Updated: Jul 16, 2022
Thailand... It's literally the other side of the world from Boise, Idaho. I had been to Mexico so many times and could get home in 8 hours if I needed to. I also considered spending the winter in Belize or Costa Rica, but they seemed too easy. I am the type of person who doesn't commit to a lot, but once I do, I am all in and go big. I traveled around the world at the age of 20 and was always fascinated with Southeast Asia. I heard Bali was reopening and looked into that, but it wasn't possible at the time, and I knew I had to get out of Boise for the winter.
So, why Thailand? Two words... My father. We have a complicated relationship. He's German and a bit stubborn. He and my mom got divorced after 25 plus years of marriage and he had started traveling to Asia for his job. For the last 20 years, my dad split his time between Thailand and the US and would travel back to Boise about 4 times a year. His health isn't the best with a history of surgeries and a heart attack. About 15 years ago he met a Thai woman in Bangkok, ended up marrying her, and moved to her hometown in the Buriram area. I have a half-sister who is 12 years old and who I had never met. My stepmom is 10 years younger than I am. My dad is 76. The whole situation is unconventional. He happened to be in Thailand in March 2020 when COVID changed the world, and I hadn't laid eyes on him in almost 2 years.
When I decided to come to Thailand, my dad was completely against it. He told me it was the rainy season, and I wouldn't be able to leave my hotel room for months. He told me nothing was open due to Covid, so I better learn how to fish if I want to eat. He told me I would most definitely get kidnapped, raped, and murdered the first week. Thankfully none of those things were true! I told him it was a done deal, and I was coming no matter what.
In hindsight, I think my dad was worried about me traveling alone, especially during COVID. I ended up having a wonderful visit with my dad and my Thai family in Buriram. They didn't want me to leave the small farming town where they live. As my stepmom and dad drove me to the airport to travel to Ao Nang, my dad finally admitted he was happy I took a chance and came. I suppose I can be a stubborn German as well. So, Thailand it was, and I have not regretted a moment of it!