Thailand: post-travel reflection

When we left Chiang Mai for our next destination, I’ve never been so happy to leave a place, even if it meant taking two long flights to Sydney! It says a lot considering I hate flying (yes, even after taking 18 flights in 10 months…!) I remember the morning of our departure, I woke up early with an excess of energy, suitcases all ready by the door. I wanted to get out of there!!

But why was I so eager to leave Thailand? And yet, 8 months after leaving this destination, I want to go back? That’s the dilemma that has been on my mind lately.

Watching fellow travelers post photos of their visits to Bangkok, I get the same envious and nostalgic feeling; a feeling I only have when I see places that have truly left a mark on me (like San Francisco, Japan, and now, many other destinations!). I didn’t have that feeling for Thailand until recently.

We had a fair share of experiences during our six weeks in Bangkok and Chiang Mai! Some funny, some more challenging. We also had the most memorable experiences. One thing is clear: we were unsettled in this country.

Bangkok welcomed us with a huge flood on our arrival. We had to walk 20 minutes in the flooded streets. Once we were all wet from head to toe, we didn’t mind the cars splashing us!

Our decision to rent a small house in the Huai Khwang neighborhood (away from the touristic area) may have played a role. It wasn’t always easy or pleasant. Certainly, the anecdotes about strange insects are funny, but in everyday life, it becomes annoying. It’s not that we were expecting or seeking great comfort either! However, getting stung by red ants in our bed and having to use a lot of products everyday to prevent them from climbing, made our stay a little less enjoyable. 

Or it was having trouble with transportation! We were able to go to Pororo Waterpark by taxi, but got a huge surprise when no taxis wanted to take us back to our house rental! Because of the intense traffic, no taxi wanted to get stuck in there forever and waste a lot of potential rides, therefore money. So we had to discover the chaotic bus system (but with the most helpful staff, driver and people who helped us get to the subway).

On top of that, we had to plan the holidays in Chiang Mai which was hard but we managed to create a modest Christmas celebration for the kids. 

Having food poisoning to celebrate the New Year (but we knew it was a rite of passage in Southeast Asia!).

Having incredible headaches due to emanations in the Airbnb drains and having to pack everything and book hotel rooms for the last few days of our Thailand trip.

All of this probably made our stay a bit more challenging.

After these 8 months of reflection, I strongly believe that I was just exhausted. It was just the accumulation of little things that can wear on your morale in the long run and that I had to deal with at that time. We were already traveling for 5 months, with 12 countries completed in our list.

Because now, I can see the beauty of Thailand. 

*Incredibly friendly, welcoming, helpful, and smiling people. We felt welcomed and safe at all time.

*Always having something to observe on every street corner.

*Seeing our kids having reflections of their own, observing their surroundings, asking questions about what they were witnessing, learning to respect another culture.

*Discovering beautiful places, trying delicious food, getting our daily snacks at the local convenience store.

*Being amazed by all the animals, reptiles, birds, insects, and the plants so different from our hometown. 

*Ordering food and eating together as a family in the living room while watching movies.

*Using imagination to create advent calendars for the children.

*The bird we nicknamed Joel, who woke us up every morning with an annoyingly loud cry!

*Learning a culture different from our own.

I’m relieved that the good times have finally replaced the less pleasant memories in my head.

I would love to revisit Bangkok one day. (My husband remembered all too well my categorical answer when I told him that I would NEVER, in a hundred years, revisit this country…!)

It seems that long reflections can sometimes change our minds!

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