Time for a Time Out!

The past couple months have been kind of rough. From the rain in Australia to traffic tickets in Phuket, to yet MORE rain in Ko Phi Phi, I have been nurturing the suspicion that maybe I’ve picked up some kind of rare gypsy travelling curse. After all, the only common denominator in all my bad luck is me. Maybe I’m doomed to forever wander the world with a black rain cloud over my head.

I feel kind of guilty just writing that, because deep down I know I’m so lucky to be doing what I love. At the same time, when you get into a funk while travelling it can be really hard to get back out of it.

I was complaining on Twitter when my samurai master, Andy Hayes, gave me th remedy for bad travel luck: Stop Travelling. Well, easier said than done when we are stuck in Ko Phi Phi, paying $85 a night for a bugalow because we can’t find anywhere else to stay. Luckily we decided to relocate to the southern island of Ko Lanta and yes, just stop for a few days.

As luck would have it, Ko Lanta is an ideal place to slow down. It’s such a relaxed, laid back kind of place.Far more relaxed than the nearby islands. It’s missing the all night party lifestyle of Phi Phi or the crass commercialism of Phucket. I’m sure that will all come in time but for now Ko Lanta has a kind of sleepy, local feel that I really appreciated.

Luck shined on us a little more when we stumbled across a small budget island resort, tucked off the road and close to the beach (on the thai islands there aren’t really hostels, just budget bungalows and β€œresorts”). The place was fairly sparse, but our own little bungalow, a swimming pool, and a bar were all we really needed. Free wifi? Well that’s just gravy for two stretched out travel bloggers.

We spent four days in Lanta, mostly whiling way hours sitting by the ocean, fruity drink in hand. One day we rented a motorbike and explored the island (it took about 6 hours max, including a tour of the very cool inland caves). It felt so good to just catch up on emails and do very little besides wait for the sun to set.

And oh my goodness, what great sunsets. Somewhat marred by clouds yes, but I never got over watching the sky turn brilliantly gold before busrting magenta pink and then sinking into a deep purple. And I may be a city girl but I will NEVER get over the novelty of seeing a sky full of stars.

I’m feeling so much better now. Refreshed and ready to take on another round of the joys and horrors of travel. Sometimes you just need to stop the runaway train that constant backpacking starts to feel like. Packing, unpacking, bus schedules, guest house negotiations, all of the pesky day to day details that make up full time travel can get to be a bit much after awhile. Sometimes the antidote really is to just STOP and take in the beauty all around you.

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30 Responses to Time for a Time Out!

  1. Rease January 16, 2011 at 9:08 AM #

    I’m so glad you are feeling better after your rest! i definitely agree that sometimes just resting makes it better. I had a couple bad days on my 3 week trip in South America and i felt so overwhelmed, like resting was not allowed. I took a chill out day and all was better.

    • Steph January 17, 2011 at 2:47 AM #

      Yeah sometimes you just need to take joy in doing nothing.

  2. Adventurous Kate January 16, 2011 at 9:10 AM #

    Great post, Stephanie — and I feel like I could have written it myself. I think that going to Lanta after Phi Phi is an awesome idea — we partied way too hard, spent way too much money, and endured awful crowds in Phi Phi, then went to blissful Lanta, where there was nothing to do but chill out and enjoy the nearly-empty beaches. (But, for the record, nice restaurants and cool bars are definitely available. πŸ˜‰ )

    I’m so glad you loved Lanta. I was hoping you would!!

    (But seriously — what is up with you and rain, girl?! Go to Sihanoukville — that place is pure paradise and my second-favorite place after Koh Lanta!)

    (And another thing — if you love stars, go to Si Phan Don in southern Laos — more stars than I’ve ever seen in my life!! Could not stop staring at them!)

    • Steph January 17, 2011 at 2:48 AM #

      Thanks for the tips! Will file them for the future. I don’t know WHY I keep getting rained on (it’s raining in ko phang an as I type this), but my major theory is aboriginal curse.

  3. Marsha January 16, 2011 at 9:15 AM #

    I guess after a while even being a travel blogger starts to feel like–gasp!–a job, and like any other profession, you need to time to step back, take a vacation from your vocation, and just breathe. Looks like you’re doing just that. Enjoy!

    • Steph January 17, 2011 at 2:52 AM #

      Yup- even travel blogging can be work- a lot of work actually!

  4. Akila January 16, 2011 at 10:08 AM #

    Thank goodness that you listened to Andy! That’s the key for us, too. When we get burnt out of moving or places or whatever, we stop. We stop traveling, find a place with awesome views, good WiFi, and comfortable room, and just hang out for a while. I am shocked that you were paying $85/night in Ko Phi Phi. That’s outrageous!

