Why do people travel? There are a million-and-one reasons, I guess. But I bet the most popular reason is so that they have a story to tell. Something different. Something exciting. Something wild. I want to share with you three stories of my travels in Thailand.
A storm in a teacup.
I remember one night in Koh Samui one of the locals told us about some waterfalls that were off the beaten track. Hidden away in some rainforests. So we took off and went to find them the next day. Boy, they were beautiful!
On our way back we were caught in the mother of all monsoons. Lightening, thunder, rainfall like something from a fantasy. So we took shelter, hesitantly, in a police check area. We were a little embarrassed, 5 soaked westerners, looking totally out of our depth turning up to a police box, scared we’d either be laughed at or told to go away – instead they cooked us some food, gave us coffee and wanted to talk about football and take pictures with us! It was so unexpected! They let us chill until the rain went off. Gave us some tips and directions about getting to the next town and waved us goodbye. It was such a moment of kindness and one I will remember forever.
Slimy, yet satisfying.
Another time I was helping out on clearing a bamboo field on a free day. We found a big wasp’s nest amongst the bamboo… We tried to clear it away and I got a pretty nasty sting on my butt. Yep, you read that right: I got stung on the butt. OUCH!
One of the local guys who worked with us created a small fire to smoke out the wasps so we could carry on working. Once the wasps fled the nest, he told us we could cook and eat the nest… and the larvae inside too! So I thought “what the hell, this will be an interesting story!” So yeah, I ate freshly cooked wasp’s eggs. They didn’t really taste like much, but had a lovely gooey burst once you bit into them!
The kindness of strangers.
The kindness of strangers is something that shouldn’t be a surprise in this day and age, but it is. And it’s something that can lift spirits, and give you that extra little push to get you on your way to a new, unexplored destination. One time in Bangkok during rainy season, I was exploring a really local suburb, with hardly any tourists, food stands, hustle and bustle. The heavens opened and quicker than you can say ‘sawadee krap’ the place was a foot deep in water.
I couldn’t get anywhere and was stuck under an overhanging cover of someone’s house. The lady who lived there noticed me, and gave me a towel to dry myself. Before I knew it she was cooking me up a warm meal and talking to me. We couldn’t understand each other but it didn’t matter. She knew I was thankful, and she was happy to help.