Phi Leh: Bay of Great Beauty and Important Decisions

I close my eyes and tilt my head back sending a smile towards the sky. I lean back and dig my hands into the white sand. This feeling cannot be compared to any other.  So, this is it then. I am here. This is the moment when a dream came true. This is the same sand I used to stare at on post cards crying from the inside thinking I could never be lucky enough to be here. Yet, here I am.

I take deep, slow breaths clearing out my head and then carefully open my eyes trying to take in every single detail of this insane beauty. I am scanning and soaking it all in like someone is going to take it away from me. I am almost in disbelief. How can water be so beautiful and emerald? Surrounded by steep cliffs, hiding this piece of fairy tale from the strong sun, this place makes me want to cry. That’s the thing with me-when faced with something amazing or beautiful, I always feel the need to shed a tear or two. Almost like watering my gratitude so it grows even bigger and stronger.

“That’s the thing with me-when faced with something amazing or beautiful, I always feel the need to shed a tear or two. Almost like watering my gratitude so it grows even bigger and stronger.”

Who am I? A country gal who spent her young days listening to how bright she was and how she is going to do significant things one day. You know, be someone. A girl who somewhere along the way adopted everyone else’s plan-to get a diploma by 23, find a man by 25, marry by 27, etc.  A girl who then realized life works on some different levels and there are cubicle jobs, student loans, dishonest men.
​So I took off. I sure did! Some might say I ran away from things but I prefer to think I ran towards them. I prefer to think that, as I was chasing those flights, I was chasing Life. Actually, touching this green magical water and admiring the long tail boats surrounding me, mark three years of my journey.
I see tiny little fishes swimming around me. They are playing. I see tanned Thai men on their boats polishing their beauties, adding flowers and colorful scarfs. Somewhere on that little piece of beach, I hear people laughing. I touch dark grey, rough cliffs and it is all just so surreal.
​Have you ever been to Koh Phi Phi, Thailand? If you have, it is very likely that you were swept away the same instant you got off a ferry. Same like me. I remember following my porter to the hotel up and down by a walking path and being in absolute awe with my surroundings. Every single thing I would lay my eyes on was in intensive color! Blue shallow waters, far green waters, shiny white sand, bright red trinkets they were selling on stalls we were passing by… Colors on steroids, I kept repeating in my head as I was laughing. At some point I guess I started singing because when an elderly couple walked passed me, the husband commented: “Look! Everyone is so happy here!”
​While being a part of that incredible 4D picture was lifting my spirits every day spent there, the most important moments turned out to be those when I would take a long tail boat and seek solitude on further beaches, as early as the sun rose. Before all other lazy tourists would come. I would swim as far as I could, causing worrying faces on boat owner’s faces and just think. Inhaling and exhaling deeply with heart pumping so loud you can hear it your ears, you have no choice but isolate all the daily distractors. And so you start seeing things clearly.
Phi Leh Bay was one of those early morning trips. But even jumping off that boat into the water, I didn’t know how significant it would be. Even now as I am writing this, I can’t comprehend what exactly happened, how my thoughts aligned, what triggered them… None of those things that would make any sense to you or me.
However, after my usual swim, snooping around, and my gratitude cry, I sat on the beach, in a lotus position, looking into the distance. I was happy. I was able to hop over to Malaysia, I was able to go to famous Chiang Mai tomorrow if I wanted. I could’ve stayed in Thailand and accept a job I got offered, with a possibility to choose a location. I could’ve done just about anything. But I chose not to. Against all expectations, odds and predictions, sitting there, wearing a crown of my three year long journey, I chose to finish what I have started. This time on my own terms and because I and I alone wanted to. I chose to go back to University.
​Seeing the world opens your horizons in ways I cannot even explain. No matter who you were before, it shapes you all over, from scratch, and gives you new you. I can guarantee you that no matter what, you will like that “you”. You will cherish its stories, new found strengths and abilities. You will love this new quick-on-the-feet-persona. You will love making your own decisions.  But most of all, you will love the occasional clarity of thoughts. Flashes of your true desires and wishes. I can tell you for sure Phi Leh had a whole specter of flashes for me that day.
​“Let’s go!” – I told the boat owner – “I am ready!” And I sure was.

Have you been to Koh Phi Phi, Thailand? What beaches and special corners of the world are your favorites? Have a Recollection of your own to share? Comment below to let us know!

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