I have so many thoughts that I think they need to come out in list form. Be prepared for a few of these...
Reasons Thailand Changed My Life:
* Learning that life doesn't have to be a certain way, you can live it however you choose. Most travelers here work 6-8 months of the year and backpack the rest. You'll never have a lot of money or own many things, but its hard to wish for a mortgage or even a new pair of shoes when you are lying in paradise or hiking in northern Thailand.
* On a similar note, spending about $300 in over a month in Thailand, including ten days on a tropical island, all food/drink, travel costs, accommodations a boat trip/hike here and there... this may make the first part more clear. And I didn't even put myself on a hardcore budget... imagine the possibilities...
* Happy go lucky, laid back, smiling Thai people
* Eating the best food of my life, making it to the gym maybe four times, and losing weight. Spring rolls, pad thai, mango sticky rice, coconut juice, green tea, seaweed chips, wasabi peas, glass noodles, papaya salad, red/yellow/green curry... I'm making myself hungry. Oh, and when found on street carts you've hit the jackpot.
* Street dogs lounging on floor pillows, street cats sunning on your deck (and friends who wear them as scarves...), monkeys grooming cats, puppies everywhere, elephants in the street, cows at your bungalow, tropical fish nibbling on your legs
* Swimming to uninhabited islands and drinking fresh coconut juice by smashing fallen coconuts on beach rocks.
* Sam song. I wish I could describe it accurately. Often found in a bucket with coca cola, tasteless when mixed with coke even in huge quantities, zero. hangovers. ever., dirt cheap.
* Becoming so one with nature while staying in a bungalow made of bamboo that even a giant cockroach riding on my back can't scare me enough to keep me up at night. Yes, that's correct I had a giant cockroach on me and no one would get it off. I am becoming really rugged lately.
* Meeting and bonding with more people in a month than I often do in a few years. Yes you become close and then you disperse and maybe never meet again, but that's what is facebook is for! I am so inspired by/in love with/thankful for all the wonderful people I have been spending time with.
* Learning what it is to be a teacher and having the chance to practice with Thai children. What a fun job and how lucky I am to be able to play games all day and call it work!
* Finding out what the "big deal is about Thailand" after wondering for so long. I've been clued into the secret and I'm glad I found out at 22 because I am most definitely going back. I can feel a backpacking trip coming on at the end of this year...