2012 Fall Cambriae Bates External Programs Thailand

Clarity Found Beneath the Sand

Watching the sea from the Southern tip of Phuket

I have been a bit confused lately. My life back home in America has been clashing with my new life in Thailand. Things I thought I wanted to hold onto are now things that I could see myself letting go of, and I’m still not sure how to feel about these new-found feelings.

The main purpose of my journey to Thailand was to be changed. I thought that if I experienced a different life, met new people, discovered the ins and outs of another culture, and opened myself to a fresh new side of life and the world then I would be completely altered and my outlook of life would transform as well. I wanted this to happen, and I am glad to say that it is happening. Every day I wake up and I feel unlike the me I was before. Every time I venture to a new place in Thailand I contemplate the things I truly want in life, and the more I explore this new world I have entered, the more I feel that the things it has to offer are the things that I want.

Earlier on this week I traveled to southern Thailand to go visit the island of Phuket. It is an amazingly touristy area full of foreigners looking to party and full of Thais look to sell their products. Although I was annoyed by the constant pestering of the Thai venders and restaurant employees who kept trying to get me to become a customer, I can honestly say that many parts of Phuket were the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. There were so many beaches there with clear blue-green water and clean sand. The first beach I went to was Patong beach, which was the worst beach in Phuket because it was the main destination for the tourists. Although it was the worst beach I still found it gorgeous compared to the Jersey shore. The beaches near Philadelphia are dirty and you barely want to get in the water, let alone swim in it and dip your head beneath it, therefore I was amazed by Patong. So later on when I discovered that there were better beaches my chest almost exploded with excitement.

Boats on Hat Kamala

My favorite beach was Hat Nai Harn. There weren’t many people on the beach, the sand was clean, the water was blue and it had pretty good snorkeling. I had my first ever snorkeling experience there.  My friend Mickey and I crawled over the rocks and coral that rested on the coast. I slipped a few times, cut two fingers and a toe, and scratched my leg, but then we got to a point where we thought the water was good enough to go in. I put on the snorkel gear and then dipped my head in the water, then I began to swim around. When I was younger I was never a true fan of the beach or the ocean, but after seeing starfish resting on rocks, orange fish, schools of fish, and just a different realm of life I realized that I never wanted to leave the ocean. It was so peaceful beneath the water and as I swam I felt my spirit sigh as it absorbed the tranquility.

I also fell in love with a beach called Hat Kamala. The beach was more populated than Nai Harn, but there seemed to be no existing line that divided the sand and the waves and the waves and the sky. Everything just blended to the point where the world looked artificial. The beach was also a fishing beach and there were a ton of boats anchored on the shore. All of the beaches also had very shallow water. I felt like I walked out so far and the water still only reached my stomach. The ocean felt like bath water and every time I went into the water and just swam around, for a split moment I would forget the rest of the world existed.

Thai Kids Playing on Beach

I’ve had so many days in Thailand where I have felt as if I was dreaming. I’ve had so many moments where I have questioned if I want to even go back to my old life. My life was good at home, I have so many people who love me at home, and I wouldn’t stay in Thailand so I can keep feeling like I’m dreaming, but there are times where I just sit back and look around at my environment and I feel like I want to stay here to keep living. I know that there are also other spectacular places out there as well that I would love to see and now after being here what I think I want more than anything is to just travel the world. I want to spend a few years here and a few years there so I can always have a fresh perspective and a feeling of awe. I’ve experienced a different type of life in Thailand and it has opened me to the point where I no longer have fears of the world. I think most people in the world pick a spot and then they stay and settle, but that doesn’t make them someone who is living in the world, that makes them someone who is trapped in a corner. I don’t want to stay in my corner because then all I would be doing with my time is dusting away spider webs.

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