“The Thailand Travel Diary” Part Two

18 minute read


Previously in Part One of “The Thailand Travel Diary” – Went to London, met a weirdo and two Israeli prostitutes, eavesdropped on a thought-provoking phonecall, gave bananas to a homeless man, felt confused, met Iva, had a moment, stopped feeling confused, found a quiet part of Bangkok, met Iva again, had deep conversations, said goodbye to Iva, prepared to leave Bangkok.


Day 5 – Tuesday (Bangkok to Koh Tao)

I’d tried to have a good night of sleep, but I just couldn’t. I tossed and turned but my mind was wide awake despite feeling so exhausted. In the end I think I managed about two hours of sleep, with the alarm finally calling and end to my time in bed at 4.15am. I rolled onto my side, dangled my legs out of the bed, and slowly pushed myself up into a seated position. I was exhausted, and it took everything I had to not lie back down and just sleep through the alarm.

At 5.00am I threw my backpack over my shoulders, adjusted the straps, and left the hotel. Bangkok was still shrouded in darkness, and while some people were still wandering the streets having not yet been to bed, others were early birds who were setting up their stalls and getting ready for a day of trading goods and selling food.

I reached the office for Lomprayah High-Speed Catamaran at 5.15am, checked-in, and by 6.00am we were on the bus and heading for Chumphon.

For anybody heading from Bangkok to Koh Tao I can highly recommend this service and booking directly with Lomprayah High-Speed Catamaran. Click here to visit the Lomprayah web site.

As Bangkok began to wake out of darkness, the Buddhist monks in their orange robes wandered the streets carrying out their daily almsgiving routine. Each morning, the monks leave their wat (temple) with an almsbowl that people (mainly Buddhists) will place foods in which are ready to be eaten.

This act is not considered to be charity, but more a show of respect to the monks, and it is not to be confused with begging. If you’ve ever seen this happen you’ll notice that as a person gives food to the monk, they will then place their hands together in a prayer as the monk says a few words to them, which I imagine to be some form of blessing. The monk then returns to the wat to share the food with the other monks. I’ve offered food like this to a monk myself on past visits and was treated no differently to how a Thai person was treated, and it really was quite a humbling experience.

Back in 2004 I also had an encounter with a large group of Buddhist monks which was one of the most surreal experiences I’ve ever had. I was sat in the Moh Chit northern bus terminal and was waiting for the night bus to Chiang Mai. Unfortunately it was so busy that there was nowhere to sit and so I made a seat for myself on the floor and then put my headphones in and sat listening to my music. A few minutes later while I was looking down at the floor, a pair of feet appeared right in front of me, poking out from beneath an orange robe. I glanced upwards to find a Buddhist monk looking straight down at me, smiling. He never spoke, but he gestured for me to follow him over to a set of chairs where he and several other monks were sat. They welcomed me to join them and to sit with them in the one free seat that they had, and so I sat down, initially feeling self conscious about the fact that I was a white man wearing beige combat trousers and a white Adidas T-shirt sat directly in the middle of seven or eight Buddhist monks in bright orange robes. Talk about sticking out like a sore thumb! The monk who’d originally approached me offered me a sweet, which I gratefully accepted from him, and then we just sat there in silence for what must have been two hours. And I can honestly say that for the time I was sat with these incredible people I felt protected and safer than I’d felt in years. They radiated a powerful yet subtle sense of serenity, and everything they did was done with such humility. I felt blessed and truly honoured to have been invited in and accepted by them.

It was now seven hours after leaving Bangkok and the bus finally pulled into Chumphon. After a walk down the pier in the sweltering heat of early afternoon, I climbed onto the catamaran for what was to become a memorable journey. Things started off peaceful enough, but then the seas got really choppy. However this didn’t encourage the sailor to slow the catamaran down and we were soon bouncing between the waves and buffeting from side to side. One moment I’d be looking through the window and seeing nothing but water and waves smashing against the side of the boat, and the next minute I could see nothing but sky.

Seasickness is something I’ve never suffered from in my life, but I was getting closer and closer to it on this journey. And just when I was starting to feel really sick, another man came stumbling over and sat directly behind me where he then proceeded to throw up; again, and again, and again. The sound was horrible and the smell really started to hit me, so I fought to get my ear-phones in as quickly as possible and to get some music on to drown out the sound of his intestines trying to exit his body through his mouth. And then I held my sleeve over my nose and placed a polo mint at the bottom of my nostrils so I could filter the smell. I wanted to move away but my legs were like jelly. And I also wanted to turn around and tell him that he was a selfish bastard and to go and throw up behind somebody else. But I didn’t. Instead I just suffered in silence with a polo stuck up my nose and Devildriver screaming in my ears while the world bounced around me. For 90 minutes.

