It's All About Who You Know
Over the previous two months, I've posted photos of gorgeous beaches and delicious food. And while being able to travel is an absolute blessing, it would be nothing without the people you meet along the way. I've been fortunate enough to have a group of friends here who are easy to laugh with, do nothing with, and the ultimate test - be myself with. (Some drink that tasted like blue).
Traveling is amazing for the places you can see, but pictures are truly worth a thousand words. Spending a weekend in Surat has left me feeling relaxed, happy, and normal. Moments when I can just lay in someone's room and laugh until I cry makes me remember why I love to travel. Meeting people while traveling is interesting, refreshing, scary, and familiar all at the same time. Everyone has something in common and yet everyone is extremely different whether it be their language, background, or life goals. But whether you're walking into a hostel, sitting on a train or living with a group of crazies in Thailand, you can be sure everyone has been bit by the travel bug and is trying their best to live with no regrets.
(Chef Nikki's crepes).
Saturday we watched the rain pour down while four of us laid in bed listening to mood-appropriate music, eating homemade crepes, and laughing our asses off. It was a morning that made me forget about being half a world away from NY, because it felt so homey...and at the same time it made me homesick for my usual crew of hooligans back in the states.
(Afternoon beers and brownies). Some moments traveling are truly tourist experiences where you can see the beautiful sites and eat the local dishes. But being able to adapt to a place and treat it as your home is when the addiction really kicks in. You become more than a tourist, but not yet a local. You start to develop a bond not only with your friends, but with the culture as a whole. Sitting in a coffee shop, riding your bike through town, or just hanging out with friends is no longer an exciting "Guess what I did in Thailand" moment - it's just life. It's moments like that when I have to slap myself and say Hey! You're living in Thailand. LIVING in Thailand.
On Sunday I picked up my good friend Marion. Marion and I met when we were 15 doing an exchange program for airline employee children. She spent a summer with me in NY and the next year I spent a few weeks in beautiful Nice, France. We've kept in touch over the years and I was able to see her again about three years ago while I was living in Italy.
This time it was my turn to do the hosting. She stopped in town on her way to the islands for about 30 hours and we did nothing but catch up. Seriously, we did nothing. We slept, ate, talked, watched a movie, slept, and ate. It was great!
(2010 Nice, France).
(2013 Surat Thani, Thailand).
I love being able to meet so many interesting people while I travel around and definitely live by the phrase "Don't burn bridges". Marion said she had told her Dad she would be staying with me. He was shocked that she would just invite herself into my house...but that's how things tend to work. It's great to have a fellow traveler come crash with you, because you know at some point you'll want that favor to be returned! In fact, I'm sure I'll be stopping in France on my way home...whenever that is!