Feb 25, 5:00pm or am depending how you look at it.
I’m on my way home, currently somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. I’ve travelled about 7000km so far. Only another 10000 to go. There’s not much left to say about my trip, but every story needs an ending, and this one is no exception.
I had mixed feelings last night. I was sad to be leaving Thailand, because I have grown to love many things about it. But at the same time, I’m glad to be headed back home to the family and friends I miss so terribly. All in all, 25 days seems to be about the right amount of time to be away. I had managed to become comfortable with living in Thailand. I suppose it’s just a phase of travel. It’s possible the next phase of travel would be “I’m sick of this place and I want to go home.” I’m glad I never got to that phase, because I’d really like to return to Thailand some day soon. Now that I think of it, Sarah seemed a bit melancholy when I saw her last. It is two weeks into her four month trip, and if I had to guess–and really I do–I’d say she was feeling mildly homesick, like I did two weeks in. Do we all go through exactly the same phases? I can already tell that I’m going to be feeling a nostalgic phase for the Kingdom of Thailand. In fact, I feel it already.
My last evening in Thailand was pretty slow and easy. I only knew that I wanted to have a good Thai meal to end my trip. I considered a few fancy Thai restaurants mentioned in the Farang magazine that I bought in Chiangmai. I was hoping to burn off some of the extra Baht in my pocket so I didn’t have to exchange it for Canadian dollars. But in the end, I decided that if I wanted to finish my trip like I lived it, I wanted to be where the locals were. I headed to Sukhomvit Soi 38, under the Thong Lo Skytrain station, where there was a night food market serving an array of delicious street food to Thais of all description. Lowly beggers ate at the roadside, and maids from rich families pulled up in expensive cars to order food to bring home. I stuffed myself silly for 100 Baht on a few different things, including steamed pork and boiled eggs that had been continuously basted in rich brown gravy, some Chinese Kale, BBQ pork, and Thai donuts. No one there spoke a word of English, but all were willing to help me figure out how and what to eat with the friendly and patient smiles that are so common in Thailand.
I brought my camera and wide angle lens out with me, in case I saw something photo-worthy. I couldn’t resist another ride around the city on the Skytrain to hunt down subject matter. I’m not sure if I got anything worth keeping, but it was fun to have one last ride anyway. No regrets.
Finally, on my way back to the Trinity, I ran into a confused looking British couple. I asked them if I could help them find something. They were looking for the Silom night market, and seemed to be in the entirely wrong place. They had gotten off the Skytrain at the wrong stop. I was able to walk them to their destination. It felt good to know without doubt how to help these people. It was like passing the final exam in the learning experience that was this trip.
There will be a lot of things I miss about Thailand. I’ll miss the warmth and kindness of the people, and the quiet dignity they seem to exude. I’ll miss the myriad of inexpensive and delicious food choices at every corner. I’ll miss the shifting and ever-surprising life and energy that seems to be bursting from Bangkok’s every street and soi.
That being said, there are many things I missed about Canada. I missed the cleanliness of home, even something as simple as the fact that drinking water comes right out of our kitchen taps and garden hoses. I miss the fact that things just work, more often than not. I miss the fact that people and services are generally expected to be on time; things happen roughly when they’re supposed to. I miss the fact that our government and society generally cares about the less fortunate among us, and makes an attempt to help. I miss fast and reliable Internet access. I miss being able to talk to people in English without making enormous arm gestures to explain myself. Last, but definitely not least, I miss my friends and family.
I’ve learned a lot on this trip, both pragmatically and philosphically. I learned about a very foreign country and its people. I’ve also learned about myself. I learned that fear will not kill me. It’s okay to be afraid, because things have a way of sorting themselves out. Knowing this makes fear of the unknown and fear of the uncertain all the more healthy and beatable.
It’s hard to believe it’s all over, this exotic journey that I had been anticipating for months. But like I said, it’s time, and life must go on. I have no regrets at all. I don’t think I could have asked for more.
Feb 26, 1:00am
Ok I’m finally home. After missing a connecting flight in Chicago to Toronto because of long lineups at American immigration and customs, I eventually got back on a later flight. Dad had been waiting for me for hours at the Toronto airport. Thanks Dad for your patience and for footing the parking bill! He paid 640 Baht for parking at the airport. Wait. I need to start thinking in dollars again. Total travel time from door to door was approximately 31 hours. Anyway, it’s time for bed. Good night, and thanks for reading all of this!