When I finally crawled off the catamaran and the world stopped spinning, I wandered down the Mae Haad pier and took in the wonderful sight of Koh Tao approaching. I’d arrived. As I reached the bottom of the pier and found the meeting point, I was greeted by a really smiley little guy who’d come to pick me up. This was something new to me as I’ve always tended to travel to places and then just try to find some cheap accommodation on my arrival. But this time, I’d treated myself to pre-booking what I hoped would be a little piece of paradise.

2015 had been an exhausting year. Not only had I been working incredibly hard in my professional career, but I’d also been channelling most of my spare time into launching Lossul.com and getting the initial material ready for publishing. The final result was a year that had been incredibly productive and rewarding, but which had also left me feeling in desperate need of a break.

As an incentive to keep focussed and to keep working, and as a reward for achieving the goals I’d set myself, my reward at the end of it all was this trip to Thailand. The real cherry on the cake was to be six nights in a private villa at the Haad Tien Beach Resort on Koh Tao.

I’ve never been a fan of resorts and my idea of a nightmare holiday is an all-inclusive resort which I cannot leave, so with the word ‘resort’ being associated with the Haad Tien, I was a little sceptical when I first arrived. But the wonderful thing about the Haad Tien is that while it is technically a resort, you are not obliged to stay within it and it’s openly encouraged to come and go as you please with a free shuttle service being provided to and from the Mae Haad pier (making the popular area of Sairee Beach easily accessible). This feeling of isolated paradise coupled with complete freedom was perfect for what I needed.

The private beach at the Haad Tien is pure paradise

The private beach at the Haad Tien is pure paradise

And it turned out to be everything that I’d hoped for. The Haad Tien Beach Resort is a completely private resort which boasts its very own 400m long beach and bay, with the beach itself being something that dreams are made of. The gently sloping and relatively narrow beach is made of pure powdery white sand and is lined with mangroves and palm trees. The sea itself is warm in temperature, turquoise in colour, and the water is crystal clear.

Throughout the day the beach remains quiet with no risk of overcrowding, and so it’s always possible to find your own peaceful spot. At night, the beach is magical with the only light being provided by the stars in the sky and the twinkling lights from the fishing boats on the horizon. And the only sounds to be heard are the gentle waves lapping the shore and the warm breeze blowing through the leaves of the palm trees. With absolutely zero light pollution, the night sky is awash with a mind-blowing panorama of thousands upon thousands of twinkling stars, the beautiful white blur of the milky-way, and frequent shooting stars plummeting through the sky.

The infinity pool

The infinity pool

Set back from the beach is a contemporary infinity pool lined with coconut trees, and there’s a beach bar a short walk away serving drinks and snacks throughout the day. And the restaurant is a wonderful place to kick back in and relax in the evening. Never too crowded and only playing low-volume music which is well-suited to the setting, the food here is absolutely wonderful and the staff are polite and friendly.

And finally, the accommodation; oh wow, the accommodation. I was staying in what’s called a Hideaway Villa which is set back in amongst the coconut tree plantation. The villa is wooden in construction and built up on stilts with a sun deck that provides a view over the gardens and out onto the beach and the sea. The rooms were simple but elegant, with high sloping ceilings, and an imposing king-sized bed with a mosquito net doubling up as drapes across the back of the bed. And the bathroom was impressive, with a huge walk in shower and mirrors that ran the length of the room.

The Hideaway Villa

The Hideaway Villa

In my previous trips to South-East Asia I was travelling on a real shoestring and paying between £2.00 and £4.00 a night for accommodation was a daily occurrence. I remember having been kept awake with the sound of rats running around the inside of bedroom walls, and I’ve also woken up during the night with a tickling sensation on my legs as yet another cockroach had managed to creep into my bed.

But whereas at one time it felt ‘real’ to put myself through such suffering, I now felt like I’d already proven to myself that I can do that. I was only here for two weeks and so this time I decided to do it in style. I had nothing to prove. But upon first arriving at the Haad Tien I kept telling myself that I was selling out and was really beating myself up about it. I knew I had to stop being so hard on myself, but it took me a good day or two to really accept that I’d earned every bit of this.

