Life’s tough my darling, so are we!
A moment lived in Thailand by Sheena, a traveler from India
Let me begin by stating a fact that I have never returned the same person who first embarked upon the journey. I am not sure if that’s how I feel or if it’s something most travelers experience but there is always something that’s changed. I love everything about traveling, entering something unfamiliar and coming out the other side knowing more; it’s enriching, it’s rejuvenating, it’s exciting and it’s life changing.
From every travel adventure I have returned having learned something; sometimes it’s about people, new culture, a new language, cuisines I had never tasted before and more often than not I come back having learned something about life. Many travel experiences come to mind when I write this but for this travel moment, I choose to write about this particular moment I stood corrected and a learning I acquired over Tequila (yes, you read that right)!
As I walked down from my hotel, I pass this restaurant looking like it needed a real good makeover. It was less fancy than most others on the Island and honestly, from the outside, it wasn’t much to look at. In fact, it didn’t even look open, therefore I didn’t pay it much attention and continued about my business of exploring this beautiful Island. On my return, as my thirsty eyes absorbed every little detail around me, I felt it drifting back to this ramshackle. But why, you ask me?
Well, I have no clue. Like I said it wasn’t much to look at but somehow I was constantly being pulled towards this particular restaurant. After four nights on the Island (and the fact that I had to pass it each day on my way from and back to my hotel), I finally gave in to that unexplainable yet intriguing energy that was calling me and got myself to go check it out. As I made my way through a narrow pathway, I was not expecting to be surprised, I had already prejudiced my thinking and wasn’t anticipating much.
Okay, so we go and I get comfortable at a table facing the blue waters and a view that looked out at the stunning limestone rocks jutting out of the sea. We place our orders and I take a moment to look around me. I see hammocks, old crippled boats, a laid back energy and a chill vibe. It looked really nice, I must admit I was second guessing my initial drawings made of the place from outside. I began to feel, we may just have a good time here. This looks like a pretty cool spot for a relaxed afternoon, maybe play some pool, read a book and enjoy a good meal. It wasn’t until after when some of our new friends (from the restaurant) joined our table and we got talking that we realized we were amidst history. Don’t worry, if you don’t understand what I mean. I will explain, I’m taking my time to recreate the dramatic unveiling we experienced.
Amongst our new friends was the owner of the place and with some tequila to keep us company our host told us a story that shook us. A story that was real, honest and painful. A story that made me realize how quick we are to judge, how ignorant we are of our blessings, how ungrateful we are to this life and how privileged we are living inside our perfect bubbles. With the waves in the ocean splashing and roaring in the background, the light outside dimming as the sunset colored the atmosphere a glistening yellow, we listened with bated breath hanging on to his every word.
Popularly known as the Island’s most chilled-our bar; the irony lay in the fact that this restaurant was rebuilt with reclaimed wood after being destroyed in the 2004 tsunami. Our host had lost four of his family members to the ill-fated tsunami and you can still see long tail boats named after each of them in the restaurant. The tables and chairs that we were sitting on were made of wood saved from the deluge that took many lives and ruined property that unfortunate day years back. Suddenly this quaint, rustic shamble called a restaurant started to look like poetic debris.
At that moment I realized I didn’t want it to be fancier, or cleaner or more refined anymore. I get it now, the primitiveness about the place, the natural ornamentation and chill ambiance. It all made perfect sense to me. This was no restaurant trying to look inviting, it was an honest story waiting to be told. It was a clear reminder of faith, belief, and hope. A relentless strength of neither giving up nor pretending to lay the past. This little restaurant celebrated the beautiful souls; those lost and those that lost with only so much as a hint of the tragedy.
I learned at that moment that life’s not easy, it’s pretty tough. Tomorrow is unknown and unprecedented, I learned that there is no shame in accepting loss, in grieving in our own way, in finding our own purpose to live, in being scared and in embracing all that brings us joy. I am reminded that life is a gift that we were given because we’re strong enough to live it. From that day on, I have added a new motto to my way of living; being thankful for this adventure called life. We travel because we want to explore and see the new right, but some adventures are within.
With every breath, I take in more courage from these inspiring stories and exhale any fear I may possibly feel. I am going to always continue to explore, to be curious and treat every new experience with respect. I am a travel addict not only because of the wonderful things we as travelers get to enjoy but also because this world still has so many stories yet to unfold themselves to me. With this blog piece, I pay my sincere tribute to my friends around the world who have shared their stories with me and changed my life. Thank you for making me a better traveler; today I travel more because I learn more because, with every new trip, I feel like a better person!
Oh and yeah, someone wise told me most things get more amazing with great company, good food, and some tequila ;-)
This traveller has a blog : Miss Travel Junkie
Travelling definitely changes us and opens our eyes to what’s around us, and makes us realise we are not always the ‘right’ culture…such a nice story to see how travel opened your eyes.
Thank you for sharing such an honest post, your own story & retelling is also inspiring. The best thing about travelling is that we are always on the move & thus always growing as people, shaped by the humanity around us.