As we’ve already said, our first month in Thailand was a bit of a whirl wind tour. There’s no doubt that we were feeling a bit short on time. We were short on time. Contrary to the open-ended, unplanned, free-to-do-whatever-we-want schedule that we’d grown accustomed to over the past 20 some months of travel, we arrived in Thailand having already purchased plane tickets out.
We knew the day and the hour that we’d be leaving before we ever showed up. And when one is short on time, one rushes to squeeze everything in. Kind of like when procrastination finally catches up to you. You spend a few sleepless days and nights working like a dog trying to get things done just in time for that important deadline. That’s something like what the whole month had been like for us. Rush, rush, rush… Folly.
But we were not only rushing to plan out what we wanted to see during our short time in Thailand – we were also trying to figure out just exactly what we were going to do when we did get home. This is the important setup for the rest of this post. We weren’t just planning on coming home to visit. We were coming home to live.
After Egypt, we’d kind of gotten it into our heads that we were done with travelling. At least the way we had been travelling. Our intention was to return home and get jobs. The full time, life-long career kind. We’d also take the shrivelled remnants of our travel funds and do what was nearly unthinkable just a half year ago… lock ourselves into a long term mortgage, hopefully purchasing a fixer-up that could be made into a split rental home. Half for us, half for a renter.
Ashley would return to teaching and enrol in what they call a “four in five” or deferred salary program. That allows her to take every fifth year off from work (along with the pay). We hadn’t completely abandoned travel, just limited it and deferred it by four years.
Me, I’d have to fix up the house, then find some career where I could also take every fifth year off along with summers. That pretty much rules out engineering (which I’d all but ruled out anyways because it made me unhappy). The plan: become a self-employed, home-based baker. Seriously, I love good German style bread and you just can’t find it in the “bread basket” that is Saskatchewan. Our bread is spelled “Wonder”, and it’s a wonder they are allowed to label it bread (Please don’t sue me, it’s a joke. You know, ha ha).
But the plans didn’t stop there. Oh no. Next up, we were starting to talk about children. Or, more likely a child. I’m very much a believer in China’s 1 child program. I mean, if you honestly look at it, pretty much all of the world’s problems are a problem of overpopulation. Destruction of natural habitat, extinction of wild animals, global warming, high energy costs, high food costs, industrial chemical based farming, disease, etc, etc, etc.
So you’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with Koh Samui…
Our good friends Talon and Tigger from 1 dad, 1 kid, 1 Crazy Adventure had a house sitting gig on Koh Samui while we were in Thailand. It had been exactly one year to the day since we last said goodbye to Talon in Utila, Honduras, and we were really stoked to meet up with him again.
Just a little background for those that don’t know… Talon was Ashley’s certifying scuba dive instructor in Utila. He did such a great job of getting us to enjoy the sport that we stuck around to do a half dozen more courses including our divemaster certification.
Now we were coming nearly direct to Talon from Koh Tao, the only place we’d been diving in the past year. We were looking forward to reminiscing about diving.
As expected, seeing Tigger and Talon again was great. They are fantastic people and we really enjoy their company. But there was one conversation that stuck out above all others. And it was this.
Ashley relayed to Talon the plans described to you above. You know, the whole going home, done with travelling plan. But she didn’t just tell him the plan as if it were set in stone, she tried to convince him that the plan was a good plan while she told it. In truth, Talon was the first person that either of us had told our coming home plan too. She realized, as she explained herself, that she wasn’t so much trying to convince Talon that it was a good plan, she was trying to convince herself that it was indeed a good plan.
After patiently listening while Ashley spoke, Talon’s reaction exactly summed up what we were both feeling after hearing our own plan said aloud, “Nah, I don’t think I could do that.”
Whoa, yep. We can’t do it either. And thus began our research into teaching abroad, which eventually led us to our current plan of volunteering a year in the Himalayan country of Bhutan. So there we go, three small days in a 627 day journey may have changed the rest of our lives – they’ve certainly changed the next year or so. Thanks Talon, you really saved us from ourselves. We’re not ready to settle down, who were we trying to kid?
Oh yeah, we did some stuff in Koh Samui too
We were only there for 3 days. If you’re really interested in Koh Samui, you should probably read Talon’s write up of it.
The coolest thing that we did see, in my opinion, was the under-decomposed monk. This fellow famously predicted the date of his own death and left instructions to his followers to leave his body on display if it should fail to rot or decompose. Supposedly his body didn’t rot, so they stood him up, gave him some sun glasses and he’s been on display at this temple ever since.
My conspiracy theory is that he died from an overdose of formaldehyde or perhaps aspartame. Every time I hear of someone predicting the date of their own natural death, I can’t help but think of self-induced poisoning. But, maybe the whole thing is just proof of the divine. I don’t know. What I can say is: I think he’s looking pretty good for a dead guy. Wouldn’t you agree?