We are only visitors on this floating island amongst the stars. This mortality, it seems, has always driven people of different eras and places to travel. The earliest people sought food for survival, others looked for the infamous fountain; still others ventured out to guide lost souls or find themselves. I am no different. I have realized my mortality. My moment upon this earth is indeed brief, and so I take my leave yet again. I do not seek survival. I do not quest for the fountain. I do not claim to save souls or even search to find myself. Instead I hope to strengthen old friendships and create new memories with my two companions: One, a fellow Catawba Alum Joe Brooks and the other, an old high school buddy, Ben McCreary. My next stop: the mysterious and beautiful Thailand.
Be it the lush tropical jungles, quintessential beaches, or the under rated Thai cuisine; Thailand is by far the most impressive country I have come across. Situated just above Malaysia and in the heart of South East Asia, Thailand is a favorite destination among my once fellow foreign teachers. Eleven months ago I found myself departing South Korea three months earlier than my teaching contract said. A little miss communication between my school, headquarters, and the ROK Government (pronounced rock by the local ex-pats) lead to an expedient exit. A few days later I found myself spending nearly 30 days backpacking the country of Thailand. I traveled by boat, train, bus, and tuk tuk. I stayed in everything from hostels to bed bug infested shacks. And yet, Thailand still holds that special something in my heart.
What is it about Thailand that makes me go back? Maybe it’s the architecture – the old world meets new look. One could find magnificent Buddhist temples towering above houses and local eaters or dives. Maybe it’s the “Thai spicy” food that surpasses any eatable heat rating of the Americas. What about the melting pot of culture Indian, Malay, Burma, Chinese, Filipino - the list goes on and on. Maybe it’s the attitude in which much of the county seems to live its life – what the French would call “c'est la vie” or the Costa Rican’s “pura vida” attitude. Could this be it?
I just don’t know, but one thing is true. Whatever the reason, Thailand somehow satisfies the urge to travel and see the world. After all, I am only a visitor here, and there is still much to see.
~ Jon Rhodes
Catawba Alum 2008