What started out as my ‘one big trip’ to Europe 12 years ago has evolved into a lifestyle that has provided me with more amazing experiences than I could have ever imagined. Traveling has become a huge part of my life, and each day that I spend off on some adventure fills me with a satisfaction and joy that would be impossible to explain in this short profile (but, maybe over a few Chang beers at Bamboo Bar in Koh Phangan, Thailand??).
I first came to Thailand 10 years ago. I had spent the previous 3 summers - starting in 2000 - traveling in Europe and organizing Free and Easy trips in the Greek Islands, Spain and Portugal, and had absolutely loved my time there. Upon arriving in Thailand, I was there for less than 1 week before concluding that I had not only discovered the newest destination for the Free & Easy trips, but that I had discovered the closest thing to paradise I had ever seen. I’ve now spent a total of more than 3 years in Thailand, and each day still gives me that feeling of awe and wonder.
Yes, the beaches in Thailand are beautiful, the sea is crystal clear and the climate is perfect - but to me, being in Thailand is really so much more than this. It is the friendly locals who will go out of their way just to be helpful; it is the lounging restaurants and delicious food; it is the simple approach to daily life and the ease at which something fun and exciting seems to happen each day. More than any other reason, it is the Thais that make Thailand what it is. ‘Why not?’ and ‘no worries’ are common attitudes, and laughter is abundant – this approach to life is extremely contagious.
The traveling lifestyle has been especially valuable to me because of the opportunity it provides to step back and reflect on what I want out of life, and what I want to give back. It is therapy for the soul. Every day of traveling brings something new and exciting, and you are constantly meeting new people. Not only do you have the freedom to go about things in a relaxed way, but also the time to enjoy all the encounters you have with people on a daily basis.
Having more time in Thailand over the years has allowed me to also pursue many new interests. Playing Frisbee on a beach at sunset, rock climbing, and yoga are some of my favorites. I’ve also been learning more and more of the Thai language which has continued to deepen my connection to the people and that country.
In the past few years I've helped in the research and preparation of our new trips to Nicaragua, Indonesia, Philippines, Costa Rica, Greece, Turkey and Vietnam, and have loved the opportunity to search out the best of a country, and form new relationships, and broaden my own travel experiences, while helping to create the next Free & Easy experience. This year will be another exciting one for Free & Easy, with an even bigger lineup of countries that people can travel with us. This is a big change from only 5 years ago when it was only Thailand, but it has been exciting to encounter so many other incredible destinations, and paradise islands, and to get to share them with new groups of friends. I look forward to an opportunity to meet and travel with many of you and share my love for these parts of the world. I guarantee that these 20, 40 or 100 days will be the most pleasurable days of your life!
Chock Dee Kahp!! (Good Luck/Cheers!! in Thai)