Two weeks ago, I was looking up dive boats and travel information about Southeast Asia. Today, this is me:
Pretty sweet, huh?
In the ten days that I’ve been in Thailand, I’ve seen floating islands of water hyacinth (and huge monitors) on the Sampran River:
Mourners of King Bhumibol Adulyadejat the Grand Palace:
The giant Reclining Buddha (he was SO big!):
And, of course, one of the world’s top dive destinations, the Similan Islands:
I’ve still got two months left of this trip, but here’s the thing: I could go home tonight, and I would be completely satisfied.
Ten days is plenty of time to visit tourist hotspots… and then sample 30 baht (less than $1) seafood pad thai from street vendors on the outskirts of town. There, little girls bashfully ask if they can take a photo with you (no, they weren’t pickpockets -- they just though I was a big, white giant).
It’s plenty of time to get scuba-certified -- then swim with clown fish and moray eels, while witnessing extreme nature drama (ask me how many lives I’ve seen savagely extinguished, right before my eyes, in the last four days).
It’s plenty of time to meet other tourists -- including the solo woman who collected a big box at baggage claim, and instantly began setting up her touring bike, right there in the airport; the Mexican dive instructor who is teaching himself Russian so he can study in Moscow; and the gleeful Californian, who just married his Thai girlfriend in a traditional Thai ceremony (complete with a “bed blessing”).
And it’s plenty of time to glean insights about Thai culture. For example, “politeness” means different things to different people. Sugar is much more of a vice than alcohol. And! -- fun fact -- many people in Thailand don’t cook at home, because it’s so cheap, even by their standards, to buy street food.
Sure, all of these things would happen more if you can stay longer. But I still feel bad for who say a week or two “isn’t enough time.”
After all, as I wrote in If You Travel Shame, You’re Super Lame (And Probably Not That Good at Traveling),
Not everyone has ten weeks to meander aimlessly through Europe. They may have, at most, ten days, and they don't want to spend half of it "figuring stuff out."
...Moreover, by insisting that your way is the "right" way, you've revealed your total lack of empathy or insight, your inability to walk in someone else's shoes. And your inability to connect with people and places in any way but one. If you really can't take another perspective, you might not be as "good" of a traveler as you think. Read more >
Here’s the other thing:
If you keep not going because you’re waiting for the “right” time, when you “could go longer,” you’re taking a huge risk: that might never happen. You could get hurt. You could get pregnant. You could get promoted. You might just run out of time.
You’re also missing out on opportuinties. Time is a zero-sum game. If you spend a week in Thailand in 2017, you can check out Indonesia or Costa Rica in 2018. Or! You can go back to Thailand, with a much better understanding of the geography and culture -- of what you know you want to see this time.
And, depending on what your goal is for your vacation, the longer you wait, the less interesting your trip will be. For example, if you’re a scuba diver, go now. Don’t go tomorrow. Don’t go next year. Every day you wait is a day one more dolphin is killed. Every day you wait is a day one more whale shark or hammerhead is taken out of the ocean. Every day you wait, the ocean gets a little bit warmer, and the coral gets a little less vibrant.
If you want to surf, the waves will never be less crowded than they are today. If you want to hike, there will never be more elephants and tigers than there are this moment.
So if you’re waiting for the “right” time, book your trip immediately. The time is now -- even if you “only” have a week.
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About the Author
Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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