October 24, 2012

journey or destination

They say that travel is about the journey and not the destination and in the grand scheme of life I would tend to agree with the scholars and quotes.com, as well as pretty much every traveler on the planet. But after this weekend, I am really rethinking this ideology and what it actually means when your sitting on the longest leg of your 'journey' switching between butt cheeks, eating junk food from wherever you get to stop and skipping songs on your ipod that you already heard that day. The journey is never fun or glamorous and most of the time is literally just a pain in your ass, why is that supposed to be what it's all about? This is what it is all about for me...

I had a four day weekend and I desperately needed to get out of the city. I picked an island about 300 km from Bangkok, which is about a 5 hour drive. Traveling in Thailand is so complex that some American's might not even understand the concept of it, it is not like home where you just jump in your car (oh, how I miss having a car!) and go. Ha. Oh, no, no, no.

This is what the journey in Thailand looks like:
First we took a taxi to the place that we can catch the bus. About an hour with traffic. Then waiting for the next minibus, about an hour. It is about 5 hours in the bus, but only because it stops twice to fill up the tank and drops people off intermittently along the way. Once in the town, a random car takes us to the boat ferry dock, another half hour ride back in the direction we came from. We wait about 30 minutes for the 45 minute ferry over to the island. Once on the island its a 30 minute song taew ride to our beach town and hotel. Phew. Get all that? Taxi, bus, car, boat, songtaew and all together about 10 hours from my house to my hotel room. All to go about 200 miles. Seriously, how is this possible?

It's almost like childbirth (or so I hear) every time I travel like that in Thailand; It's painful while it's happening but the reward is so wonderful that you mentally block out how you got there and do it all over again, enduring the self afflicted torture for countless hours. I get so annoyed at the overall slowness and am quite miserable on the cramped, built for Asian sized people, buses. I move around a lot, I complain, I try to bug my poor husband to keep me entertained. Then as soon as I arrive at my stop I can finally smile again, knowing its over! I am loving life while on my mini-adventure, not a care in the world! Somehow I forget I have to do it again to get home. Then again with the uncomfortable aggravation.  Finally, a few weeks later, my feet start to get itchy and I plan another weekend getaway only to become frustrated when faced with the bus trek yet again. It is a vicious cycle I am having a hard time getting out of (thankfully, my next weekend escape will be by plane!)

For me, this weekend, it was about the destination. I am so tired from working so much I couldn't wait to be sitting on the beach, relaxing, not worrying about deadlines and phonics. The journey killed me this weekend. Two full days (or HALF) of my holiday wasted in a bus, bored and unable to sleep. I did not enjoy the journey, not even a little bit but maybe I need to. It doesn't help the situation to be in a sour mood and I am not going to stop traveling, that's for sure. I need to find this balance instead of letting what I can't change make me angry. Easier said than done.

Are there any other travelers that become frustrated, annoyed or angry when your in the actual process of 'traveling' aka sitting on a shitty bus for hours on end? I can't be the only one... Would love your advice and opinions on the matter, please leave a comment below!

A few of my favorite snaps from the weekend, more about this beautiful island to come! 

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  1. girl i feel you. especially since i had my money stolen last time i traveled by bus. but i will say - the annoyances of traveling by land around thailand are totally worth it once you get there. so yeah i guess it's about the destination then...

  2. KOH CHANG?! Oh god that place is like number 1 on my Thailand list. So stoked that you got to go!!

    Yeah, sometimes the journey itself isn't the best...and sometimes the most frustrating part. Especially if it takes f-ing 10 hours and a million modes of transport! ;)

  3. KOh Chang is amazing! only wish I could have had more than 4 days.. seriously, the traveling *almost* made it pointless to go. Almost. Totally glad I did though.

  4. yeah I can't imagine getting everything stolen, I would have gone crazy! Haha, I see how your thoughts played out, same for me, once you get there it is worth all the hassle of travel. But if you never get there is it worth it? If is was only the journey I don't know if I would go :)

  5. It's the delays in Thailand that drive me crazy. My boyfriend and I have a joke about "the rule of thirds" in Thailand - your trip is always 30% longer than it's scheduled to be. A 3hr. journey inevitably takes over 4hr, and a 9hr. journey always takes more like 12hr.


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  7. I can't even imagine how crazy traveling is there, as I often become frustrated beyond help when stuck in metro NYC traffic. While, of course I tend to agree that the journey is valuable, the destination is what brings it all together; the net value, if you will, is justified in the end. Loved reading this. Check out some of my blog entries when you get a chance: The American Rose

  8. haha yes! that is a perfect rule. Not sure why it takes so much longer when the buses go SO crazy fast...The good old hurry up and wait rule I guess!

  9. I agree, you can't get there without the destination so it has be somewhat valuable... thanks for the comment, will def. check out your blog! Cheers :)

  10. Oh man. If pressed, I can remember how awful getting to Koh Chang was (add songtheaw, overnight train from Chiang Mai, and BTS to bus station to your journey!), but it's really all about the sand and beach. I do think the journey keeps down the number of travelers who go there, making the reward all the better!


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