it feels so scary getting old..
Disposable Film in Chiang Mai, coming back from meeting elephants
It was 11PM and I could feel the warm humid air of Thailand kiss my cheeks as a slight breeze came through the nighttime
The sound of tokay geckos still echo in the back of my mind as I reflect on that night..
I was just laying there taking it all in..
I hit shuffle on my music and the first song to come on was Ribs by Lorde. A song I haven’t heard in years.. You know the one right?
I can feel the same goosebumps right now as I did in that moment as the song started to pick up.
As it changed from each verse.. until the goosebumps turned into slow rolling tears..
That kind of quiet cry you have when someone else is in the room with you, where your chest starts to ache from holding back the loudness you feel in your soul, the quiet sniffles every second with a tear to combat the snot.
That kind of quiet cry you have when you’re really in a moment
I laid there listening ..
“This dream isn't feeling sweet
We're reeling through the midnight streets
And I've never felt more alone
It feels so scary getting old”
Crying my eyes out at how relatable that was..
How in someway I needed to hear that but also probably didn’t since it made me so emotional.
“It feels so scary getting old”
I thought over and over everyday throughout the rest of my time in Thailand.
Let me try to put you more into scene of where I was this part of Thailand.. It was day 4 of celebrating Songkran, day 2 in Pai where we were in a hotel situated in the jungle just outside of the city. Every night we were getting sung to sleep by the sounds of bugs and birds. A spa tub on our back porch with Christmas lights illuminating the farm nearby.
I was finally getting “used” to life in Thailand, their way to life.. getting accustom to it.
So my heart started to break this time around of the trip knowing it’s all just a dream, a moment of impermanence.
I let the lyrics sink in, just started to really feel myself here, in the moment.
I knew that this was the best time of my life.. Not even Songkran itself and Pai. But traveling through Thailand with my best friend. How young, wild and free I felt the whole month. But even then I remember so vividly our few days in Pai when each night I was trying to accurately describe this same feeling I am to you now.. trying to grasp at the right words through all the ones I’ve learned my whole life. Like there isn't enough descriptive ones or a correct way to word them to get the feelings out
You see.. I was living so much in the moment, taking new risks for myself and my life, getting out of my comfort zone, seeing places that I’ve literally dreamt about..
The list goes on.
I couldn’t help but just keep thinking how I knew this was the start to the best time of my young years but also the end of a different chapter. How I was so nostalgic and attached to moments happening right before me.
I’m at that stage of life where I feel I’m suppose to be an adult - how alot of you I’m sure are feeling. Like we’re suppose to have life figured out now, to have a plan for our older years.
But what about now? This moment in time?
The stories waiting to be created
Fuck, I’m 21 - I KNOW I don’t have life figured out. Why would I run around crazy anymore trying to figure it out or put pieces together that I don’t even have yet? Life has a funny way of working itself out I’ve learned.. Do I really need to be worried about college or work. Realistically, yes. But honestly, no.
There comes that time but right now.. there’s no other time for it than this living breathing second you’re in.
I see my brother in law school busting his ass, people I went to high school with getting married or having kids. I see the real world and everyone else around me rushing around and living reality - the real life. I felt like the world for me was just on pause in these moments.. like everyone else was still going but I was just in my own little world living it up. Taking risks and literally tossing all problems aside because in these moments nothing else mattered. Except not forgetting them..
After Pai we travelled to Chiang Mai where we didn’t do much besides meet elephants.
Honestly one of the most amazing moments I’ve ever had - these gentle giants are so kind. I couldn’t even believe I got to stand next to them. We went to a place that bought them from people mistreating them - so always remember to not ever ride elephants in Thailand!
Only bathe and love.
Other than that we relaxed in Chiang Mai, getting ready for the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan. Again a moment I could feel my heart longing for, before I even left.
The Full Moon Party for those of you who don’t know is the biggest party in Thailand on a small island of Koh Phangan. Everyone travels here sometimes weeks before the real Full Moon since there’s plenty of other parties leading up to it. The whole beach fills with people and different kinds of music with food and buckets of alcohol (literally) everywhere.
When I tell you the WHOLE island is a party - I mean it.
