On my trip to Thailand last year, I fell madly in love. I fell in love with the clear blue, lukewarm and incredibly calm sea glistening in the sunshine. I fell in love with the people, their happy spirit, the way their laughter brightened the rainiest of days and the way they made me feel safe and at home so far away from everyone I knew and everything I was used to. I fell in love with the early sunsets, the dinner dates in the dark, the early sunrise and the empty beach at the break of dawn. I fell in love with the way the wind swept through my hair and with the sense of freedom as I sat on the back of a motorbike exploring the island with it’s lonely beaches and wild forests. I fell in love with the simplicity of a traveller’s life. With the ease with which I got to meet new people. I fell in love with the yoga lessons at the beach, with the bananas that were a million times sweeter than the ones eaten here, with the watermelon and papaya slices bought in little plastic bags at the beach.
It was the kind of love that has the power to change a life, and it changed my life in a number of ways. My stay in Thailand made me fall heavily in love with solo travelling. Upon returning to Switzerland, I changed my plans about continuing my studies and instead looked for work to earn money and leave to Asia again. And here I am, more than half a year later, not regretting my decision in the slightest bit. I grew more as a person in these few weeks alone in Thailand than in the years before. I became more independent, braver, more open-minded. I learned to love solitude and I learned to reach out to people when in need for company. I found my new home at the sea. And when I got back to Switzerland, I suddenly felt homeless, because I had changed so much and meanwhile everything seemed to have remained the same in my absence – and so I didn’t recognize the place I had called home before as a true home anymore, and my new home, the sea, was left far, far behind. I suffered from heartache, the heartache evoked by leaving a place you loved, a place you felt at home at behind for an unknown period of time. And to the current day, I look through pictures of Thailand with a melancholic heart. They might not seem special to others but to me they contain a thousand memories, they remind me of happy moments. And it makes me look forward even more to the day when I finally hit the road again. In the beginning of November, I will fly to Bangkok once again. I’m not sure where I will head to from there though. I loved Koh Lanta last year, but I don’t necessarily want to return in fear that my expectations might be too high and I might get disappointed, and also because my impression of Koh Lanta is strongly connected to the people I met that have left the island by now. But what is sure is that I will live the island life again. No big cities, just the sea and me. That’s all I need.