Thailand: An Interlude

In The Art of Travel Fall 2015, Shanghai, Open topic by Miranda Burnham1 Comment


“Final boarding call… Spring Air… final boarding call to Thailand”

Everything about vacationing to Thailand made me worry. I’d never travelled with just friends internationally before, I’d never stayed in a hostel before, I’d never done this before! For me, independence is not an innate trait, but rather something I have been attempting to grow some time. It requires me to constantly provide adequate sunlight and water, even needing the occasional pruning now and then. Even with all this effort, I am always afraid my independence will wither away at the nearest opportunity. So, although I was excited, I was also incredibly scared to take that next step and board the plane.

“Final boarding call for Spring Air…”

 But I did take that step and I didn’t regret it for a moment. I explored temples, rode jetskis, tasted Thai street food and snorkeled through crystal clear oceans. I met fellow travellers in hostels and was able to share my own story, contribute my own points of view and my own collection of travel tips. This trip was magical, not only in the things I saw and experienced, but also in what it did for me. It made me realize that I can be the person I’ve always dreamt of being, that I am that person even if I did come from a small town. It made me realize that all that learning and exploring I have dreamt may well be possible for my future, or at the very least, it won’t be my own fears that hold me back if it doesn’t come to be.

Vacationing with my boyfriend and friends from NYU for the first time was also eye-opening in that I was able to see our different perspectives and shared values. We had three Americans, two Chinese, one Brazilian, and one Indian on the trip, so believe me immigration was a nightmare. And yet, though we had different experiences and were able to cherish different aspects of the trip, we all wanted to experience true Thai culture. We all wanted to taste the food and meet the people, not just take pictures in front of tourist attractions (though we did a fair amount of that, too).

What truly amazed me in Thailand was the fact that near the end of the trip, I began missing home. But the home I was missing wasn’t New York, but rather Shanghai. I started missing the street food, the people, and even the little bits of the language I have started to learn. I started to miss my room and my clothes, my routine. I suppose there is nothing quite like leaving somewhere to appreciate all that you like about it. For now, I am quite happy to know that I still have three months left with this city. To more adventures with you, Shanghai.

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  1. Hi Miranda, it sounds like you had a truly incredible trip! I would love to go to Thailand someday. It is definitely one of the places on my bucket list. And it is really great that you had so many different people from so many different cultures sharing this experience and learning from one another. I think that is one of my favorite parts of travel, the cultural exchange that inevitably takes place. During my fall break I traveled with some schoolmates but we met some Argentines, a Brazilian, a Belgian, and a Swiss. It was an extremely interesting blend of ideas and cultures. I hope that you continue to enjoy these exchanges and learn from your host country as you finish out your semester!

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