When I first moved to Thailand, I was under the impression that everthing would be simple and run smoothly. I thought that traveling around the would be a breeze and something that was easily accessible to me. I pictured myself hopping on a plane after school and getting back home after a weekend of travels. But... I quickly learned that this isnt the reality, becuase transportation in Thailand is just out of your control.
I live in the Northern province of Phayao, very close to the boarder of Loas. We do not have easy transportation in and out of my town. The buses are unreliable and there is only one taxi driver to will take you to Chiang Rai, about an hour and 30 mins away. This sitatuation was actually my worst nightmare before coming to Thailand. I guess that I had always had this fear of being stranded places and not being able to find my way back home. But I will say with confidence that learning to live in an area with little transportation is a challenge that I am grateful to have been given. In just the couple of months that I have been living in Thailand I have grown into a more resourceful and confident traveler. I have overcome travel obstacles that I never thought I could face as a solo gril traveler. And I have been on adventures that have shown me the most beautiful and hidden parts of this world.
When I first arrived in my placement, I visited a waterfall in the Phu Sang National Park. I use a bicylce instead of a moterbike, so the only way to get to this waterfall was by bicycle. After a quick check on google maps, we came to the conclusion that this bike ride was doable. ... but little did we know that it was actually a 30 mile round trip!! Let me tell you, it was the HARDEST physical task that I had ever done in my life. Not only was this bike ride 30 miles, but it was in extreme heat, on cheap bikes meant for small Thai people... up mountains. But aside from the hot Thai sun beating down on my little Thai bike, it was the most beautiful journey I have ever taken. The mountains stretched on before me, surrounded by vast rice paddies. We biked through rural Thai villages that harvested peanuts, rice and bananas. The villagers came out of their houses and greeted us as we biked by. It was simply breathtaking. And it made me realize that I am living in a rare and beautiful part of the world that I never would have seen in this way had it not been for the lack of transportation
The lack of transportation in my town is not something I expected. But it simply means that this part of the world is not touched by tourism. It is the real Thailand that I came here to see. This challenge and other travel challenges I have faced, have reminded me that I can't control everything. So instead of letting transportation issue keep me from seeing the world, I am learning to let go and enjoy the view.