Call me crazy, but I truly believe I was born to travel. There is something about planning, packing, the long hours of traveling, whether they be hectic or not, and the satisfaction of finally arriving to the destination that makes me happy. The best part of the experience is being open minded to new things within every culture. Trying things once, twice, tree times because you loved it so much. Learning new languages, or in my case at least attempting to understand the basics. Being a minority, but feeling as if you fit in and are welcomed at the same time. The first time I remember traveling alone without my family was when I truly found myself. I remember coming home a completely different person from when I first left. I've never looked back at being that person I once was, and with every trip I go on, I grow, learning more and more about myself with every experience.
As a photographer, my camera is glued to my face on trips. I tend to see things people didn't really notice when passing by at first glance or even notice at all. This trip was a little heartbreaking for me because I felt I didn't get to capture everything I really wanted too. Spending only 2 nights in each city made it difficult to explore when you're dedicating the entire first day traveling to the destination and arriving at night. Still, I was able to bring back just enough for this blog, instagram, and a little video. The majority of my work was taken while in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Once I arrived to the beach towns, I either didn't want to bring my camera on the islands not knowing what to expect weather and people wise, or the majority of the time on the beach I sat with a beer in hand getting to know other people and listening to their adventures while in Thailand.
The Streets of Bangkok
It was amazing to see a city with a mixture of such poverty and a vast growing developments, live amongst such breath taking temples. Religion is a dedicated lifestyle for this unbelievable country, which really wasn't the biggest shock for me. I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that $1USD went a very long way in this country. I was told to bargain a lot, but I couldn't do it. Seeing how these people lived, it broke my heart to try and negotiate a lesser price, when really I was spending nothing. Due to tourism, this countries economy is growing more and more- it was remarkable to see all the new developments happening around run down buildings and luscious gold temples. There was something so majestic about Bangkok, I still can't seem to figure out what it is. I'll be honest, I didn't care for Bangkok at all - aside from the Grand Palace, but I'll remember this city for the rest of my life.
The Grand Palace
It truly was a remarkable time to visit Thailand. On December 13, 2016, the 9th King, Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, had passed away. After ruling for over 70 years (the longest person to rule anywhere in the world), you saw how great of a King he truly was. People will mourn over the loss of this great King for a year, businesses will be closed, and people will come from all over Thailand to spend a day in line just to pray for less than a minute in front of his ashes. As an American just witnessing one of the most ridiculous election to ever happen in American history, it was unbelievable to see the love that this country truly held for this ruler. Amazingly, there were Thai people dressed in their finest black attire, standing for miles outside of the palace just waiting for a moment to say a blessing. I had the chance to go up and speak to a few and ask why they loved him so much, what they hope to see his son (now King) do for their country, and so much more. Outside of the palace walls was pretty remarkable as well- volunteers from all over dedicating their time and money for their fellow Thai people. Nurses were outside giving free check ups and medicine, chefs were cooking free meals and water for the people in line and so much more. Truly it was a nation coming together as one to mourn over the loss of a great man.