When we were planning our trip to Thailand last September, we knew we were going to stay awhile. After traveling across four continents, we were ready for a break and our plan was to rent an apartment for the month of October. We had new two goals in mind: Resting and relaxing.
We asked our Facebook friends and Twitter followers for recommendations. “If you had a month to spend in Thailand, where would you stay?” We got all the answers you might expect: Party in Phuket, stay cheap in Bangkok, visit the temples in Chiang Mai. After our downtime, we would go on to tour all of Thailand, so our ideal location for October would be a quiet, out-of-the-way place with a solid internet connection. Perhaps one of those picturesque islands with the white sand beaches, plentiful coconuts, and some snorkeling hot spots…
We read up on the suggestions we’d received: Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Phang-nga, Koh Samui. Advice from my ex-girlfriend had me worried. She told me that, years before, she’d passed up Phang-nga (too touristy) for Koh Tao. There, she had found a quiet spot on the back of the island where she could relax and interact with the locals, but still take in a little SCUBA diving if she felt like it.
But Koh Tao isn’t like that anymore. She told us that since she visited, the island has developed into yet another tourist hotspot with ATMs and 7-Elevens on every other corner.
The Thailand of yesterday sounded just like what we were looking for, but I wondered if we’d even be able to find it. We did, but not until much later…
We took the easy way out and spent our month in Karon Beach, on Phuket. It wasn’t the island getaway we’d imagined, but it was cheap and we had our internet access. Come November, though, we were ready to hit the road again.
We traveled with friends up into Laos, then parted ways and traveled through Vietnam and Cambodia on our own. We were in Siem Reap, visiting the temples around Angkor Wat, when we sat down to plan out the last few weeks of our round-the-world journey. I wanted to see Kuala Lumpur and Singapore before flying to Australia. Oksana petitioned for one last week of beach time. Once again, we found ourselves pouring over a map of Thailand, looking for the perfect island getaway.
And then, a funny thing happened. I was skimming updates in a travel blogger’s Facebook group when I came across something another blogger had posted. She wanted to know if anyone was interested in managing a Thai island resort for a year. She went on to explain that the owners wanted to embark on a round-the-world trip of their own and needed to find someone to run their business while they were away.
I didn’t think much of it at first. In fact, I didn’t even mention it to Oksana until the following day because managing a resort just wasn’t something I thought we’d be interested in. But then I started thinking. We were planning to spend a year working in Australia… why not Thailand instead? And since we had to pass through Thailand again on our way to Malaysia…
When Opportunity is knocking, one should at least open the door to see who’s there. (more…)