11 Jul Sensory Overload in Thailand
Projected into the future, the weary traveler stepped off the giant metallic bird into foreign lands. Mere decades ago, such travel and possibilities were reserved for the elite and those drunkards of wanderlust. Today, even I, an individual struck by a desire to push my boundaries and stretch the horizons of my perspective, find myself stepping into a new world – exotic and exciting!
The first step into this adventure can be described as nothing short of a punch to the face. The heat and humidity shorten your breath as the water instantly begins to be sucked away from your body with a velocity never imagined. Next, it’s sensory overload with all the colorful, neon modes of transportation sporting flowers from their rearview mirrors and tiny statues glued to dashboards for good luck, while they drive on the “wrong” side of the road. You drive by countless skyscrapers, matched only by the markets lining the streets with carts and carts of foreign foods advertised with incomprehensible signs. Do you dare? You did just see a McDonald’s around the corner…
The people around you are speaking in dozens of various languages and accents, none of which resemble your own. There are glimpses of familiarity bringing back the safety and comforts of home, until you are plunged back into the unfamiliar. At last you arrive at your destination, jetlagged and dazed, where a confident, friendly face greets you and speaks in a tongue you can at last understand! “Hello! Welcome to Thailand and Operation Groundswell!”
The next few days are filled with your new guides of these far-off lands easing you into your environment, the heat and the spices. They inform you of the do’s and don’ts to avoid outraging or offending the locals. The rules seem to be pretty simple. Phew!
With a group of like-minded people, we begin exploring the magnificent ruins and temples of ancient civilizations. We cruised down the river on a taxi, tried delicious fruit which never in season back home, and met with the revered monks to chat about Buddhism, hamburgers and Slipknot. Enticed by all the new foods, we also jumped into the kitchen under the guidance of our eccentric teacher and learned a lot about bananas and making curry! You’ll most certainly be throwing a dinner party for all your friends back home upon your return!
Then the moment you have been waiting for and dreaming of since the days of Babar – ELEPHANTS!! In a world where more and more factories are popping up as the trees are falling down, you know you just have to meet these gentle giants in the flesh before they disappear. With a rumbling growl that brings you back to the Jurassic period, you know that more must be done to help preserve these endangered animals. You realize how important pushing your boundaries, learning about the world and spreading awareness truly is. And to think that just a month ago, you would consider going elephant trekking!
Within just a week, we begin to really appreciate how connected we are to these magnificent creatures, new lands and friendly people. We have already begun to recognize our similarities over our differences. It really is a small world after all!
Now it’s time to say goodbye to Thailand and push our boundaries a little further into the magical kingdom of Cambodia – the Kingdom of Wonder! There is no Internet there, so let the real challenge begin! We will be off the grid until the 20th, so call us if you need anything at +85517503562.
See you tomorrow, Cambodia!
Sending you lots of love,
The Unearthed Crew
Amanda, Sidney, Katia, Kate, Albert, Dan, Jess, Danah and Catherine