahh, the amount of Thai food we will consume is going to be *epic!*

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