A couple of weeks ago I went to one of the most beautiful islands Thailand has blessed us with–Koh Phi Phi.
Everything about that place brought well needed rest to my soul: the dark silhouette of mountains in the night; the kisses of light rain on my skin in the morning; the multi-colored ocean, changing from turquoise, to sea green, to a dark, mysterious blue.
Every sensation around me birthed tranquility… except the people I went with.
Let’s just say my next trip will be a solo one.
Anyway, things got so bad that we split our ways, and honestly, it was one of the best things that could’ve happened.
5:30 A.M. my alarm goes off signaling that it’s time to get ready for the hike up to Viewpoint; I knew I wanted to catch the sunrise, gasp as the sunlight slowly melts down the island’s landscape.
It was a tough trek through the bushes: I was alone, it was dark, rain was just beginning to fall, mosquitoes were lurking in the tall grass, and my body had not experienced walking on an incline in months. I wanted to quit so many times, reserve this hike for another time when conditions would be better, but I was already so far and if I had given up I’d probably never try again. I kept going, putting one foot in front of the other, remembering a wise lesson I learned a few years back when I was climbing an even bigger mountain in Ecuador.
Anything that beautiful is worth climbing for.
When I finally reached the top I was sweaty, exhausted, and stinkin’ proud of myself! I looked out on the horizon and drank in all of the beautiful natural miracles I would’ve missed out on if I had quit, if I had listened to my body’s weakness. After a few slow, meditative inhales and exhales I picked out a good rock and made myself lotus.
A few minutes pass by and in the corner of my eye I see my two former travel bodies plop down on a rock to my far left. We didn’t acknowledge one another. We just sat. They talked for most of the time which made a small smile tickle my lips; I was thankful to be free from idle chat.
They stayed for about 20 minutes, just when the sunrise started to pour down the tips of the mountain tops.
I stayed for the next 2 hours soaking in everything, after all, I don’t think my body could’ve handled making another trip up. The tummy-tickling smile returned: if I’d stayed with them I would’ve missed out squeezing every second of this wonder.
While I’m there I witness waves of people coming up, also sweaty, exhausted, and in awe like I was; I strike up some conversations and even made a few friends like Suzuki.
And the sunrise just got better and better,
so did my soul.
Eventually we all made up and enjoyed the rest of our time together, but that morning I realized how much I love solo travel, how much I love the sweet space of individual exploration.
In many ways life is better together, but perhaps travel is one of those tiny exceptions.
At least for me.