Welcome to the Jungle

A thin layer of sweat carried over from 24 hours of thai traveling dripped over my lips as I negotiated baht with my driver. I jump in the back of my final mode of transportation, an extremely rickety Tuk Tuk. A partially paved road, a driver fresh off thai ganja and heavy motorbike traffic makes for a properly adventurous first hour on the Muslim island of Koh Lanta. The sand infiltrating my eyes at a steady pace as I recognize every other person in sunglasses but I didn’t have stability or energy to find mine. I’m hugging my bags as I couldn’t yet trust the wooden attachment over an old motorbike.

Soon the sand road was surrounded by lush palms and greenery that seem to reach the heavens. It continue forever covered by a mysterious fog giving me goosebumps and a welcomed thrill that I am finally meeting the jungle. One wide death defying turn later and there it is. Paradise. Fine white sands, patient calm seas crystal blue in color, and the infamous Thai boats reminiscent of my dreams. We glide past in seconds up another hill, but I revel in that view. That beach is a final destination, a manifestation, an achieved goal, a life’s mission, bucket list moment, accomplishment, and determination. This beach even though fleeting in this moment while covered in sweat, sand and exhaustion, I see a glimpse of myself, metaphorically speking. My soul journey took me, I swear my silly mind had no choice in the matter. It was written. I was always supposed to see myself here.

Internal knowledge of this destined moment leads me to wonder, It was always meant to be, but was it always meant to be in this way? Maybe I didn’t listen so well and I shoved my need for this beach in the corner, behind some desk, making a few co workers laugh through the day, making someone else money, maybe I come home run around with my dog. Maybe I live the same life for the next ten years, then perhaps I visit some resort on an island in the dead of winter and realize I did it wrong. I lived it all wrong
Thailand, Asia, the world. I am supposed to see it, all of it. Including this moment where the jungle meets the sea, where the low lying fog covers the mountain of rubber trees to give a very jurassic impression. What if I never did?What if I didn’t listen to myself? Indulging in my inner most desires seems appropriate on this very short Tuk Tuk ride of life. I never found sense in being overly practical and so now is the part of the ride I see myself on the beach. The beach where dreams are made. Ah Happiness tingles inside, transcending from deep within. As we drive further and further, we trade the flying sand for mountains of mud.
The scenery increases my curiosity and my reservations for the week ahead. I liked the hippies and the bungalows on the other side of the island. I thought maybe I should just stay there but, Asalanta beckoned. I traveled quite a journey now is no time to turn around. Down to the last road, (I use that term loosely as it was a straight line of mud puddles) Until I see two people, glowing with ear to ear smiles. Off the tuk tuk to begin my time with a beautiful family focused on a sustainable life. Learning each day about the importance of feasible permaculture, learning holistic diets abundant with nature, whole hearted vibrations of a life well lived. Slowly, the rhythm and music of life started resounding and reverberating in my veins. Freedom. And yes, it is infinitely more incredible then it sounds. Freedom friends, freedom is not overrated. It is liberation.

Paige Sommer

Travel has always encouraged my creative appetite for documenting compelling stories that will enlighten the public on the social and cultural developments of our world. I'm looking for the light in even the most bleak humanitarian situations, the inspirational stories that can become a catalyst for significant change. Most recently, my work has been featured in, Elephantjournal.com, Reset.me. Find me on Instagram @_Sommertime_ and Twitter: @Paigesommer

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