Monday, March 12, 2012

Final Thoughts on Thailand

Upon leaving Thailand, I tried to think about the lasting impressions that the country had had on me. It goes without saying that Thailand is one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world—lush jungles, endless green rice patties, limestone rock faces, turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and palm trees as far as the eye can see. And while I cannot wait to go back, I don’t really have much to say about Thailand in the same way I did about India. Maybe it’s that I’m not as familiar with the country’s political history, that I wasn’t there long enough to get a full picture of development and inequality, or that I just really didn’t fall in love with the people in the same way that I did in Rwanda. For me, putting aside the beaches and waterfalls, Thailand is nothing really to write home about. And in all honesty, I think it’s a good thing, as I tend to be more interested in a country’s challenges rather than its successes. Right now, for instance, I am LOVING reading all about Cambodia’s history to get a better understanding of why the violence happened before spending a day visiting the killing fields.

On a more personal level, I think I was a bit too distracted by things going on back home to really be present in Thailand. As frustrated as I am with myself and that situation, I just have to recognize that that is just a part of traveling, because as much as we might try to get away, we really are almost always going to be connected to and emotionally involved in what goes on back home. And I feel like having to move beyond everything that is happening two oceans away is a challenge in and off itself that has really taught me a lot about myself. If I’m being absolutely honest with myself, I’m still pretty much at an all time low and struggling to come to terms with how lost I feel, but I think the fact that I have been able to do that in a foreign country is a good thing. I haven’t yet gotten on a plane home to fix everything.  

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