Mindful Adventures in Thailand Part One
The airport doors opened and as we stepped through, the heat almost took my breath away.
I started to smile because it was the first time it actually felt real- we’d arrived in Thailand.
It was late at night and we went straight to our accommodation as I desperately tried to keep my eyes open to discover as much as I could about this place I’d never seen before.
I was surprised by the multitude of scooters (and lack of helmets), the proximity of vehicles on the road and the darkness. Unlike Melbourne, the roads were not well lit and the buildings on the edges of the road seemed hidden, rather than illuminated and wanting to be seen.
I was eager to explore, curious to learn and more than anything, I wanted to create memories here- the kind of memories I could look back on and cherish.
The next morning, we woke early and ate breakfast, excited to dive in to our adventures. We had two day trips planned over the next ten days and apart from that, we were free to spend our time in whichever way we chose.
As we walked along the beach in the early morning sunshine, I was quiet.
Was this what I had expected?
It wasn’t even eight o’clock and the beach was already bustling. Dogs lay on the sidewalk, quietly watching from their spots in the shade. Taxi drivers spoke loudly as they approached us, ready to whisk us away to a tourist attraction or a different beach. Noisy chatter contended with the busy traffic and the different smells demanded my attention just as intently. Within minutes, we were already sweating as the sun reflected brightly off the pavement.
A tiny jolt of disappointment hit me unexpectedly, and I tried to understand why it had appeared. I was on holiday with the man I love, next to an ocean as warm as a bath, with more than a week ahead of me to relax and soak in every moment. Still, I realised that this might not be the holiday I had seen in my daydreams.
My introverted self already felt overwhelmed by the noise and, despite the proximity of everyone around me, I felt lonely. I suddenly missed home and the safety of knowing my way around. I felt unsure of myself- not understanding the language, not understanding the culture, not understanding where I fit in.
However, for me, this holiday wasn’t about being perfect. I was ready to embrace the challenges and learn in ways I hadn’t really let myself learn in the past. Rather than feeling ashamed of disappointment, or homesickness, or uncertainty, I wanted to acknowledge it and move forward, instead of pasting a smile on my face and pretending everything was fine.
I also wanted to be mindful as much as I could, during both the good times and the challenges. I could easily say we had an amazing trip and went on incredible adventures- which we did. However, in these reflections, I decided I wouldn’t leave out the difficulties, or the moments where I pushed myself into venturing outside my comfort zone.
I hope these reflections will show you that being mindful isn’t always easy, not even when you’re on holiday. And that, actually, being on holiday might just create space for you to learn more about yourself than you’d expected. With the sudden stop in your routine, fewer distractions and more time, you might find yourself facing up to anything you’d been hiding from. At least, that’s what I found.