“Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) A huge bomb explosion that appeared to target a popular Hindu shrine in central Bangkok killed at least 22 people Monday and wounded about 120 more, authorities said.”
I do not travel in the same way that most people do. Most choose a destination, plan, save and travel when convenient and desirable. I love to travel. So, I actually do not particularly care where, when or how I get there. I found that if I am flexible on where I go, I can travel much more. I simply wait until I find the best deal and have little concern for where it takes me. Not only does this enable me the freedom and funds to travel more often, but it really adds to the sense of wonder and experience.
This method has taken me to many places near and far over the last few years, such as Ireland, Jamaica, Bahamas, Vegas, China, Hawaii Puerto Vallarta, and most recently Thailand just to name a few. I certainly have dreams of visiting specific places, Africa is on my list for sure, but I trust that in time, this too will become available at a reasonable price my frugal instincts will allow. In reality, I could potentially travel on even less if I choose to stay in hostels and minimize my excursions, but who wants to share a kitchen? Just kidding; I think that would actually be great, but for now I am enjoying my private hotels on the cheap. Eventually, the goal is to have a career that will encourage more travel and free up much more time, but for now I take what I can get while maintaining my day job.
When I received a text message from my best friend warning me to be careful on my upcoming trip to Thailand with a link to the CNN report regarding the bombing, I’m almost reluctant to admit I didn’t even bat an eye. While I felt deeply for those involved and their families, I was somehow not detoured from visiting their beautiful country. In fact, I felt almost as if it was even more important now to go in light of the recent events. Most travelers would surely cancel plans or at least postpone at this point as my trip is just a few short weeks away. However, I have never shied away from the possibility of injury or death. In fact, in many instances I have intentionally put myself in situations where this was a real, albeit it slim, possibility. In my travels I have sought out things like Sky diving, cliff jumping, zip lines up to 450ft in the sky, swimming with sharks, and a 100 foot free fall into an awaiting net below with only a harness and without a bungee for extra security. Anywho, the point is I guess I am a bit of a thrill seeker. So, when friends and family expressed concern for my latest endeavor I didn’t think much of it. Granted, I am aware of the severity of the situation and that it’s quite different than the well planned and mostly secured thrills you can pay for, but I think it’s just in my nature to proceed confidently with the attitude all will be fine.
Everyone is always so worried something bad will happen, they often times fail to experience the world. Look, we are all going to die, that is a fact of life. I know that you can make the argument that we can potentially prolong our lives by making smart and strategic choices, but the truth is no one knows that will in fact help anything. The truth is that bodily harm and death are very real possibilities every time you get into your car and drive to work. In fact, you’re probably more likely to die in a car crash than a bombing in Thailand, but at least with the latter you’d die feeling alive knowing you’d lived your live to the best of your ability in fullness. I realize how irrational and potentially insensitive this may sound given the circumstances, please do not misunderstand, I am genuinely affected by what has taken place. It’s difficult to explain, but I somehow feel standing there in that space of tragedy is an experience that I will bring home and with me forever. Often times, we read these news reports, we post them to our Facebook, we talk about how sad it is and then we get our morning coffee. I feel like having the opportunity to be there with the people of Thailand, to share food with them, to smile with them, to hear their stories at this time is a gift that I hope we will all share together. I really think that the last thing that Thailand needs right now, is for its entire tourist population to be too frightened to visit. Tourism is a huge contributing factor to their economy and especially in a time where repairs and medical resources will be consuming much of their time and money, they need that 9% of revenue that tourism contributes to their economy annually.
So, my reply to my best friend’s text?
Me: “Promise me if I die abroad someday you’ll tell the truth at my funeral, none of that fluff stuff just because I’m dead”.
My Best Friend: “I Promise”.
While slightly morbid, at least it’s honest. I intend to have her make the same promise regarding my mortality in the states.
Travel well, travel often, and travel in spite of.