Cierra and I travelled really for the fact that she turned 21 the month of March and I would be turning 21 the night of the full moon party. So it worked out perfect, right?
Funny story we were actually on a small boat back to the Full Moon Party when it turned midnight and was officially my birthday. All of the guys driving the boat sang happy birthday to me and somehow had candy to give us. Truly the best people to turn 21 with
I don’t even really know how to truly describe the rest of that night either. Without sounding the most cliche I could - It was the most young I’ve ever felt.
I’ve never been one to drink or even really party. But you only turn 21 once and at a Full Moon Party in Thailand… Sooooo
I can can still feel my ears ringing from the second Cierra and I walked up to the island.. We both looked at each other eyes wide and just laughed as we both were wondering what we got ourselves into. The first thing we headed for was the food and grabbed a slice of pizza where we moved on to the next vendor and ordered a bucket of alcohol. It was go time. Walking around I couldn't even put together everything I was seeing - not even from the drinks. But because it’s so chaotic. Every which way I looked there was hundreds of people, neon clothes and signs, fire, a different dj set and so many vendors.
Every stranger would come up to us asking where we traveled from and why.. Cierra always having to make it a point to say its my birthday. I stopped counting after 10 on how many hugs I got. At one point in the night I was hugging someone as they looked at me and said they were so happy to meet me on my birthday, how it was crazy it aligned that way - I couldn’t help but cry. It was wild how at one point going into this trip I thought it would be impossible to meet friends and here I was.. sharing my birthday with complete strangers that came from all over the world. Reminding me a lot of things I needed to be reminded.. Just simply how everyone my age is trying to put it together right now and sometimes that means drinking a night away on an island and dancing with strangers.
We met people from all over the world and it was beautiful to see people from different corners of the world come here for this one night. It reminded me how many people there are to meet and also how many more countries there are to visit.
Jason and Amar from London and Dubai - They partied the whole night with us as it was Jason’s birthday as well.
We met so many people that travelled alone even, just to come and experience this party because they knew they could find friends along the way. It reminded me how everywhere you go - you’re bound to meet someone you can connect with.
I learned everyone that’s traveling is truly in pursuit of the same feeling you are, that indescribable one.
Everyone is trying to not let their youth slip away from them and are just chasing it
I literally took a total of 2 flights, a 3 hour shuttle AND a 2 hour ferry just to make this happen. So no it wasn’t easy but it was doable and worth it. Plus that’s the thing about being young.. The whole time Cierra and I planned anything throughout our travels, most of the time our response was “Well we’re only this young once”. And this all sounds so cliche as I type it and think about it. But I’ve truly NEVER felt so much more in the present of my youth and time in life in the moment, than I did when traveling. Because for once I didn’t want to skip forward to the next day or moment, I was perfectly happy in the now. We were just doing everything purely knowing the fact that we would never have this same sort of experience twice. How we had enough money to make it happen now and also enough time to make money back later. How we are capable of carrying 2 backpacks on the front and back of us, jumping from place to place for a month. Sometimes not sleeping for days, just to make the travel happen for cheaper or to see a certain place. How we literally said “Fuck it” and just took 2 months off to travel for this Thailand trip and then Europe the next month. It was just the most carefree I’ve ever felt - But that’s the thing about being young.
The Full Moon Party was obviously filled with endless amount of dancing, alcohol, new friends and memories we would hold on to forever. We partied into the morning until 4AM where we would hop onto a ferry, shuttle and then a flight again.
It was probably me still drunk a bit but also me being sentimental to moments, I started to cry on the ferry. I looked over at Cierra just passed out on the row of seats next to me and everyone else all around me still in their neon clothes with sand all over them. Knowing they were regretting the decision of taking an early morning ferry, but also knowing they had another adventure waiting. I just cried for all that it was. How young I really was in that moment - How I was 21 finally.
It felt bittersweet honestly. Another year forward means another year behind me, full of experiences that seem like they’re fading away. Knowing these experiences are going to just be a moment in the past. Yes, creating room for new ones in the future. That’s why I say bittersweet. But I don’t know it’s scary you know?
