I met Amanda last summer during Nurses week 2018 which was hosted by the beautiful "Nurse Mo". Amanda and I hit it off instantly but it was our dreams and aspirations for our nursing careers and future endeavors that has kept us close throughout this time. Amanda recently took a trip to Thailand which was both enjoyable and exciting to watch her experience such a beautiful place. Here is Thailand through Amanda's eyes.
1. Why did you choose the destination you chose?
Actually, this location chose me! I attended a brunch during Essence Fest put on by The Nurse Power Network called the Nurse Power Brunch. It was there that I won a surprise second trip to the Nurses Travel Network's scheduled luxury self-care trip for nurses to Phuket. I chose to add on the trip with less than 24 hours in Bangkok, 2.5 days in Ko Samui and 3.5 days in Chiang Mai.
2. What is one new thing you tried or did that you never have before (a food, an experience)?
I rode on the back of a scooter and quickly realized that was my new favorite thing to do! It was an experience I would never trade and would do it again and again (and I did)! In Thailand they have the Grab app, which is their form of a ride-sharing and food delivery service. On the app are options for taxis, tuk-tuks, vans and SCOOTERS!
I stayed away from the street food. I just could not bring myself to try the majority of it. I was lucky enough to find a dish I had previously, in a restaurant at a locals food market. IT WAS DELICIOUS! It was an experience I would never trade and would do it again and again (and I did)! I also got to drive a long boat after a snorkeling and island excursion. That was amazing.
3. What did you enjoy most?
I was in Thailand during Loy Krathong and Yi (Yee) Peng, so while in Ko Samui, I had the opportunity to make my own Krathong and take it to the river to float it. As someone who loves DIY, I was in heaven.
I missed out on releasing lanterns for Yi Peng, but that just means I need to go back and ensure I'm not dog tired when it's time to release the lanterns, missing out on my opportunity.
4. Top 3 things you would recommend others to bring with them?
It's just necessary always, but I found that the amount of people who I saw coughing and sneezing into their hands, leaving the restroom without washing their hands (tourists as well), and digging for gold in their nose was alarming. So, to ensure you are on the up and up, bring these things. Some restrooms out in the city didn't have soap or small bar soap fragments for all to use. Er' on the side of caution.
When I was in Phuket, we were driven around a lot. So sandals were fine. When I arrived in Chiang Mai, I did A LOT of walking. I would advise bringing a nice, comfy pair to ensure your feet don't swell like someone off their Furosemide (a little nurse humor for ya!).
Thailand in general is trying to stray away from plastic consumption (the tree hugger in me was super excited). So they were quite appreciative when I would turn down plastic bags or whip out my metal straw. If you are one of those people who needs a bag or a straw, they have them for you. But a local told me that probably sometime next year they may not have bags at all, so it will be good to start thinking of bringing your own.
An open mind.
I went places alone to check them out and allowed myself to talk to people.
I met a nurse from Paris who recently quit her job and was traveling in search of her next move and what she really wanted in life. Conversations like that don't happen if you don't open yourself up to receive what the situation has to offer. Be nice to strangers, but be prepared to chop someone in the throat and run if need be. #safetyfirst
5. What did you take away from this trip?
Honor yourself and your desires in every sense. Stay where you're comfortable. I switched my accommodations while in Ko Samui because I just wasn't happy. My new hostel made a big difference in my experience of the island.
Do the things that make you happy, even when others don't want to. I wanted to enjoy the nightlife while around Patong beach and the group I was with wanted to call it a night. I told them where I was going, had my extra charger with me and danced the night away alone.
I had such a great time and ensured that my social wants were satisfied. Be OK with doing something different, than the group. Your personal experience will be richer.