So, I haven’t posted in a little while because I am still trying to balance who I am and what this blog is. I want to share our adventures, but I want to be real as well and not just write some fluff travel stuff. Traveling is amazing, and make no mistake, I am loving the choices we have made. We are truly enjoying ourselves. However, the truth is that it’s not always Instagram and waterfalls. There are challenges and stress.
We were in Thailand and we had a plan. It was a loose plan, but still somewhat organized. We don’t just totally fly by the seat of our pants all the time, even though it may sometimes seem that way.
We spent a week in Chiang Mai, and we had a great time! The plan was to head south and go to Kanchanaburi next. The problem was that to get there, we would have to go through Bangkok. Just like what we did in Vietnam, we decided to use Bangkok as an anchor point and go to a couple places bouncing out of there. We took an overnight train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok with the intention of heading to Kanchanaburi after one day. I did the research and knew what we needed to do to get there. We planned on taking the 3-hour train ride from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, as it would be a great relaxing trip (and side note: I love trains!).
We left on time, went to the closest 7-Eleven, and got coffee and snacks. We ordered up a Grab and headed off to the Thonburi railway station.
When we arrived, I immediately felt uneasy. Our Grab driver headed across the river but dropped us off at one of Bangkok’s elevated tram platforms. It said Thornburi, but it just did not seem right. I knew that it was not an elevated train that took us 150 kilometers to Kanchanaburi. We went up to the ticket booth, and the agent confirmed that we were in the wrong spot. She handed me a piece of paper to hand to a taxi to take us to the correct place. Evidently, we were not the first to make this mistake, as she pulled the note from a stack of notes all with the same information. We turned around and headed back down to flag a taxi. It turns out that there are TWO Thonburi railway stations! One is for the intercity tram, and the other is to leave town to the Northwest!
We handed the taxi driver the note, and he smiled as we put our bags in the trunk and hopped in! It was now just past 7:00 am, and we needed to go through the center of Bangkok in rush hour traffic. What could possibly go wrong!?
We literally creeped through town. Looking at the map of where we needed to go, it was just over 4 miles away, and the map was showing the route as all red! I was sitting in the front seat, my feelings of tension mounting. My palms were sweating, and I know that my elevating stress level was evident. Amy and Cort felt it, and the driver began to feel it too as the clock ticked down to 7:45.
We were 10 minutes out, and I began to realize that we may not make it. The image of us sitting in a train station in 90-degree weather waiting for the next train began to fill my mind. I was feeling like I had let us down because I hadn’t planned well enough. How could I have sent us to the wrong station? We were going to miss our train, and Amy could be late for her classes!
Of course, there were other options, but this was not what I had worked so hard to plan! It was traveler stress, and it was coming down hard on me. It is the same stress that you would feel when you hit traffic trying to get to the airport or any number of other scenarios you confront while traveling. It is what makes traveling so damn stressful in the first place. This is our life! We travel full time, and I should have this all figured out, right!?
Now, with less than ten minutes left, I started to look at alternatives. I found buses that would get us to our destination in plenty of time. The crisis would be averted, but I still did not feel any better. I wanted to make that train!
7:44 and we finally make it to the train station! We threw money at the cab driver who did his absolute best to get us there, grabbed our bags, and ran to the ticket counter.
Walking up to the counter, I was obviously frazzled. I looked out at the three tracks at the station to see a train pulling away and just knew we had missed our train.
The attendant smiled and motioned that we were fine, and we bought 3 tickets. Unconvinced that we had not just bought three tickets for the 1:30 train, we looked around and saw a crowd of people waiting with us.
Logistics are my gig. It is what Amy and Cort rely on me for. I am supposed to have the plan and all of the answers. I looked at them looking at me wondering if we made it, and I had no answers. I was SO stressed, I couldn’t even think. I didn’t know who to ask or what to do. To be completely honest, I was afraid if I asked someone and didn’t get the answer I wanted, I would be that asshole American tourist who just loses it. So . . . I did what all American men supposedly never do…I asked for help.
I turned to Amy and Cort and was completely honest. I told them I was just too stressed out, and I needed help. The truth was that I could just not think straight, as this leg of the trip had my blood pressure at cartoon-like levels.
Amy asked an attendant, and as it turns out, the train was just arriving. We had actually made it!
I am sharing this because I want to let you know that sometimes what we do is work, and thus, stress can find you anywhere. I am working very hard to just roll with it, and even though I knew it would be okay, I still let it get to me. I worked myself into a frenzy that was unnecessary and probably took a few days off of my life. Even after we were on the train and on our way, it took me a bit to unwind.
I am sharing this moment to be transparent with you, to let you know that even though we are living this amazing life that stress and crap will find you if you let it. I have always said that the most stressful part of any trip is just getting to the airport, and it holds true even now. The truth is that it would have been okay. Absolute worst case scenario was that we stayed for another day in Bangkok. Amy would have taught from there and we would have tried again the next day. That is the worst case scenario! Perspective is everything. Even the worst case wasn’t terrible, but you couldn’t have convinced me of that on this particular day.
So, we made it, and I am writing this from Kanchanaburi while Amy teaches from the comfort of out hotel room. In the end, it ALWAYS works out and we … er I . . . just need to relax! We are traveling the world, and it IS amazing!