Sunday, March 3, 2013


My head hangs out the window as I take my first 3rd class train from one  place to the next in Thailand. The wind crashes against my face and my lips form a smile as my mind wonders back to Chelsea. She always loved sticking her head out the window in the car and Lauren and I would tease her about her  puppy like tendencies. It's amazing how even while I'm the other side of the world, often times, simple moments can bring  me right back to my loved ones at home in the states.

I'm taking the train to Ayythaya after spending another two days in Bangkok. After I allow myself time to enter into memories of car rides with Lauren and Chelsea, I bring myself back to now. I let the wind fall across  my face as I encounter more recent memories made here in Thailand. I think back to the Thai man who offered me the sincerest smile when I boarded the train and the old woman who kindly asked me where I was  heading with a smile. I think about the little Thai boy who I found playing in boxes on the street and how he asked me to stack them three levels high and then reached his arms towards the sky requesting that I pick him up and set  him inside. I recall his giggle and his grandmother's smile as she watched him interact with me. I remember the feeling when I stood at the top of Wat Arun, with the city outstretched before me. Last night I sat in a tuk tuk with two other travels from Whales and Denmark. Our driver was racing through the streets so quickly that we were holding on for dear life. It wasn't until he started doing wheelies that I feared my life. I think back to the drivers face after I screamed and when he slyly said, "Enjoy?".  I look at my map and see print scribbled on it in black marker; two Philippino women I met briefly at a market lunch gave me their contact information and told me to call them if I ever visit Manilla. Memories. Moments that make up your life. I smile to think back on these recent ones and  how they will stay with me forever.

I think about the last week and that although it's taken me until today to realize it, I know I can conquer this trip on my own. The truth is that I have been a bit back and forth since I got here. I started out excited but quickly became hesitant about whether or not I was cut out for this kind of travel. It requires a lot of patience, motivation, and self reliance. I've been questioning myself a lot... until now. I realize that today I conquered a lot on my own. I somehow managed to make it to the floating markets and back (allowing myself to put trust in my own judgement and the sincerity of others), found my way back to my hostel, managed to take a public bus to the train station, bought a ticket, boarded a train, and now I'm on my way. As simple as it sounds, I have been worried about completing tasks such as these alone in a foreign country that's new to me because this isn't  Korea and  I don't have the same cushioning I had upon arrival there.

So now, as I begin my journey north, I feel better than I did yesterday and the day before that and the day before that. I know that this journey is going to make me stronger as long as  I have faith in myself and an open mind to the things around me. I'm laminating the memories from chapter one of my trip and starting to fill up another page today. Today I was reminded of the Rachel I became in Korea. The one who learned how to delight in uncertainties instead of stress about them. Once again, I'm reminded that perhaps having no idea what you are doing or where you are going is the beginning of life when you learn to live freely.

Lastly, I must admit one last thing... I couldn't stop grinning when the conductor came to stamp my ticket and asked my destination SIMPLY because  I felt like I was aboard  the Polar Express. SWEET.

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