I wrote this down in my notes on my phone that morning as the sun started to rise -
“I’m on a ferry right now headed to our next destination.. And I’m crying because I’m so scared. Scared of growing old, not being this young and wild forever, moments like this again, the thought of ever settling down. I’m so scared of life, “the real life”. These past couple years I’ve honestly felt like I’ve been living in a dream. Roadtrips every couple months, hikes in the backcountry at home, exploring Thailand right now and what I’ll be doing next month. I’m so scared to wake up from this little dream world I’ve been in.. it’s hitting me more and more when everyone say’s ‘You’re so young! What a time to be alive’.. But what about when I’m not this young? Will I still be this fully alive. I really hope so. Because I’m scared to wake up from this dream”
I wrote that and again tortured myself with that song I listened to in Pai as we waited to get to the pier..
It was the soundtrack to our trip now.
I could feel the lyrics in my bones everywhere I went from this point on. A record on repeat that nobody knows how to turn off
”It feels so scary getting old”
I couldn’t shake the feeling of adulthood, that same adulthood that I longed for many years ago.
I think back on how much precious time I spent wishing I was elsewhere while simultaneously living in the days I’d once wish back on like how I am today, writing this -wishing I was back in Pai letting that song play beside me or at the full moon party dancing my heart away.
I started to think how fast the last 3 years flew by, how fast the next 3 will go.
When I won’t be able to justify things with “I was young and wild”
I feel like a lot of the moments happened here in Thailand mostly because it was the first time REALLY stepping out of my comfort zone. I don’t drink a lot or even go out but this trip I knew I really wanted to be able to meet new friends and have stories to tell. And hey, you only turn 21 once. Am I right?
Some of my favorite memories throughout Thailand where I’d just look over to Cierra like “We’re really doing this right now dude - like we’re LIVING LIFE”.
Renting scooters for our first time in Ko Lanta then me crashing it because corners are super hard to overcome at first, Cierra and I literally just laughed it off. Realistically we should have known to take that thing right back to the lady who let us rent it but none of the fun would happen that way.. Because of that it was the time of my life like I wrote about in a previous post - being able to tour the whole small island on a scooter feeling so free. This was the start of when all of my worries really slipped away, it’s a different kind of feeling when you don’t have a lot of bags on you or having to be fully clothed in sweatshirts and jeans.. The warm summer air of dry season, seeing ocean pull offs every 5 minutes, riding under palm trees that towered over us. It was a different kind of worry free feeling.
Fun fact I still have scars from crashing in Pai too during Songkran - forever a good story to tell though lol
The drunk nights stumbling into 711 for toasties
The Full Moon Party worked it’s way up to one of my favorite memories though..
Like I said we were getting on a lot of transportation to our next destination after the party, which was to Bangkok. We were here for a few nights and the real night of my birthday.. That meant one thing: THE BIGGEST HOTEL ROOM POSSIBLE. Everything in Thailand is so affordable because our money is worth so much there. For $170 meaning $85 USD each, we got literally a whole house it felt like. We had our own sauna IN ROOM, a hot tub, the biggest room with a beautiful city view and 2 huge bathrooms. It was a dream come true but like this whole post is talking about, you’re only young once. I knew I wanted to go all out.
The next few nights were filled with again a lot of partying, I don’t know what had gotten into Cierra and I but I think we just knew it was coming to an end.. And in some way we never wanted to waste time so that meant even going out at night to explore the nightlife, trust me Bangkok is the best place for it. The night of my birthday we went to a club where we met some really nice girls that kept wanting to buy us drinks for my birthday and we danced with them all night. Not as wild as the Full Moon Party but who really goes to Bangkoks and night clubs, I guess I do - can confirm it’s pretty fun!