Like with many things in life, it’s all about balance. It’s important to give yourself some credit and some recognition, but not at the risk of becoming arrogant or conceited. And it’s even more important to have humility, but not at the risk of playing yourself down to the point of halting your own progression. The fine line that’s drawn between the two is where the right kind of confidence exists; that silent kind of confidence that doesn’t need any form of validation. Because when you no longer need validation, you no longer need to take from others; and when you no longer need to take from others, the only thing that’s left is to give.

I honestly believe the world would be a better place if everybody (myself included) aspired to walk that line.


Day 6 – Wednesday (Koh Tao)

I woke up on the second day feeling fantastic and all feelings of uncertainty from the day before were now gone. I’d slept solid for eleven hours and as I got out of bed and rolled the blinds up, I was greeted by the beautiful sunshine. Walking out onto the sun deck, I placed both my hands on the wooden railing and looked out towards the sea with the sun warming my skin and the sound of birds singing their morning chorus. It was wonderful.

Better than the view I wake up to at home

Better than the view I wake up to at home

After steadily wandering down to the beach I made a bed for myself using a sarong I’d bought from Bangkok. A sarong is a great thing to travel with; they’re cheap, they’re light, they’re really versatile, and they take up no space at all. Today I was using mine as a beach towel, and as I lay on my front and began to doze, I noticed the hotel’s resident dog approaching me. It was a skinny but healthy looking golden retriever with a really happy face, and he stood two feet from me with his tongue hanging from his mouth. As he noticed my sleepy eyes starting to close he proceeded to dig a shallow hole in the sand, turn around in a full circle once, and then lay down in the sand and curled up into a ball, facing me. We both looked at each other, like we were both saying “hey dude, how’s it going?” And then we both closed our eyes and began to doze off. Every now and then I’d open my eyes to find my new furry friend looking at me, and then he’d close his eyes. Other times I’d open my eyes to find his still closed, but then he’d open his eyes to find me looking at him, and then I’d close mine again.

And then I fell asleep.

Sometime later I opened my eyes to find my four-legged friend had vanished, and so I decided to leave the beach and to go for a bite to eat. But as I turned over onto my back and sat up, I was delighted to find that while I’d been asleep, three young and attractive French ladies had set up camp directly in front of me. They were currently giggling and smothering each other in sun cream and so I decided that I owed it both to myself and to every other red-blooded male on this planet to sit tight and stay here for a little longer.

While I was enjoying my own private sun cream wrestling contest starring three young French ladies, I got to thinking about how I could spend the final week of my trip. Although I’d pre-booked this first portion of the trip, the second half was a completely blank page with no booking, no itinerary, and no destination; nothing. I had a couple of ideas milling around in my head.

Beyond the mangroves

Beyond the mangroves

After lunch I experienced the first rain of the trip and about a dozen of us made a dash for the beach bar. We all sat huddled together and I thought it would be rude not to have another bottle of Chang while I waited for the rain to stop. About half an hour later the rain had stopped, but the cloud remained, and so I decided to go back to the villa and pass some time there.

My main priority at the Haad Tien was to do some serious relaxing, but I was also careful not to confuse relaxing with laziness. And so I took it upon myself to use the time back at my room to keep my fitness levels up and to stay in shape by doing some exercise. To do this I starting using an old warm-up routine that we used in Muay Thai training and which exercises the chest, shoulders, back, legs, and abs by completing a set of 20 press ups, 20 sit ups, 20 squats, and 20 burpees. This is repeated for five rounds and speed can also be applied in order to make it a good cardio workout also.

Another great workout can be completed using nothing more than a pack of regular playing cards. Intrigued? You need to assign an exercise to each suit, e.g. hearts = press ups, diamonds = sit ups, clubs = squats, and spades = burpees. Place the entire pack of cards on the floor and then turn over each card in turn and whatever suit comes up is the exercise you need to do. The number/picture on the card then determines how many reps are required. You can then time yourself on how long it takes to complete a full pack of cards and then try to beat that each time. With the complete randomness of using playing cards, no two workouts are ever the same.

So there you go, all you need to do is take a pack of playing cards on holiday with you and then you have no excuses about not being able to keep in shape.

