If you’re going to spend 24 hours on an airplane (plus another seven or eight hours of layovers and processing) each way, you might as well try to spend as much time at your destination as possible. In this case, the destination was Thailand, and we chose to stay for a month. It was a life-altering experience. We took the trip a few years back, and we still talk about how we’d like to sell everything and move to Thailand with little more than a toothbrush, a change of clothes, and a credit union credit card–that’s how much we loved it. Here are some of the lessons we learned from spending a month there. Some of the lessons felt profound to us, and some were just plain silly.
Food & Accommodations Were Inexpensive
You hear about it in advance, but we couldn’t get over how inexpensive food and accommodations were. That’s one of the reasons we keep thinking we could actually afford to offload our western ways and move to Thailand for a long stretch of time.
We Learned About Nature in a Non-Terrible Way
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always felt a little guilty about going to zoos and aquariums in the U.S. I know some of them rescue the animals and do good things, but I get so sad seeing the animals in their cages. I’ve always believed that animals were meant to roam free. In Thailand, we were able to hang out with elephants in their natural habitat, and that was a mind-blowing experience for me.
You Gotta Have Patience
The pace of our lives in Thailand that month taught us patience. The infrastructure of the country is different than it is here. A lot of things felt like they moved more slowly. Additionally, when you have a major language barrier with the people around you, your life starts to slow down and you actually learn to appreciate the slower pace with which you are now living. I started to feel more zen-like over there; I was more mindful of everything I was doing.
You Gotta Be Flexible
As with patience, we learned to be more flexible. You know how it can be back here at home in the states: When things don’t go your way, sometimes you get mad. You lose it a little bit. In Thailand–and maybe this was partially because we were on vacation–we learned to go with the flow.
The Food Was Hit or Miss
Based on what we eat when we’re back home, you might say that we have slightly more “narrow” palates than some of our foodie friends. When we would go to restaurants in Thailand, much of the time they didn’t speak English. We would point at things on the menu, and it was a little like rolling the dice to see what we’d end up with. Some of the food was so amazingly delicious to us, but we weren’t so sure about some of the other dishes we ended up with. Thankfully the food was inexpensive, so if we didn’t like something, it wasn’t the end of the world. This helped contribute to learning patience and flexibility.
Charades Became Our Language
Everybody has played Charades at some point or other in their life, right? Well, we never thought we’d be using it to communicate as much as we did during our month in Thailand. Imagine trying to ask for mosquito spray: How would you put that into motions? (Well, some sounds helped.)
In closing, we heartily recommend Thailand as a vacation destination. Plan to stay as long as you can afford to be away from your life back home, and watch lots of YouTube videos in the meantime.
Lindsay is the founder and editor of Carpe Diem OUR Way. She is passionate about sharing her experiences of traveling with children on adventurous family holidays around the world! She resides in the suburbs of Vancouver when not jet setting abroad.