Our last two nights were spent at Khao San Road.. The BEST place we went in all of Bangkok. Mostly because of all the friends we met both nights. We had moved hotels from our more expensive one to one just right along Khao San road because we read it’s Backpackers Paradise: YUP IT IS. At first the night was going to be spent just catching up on blogs and videos then we decided to at least go check out the night markets and grab some dinner. I don’t know if it was because we were there during another festival but the roads were closed all day making it super easy to walk around to shops and restaurants! We ended up getting lost in alleys for hours, turning down every which way we saw and going into every shop. This was one of my favorite places we shopped and got to explore at night, we grabbed dinner at a restaurant right along the street and it was so yummy! Can’t remember the name though. That’s when we started to make our way back to the hotel room to just do some work. Well Khao San had different plans.. We could hear the bass starting to turn up and thump within minutes of us getting back to the room. The party was happening but we didn’t even know where it was coming from at the time. We decided to at least go check it out since we were right there. As soon as we stepped out of our lobby we realized the whole street had turned into a party. All the bars and restaurants opened with music so loud to see who can get the biggest crowd. People end up coming into the streets selling all sorts of things and when I mean all sorts of things - I mean ALL sorts of things lol. Laughing gas, tarantulas to eat, VERY inappropriate things, buckets of alcohol and more. It was seriously one of those experiences when I was like “Is this even legal?” the whole time. Everyone is drinking in the streets (Side note: We ended up buying our alcohol just at 711 since there’s so many on the road, also that way it’s cheaper and safe for sure!) This led to literally dance parties in the streets. I had never experienced something like this, where you can walk down the whole road and find crowds of people drinking and dancing to whatever music is nearby. And all for FREE - yes there’s night clubs for later on but honestly partying in the street is way more fun.
This night ended up being one of our hardest goodbyes to friends we had made.. Probably a group of like 5-10 of us danced for hours as we drank, played invisible volleyball, had dance battles and took so many photos. They were from Canada surprinsgly so pretty close to home; my favorite thing when meeting others during travel is finding out what made them leave and why they’re traveling. It’s always so interesting and gives me even more reasons to want to travel.. It’s amazing how many people we met that were our age just traveling until their money run out. I thought how wild of a thing that was and how truly freeing that must feel. Yeah, I had put in a leave at work for these travels but that was because I had the assurance of a job waiting when I return. It was a reminder on how much more wild people are. This was the first time we had really met people close to Washington so it felt we we all had been friends forever mostly how it always does when you meet someone along the road. We partied until 1AM because that’s when they decide to open back up the street and shut everything down. It was a hard goodbye to all our new friends so we gave our hugs and hoped to make plans sometime in the future near home.
Our second night again we were near Khao San Road but a different hotel: it was our last night we wanted to go all out. This hotel was absolutely gorgeous purely for the fact it was right in the city and had a beautiful rooftop pool which was much needed before going out again. Cierra and I really sat down and talked this night before going out just reminiscing on our trip and how it was coming to an end. Deciding on our favorite moments, the most beautiful places we visited, what we’ll miss.. you know how it goes; everything. The one thing I couldn’t keep myself from talking about was the feeling of being so free. And that went hand in hand with young and having no worries. For the first time like I said earlier; I wasn’t worried about what was next or what I would be doing a week from now. I was just worried about the moment I was in and that’s how it should be when you’re young. Not all the stresses of college, a job, a relationship/family or financial issues. And for the first time since turning 16 I didn’t worry about a damn single thing. Cierra related to this on a spiritual level because we’re both pretty hardworking - I mean we paid for everything on this trip and made it come to life ourselves. Cierra’s always worked a job full time just as much as I have so she understood that feeling more than anybody could. We just felt so away from the rest of the real world and of adulthood. Knowing once our travels were done we’d have to face it all again that we couldn’t really run or hide anymore and that’s why we appreciated this trip so much since it was everything we just had dreamt about doing.
We partied again on Khao San for our last night making even more friends than before and dancing even harder than we did the night before. This time it was different though, this time it was more of a ‘moment’. For the second time our whole 3 and half weeks in Thailand it decided to rain on us and not even rain, POUR on us. Thunder and lightening started to happen and to my shock none of us even really flinched when it happened we all started to scream happily as we danced more in the rain. My romper was soaked to the point it was stuck to me, my fannypack was sopping and I didn’t even know how my phone was doing in there. But we all just kept dancing - our whole new group of friends we made just laughed as we sang out so loud. I looked around and tried to take as many mental screenshots as I could, sort of a way to really not forget that moment in particular. I can almost hear the song playing faintly in my head while hearing the thunder roar as lightening hit behind us.. Almost as much as I could hear the song Ribs by Lorde playing on our deck back in Pai and that’s what I thought back to in that moment..
But my next favorite verse, when the beat really starts to pick up..
