“It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be. The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I have still to go, how much more there is to learn.” – Anthony Bourdain

Similarly, the more I travel within the same country, the more I realize how very little I have seen of it.

That was most definitely the case with Thailand on the eve of my last impending visit. As I approached my third visit to the country, I sat thinking: I’ve seen the beaches. I’ve walked the markets. I’ve visited the temples. In fact, I’ve checked off most of the tourist boxes, much as I disdain the concept.

It is also true that the more I travel, the more I want to take things slowly. I’m not immune to the syndrome of “I want to see all the things!” I still take my picture in front of the Eiffel Tower (or in this case, the Grand Palace in Bangkok.) I still want to feel the exhilaration of standing atop a hotel rooftop, sipping on cocktail on the edge of a famous bar with the city lights out ahead of me.

Yet there is merit in slowly letting a journey unfold, perhaps in a corner of a country that isn’t vying for visitor attention. The beauty of continuing to return to a place is reaching a level of comfort to push yourself deeper, into pockets of the country and experiences you might once have overlooked.

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I got out with bites marks on my fins…my diving instructor wasn’t so lucky.

So, I was one of those kids who wanted to be a marine biologist.  *I know, I know…didn’t we allllll want to be marine biologists?*  No but, really, it was the first (and only) time I was truly convinced of my life’s purpose.  In the fifth grade, we all had a “job shadow” report to complete, and me, being the over-achiever that I was am, drove five hours to Monterey (Bay Aquarium) with a friend to be pretend to be a marine biologist for a day.  I can tell you my aspirations to really actually be a marine biologist lasted oh…say….a day…a quarter at UCLA (my first quarter) until I quickly resigned to general education confusion, followed by  the realization that I wasn’t cut out for a degree in science (sorry.)

This long anecdote comes with an epic travel story, I promise.

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