Oh, weird and wonderful Thailand. Where better than to start my travels than being plunged into the colourfully chaotic madhouse that is Phuket?!
My adventure started out here with my mom and younger twin brothers. We spent a week beaching, partying, eating and drinking, walking, snorkeling, and even deep sea fishing! It was a special week for me because it marked the beginning of this trip, overlapping with the last week I’d be spending time with my family for a long time. Amidst the new and fun-filled external experiences I was having, I was also starting to get my mind around the fact that I was well and truly gone from my home country and all places and faces familiar.
There are two profound memories that stand out to me from Phuket and particularly the mindspace that I was in.
The first was on our last evening. We had just had an incredible day spent snorkeling around the south islands, and were on the speedboat back to the harbour. I remember facing the back and watching the sun starting to light the sky up with sunset pastels, with a brother on either side of me, and starting to dose off. I soon realised that a song was playing on repeat in my head. It was one that my dad used to often sing to me before bed, especially if he was going out of town for work the following day. The words went something like:
“Laughter laughter everywhere as the sun shined brightly on the mountain top.
I took a trip on a sailing ship and when I reached Jamaica I made it stop
Oh I’m sad to say I’m on my way
I won’t be back for many a day
Oh my heart is down my head is spinning around
But I’ll see you when I’m back in Cape Town”
When I consciously realised what was playing in my head I was pretty taken aback that my mind pulled out this song from its infinite collection for this particular moment. Like with many childhood memories, it made me feel deeply rooted in who I am, where I came from, and where I am going. I felt prepared to start the next chapter of this journey, despite avoiding thoughts about the imminent emotional goodbyes of the next day.
The other memory was when I was actually bidding farewell to my mom and brothers. I wanted it to be over and done with fairly quickly as I didn’t want to start getting emotional; having to look my separation by choice in the face and see the effects it’s having on my loved ones. We had a quick breakfast; by the end the shuttle I’d booked the day prior was ready and waiting for me. I said my goodbyes, and turning to me with a face twisted with emotion after an embrace, the last thing my mom said was “Take as much time as you need, Kirst.”
For some reason these words are etched deeply into my memory. Partly because I was very aware that this was an important moment, and partly because now and then I run that sentence through my head, trying to understand it more, almost considering it a question.
The thing is, I’m not entirely sure how much time I need, and furthermore I can’t quite answer why I need any time at all. I have never truly been able to put it into words, nor have I actually really known why, but I know that it is necessary and this is why I am doing it. It is that simple.
Even if I don’t know what/where the destination is, I’m doing it for the journey.