I believe I told yall earlier that I was going over the weekend to and island down south called Koh Tao to visit a friend of mine from England. Well lucky for me I didn't have school Friday so I got to leave early. I made it down to Chumpon, the town where I was to get the ferry to Koh Tao from, without any issues surprisingly haha. Well on the way over I met three guys from England and we decided to get a guest house together to save money. It was the birthday of two of the guys so I knew it was going to be a big weekend.
Well we got there and got settled into our place and went out for some drinks and to meet my friend Ash who I hadn't seen in two years! She is the cousin of my good mate Scott and all of us met as "the wolf pack" on my first time in Thailand. We all had some drinks and had a good time. We met some other people and it was great fun just relaxing and getting away from my little town for a while and being able to speak English!We did some snorkeling and just hanging out. Saw the fire dancers on the beach and all the usual island stuff. I did meet a girl who saw my Texas Longhorns hat and she was from Dallas so it was nice to meet another Texan just because of my hat haha.
Saturday night was the big birthday bash. It consisted of much drinking and festivities the usual birthday stuff haha. Well my new friends made an alcohol fueled decision to go get tattoos. I declined this offer because I have a strict policy of being sober when I get tattoos haha. All things considered though, their tattoos actually look pretty good considering the state they were in haha. I woke up in the morning after our big night out and I had the ferry to catch home Sunday afternoon because I had work on monday :( it sucked for me because while they went on traveling and having fun but such is life. One of my big memories is there was a guy on the island, he had a street stall for food and he was like an Iron Chef! He was throwing stuff all over the place, catching it,slicing and dicing, I wish I had a video! It was pretty amazing!
I had a really good time meeting those guys and seeing my friend Ash she is a really cool girl. I have some good memories of that weekend I got to work on my tan a little. On the way back home to my little town I met a German guy named Toby. We had time to kill before we left on our respective trains. We decided to get a bite to eat while we waited. I found out he was 39 and had lived in America before. He was a really cool guy and was self employed so he could travel freely. I think that was a great lifestyle if you can make it work.
Well Toby and I started to share our life stories and we found out we had alot in common actually. He used to be a lawyer at a big law firm in Germany and he was doing pretty well for himself apparently. He told me he had a beautiful girlfriend and all the things that a successful should seem to have. But he admitted to me he was totally unhappy with his life. He said he was very materialistic and superficial. To have someone freely admit that to another person is really a big step I really admired that about him. He also said one day that he just got sick of it all. Over a period of two years he broke up with his girlfriend,quit his job,sold most of his stuff and started his new life.
You many people talk about wanting to make changes and wanting something else. Few have the courage to do it. In the top five regrets of the dying number two is "I only lived for what others wanted and not for myself" I could see that Toby is now a person who is true to himself and I like to think that I am also. I don't have a house or a car or a career or a big family or anything that most average Americans have. What I do have is the freedom to be who I want to be and do what I want. My path is not for everyone but I am staying true to myself.
Toby and I spent just over an hour together but we probably shared more in depth stuff about life and living than I have discussed with anyone in a long time. A person is no longer a stranger after a conversation like that. We found out that American Beauty is a favourite movie for us both. You know all it takes is a "hello" to a stranger and you never know who you are going to meet or what you will have in common. I might see him again or maybe never again but we sure did have a good chat. When you are traveling, you are so much more open and accepting than you would be at home. If you are reading this ask yourself when was the last time you had a conversation with a stranger? Much less a "serious" conversation. I challenge you to try it! You just might surprise yourself.
Just a few other bits and pieces before I leave you for now. Smoking is not so big back home anymore, people know the dangers of it and it is getting more and more expensive. In Asia it is the opposite. It costs less than two dollars for a pack of cigarettes and many many people smoke. You can buy them everywhere. I am not a smoker and I don't discriminate against people who do smoke, it is your choice but there is nothing worse for me than seeing a beautiful girl stick a cigarette in her mouth and light up. On the train journey home from Koh Tao the only option they had was third class but I at least got a bench seat next to some local Thais. One of them spoke half way decent English and it only cost me 1.75 USD for a 2 hour journey! Believe it or not that is not my record for my cheapest journey. I once took a four hour train ride for 33 baht. That is just a hair over 1 USD! I don't know how they can make it so cheap, but they don't provide you any luxuries in third class either lol.
In Australia and New Zealand (the main places where I rode trains on a consistent basis) they were air conditioned little tubes that were totally sealed, you couldn't open the windows really much at all. There was all these rules, A 200 dollar fine for eating or putting your feet on the seats! There was rules and restrictions for everything. In Thailand there no no air conditioning unless you pay extra, no rules or restrictions. They constantly sell food and cigarettes on the train. The windows are thrown open and smoke and dust are blown everywhere! People are eating,smoking and chattering away. You can put your feet all over the seats if you wish. Every time I have rode a local train I have always been offered a couple of snorts out of a bottle of ever present Thai whiskey from some local guy. They love their whiskey and it sure does make the journey go faster haha.
You know what? Living here in Thailand there is not many laws or restrictions. Many of the laws they do have are very poorly enforced or you can buy your way out of trouble. It may seem to you like I am here living in a lawless wild west type country but it is not like that at all. Sure I can drive as fast or as slow as I want on the road (no posted speed limits in my town), I can drive as crazy as I want, I can smoke or not smoke anywhere I want,basically the point I am trying to make is that within reason you can do whatever you want here. Back home and in most Westernized countries there is so many rules and law and restrictions of what you can and can't do. People are constantly being told how to behave and how to live. People here seem to have just more general common sense and life experience. If you live in a place where for example a "boat dock" its just a few wooden slats strung out into the ocean with a sharp drop off on either side and NO railing you tend to be a little more savvy. Living here has made me more alert to my surroundings. More alive if you will and I like it! Even though it may not be everyone's cup of tea seeing as for example you cannot put toilet paper in the toilet due to their subpar sewer system. Ok my rant is over :)
Yall have a good week,Tyler