This Blog Entry is an email that I sent to my family. I have fallen horribly behind in blogging, so below if a brief summary of my current goings-ons.
Hi family! Greetings from Phuket, Thailand where it is currently 1:30am, but 12:30pm for you. Its been raining all week so I'm crossing my fingers for some beach weather this week!
I wanted to write you all since my plans have changed a bit from the original plan and to catch you up on what ive been up to. I originally planned to only be gone just shy of 3 months and travel through Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. I have now been gone for almost 8 weeks and I haven't even made it past Thailand yet!...well, except for a long weekend to Singapore because my visa only allows me to be in Thailand for 30 consecutive days. Some of you know, I am currently in Phuket at a place called Tiger Muay Thai. I have been training here for almost 4 weeks now in general fitness, Muay Thai, and Jiu Jitsu. This was not in the plan AT ALL. So I'll give you the back story.
About week 2 of my travels I was feeling that I couldnt do this and that traveling this way was not for me. The feeling that I needed to be at work and doing something consumed my thoughts and wouldnt allow me to relax and enjoy so much so that I almost decided to end my trip and come home. Then I got to an island called Koh Tao where I intended to stay for 4 days, just long enough to get my scuba diver certification. Once on the island I found out they had a crossfit gym on this tiny island (there are only a handfull in all of Thailand so it was very ironic that I happened to be near one). As soon as I had my first workout, I felt better about traveling. I was surrounded by healthy like-minded people (instead of a lot the majority of backpackers who are in their early 20s, have no goals in life, and just want to party). I stayed in Koh Tao for 10 days instead of the planned 4 and went to the crossfit gym everyday. I decided that whereever I went next, it needed to be an environment where I could focus on myself and my fitness and be surrounded by others doing the same. I had heard of Tiger Muay Thai simply from MMA and UFC things on TV and had heard others talk about it as well. I looked into it and realized it was VERY affordable. (As is everything here in Thailand). Then I randomly met a really neat guy named Louis from England who was also leaving Koh Tao in several days to train at Tiger. Ironic again. Louis and I decided we would make the grueling 9 hour over night ferry boat trip together and make our way to Tiger. It has been love ever since. ...with Tiger Muay Thai, not Louis! haha! got ya! (if you are wondering what happened to Louis, he only stayed at Tiger for 2 weeks and went on about his travels....he's been traveling for 4 YEARS!!!!)
So here I am today, 4 weeks after getting to Tiger Muay Thai and I simply dont want to leave. I have never been this happy! I do miss my friends and family, but I am able to completely focus on my fitness and learning new skills that will no doubt become lifelong hobbies as well as a selfdefense tool. My typical day starts at 7am with yoga, then Muay Thai group session is 8-10:30. I shower and have a protein shake and start private Jiu Jitsu lesson (with one of the worlds few 4th degree blackbelts) at 11:30-12:30. I shower again and have a healthy lunch. I have a crossfit workout at 2:30-3:30 then I shower AGAIN and have another protein shake. Then I have a private Muay Thai lesson with a champion Thai fighter at 6:30-7:30. Shower for the last time, join friends somewhere along the street for dinner and turn in around 9:30. Throw in some amazing $10 an hour Thai massages, $8 manicure pedicures, and a few days I skip a workout session and head to beach for a few hours instead. Tiger is located on a street that is about 1 mile long. There are about 6 other gyms on this one street and tons of healthy restaurants and smoothie stands. Everyone is here to be healthy and walks up and down the street all day between their gym, restaurants, and their lodging. The majority are English and Australian, a lot of Russians as well. Americans are hugely the minority...I've only met 5 others so far.
Anyhow, the point of this email is because I have completely fallen off track with my blog so i wanted to catch you all up on my goings on. Also, to let you all know that I will be extending my stay, which means I wont make it home for the holidays this year. I currently plan to be here at Tiger until Dec 5, then I will take 2 week trip (and break from training) to go to Vietnam with a new friend that Angela (Vaughan) introduced me to in Singapore. She and I will travel in Vietnam together and then I will return to Tiger Muay Thai (in Thailand) and spend Christmas here. I have made a good group of friends here who are all away from their families as well, so we intend to have a big Christmas dinner together. It wont be at all the same without you all, but its only one year of the many we spend together. I briefly thought about going home for the holiday and then returning to Thailand in January; however the cost to do that is equal to an entire month of expenses here in Thailand. After that I will stay and continue to train for another month or two. I haven't decided for sure yet, but I will most likely come home in February. If you are wondering how I can afford all this, I'll let you in on something....Thailand is insanely cheap! For all the training I described above, for all my food, for all my lodging, and a scooter rental, it costs me less than $2500 a month. There are camps like this in the US and they are upwards of $20,000 a month! You couldnt even stay in a nice hotel for $2500 a month in the US. If I weren't training and only traveling, I could be in Thailand for probably less than $1000 a month. So, my money is holding up well and stretching far.
I love and miss you all! Please know that I am OKAY and HAPPY! Most people here are traveling alone so we all keep an eye out for each other and are usually never alone. Oh, and I refuse to take my scooter over 50 KM per hour and always wear a helmet....and the furthest I go is about 6 miles to the beach.
Off to bed now...its now 2:15am...but I have all day Sunday to rest.