Not exactly the worst of places to spend a cosy afternoon

Not exactly the worst of places to spend a cosy afternoon

By the time I’d finished exercising the cloud still hadn’t lifted and it was now drizzling with rain. I wasn’t going to let the weather bother me and so I decided to continue the afternoon by reading a book. I sat against the window reading Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand; a phenomenal true story about Louis Zamperini, the Olympic runner who fought in World War 2. After his plane was shot down by the Japanese he had to endure survival at sea followed by imprisonment and unimaginable abuse at a Japanese prisoner of war camp. It’s an incredible story about resilience and how much a man can endure.

Over the course of the afternoon I’d raided the mini bar of beer and had made myself a couple of coffees. It was now approaching early evening and the rain had stopped, the clouds had shifted, and it was starting to get dark. The automatic lights outside on the sun deck had switched on and I’d not even noticed the day moving into night as I’d been so engrossed in the book.

The day had turned out differently than expected and it had been a really nice afternoon of improvised entertainment. I was feeling really cosy in the villa but I felt it was time to get ready and head out for some food. I plugged a mini speaker into my iPhone and started playing a compilation of really uplifting tunes which I’d once put together for a party some years ago. I could hear the music playing happily away in the main room as I stood in the shower letting the warm water run over me.

When Blue Swede finished singing about being ‘Hooked on a Feeling’ I pressed stop, switched off the lights, left the villa, and had a steady walk over to the restaurant while crickets serenaded me the whole way.

After I’d finished a spectacular Thai Green curry I sat back to read my book. As I took a sip of Chang I looked across the restaurant and caught sight of a pretty blonde woman sat alone. I looked away and returned my beer to the table, but then I glanced over again and this time the woman was looking at me too. I smiled at her. She didn’t smile at me. I broke eye contact. But moments later our eyes met again, and then it was me who broke eye contact. Okay, okay, I told myself, two looks is not a coincidence; one more and I’ll gesture having a drink to her. But no, hang on; I smiled, but she didn’t smile. She’s not interested. Don’t do it Elliot. No, actually, come on Elliot, grow a pair and just do it. So I looked over once more and just as I did so the waiter brought her food and then she turned away from me altogether. Shit.

I finished another chapter of my book and then glanced back over. By this time she’d finished her dinner and was now reading too, and we never made eye contact again. I sat there really beating myself up, telling myself on one hand to take my own advice and listen to all the things I’ve said before about taking chances, taking risks, facing fears, and risking rejection. But then I’d rationalise not taking action by telling myself that she wouldn’t be interested anyway because hey, she never smiled back. But then I’d beat myself up for rationalising. It was a vicious circle.

I realised I was being a little harsh on myself but I’m somebody who hates to let opportunities slip by, although I have let them slip and at times still do, especially moments like this when you face potential rejection. But I don’t like regrets, and I’ve never once regretted taking a chance in life, even if things didn’t work out the way I’d hoped. The only regrets I have in life are the times I didn’t take a chance, when I didn’t take a risk, and when I never got to find out what might have been.

But just as I was sat there arguing with myself for wimping out I suddenly realised that I was already on my feet and was walking through the restaurant towards the woman. I glanced back at my own table. How did this happen? I was sat down a moment ago and now I’m on my feet. When did I make that decision? It was as though my legs had been listening to the argument going on in my head and had suddenly said “right, that’s it Elliot, I’ve had enough, if you’re not going to make a decision then I will.” And then my legs got up from the table, taking my body and my brain with it.

But now I’m getting closer to her table and I’m aware that I will soon have to speak, and she’ll hear what I say, and so will the people around me. I’ve passed six different tables on the way that are full of groups and couples who are all drinking and eating really quietly. Even the music feels like it’s been turned down to minimum level. And then I’m there, stood at the foot of the table in front of this pretty blonde woman. But she doesn’t notice me, and now this feels really awkward. I’m in the middle of this busy yet really quiet restaurant, stood in front of a woman I do not know and she doesn’t even know I’m there. What do I do? Do I say hello? Do I cough? Or do I kick the table and spill her drink? No, not a good idea. Thankfully she realises she’s now been approached and she looks up at me, not saying a word. Speak Elliot, speak! Engage your brain! Move your mouth and form some words. But what do I say?

“Hi.” I said.

Good start Elliot, that’s an intellectual ice-breaker.

“Hi.” She returned.

Okay that’s positive. Now the conversation is really flowing. This is great. Now I need to ramp things up a little.

“May I join you for a drink?”

“Excuse me?” She replied.

