I had just received some exciting news and, here I was in a dilemma.
The good news was that I was one of the three girls who won a trip to Thailand organized by Tourism Authority of Thailand as part of the Great Girly Getaway promotion campaign. And, it was just a week away.
However, I was going to join a group of total strangers, traveling solo for the first time in my life. As much as I love meeting people from different walks of life, I was skeptical going traveling on this occasion. This may turn out to be bitter and I was going to be bound to them for the duration of the travel. Furthermore, I had learned the hard way that travel companions can make or break travel from past experiences.
Great Girly Getaway
Nonetheless, determined not to shy away from a learning experience, I put my apprehensions aside, braced myself for this trip, packed my bags and headed off to the catch the plane. At the airport, a girl came up to me and said, “Hi, I am Sahana. I’m a UX designer by profession and also a fashion blogger.” She was wearing the white Adidas shoes, which was a popular fad then. “Do you want a chocolate?”, she asked. It was salty, dark chocolate with a hint of caramel. We talked about our shared love for travel, adventures, our trips to Singapore — a place we both love, and we instantly hit it off.
After what seemed like a lengthy journey, we were finally in Phuket. Me, for the second time in the year. But, this time on a mission to go off the beaten path in one of the most commercialized tourist locations in Thailand. Something told that it was going to be an epic adventure.
The other girl was waiting for us at the hotel lobby. “Hi, I am Hesha. I’m a social media consultant, and a fashion and lifestyle blogger on the side”, she said. She was chirpy, enthusiastic and was always smiling. She claimed that, like me, it was her second time in Thailand that year, albeit, the first time in Phuket. And also, she was planning to come again to Thailand in October. “You should make me the brand ambassador of Thailand”, she cheerfully said to Rashna — who handles trade relations and marketing for TAT Mumbai and was going to accompany us for the rest of the trip. Consequently, the brand ambassador of Thailand from India — Anusha Dandekhar — an Indo-Australian MTV VJ, was also going to stopover in Thailand for a few days and join us in between her shoots. We parted ways and reached our hotel rooms for some leisure time.
Can you guess the first thing I did after reaching my hotel room? Let me give you a hint. They have a gorgeous infinity pool overlooking the ocean. That’s right. I went for a quick swim. I was exhausted from the long flight, but how could I resist?!
Blue Elephant cooking school
The four of us, Hesha, Sahana, Rashna and I, took off together to Blue Elephant cooking school that evening, where we prepared some mouthwatering Thai dishes under the guidance of a friendly cook, somehow managing to not devour on the dishes (even when we were famished) meant for dinner (but only munching). Even, Anusha joined us to gorge on the sumptuous meal. She expressed her views on being vegan — detailing how cows are tortured for milk their whole lives and the reason behind why she doesn’t have dairy anymore. “One day, the animals are going to take their revenge on us”, she added.
I was eagerly looking forward to kayak and snorkel the next day but owing to choppy waters, that was not going to happen. “Isn’t it supposed to be hot, bright and sunny by the beach?”, Sahana exclaimed. “It doesn’t seem to be our lucky day”, I replied. “I’m shivering”, Hesha added. We all unanimously agreed on that. We were stuck on Banana beach for the whole day trembling in our beach clothes due to gloomy weather.
“It’s a lot of work being a fashion blogger.”, Sahana said when I asked about her life as a blogger. She explained that it’s an elaborate affair. Finding new outfits, scouting good locations for shooting, editing photos and then blogging about it. “It’s tough. But then, I want to have the best of both worlds”, she added about managing it with a full-time job. “Yes, I totally agree. It’s something entirely your own. Kind of like your baby”, Hesha complied. We ended up chatting about our lives back home, our jobs, relationships, adventures, and travel. We laughed about our expectations from that day and how bleak it ended up being. The day didn’t start on a good note, but it sure ended up on a merry tone. Maybe, it just deepened our connection as travel companions.
From zip lining in the jungles of Phuket on a rainy day to goofing around in the Interactive 3D museum to retail therapy in the streets of Bangkok, it was a total blast. Probably, it’s our shared love for travel and these adventures and misadventures, that strengthened our bond as great travel buddies, in what was otherwise a short span of time. After all, travel is more than ticking locations. Ultimately, it’s all about the people you come across and the experiences you share that makes it worthwhile.
It indeed was a Great Girly Getaway.
Read Offbeat Guide to Phuket to experience the offbeat experiences Phuket has to offer.
Sometimes, it turns into a lasting friendship when you have so much fun traveling with strangers. Also, at other times, traveling with close friends surprisingly may not be as much fun as you think! Have you ever experienced that? And, did you have similar apprehensions while traveling? How did it turn out to be? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.