“But you’ve been to Thailand 3 times already, why do you keep going there?” This is a question I heard a lot when I would tell people my plans for the end of the year, and I would just give the same answer: “it’s cheap, the weather is great, the food is great and it’s beautiful”. I thought this was the sole reason I kept coming back to Thailand and left it at that. But during the Vipassana Meditation retreat I attended there in December 2019, I had a lot of time to think, and realized this was not the reason why I keep coming back. 

Thailand was the first place I ever visited outside of North America and it was eye-opener, I was going to describe how I felt about this experience, but Bourdain said it best (this quote is from his Thailand episode): “I remember the moment I first realized I’ve been living my whole life in black and white. It was like discovering a color I never knew existed before. A whole new crayon box full of colors, that was it for me. From then on, there was no putting the pieces back together. No going home. Things were different now. Asia had ruined me for my old life.” When I heard him say this quote, it was a weird moment since I felt like he was saying exactly what I thought, I had the exact same experience. There was something about arriving in Bangkok, seeing all the traffic, tuk-tuks, people, all the various foods, smells, sounds, temples, etc, all of this made the United States seem so bland and dead in comparison.


During the retreat, I realized that during my first time in Thailand, which was just 2 weeks long, I did and experienced so many new things for the first time, that it took me so far away from my comfort zone that I forgot how that comfort zone looked like to begin with. While I was writing the list of things I did for the first time it amazed me, I can’t believe all of this happened in two weeks:

  1. First time having to get creative to communicate with sign language since I didn’t speak the language
  2. First time traveling with people I didn’t know
  3. First time traveling to a place with no agenda or plans or even an idea of what we were going to do there
  4. First time going to a Buddhist temple, and first time giving an offering at one
  5. First time eating food that I had no idea what it was and with no way of asking
  6. First time experiencing real tropical rain and getting completely soaked
  7. First time hiking and camping in the jungle
  8. First time hanging out with elephants and tigers
  9. First time taking a cooking class
  10. First time getting a massage
  11. First time river rafting
  12. First time getting scammed and having to cancel a credit card
  13. First time traveling in sleeper buses and sleeper trains
  14. First time attending a jungle party
  15. First time attending a full moon party and making 30 new friends in one night
  16. First time shaving half my head
  17. First time painting my body in glow in the dark paint
  18. First time wearing a tank top and flip flops outside of the beach
  19. First time staying at hostels and homestays
  20. First time meeting and hanging out with backpackers
  21. First time meeting regular people like me, that were traveling all around the world with very little money
  22. First time meeting people that didn’t care about following the typical American lifestyle of graduating, working, buying a nice car and a nice house
  23. First time riding and falling off a scooter
  24. First time doing a 12 hour road trip on a scooter
  25. First time hanging out with people that didn’t care how much money I had, which car I drove or what brand of clothes I was wearing
  26. First time partying at a club with no AC, 80-degree weather, everyone being completely covered in sweat, and not caring about any of this
  27. First time eating foreign food, sitting on the sidewalk surrounded by trash, rats, and cockroaches, with a pretty and adventurous girl that made all the difference
  28. First time eating a scorpion
  29. And many many more!
Sleeper train to Chiang Mai
Jungle hike
Scooter road trip to Pai
Chris enjoying the island life
After shaving half my head 🙂

So this is the reason why I like going to Thailand, it is a country that made me grow so much, so fast, and while having so much fun, that I came back from that first trip as a different, better person: someone that was more adventurous, less materialistic, more willing to learn new things, and that enjoyed getting out of his comfort zone. Like Anthony said: “From then on, there was no putting the pieces back together.”

Have you ever had an experience like this? If not, I would highly recommend you do. Yes it will be uncomfortable, maybe even painful and a little bit dangerous, but it will be worth it, just take our word for it.

To subscribe to my blog, enter the information below.