Oh no, this isn’t good. Excuse me? What kind of a reply is that? I was either expecting a yes, or a polite refusal, or worst case that she might have called for security and asked for me to be removed from the restaurant.  Maybe she just didn’t understand what I said. Maybe she didn’t hear me and maybe I needed to speak louder. But now I was suddenly conscious that a few heads had turned and the entire restaurant was now fully aware that I’d left my table, approached a woman who was sat alone, and that I was now making some moves. I felt their eyes on me and the weight of expectation on my shoulders. If I got rejected I’d have to do the walk of shame back through the restaurant and past those six tables. It was so quiet that I would’ve been able to hear a pin drop. Oh, the pressure!

“May I join you for a drink?”

And then her expression softened, a smile spread across her face, and she replied.


I told her I’d just go and grab my things and come back with my beer, and so I went back to my table, picked up my beer, and returned to the woman. There was no walk of shame, instead I walked back through the restaurant and wanted to point into the faces of every single person on those six tables and shout “in your face” and maybe high five one or two of them. But I didn’t. I played it cool. I kept it all James Bond.

She was Tatiana from Warsaw, Poland, and she was away for 16 days. Tatiana had already been to Siam Reap in Cambodia to visit the spectacular ruins of Angkor, and she was now in Koh Tao for scuba diving. She was a keen diver and had been to a whole myriad of different places, but on Koh Tao she was really hoping to see a whale shark. This had been her penultimate day on Koh Tao and so she only had one day remaining to try to do this. It was Tatiana’s first time travelling alone, and like most of us who travel this way she’d done it for a reason, and for two and a half hours we shared our stories.

She was a really inspirational person who had climbed incredibly high in her career, which is a massive achievement considering that the industry she is in was still laden with sexism. She was the first woman to have achieved a managerial position in her company and she intended to use this position to really help break down some barriers and to help pave the way for more women to be able to do the same.

It was a really nice evening; chatting away as we drank and had Dean Martin singing away quietly in the background. At one point there was a power cut and we were plunged into complete darkness. No music, no lights, just the sound of crickets and the stars outside slowly appearing as our eyes adjusted to the darkness.

It was a wonderful end to a great day, and we agreed to meet up the following evening and to head to Sairee Beach for dinner.


Day 7 – Thursday (Koh Tao)

I woke up to perfectly clear skies and even at 8.00am the temperature was high. It was going to be a scorcher. After breakfast I took the shuttle into town, although I think I may have caused some relationship troubles along the way. Let me explain.

I was sat in the back of the songthaew and there was just one free space available on the benches. Just before setting off a young couple in their mid-twenties climbed on board and then the man took the seat and left his girlfriend stood on the back step. I was stunned. And I know it wasn’t my place to do this, but I wasn’t going to have that; chivalry is something that should never die out. I got the girls attention, gestured to my seat, and asked if she’d like to take it.

Smiling, she responded. “Oh, thank you very much, but I’m okay.”

But then she turned to face her partner and her smile dropped away and was replaced with a scowl. A conversation then commenced between them in a foreign language which I imagined to be as follows:

“You selfish pig! You just sit down and leave me stood up. And it takes this nice Englishman to offer me his seat…”

“But honey, I was going to…”

“No, no, I’ve heard it all before!”

“But honey…”

“Forget it. You’re not getting ANY tonight!”


My job here was done.


After reaching town I had a short walk, bought a few bottles of water and some supplies, and then returned to the Haad Tien in the back of a pick-up truck.

The day settled into a steady rhythm of sunbathing for an hour on the beach, then cooling off in the sea, and then moving back into the pool to swim. Then I’d shower, put on more sun cream and then repeat the same routine for the entire day.

But something was starting to bother me. As I was sat on the beach looking out to sea I spotted a large rock some 80 metres or so out from the shore. I’d never been altogether confident when swimming in the sea and as soon as I reached a point in which my feet couldn’t touch the floor and I was out of my depth, I’d start to panic a little. It brought about a real sense of fear. And it really started to taunt me. I wasn’t aware of it at this point, but this rock was going to become an obsession, and it was to become a personal challenge.

Inside the infinity pool

Inside the infinity pool

Later in the afternoon I was swimming in the pool as the lowering sun cast its magical orange glow through the branches of the coconut trees. I swam over to the steps and sat enjoying the soothing feeling of the water moving around me. My eyes were closed and I felt so at peace. A few moments later I sensed that somebody was nearby and I opened my eyes to find a young woman had climbed into the pool and was sat on the steps not far from me.