“I want 'em back (I want 'em back)
The minds we had (the minds we had)”
Everyone shared their stories on how they ended up here in Thailand and what they were doing next. Joe - my favorite dance partner that night. He had come to be a hostel tour guide meaning he was leading everyone in the hostel around partying as his job. Again adventuring until his money run out if he couldn’t find a job like that again. Patrick - who really taught me the true balance of working hard and playing hard as he told his story. Working more than full time every day for 3 weeks straight to just have one week off a month and that’s what we chose to do with his week - Go to Thailand. And one of my favorite people Tom - who we had met the first night of Khao San. We didn’t even know he was there again until he came up to us in the middle of us dancing and yelled to Cierra and I “You know you started this!?” As he talked about the dancing in the streets. We laughed because we sort of believed it and we thought it was the best compliment “You guys are the best and so fun partying with!” again another one of my favorite compliments Cierra and I would get..
Everyone we met was just in this mindset that Cierra and I were. One that we felt so crazy for - people before we left asking if we’ll really be living out of a backpack for a month or two. If it’s safe enough to travel just us. What we’re going to do about money. But every single person here as they talked to me about what made them want to pack up, was on the same bandwagon of chasing a dream, a feeling, a moment; just like we were.
“I want ‘em back, the minds we had”
Everyone was just a humble reminder of life lessons whether it being that I can have the courage to do anything I set my mind to and I can do anything in the world if I’m willing to work hard enough OR even a reminder at how lucky I am to have even been able to do what I was doing with a best friend by my side. That’s when it really hit me more..
I’m just scared of not being this young forever where it’s acceptable to be drunk in the streets somewhere in Bangkok and the way you meet a new friend is challenging them to a dance off.. It’s just truly the stories I’ll look back on and cry happy tears as I think to myself, “Wow I really wrote that myself”.
Because that’s all life is, a bunch of different stories.
And a good story has never started with “That day at work when I was on hour 7 of my shift”.
It starts off with
“Those nights I danced drunkingly through the streets of Thailand”,
“When I lived out of a backpack for a month”.
It starts off with
“I didn’t have a lot of money but it was all something that money couldn’t have even bought. Because it was so priceless and I was so young”
Life is about just discovering and living it. Not waiting for it to happen. Not waiting for it to find you and what the “possibilities could be” because once you step out into life and what it has to offer. YOU, yourself create possibilities for you.
You can do anything you set your mind to as bad as you want it.
This trip really taught me the precious time of my youth.
Building not really a “stable” life for my future self but a future that I can live out happily. One I don’t have to look back on and wonder “What if” or say “I wish I would have done that”
This time of travel taught me honestly the pure art of now. This moment, in this second. How to really put the whole world around you on pause to appreciate it more. So it doesn’t ever slip away from your fingertips without it really happening. I realized just how precious the time of NOW is. Not 5 years from now, when I should have life figured out and the planning to get there.
It hurts in such a beautiful way. How so temporary moments, places, people and feelings are.
How it feels like I was just shutting my eyes for a second and it was all a dream here in Thailand.
Knowing I’ll only feel that exact way once..
It’s special though when you let yourself believe moments don’t end.. It gives you a different sort of appreciation for them.
Being in moments you already know you’re going to miss once they pass..
Or while living them.
That’s the fun in being young.
“It feels so scary getting old”
The nights you almost forget until you get film back..
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”
Thank you for being Lost in a Dream with me
With lots of love always,
It was really hard for me to hit post on this writing.. It’s special to me. It’s vulnerable. It has a lot of heartfelt memories and feelings. It has the blurry drunken photos that I put in a special album, one I thought I’d look back on alone years from now when I need a trip down memory lane. So it was hard to hit publish.. But I think that’s a good thing. It means I’m being real with you guys, I’m sharing something so true to me. And that’s how I’ve always wanted it to be.
It’s been 3 months in the works now of getting it all together; from first laying down in Pai, to writing in my journal for this, all the way to getting courage to hit post. And one thought I had last week was
“What would I still write if nobody was reading?”
Sounds dumb.. But it’s true. And these, these are the stories I’ll always want to write and look back on..
So I hope you enjoyed my time throughout Thailand. As that was the end of my journey there..
In my next post: My Thailand Photo Diary - with some unseen photos.
Love you guys