Met my songthaew for the journey to the elephant sanctuary. This promised to be an excellent time. first it would be very personal with only 2 other tour participants, Emily and Beth from Ringwood, England. As I later learned, these tours are typically occupied by 12 to 20 people.
After a beautiful, winding drive out of the city and into the mountains, we stopped for a marvelous lunch, then 20 minutes further up the mountain for this experience. More amazing scenery and unbelievable motorcycle roads! After disembarking the ride up, we had a lovely 10 minute hike down a trail to where the elephants are hosted. They are able to roam free where they live, with beautiful natural surroundings. It is clearly evident they are loved and well cared for. AS we reached the clearing where the elephants became aware of our presence, oh the cacophony they made! It’s dinner and play time!
This trip was so fun! Feeding the elephants, bathing them in the river to cool them off and even a water fight with the tour hosts. After departing the elephants, we had another 15 minute hike through the woods, across narrow bamboo bridges for great balancing acts (no pressure about falling in with everything I carried!), and down to a beautiful waterfall. As great as I expected this experience, my expectations were exceeded by far!
George once said it’s most defining how a relationship will work when people travel together. I so gratefully acknowledge that travel with George and with my daughter Ariel have proven that our relationships are authentic and fantastic! This outcome is not Always guaranteed.
Less than a week in, my Thailand travel mate and I found that traveling together was absolutely not working well. Societal expectation helps one imagine there must have been a massive communal blowout, but there really was no such event. It was increasingly evident that my friend really no longer wanted to be away from home and, at only a week in, I personally had to decide the risk factor of staying with her because of a case of the “shoulds” or parting ways for our mutual benefit. Ultimately the second option won. Now mind you, we are in a very safe country and she has remained with our driver/companion while I have struck out on my own. We just happened to have traveled to a country where this determination could conscientiously be made!
The lesson I’ve learned in this experience is to trust my instinct and to not ignore my deepest intuitions. Not only does this apply in travel; it applies in every aspect of life. Who’s impact have I missed due to fear of unknowns? What life-changing experiences have I snuffed out due to following the need for a sense of temporary comfort? Who have I MISSED impacting due to my fear of rejection?
The thought continuously returns to me that I have one life and that it is quick and absent of practice runs! Relax, but take no moment for granted!