I smiled. “Hello.”

“Hi.” She replied.

She was Laura, from Rotterdam, Holland, but right now she was living in Munich, Germany. Over the years I’ve found the Dutch people I’ve met to be really cool, and they’ve always spoke such wonderful English too. It always makes me feel so ashamed because being from England, speaking a second language has always been taught at school, but never really pushed as something that’s a necessity. And it’s at moments like this when I always feel a little embarrassed about this.

Laura came across as a really laid-back person and it turned into one of those really easy-to-have conversations in which there was never any panic to think of something to say. At times we just sat there saying very little and we were both really comfortable with that. It’s as though we’d been friends for a while. I told Laura about Lossul.com and explained my reasons for creating it and what I aimed to achieve with the site; she seemed to really get it. Laura was really into her photography too and I could sense that she was a really free-spirited and creative kind of person. I really liked her.

The time passed so quickly. We sat there chatting away with the setting sun bouncing off the water and the temperature was still so warm. Despite the two of us acknowledging that the water was slowly turning us into prunes, I really didn’t want to leave. The setting was perfect, and the company was wonderful.

But it was time to leave and so we said our goodbyes and I left Laura at the pool. I returned to my room to get showered and changed and a little while later I met up with Tatiana.

“Hey, how’s your day been? Did you get to see your whale shark?”

“No, I’m afraid not. But I had a wonderful day.”

Tatiana and I climbed aboard the shuttle and set off for Mae Haad pier. By the time we arrived it was dark and then we set off on foot towards Sairee Beach. We had a steady walk through the darkness with the majority of the light being provided by fairy lights set in amongst the trees and from lanterns hanging up in the various bars and restaurants which lined the beach. I had no idea what this place looked like by day, but by night it was really pretty.

We were soon in a busier area of Sairee Beach and the initial quaintness was replaced with a bustling town packed out with bars, shops, restaurants, and dive schools. Tatiana really wanted to pick up a souvenir vest from the dive school she’d been spending time with and so we had a steady wander through the town. After helping Tatiana pick out a new vest, we started to retrace our steps back towards Mae Haad and then picked out a restaurant to have dinner.

Unfortunately the food wasn’t great, but spending time with Tatiana was wonderful and she was really good company. Despite the disappointment of the food, the evening was made eventful by the presence of a really comical waiter who had a really high pitched voice and ran around like a Thai version of Manuel from Fawlty Towers.

After dinner we set off back to Mae Haad pier to catch the return shuttle to the Haad Tien, stopping off for banana pancakes on the way. There was only one place left in the back of the songthaew and so while Tatiana sat down I chose to stand on the back step and hold on to the ladder. I then looked around at the other passengers and then Laura and I spotted each other.

“Hey Laura!”

“Hey Elliot.”

“How’s your evening been?”

Tatiana, Laura, and I chatted amongst ourselves until the songthaew pulled off from Mae Haad pier and back towards the Haad Tien. It became an adventure as we bounced along the unmade roads, but it was especially adventurous for me as I fought to keep a foothold on the steps and to grip onto the ladder. And then I had another one of those ‘moments’, just like that night with Iva back in Bangkok.

I looked around me and saw what I was a part of. I’m clinging onto the back of a bouncing songthaew, all of the passengers are laughing amongst themselves at the craziness of the journey, and then I looked behind me. I could see a young Thai couple on a motorbike behind us and they both looked so happy, I could see people sat on the doorsteps of their houses with friends and family, and I could hear Thai music playing somewhere in the distance. I looked up into the perfection of the night sky; that infinite star-filled beauty which no matter where you are on earth, you will see it. It’s a constant. And once again there was that realisation that all of this was happening to me, in a place on the other side of the world.

These moments; the moments where you feel so alive, so completely aware of who and what you are, and so completely in the moment, are nothing short of magical. These are the moments I live for.

As we returned to the Haad Tien I climbed off the back of the songthaew and said goodnight to Laura, and then Tatiana and I walked back down towards the restaurant. It was time to say goodbye. We wished each other safe travels and agreed to stay in touch, and then we hugged and said goodbye.

I walked steadily back to the villa, took a bottle of Chang from the mini bar, and then sat back out on the sun deck listening to the crickets and looking up at the stars.

And then I started to think about that rock out in the sea.



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