I’d always said I’d go to Thailand.
I was supposed to study here junior year in university, I was all signed up and had paid my fees for the study abroad program.. when life (aka bad relationship and bad decisions) got in the way. Instead of sightseeing and studying in Thailand, I was splitting my time between crying on my dad’s couch, hanging my head in the shrink’s office, and partying until the sun came up.
That was 4 years ago.
The years flew by – I graduated college, got my shit together in a way that no one really thought I would (even myself), and was suddenly an adult. Somehow I was 24, with a new Jeep, pretty apartment, great job, healthy habits, and an awesome amount of disposable income. 19 year old me would have pissed her class-skipping, alcoholic pants in surprise.
But something was missing. On paper, I had all the things that a responsible, successful young adult should want or need.
I was content. But I wasn’t happy. Definitely not happy. I felt empty, like a shell of a person floating through life, collecting paychecks and making purchases – a cog in a machine… I did not have purpose. I was not fulfilled by anything that I was doing.
I started telling people I was going to Thailand. I don’t know why. Attention? To shock people (I love to shock people)? To have something to say outside of the usual “how’s work? Yeah? good. Me too. good, busy, you know. Just got a raise, working on this project..”
I don’t think I meant it at first. But I realized it felt good. “I’m going to Thailand”. So I started saying it more. Even to myself, when I was alone. To my dogs, even.
But every time I went to buy my plane ticket, something would come up. Some conflict with dates, some reason to postpone purchasing.. And then when I ironed that out, it was credit card fraud issues. ANTICLIMACTIC as hell. I actually got all the way to checkout 3 times before it actually went through (screw you CapitalOne, for to this day never letting me purchase air tickets on the first try).
On the fourth time, when that confirmation screen popped up – I almost threw up. I was shaky and thought I was going to faint. I had gotten to the point where I thought I was never actually going to be able to buy tickets. It was right before I left for Christmas break from work. About a month before my departure date.
I had a little going away party (even though I was only going to be gone for 10 days, Americans don’t travel, get over it), and then had a leaving meal the night before my plane with my family. My dad joked about me not coming back.
My brother dropped me off at the airport, in capri pants, a tank, and a light jacket. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy, but I loved it, it gave me another opportunity to say “I’m going to Thailand”.