I squeezed onto the jam-packed overnight train to Southern Thailand with some other backpackers I met a few days before. The train was rusty and looked decrepit, but we all hopped on it anyway in hopes of a pleasant 12-hour ride to somewhere in the south. We drank our Thai beer and played card games with other worldly backpackers, and shared stories about how our travels had been so far. I felt as though this scene were straight out of a movie as the loud train made my body rock back and forth while I tried to look out of the window. Looking out, all I could see was darkness. Pitch black. At this point, I felt as though there wasn’t much to see, and decided I’d use the next ten hours for sleep…
Half a day later, I stepped off the train with all my belongings and felt as though I was on another planet. Didn’t know where I was, but everything was different.
Believe it or not, the most intoxicating feeling of traveling throughout Thailand was not knowing where I was half the time.
Many days, I’d wake up, stand outside, stare at the new world that surrounded me and just think about how I couldn’t even place my location on a map. I didn’t know where I was geographically, nor did I know the name of certain towns I was in.
Sounds a bit scary, but this was probably the best part of backpacking through a foreign country.
I left my home with no real plan…I knew a few things, like where Bangkok was on a map and that I was going to Kanchanaburi to chill with some monks in the middle of nowhere for a while, but other than that everything was spontaneous.
Don’t get me wrong, I had many stressful days not knowing where I was going to sleep that night, not being able to speak to anyone I knew and not having a dollar to my name. But the beauty of my surroundings is what kept my spirits up. I had never felt anything so exhilarating.
I’d be so stressed, wondering why I had the worst luck. I had moments abroad where I’d sit in my room pissed off, missing my friends back home. New people I was traveling with were getting on my nerves, I lost my passport, had no money…at points couldn’t really communicate with anyone about how I felt.
But I would step outside, look into the atmosphere and my heart would skip a beat.
Through the tangled jungle trees with their leaves and twisted branches, I’d see a sun that I had never seen before. It was like love at first sight. This is the feeling that came over me everyday while I was traveling, everyday I was in an unknown place.
From dirty, crowded slum-looking streets, to tropical beaches, to unreal Jurassic Park mountains covered in lush greenery. From the smell of garbage and mold, to the smell of the purest atmosphere I’d ever breathed. Taking in these environments was that of a natural high.
All the sudden, being alone didn’t mean shit. Being alone was beautiful. Fascinating.