Dynamics of group travelling: The Thailand experience

30 January 2019

Travelling in a group has a lot of dynamics and complexities, and emotions can be high if not managed. My friends and I recently travelled to Phuket, Thailand for two week stay, starting in Phuket and then Bangkok a few days later. Being a solo traveller, this experience taught me a few lessons about travelling in a group and the dynamics that come with that.

Prior to our departure from Maseru, as with many group travels, my friends and I got into a nasty fight that almost led me to cancel the trip. A lot happened leading to hurtful things being said, which I would not get into the details of. Hurt, disappointed and emotional, I was honestly ready to cancel, but realised how much I had saved and sacrificed to make this trip happen. I was not about to let LSL25 000 go down the drain because of an argument between friends, that would be preposterous!

About the trip

The trip from Maseru, Lesotho is four hours to Johannesburg in South Africa. We left Maseru at 03:00am and arrived in Johannesburg at 07:00am on Saturday, 30 January 2019. We boarded a 10 hour flight from O.R Tambo International Airpot, had a 2 hour layover in Qatar and then flying for another 6 hours to Phuket. I had hoped that my anger would subside, allowing me to enjoy the trip, but sadly I was still too angry from what happened. Secretly, I had hoped I was traveling alone, where my solo trips come with no drama or issues. Sadly, I had to make a choice – to stay angry and miserable or to let things go and enjoy the trip. I chose to let things go.

Every time I stand before a beautiful beach, it’s waves seem to whisper to me; if you choose the simple things and find joy in nature’s simple treasures, life and living need not be so hard”

Psyche Roxas-Mendoza

Like Roxas-Mendoza wrote, ‘every time I stand before a beautiful beach, it’s waves seem to whisper to me. And boy did the waters at Phi Phi Island come through. Personally, coming to Phi Phi Islands is like medicine, always magical, soothing, healing and uplifting. The crystal clear and blue waters, the tranquility and sheer beauty of the islands is incredible. Every time I visit the island, I have the chance to introspect, think and allow myself to find healing and forgives, all the while being inspired by the beauty of this place.

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How much did we spend?

Our packaged to Thailand which covered flights and accommodation for two weeks in Phuket and Bangok was approximately LSL17 000 per person sharing. The one day trip to Phi Phi Island was 2 000 Baht (equivalent of LSL900) on a speedboat and includes a pick up from your hotel at 07:30am, refreshments, lunch and a full day of island living booked from Diamond Seas http://www.diamondseasmarine.com. The package also comes with snorkeling gear so you can relax. Wear your shorts, bring your shades, sunscreen and a towel.You can also bring a little extra cash for additional drinks and souvenirs, if you so wish which I recommend you do.

How is the experience?

The speedboat took off, cutting through the blue waters. My heart was a little fragile as I processed what had happened prior to the trip, shedding a little tear while hiding behind my glasses. In that moment, the waves whispered to me “don’t cry my child, everything is going to be okay”. I felt a smile coming and I laughed a little, remembering how that how beautiful life is and how abundantly blessed I was to be young, black and able to travel and experience this moment.

Why am I wasting time being angry?

This is Phi Phi Islands for crying out loud!

I started with snorkelling at Phi Phi Don, sight seeing at Monkey Bay and had Halal lunch. The day was nothing short of amazing. I am not one to eat much, but I particularly enjoyed the Monkey Leg soup that was refreshing and left a lingering taste on my palate.

Like with many of my travel experiences, I met new people, in particular a gentleman from Sweden travelling with his family on a two month long vacation, a group of friends from China and another guy from Turkey  who now lives and works in Bangkok, Thailand. I had a long conversation with a Chinese guy using a translator application to keep the conversation going which totally rocked and did I mention that he knew about Lesotho? This is yet another reminder that the world is truly diverse and ours to explore.

I dived into the ocean off the boat in Maya Bay, taking a risk and facing my fears (of course I can swim, but this is the ocean hey). I did a bit of snorkelling again just to appreciate the beauty of the underworld and cut my foot in the process. I enjoyed a Mai Tai cocktail at Khai Island,which tasted terrible but alas sexy.

As my friends and I head back to harbour, I sat quietly to take it all in. It is a privilege and blessing to be experiencing moments like these. To be alive and to be here! This experience taught to be really appreciate the simple things in life and to find joy in life’s treasures. We are on borrowed time after all, so make every experience count. I can finally kickstart the new year, 2019, I am ready!

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