It’s been a long 30h travelling from Thailand and back home – jumping around on one foot with 45kg luggage – and I’ve only just gotten out of a very long recovery sleep. However, I’m surrounded by Norwegian “koselig” Christmas decorations and in company of my cat – life is good!
Travelling always look glamorous in retrospect.
Looking back at my time in Thailand I know I’ve been lucky and I’m humble for the things I’ve learned, the things I’ve seen and the responsibilities I’ve had. I’ve had the love of many small hearts with tiny fingers and toes and had experiences that took my breath away. Apart from volunteering, the highlights of my trip was definitely the weekend at Koh Yao Noi to see the islands nearby and my first time go’karting (I didn’t crash!! #winning). It’s been a privilege to get to know the WKO family and be trained by the greatest: the gym played a big part in helping me settle into a routine that would keep me head-strong on my task at hand.
On the other hand, the trip has also been testing, particularly mentally and emotionally. Like for any traveller, homesickness hit me at one point and it refused to leave after the third week. I left people I miss every day in the UK. I’m far away from everyone I consider family in Norway. Living every day in fear something might happen to you makes it even worse to be this disconnected. Luckily I got some amazing friends who, like in any situation, is always there to give me the support and encouragement when they sense I need it – even from the other side of the world! I dedicate all my gratefulness to them for keeping my head above the waters.
I know many people when they talk about travelling they talk of homesickness as a sin. I think many forget there’s a difference between the wish to have and the actual possession of the freedom to control your own life, road path and choices.
For most travellers, homesickness is a natural thing and will occur at one point or another. What many travellers don’t tell – because it feels like they have failed – is that many start to revalue the frames of regular life, of building something for themselves and with people around them that will actually stay in their lives for more than a couple days or weeks.
Every time I travel I feel this. Maybe that’s what I like so much with it; it teaches me a lot, tests me and makes me stronger, but eventually it points me in the direction of where home is.
Moreover, apart from homesickness and the general paralysing fear that I’ll die or be harmed that or that day, I’ve had a hard time facing the conditions of Thailand (and at that especially in Pattaya). Thailand and the people is a proud and beautifully kind people – they are my people – and every day I have seen tourism, poverty and pollution take advantage and break them down bit by bit. I see Thai women, with a rich culture and beauty behind them, succumb to prostitution or becoming girlfriends to old men with money. It makes me so angry knowing that those men come here knowing that too. It’s as if foreigners would come to the UK or Norway because they’d expect they could pick or buy women as they would pick or buy roses. Very few women of the UK or Norway would succumb to that. Very few countrymen of the UK and Norway would accept that. Why should it be okay to go to Thailand to do it? Roses die when they are picked; they’ll stand proud when developing from their roots
Some random photos from my explorations by foot
Coming to Thailand as the first destination of my journey was with a purpose. It’s the one place I feel closer to my mum and dad; I wanted to honour their memory by volunteering here. It’s been hard. There has been some constant reminders of them and I’ve been having to handle some difficult things that I’m not even comfortable writing about. I’ve searched and asked for stories of my parents. No one can tell or communicate them. The desperation and frustration…it would have taken overhand if I everyday didn’t face children that have not only lost their parents and more. There’s lot more to the present than to stay in the past.
All bad aside, I’ve done something here in Thailand that no bad in the world would have kept me from doing. I’m also so blessed that I get to travel and help children; see the joy in their eyes as you play with them or see the proud smile as they do well in class. Independent of the homesickness, it fills me with guilt that I’m now to leave for home where conditions are wealthy and rich while these children stay. Some I won’t ever see again, which is a good thing as it means they’ll be adopted, but some I can only pray and hope for; pray and hope that children one day will come before money, greed and power. At least there are a couple truly good hearted organisations in Thailand which do their best to help.
It’s been a hard test and I know now it’s going to be harder in a month when I fly to South America. I’m nervous, I’m worried, but I’m also determined that there is at the very least one child that needs my help there and if I can help that child it’ll all be worth it. Have a merry December everyone xxx