After the craziness of Bangkok I was looking forward to experiencing the famous Thailand Islands. I landed late in the night in Phuket, which is legendary for ridiculous priced taxis. It was here I share a cab with a beautiful soul. During our cab ride she recommended that I make my way to a yoga retreat in Chiang Mai. And if a yoga instructor is recommending a yoga retreat, you can bet its good.
The hostel I was staying at was very chilled, with lots of nocks and crannies for me to investigate out to my hearts content. The Magician and I had a difficult discussion when I’d been in Bangkok, which was leading to the mother of all arguments. But it was during this night in Phuket that he said something that clicked with me. I’d done something, which in my judgement was unforgivable, soul level unforgiveable, burn in hell for all eternity bad, and to top it all off… I’d lied to him. And yet here he was, saying ‘What if you just forgave yourself?’. And boom, that was it. People talk about moments of enlightenment, as states of pure bliss, and this hit me like a freight train. I didn’t know it yet, but this was the beginning and end of my search.
During my stay at the hostel I talked to different people. And the resounding comments were get in and get out of Phuket as quickly as possible. I’d pre- booked to stay at the hostel for 3 nights and wanted to try and see what Phuket was about before I immediately went to a different Island. So on my first full day I headed out to one of the many resort beaches. Grabbing a bus out of Phuket town is very simple and super cheap, I took myself to a typical beautiful peaceful beach. But when I say peaceful, its covered with Europeans and Russians, who spend most of the day drinking, sun bathing and periodically swimming in the sea. Then you have a continual stream of locals are trying to catch your attention to sell you things. But even in this tourist chaos, you can still see the turquoise sea gently lapping against the white sandy beach in your toes.
Whilst I was sat on the beach a typical island rain hit. One of the things I’ve started to understand on my travels, is that there are different kinds of rain all around the world. And Thai Island rain is hilarious. It comes on softly, then hits at a ferocious level. So unless you immediately run for cover, you might as well just continue to sit in the rain. Because its too late, within 5 minutes your completely and totally soaked. And its funny watching Europeans react to this, as we typically don’t have rain like this. So its like watching tens of people doing the hokey pokey.
Towards the end of the day I started to try and make my way back to my Hostel in Phuket town. After being told it would cost basically £20 to go for a 15min drive, I decided to get the bus again, as far round the island as I could. Landing myself in another resort town I managed to find another tourist going roughly in the same direction as me, so we jumped into a Tuk Tuk together. Whilst I chatted with the Russian and looked at the other resorts we pass through I made up my mind to leave Phuket the next day. The resounding reasons for me were the assumptions made because I was a woman travelling alone, I must be sexually available (regardless of me stating I was in a relationship). And the final closing point for me was going past one of the hundreds of Thai Massage parlours, with the words ‘We do not offer sex here’ printed clearly. With the spiritual state I was in, I could clearly see ego driven sexual gratification everywhere. And this wasn’t resonating with me. I wanted to be in a place that I could have some quiet, away from the noise of this.
After crashing out for the evening, I woke up to meet a warm and friendly Dutch girl in my dorm room. We grabbed breakfast together, and this was the first random conversation I’d had with anyone, which reminded me of my days on the Camino. We talked about our eating disorders, guilt and travelling alone as a woman. She mentioned she was heading out to Phi Phi which was a simple ferry ride out. I decided this was an omen and copied her. Arriving back in the hostel I planned my escape to Phi Phi. Which for those of you who know Phi Phi, will know that my desire to leave Phuket in hopes of some quiet, and go to Phi Phi of all places was exceptionally ironic. But I didn’t realise this until I arrived on the ferry out. Here I found myself sat next to a Brazilian and a group of typical English larger louts talking about the Full Moon party on another Thai Island. I was laughing to myself as they discussed their excitement at going to the ‘mini- moon’ parties which happened every night on Phi Phi. During the ferry ride though, I couldn’t help but be struck by the peace and tranquillity of the sea, and high rising mountain islands peeking out everywhere at me. Although I was heading to the opposite of peace, I realised I was exactly where I was meant to be.