Leonardo wasn’t the reason. At the time, I haven’t even the read the book.
We booked our tickets and got on a plane, arriving way after dark in the tourist street of Khaoson Road. It was buzzing with bronzed bodies and tattooed travelers living la vida loca. I loved it. That moment when you think: this is it. One night in Bangkok.
Finding a room wasn’t hard at all. Finding a decent room was.
We paid for a questionable space; tiled floor, no curtains, metal frame beds with what could barely be called a mattress. It could only be described as a piece of fabric that had seen more than one thrust of over-indulged young bodies, moving to the beat and the high energy from the street below. But we didn’t care about the room.
Recall the first scene from the movie, The Beach; colours flashing, noise, people, danger, daring energy filling a dark, hot night. This will give you an idea of what we embraced that evening. It was a celebration of more than just finishing a year of work in South East Asia, paying back our student loans. It was more than wanting to enjoy what it means to be independent and young. It was embracing the Unknown. Living in the moment.
Over the next few weeks, we traveled extensively around Thailand and met many with the same ideas as us.
There were the Sweeds, with ice blue eyes that spoke about Europe, summer cars, and winter ski-retreats. There were the Yankees that mothers warn about, and we stayed clear. There were the locals: the taxi drivers, the lodge owners, the cooks, the crooks, the crew. And then the American that made me teach him Afrikaans and left a handwritten note on the bungalow door to meet again for drinks. I never did, because I didn’t want more than that. No commitment, no tomorrows. Just today. We did our diving course, we did our rum, we did our scuba off a small little fishing boat and we did a beach run. We ate fresh fish under a floppy reed awning. We had fruit for breakfast and spent our days on different islands with like-minded travelers. We watched Thai boxing matches, had massages on the white sand and enjoyed a meteor shower under a perfect night sky. We were young, we were free and we enjoyed every minute of it.
And today, when I hear Mobi on the radio, I think of the ultimate trip with my bestie, many moons ago.
The good thing is, I don’t need a holiday to Thailand or a one-room-thatch-hut to be happy; I still live in the moment and embrace the unknown. Everyday. Happily. Mostly. But a Thai massage under an island sky is welcome anytime.