It Started With A Dream and Ended With An Additction

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been almost ten years since I made my first trip to Thailand.  I was in my early thirties at the time and bored with life.  I had been dreaming about doing some traveling for a long time, but couldn’t find anyone that wanted to travel with me so I would continue to put it off.  I finally realized that if I didn’t go solo, I may never go at all – and time wasn’t slowing down to wait for me.  If I wanted to travel, I was going to have to do it on my own.

After some deep thought and looking at my bank account, I decided Europe was out of the question due to the costs.  Asia was the next logical choice for me and after doing some research I settled on Thailand for my first international adventure.  It was a long flight, but I thought it would be a good place to start.  Costs for both hotel and food were going to be cheaper and it would allow me to spend 7 days exploring the country – I didn’t have a lot of vacation time back then and it was 10 days total including travel time.

Thailand came to the top of the list for many reasons.  It is a well-developed country, English is spoken in tourist areas and signage was often written in both languages.  It was a popular tourist spot and I felt safe traveling there alone.  And the beaches looked amazing.  I was sold and within a couple weeks I had plane tickets and hotels booked.

After several months of eager anticipation, my plane flight departed on Thanksgiving night.  I knew the trip would be a long one, but I wasn’t quite prepared for almost a full 24hours worth of travel door to door.  It took several hours and several movies for me to settle into my plane seat.  I was flying premium economy on Thai Air which made things a little comfortable.  This was back when Thai Air still had a non-stop from LAX to Bangkok, so it was a long time to be stuck in the metal tube.

When we started the descent into Bangkok I started to get butterfly’s in my stomach – what had I gotten myself into I thought.  I had gotten a few hours’ sleep on the flight, but it wasn’t good sleep and by the time we landed I was a zombie.  Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport was new, larger, and quite nice.  I’m not sure why this surprised me or what I was expecting but I was impressed.

I went through the usual ceremony one does when they arrive in a foreign country, immigration, customs, baggage claim, and then a taxi to my hotel.  The whole thing passed by in a blur due to lack of sleep and my overwhelmed senses.  It wasn’t till I finally put my bags down in my room and I had a chance to relax that I realized, I was truly there.  I was actually in Bangkok.  Holy crap.

What would follow next was nothing short of a life changing experience.  It was only seven days, but it was more than enough time to have a profound impact on my life for years to come.  I went on a whirlwind tour of temples, palaces, and beautiful beaches.  I enjoyed great food and crazy nightlife.  Before it was all over I was already thinking of ways that I could return.

And return I did, over and over again.  Thailand had got its hooks in me and hasn’t let go quite yet.  Like so many others I’m addicted to the place.  I return whenever I can and am always left with wanting more.  The next trip is already in the works.

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