*This ‘Travel archives’ post was written in November 2015
”I hit a definitive turning point in my travels/ life”
Today marks my 10th day on Koh Phi Phi, the Thai island so perfect that the one and only Leonardo DiCaprio starred in a film about it back in 2000. 15 years since The Beach was released it still continues to be a big draw for people wanting a slice of what this heaven is all about – and being here right now, I can’t blame them. Every day I wish my family and friends would just somehow book that ticket to experience a side of life you can’t quite fully understand until you feel it between your toes.
Today marks the day I hit a definitive turning point in my travels/ life.
After a hectic arrival on Friday 13th (!) due to a delayed flight and a consequent unplanned night in Abu Dhabi the first four/five days blurred into one. To be completely honest I cannot remember a lot of my start on the island (definitely for the best, as bits I can recall and then also later saw evidence of on my phone/ Facebook literally turned my stomach!).
Fair to say I completely lost the plot for various reasons – we can’t blame it all on buckets, that would be masking the truth!. Thankfully it really is a matter of the ”Hey, it’s Phi Phi, nobody cares” and by the time my first week had passed I had it out of my system and my head was in the game. I have a six month visa and want to stay here for as long as it works out; I understood it was time to calm down – a little bit anyway!
Eif, one of my very dearest friends who I have mentioned before, was already settled on the island and had told me what to expect; an ”amazing group of people” and ”work that doesn’t feel like work” because ”we live in paradise”. He was of course, as ever, right on the button on all accounts!.
Phi Phi is definitely a place where you question everything you’ve ever done before, but for all the right reasons. People arrive every day and never want to leave but that onward ticket is usually already booked. Most of the time you can be pretty sure they will be back. Within my first day two of our group had already extended their stays – it’s just that kind of place. You don’t want it to end. As I sit here typing this I can’t imagine leaving, I know that day will come but for now it is hidden far, far back into my thoughts.
I have so much I plan to write about while I’m here and the amount of things that have happened in the last 10 days would probably make a damn good read, but for now I wanted to keep this post relatively short. I wanted to share a question with you, a thought, something to make you think …
Today I saw a photo on another close friends Facebook page, it read ”What are you grateful for?”. Seeing those few words triggered my mind back to the years I had spent in London, much of my time with my best friend, Amelia.
We made so many great memories together, times we knew were really great back then and now looking back they always will be. We used to joke around when we were at festivals/ dying on the sofa surrounded by cupcakes and family size Domino’s orders/ out drinking in The City on a Thursday night, we’d laugh and make ”What are you grateful for?” lists.
The same things always came up but then we would always have recent extras to add on – we were always grateful for something and talking about it made us appreciate things more.
Sometimes we give ourselves a hard time, we say the wrong thing to the wrong people, we regret decisions, wish we had done things differently, looked at things with someones else’s perspective, listened to the advice we give to others but can’t give to ourselves. At the end of the day everyone (should hopefully) have something to be grateful for every day of their lives. Even in tough times the strongest people focus on the best things they have – the good thoughts carry you through.
In Phi Phi you only have to wake up and look at what is around you to appreciate life. Thai’s are some of the kindest, most hardworking, happy people you may ever be fortunate enough to meet. Those here on holiday are coming in on a high and leaving higher (albeit hungover/ sunburnt/ most likely with no shoes and a missing phone).
Those working on the island are an extended family, dotted around working different jobs in different places but essentially living here as one and always looking out for each other. We’re here to live this chapter together and to make the most of every moment.
One new friend, Andy, who I’ve shared a lot of laughs with already this week asked me how I was and I said ”I’m good!” and smiled, asking him the same; ”I’m great! – If you’re not great get off the island!” he said. We joked but it was such a valid point, Phi Phi is just magic, there is no reason whatsoever to not be great all the time. From now on my answer will always be ”great!” and I’ll mean it. They call Thailand ”The Land of Smiles” and when you visit Phi Phi you know why. Everywhere you look, a local, a worker, a traveller, a holiday maker – smiling!
So, what are you grateful for? And moreover, when are you coming to dip your toes into paradise?
Thank you for reading, see you in the smiles