    I am glad to hear you found something lovely in Ko Lanta. We did the same thing in Ko Tao and loved it. We thought it was an awesome place to relax for cheap, with great food, and great vistas, as well. It was a very chill, low key island, especially because we had a scooter and were able to stay in the less touristy area.

    • Steph January 17, 2011 at 2:54 AM #

      Yeah we couldn’t believe it either! Mike was there in low season last year and paid probably $12. Bad luck I guess.

  5. Jill - Jack and Jill Travel The World January 16, 2011 at 11:49 AM #

    Wonderful advice. Hopefully this vacation from vacation will rid of you the bad rain juju…

    • Steph January 17, 2011 at 2:55 AM #

      Me too! Although it’s raining in Ko Phang an as I type this so that makes me less optimistic.

  6. Andi January 16, 2011 at 1:11 PM #

    Glad you’re feeling better, sometimes all it takes is a pretty sunset!

  7. Gray January 16, 2011 at 5:29 PM #

    I’m always amazed at the pace RTW travelers keep, going from place to place every few days. I know why I keep a frantic pace when I travel–because I only have a week to see and do everything before I have to go back to work and “real life”…and it will be several months before I can travel again. I think when you’re on a long trip, you have more leisure to slow down, and you should, if for no other reason than to savor the moment and remember what it feels like to wake up in the same place several days in a row.

    • Steph January 17, 2011 at 2:56 AM #

      Yeah, it’s a weird paradox- you want tosee it all but you just can not keep up the pace you would on a short vacation…. very tricky.

  8. Matt January 16, 2011 at 11:27 PM #

    Everyone learns the hard way about Phi Phi — Kate and I the hard way was major hangovers and Muay Thai battles. Lanta is where it’s at — I just tweeted you with two requests! Enjoy it!

    • Steph January 17, 2011 at 2:57 AM #

      Thanks for the tips! Even if they are a bit too late….

  9. Claire January 17, 2011 at 1:03 PM #

    I think sunsets on the other side of the world are one of my most favorite parts of traveling πŸ˜‰

    • Steph January 23, 2011 at 1:28 AM #

      They are definitely up there with cheap delicious food.

  10. Emily January 17, 2011 at 4:48 PM #

    I’ve never traveled more than 2 1/2 weeks at a time, but both times, I went to several different countries. It was pretty exhausting, so it’s hard for me to imagine non-stop travel. I would definitely get burnt out! So I’m glad to hear that you treated yourself to a much-needed break. A sunset on a beach with cocktails works miracles πŸ™‚

    • Steph January 23, 2011 at 1:27 AM #

      Yeah, the longest I’d traveled before this was about a month, so it’s definitely a learning experience for me as well.

  11. Emily January 17, 2011 at 4:49 PM #

    I’ve never traveled more than 2 1/2 weeks at a time, but I’ve done that a few times went to several countries each time, and it was exhausting. I couldn’t wait to come home and decompress for a few days. So I can’t imagine how much you needed to just chill! A sunset on a beach with a cocktail works miracles.

  12. Elise January 17, 2011 at 5:02 PM #

    I know exactly how you feel!
    There was a point in our travels where we just kept having bad luck over and over!
    Also now we are in the states and we feel like we are so rushed, worn out and tired-because everything is so expensive (well compared to asia!) we feel like we have to do something everyday. We are heading to Tulum, Mexico in a few days where all we plan to do is lay on the beach for a week or two!

    • Steph January 23, 2011 at 1:27 AM #

      Yeah sometimes it’s so worth it to just STOP. Makes all the difference.

  13. Andrew Murray January 17, 2011 at 6:58 PM #

    Glad to hear your feeling better for your little rest. I’ts great to hear you had such a lovely time in Ko Lanta because I just sold my carbefore making my way out there πŸ™‚

    • Steph January 23, 2011 at 1:26 AM #


  14. Kirsty January 18, 2011 at 5:15 AM #

    Glad you enjoyed your break, and I hope it stops raining soon. From what I have heard Vietnam is pretty cold, at the moment πŸ™
    We’re heading to Koh Lanta later in the year with Poi’s parents, it’s sounds like the perfect place to chill πŸ™‚

    • Steph January 23, 2011 at 1:25 AM #

      Yeah, that will be a great place to take the parents- very relaxed and lots of families.

  15. Brianna January 18, 2011 at 11:16 AM #

    Sometimes when we get so carried away on our travel we tend to abused or selves… and the stress later one will spoil everything. Balance is still important really in the first place we travel because we want to relax and enjoy not stressing ourselves and ending up in our hotel room drinking medicine.

  16. Sterling January 19, 2011 at 4:19 PM #

    Great pictures! It really is key to just sometimes relax πŸ™‚

    • Steph January 23, 2011 at 1:18 AM #

      Thanks! I am learning to be more laid back.

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