Thailand, my teener dream!
This month's Reader's Digest Philippine edition (April 2010) features an article on get-away spots entitled "The Road Less Traveled" and with cover introduction as "Off the Beaten Path." It contains some Asian destinations which are "unspoiled" by tourists. Drooling over the pages, i must say that it''s a sure bliss to have a place for one's own meditation and personal reflection; a place free from noises and far from the buzzes of irrelevant others. The article suggested Sikkim of NE India, Bhutan, West Timor of Indonesia and Ko Lanta of Thailand, places which it describes as rustic and far-off; places one will surely fall in love with.
Reading the article is a welcome home note for me when I arrived from my Bangkok-Pattaya tour. The well-thought-off vacation was booked a month before and despite the political instability in Bangkok, I and my friend headed off eagerly. Some said, we defied the first ever issued travel ban by the Philippine, but as far as I remember, what was issued was just a travel advisory. My co-lawyer said that the journalist in my blood must have been awaken, and he fears that I will be in the front line the next day. I assured him, I was off for a pure holiday (Well, actually thank God, our hotel is far from the rally area. Otherwise...).
I have to admit that my brain is a straight line and I take my work ethics responsibly. I love my work and how it empowers the "street lawyer" in me. But the downside is that I take less vacation days, just because my work crowds my planner. But this year, I had a well-deserved vacation, so they say. Indeed, on my part, I must say that there is no such thing as vacation if there in no such thing as work. In my younger years, I dream of traveling as any other teeners dream of. But i can't be in two places at one time: enjoying court appearances and traveling a lot. I just have to fulfill it one at a time. Even as time went by, one place stuck on my brain: Thailand. There is no google then or travel coffee table books then when i decided that I must go to Thailand. It must be the colorful floating markets or colorful silk or the golden Buddha that enchanted me. Having my first out-of-the-country experience means a lot and it meant a lot because it was in Thailand.
And as I finished off the above article, I was met by another one entitled, "The Evolution of an Independent Traveller" where the writer tracks the changes in the travel taste and experience as one ages. The author says that the "travel youth" brings one to an organized tours or big groups while the "travel adolescence" takes one on the roof of the bus or the floor of a crowded train carriage. She furthers that the "travel middle age" brings one to as much comfort as the budget allows and that while business class and private cabins may be out of reach, but one is happy to shell out an extra to get one. The author is not sure of her "travel golden years" as she might be in a senior citizen tour or just roam around her country.
This succeeding article methinks telling me that I am in my "travel youth." But what the article miss out is that travelling is not only much about getting there and getting to many places and being there for how many times. As for me, it is about having some spiritual connection between me and the place. Thailand is the land of the free as opposed to my country which was occupied by Spain for many years. Thailand is about Buddhism, a road personally determined by the person and not by some written code. Thailand is about unadulterated culture. Although Thailand is "invaded" by tourists right now and that 7-11 abounds, I must say, the essence of Thailand is still there. Of course, legalized prostitution and big crowding buildings are far from my idealized Thailand. And I must say that it is all part of the nation's evolution, as our country is also undergoing.
On the lighter side, there are many reactions to my visit in Thailand. Upon posting my Thailand pictures, some were reminded of their childhood memories and their 14 trips to Thailand. Meanwhile, some say that Asian places have magic in it. I must say, travels are personal to the travellers and no two travels to the same place are the same. What's more? It is whom you travel with that make the experience more enriching. While traveling alone makes one mobile, travelling with a friend is fun as having a shared experience is unforgettable and a sure journal of how the travel went through.
I can recall by now that I wanted to be a flight stewardess or travel writer or a novelist crafting stories happening in many places then when I was in my teener. But right now, I am just happy I turned out to be a street lawyer starting her travel youth. Look, if I turned out to be a globe-roamer by occupation, I won't be looking forward to a vacation in far off places but to stay at home and open my facebook.
Gerlie M. Uy (C) April 2010