If you follow me on any form of social media, you’ll know that my past week or so was spent in Thailand backpacking. I’ve wanted to visit Thailand for pretty much my entire life-the people, the culture, the scenery is all so different from little old blighty that I had to experience it, and since I was 17 I’ve been planning where I would go and what I would do (as well as saving like crazy).
But after arriving in Thailand, meeting and caring for rescued elephants (yes, really-dream come true!) and meeting people who I’ve bonded with quicker than anyone I’ve met before, it was decided I had to come home. Illness can get you anywhere, kids.
From the first day I woke up in Bangkok, my ear was ringing with intense pain and as the days went on, I began to lose my balance and ability to concentrate too. I completed Thai cooking classes thinking I was going to faint at any moment for a solid 4 hours and I was bathing the loveliest elephant in the world with an intense pain bothering me and attempting to ruin things the whole time.
People on the trip had mentioned that I seemed quite shy-something I’m not often told. It’s just that it’s hard to play loud drinking games and get involved with people when a) you feel like death b) you can’t drink alcohol because you’re on medication. After a week in Thailand I’d been to hospital 3 times and the doctor laughed when I asked him if I could do the activities I had planned.
So my decision was this: stay in Thailand, do no activities during the day (not even a walk through the jungle) and not really be able to socialise at night. Or change my flight, and come home. Did I really want to remember this lifelong dream as one where I felt ill? Where I couldn’t be myself because I felt so weak? As the holiday I never intended on having? Then again, was going home giving up-giving in to a bit of nervousness, or was it deciding to heal myself?
For days I couldn’t figure this out, but it became clear I had to leave. After a very panicked enquiry into whether I could actually come home (hospital bills, insurance, money transfers to change tickets) I got it all sorted and then just had to begin the 34 hour trek home. All whilst feeling like I couldn’t stand up.
The thing is, this was obviously not what I saw happening to me in Thailand. being incredibly ill, in a room 8000 miles from home, panicking about your next move when you’re all alone is the scariest most adult thing I’ve had to do. It was awful, but I learnt so much from it.
I have flown into a country all on my own. I have met elephants. I have seen temples and a culture I have never seen before. I have learnt a more respectful way of life. I have seen how privileged I am. I have become ill and been brave enough to get myself well. I have established the difference between running away and going to heal myself. I have realised what I want from Thailand in the future. I have been all alone, in a massive group, and with individuals and enjoyed myself. I have been all alone, in a massive group and with individuals and hated every second. I have understood what I need and who I am more. My eyes have been opened about Thai people and British people, the similarities between myself and those people, and the differences and what they mean. I learnt and enforced my boundaries. I got what I wanted from this trip and discovered what I needed, and what I will want in the future. I am immensely proud of all I have achieved here, and I know myself so much better for it.
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”💕