So I made it, finally got off the island and I can honestly say it was emotional.
Probably one of the most emotional departure I have had since I have been on the road. All of this bonding stuff with people and making friends sure makes leaving tuff!
It was so easy to settle in to a schedule. In the mornings I would ride my little Honda Dream, a red 125cc scooter with a slipping transmission, intermittently working instrument panel, and a sound that seems to make everyone feel the need to ask "Is it supposed to sound like that?", down to the pier and find myself waving or nodding good morning to various folks as everybody goes about their morning. Pim at the noodle shop, Maew at her sandal shop, some of the guys that you just see every morning and end up nodding your head to. These are things that happen when you find yourself settling in, where you know people and they know you. It's not surprising that people have come for a bit and stayed for awhile, I mean people have been staying for years!
Usually when your traveling you stay in a place a few days, a week maybe even a few weeks but people come and go with such frequency that you might find yourself bonding for the night over a few beers swapping travel stories or even a few days before somebody moves on never to be seen again. Sure it was a blast and sure it would be great to run into them again but you know it's probably never going to happen and you don't really give it much thought.
That's not the case though when you are with the same people for awhile and you get to know them a bit more and you start to build a friendship. There are a few of these folks that I think I'll try to grab a beer with later this summer. Folks like Scott and Kimberly (Scottish), Perry and Wendy (New Zealand and Dutch respectively), Emma (God save the Queen, UK) and Chris (Swedish/kenyan) are heading home to Europe for a bit before getting back on the road and I find myself looking forward to possibly hanging out with them for a bit. Lital is heading back to Israel so who knows, maybe I might make it to the Holy land? Then there are others who may find their way to the states, Fri might make it out to Burning Man as well as Laura and a few other folks. Then there are those that I would like to see again but I don't know if I ever will, John and Vanessa (Irish), Ricky (Irish) Sarah (UK), Tristan (UK) and Danielle (Oz). They have the itch to travel and no real plans to head home until it's time. It's weird when you think about it and then realize that you will never see the person again. Usually you just say goodbye and just don't think about it.
There is still so much out there in the world and I have only gone thru maybe a 3rd of my list. Almost a month in Korea, a full month in Nepal, about 3 months on Koh Tao, a month and a half in Oz and two weeks in New Zealand. No regrets though, it's been good.
Everybody should do it at some point, take a year off and go and see the world. You can always find a way to support yourself, although it is easier if your under 30. I think the hardest part is just letting go of things at home and getting out of the country. The first step is always the hardest.
Now with all that said on a lighter note the included clips are miscelaneous shots from my farewell party (even though I didn't actually leave when I said I would) and my last day on the island.
A Kho Taoism.
It seems that with the older bikes like mine other people's keys will start yours so as I found out some times people (Thais and farangs) may take your bike because they need a ride home, like the Thai guy who took my bike twice during my last 24hrs on the island (the bastard had me sweating thinking that I was going to have to pay for a lost bike) or their drunk and they don't realize who's bike they are taking. I told the guy at Owens' Rentals that all I had for him was the key to his scooter and he was incrediablely cool about it. He said it's on the island somewhere and to not worry about it. Obviously this happens all the time. Actually the guy who took mine parked it almost exactely where i had left the day before. Of course he did take again 15 minuetes after I found it but still . . . .