As you may well know, my little trip to Thailand didn’t end after three weeks like I had originally planned. And it really wasn’t a decision so much as a feeling. A thought that I joked about before I left – “Maybe I just won’t come home!” that I would exclaim much to my mother’s dismay – and then a feeling I just couldn’t kick after I got here.
It was somewhere around the time I was in Pai, about one week in, that I started seriously considering all the things I would do if I could just stay a little longer.
On the overnight train back from Chiang Mai, I told Maggie how much I wanted to stay longer and by the time we were in Koh Samui she was saying, “I mean why wouldn’t we just stay. The flight was so expensive anyway and it’s cheaper to live here than at home for the summer.” And just like that we started plotting how much longer we could extend this little trip of ours.
The only real detail we had to work out was rescheduling our flight. Maggie has to get ready for her move to Israel in September and I have to find a new job before my teaching paychecks end in August so it made sense that we needed to be back before the end of July. Changing our flights was a pain due to lack of good wifi but nonetheless done fairly easily online.
We also had to figure out what to do with my stupid global phone (yeah, the one I never turned on) that was supposed to be returned to Verizon after 30 days. I couldn’t mail it back from Thailand because it has a detachable battery. Even that detail just took a single call to Verizon via Skype and we worked out when I would return it without extra charges.
We spent a few days relaxing in Bangkok and detoxing after our nine crazy days in the islands. It was nice to not worry about anything for a moment. We decided we still wanted to see the western Thai islands and since our 30-day visas were soon expiring we would have to go to another country. We settled on Cambodia and Laos since the visa-on-arrival processes seemed fairly simple for both countries. And over a few drinks we booked a flight to Phuket in the morning, just like that.
It’s so nice to travel without an itinerary! We had stumbled back into a friend from Chiang Mai, Elen, and she suggested we end our trip in Laos because we would never want to leave it. Just a few cocktails later and we had a rough outline for our next four weeks.
I can’t put into words how exciting it is to have this chance to stay longer and explore more of Southeast Asia. And it’s even nicer to feel like it’s all falling into place as we go. I can’t wait to catch you up on all the things we’ve done with our extended time. If you ever find yourself someplace not wanting to go home, then don’t!