30I’ve entered a new decade.

Does it feel decadent? Time to reflect.

REFLECTIONSomehow as the number 2 grows an extra curve and morphs into a 3, I start to feel bottom heavy, like I’m sagging. Oh no, what else is starting to sag? What is this extra extension growing off my 2? Get off!

Reality sets in. My 2 is elongated. Can I just say I’m in my elongated twenties? Extended twenties? Oh forget it.

I’m in my thirties.

I don’t like the way that sounds and I also don’t know why a word or number should feel so daunting. Perhaps it’s because I, like many I presume, suffer from the ‘By The Time I’m 30’ syndrome. Ailments include the following expectations:

 - success (What does that even mean?)

- a solid career

- marriage to presumably the perfect person

- kids

- owning a home

- unbridled happiness

- peace of mind

- white picket fence

You get where I’m going. For some reason, in my twenties, I assumed that once I hit 30, all of these expectations would have already neatly shown up on my doorstep (to the house or apartment I don’t own). The irony is, some of these possibilities did show up, and I promptly walked away from them. I had somehow created all these ideals that for me, weren’t actually ideal.

Was I suffering from expecting expectations that I, in the end, didn’t even really want? Just striving for social constructs because it’s ‘what you are supposed to do?’

Oh I get it now. It was just my twenties. The decade of figuring yourself out. I was trying to swim upstream with everyone else, only to realize there are all these other side streams to explore. For me, the forks in the river proved to feed my appetite, a meal of my own making. Curiosity tastes good.

Now that I’m in my thirties and have none of those things on that list of mine, I can free myself from all those ambivalent wants that I didn’t seem to really want in my twenties. Phew. Suddenly that 3 doesn’t feel so heavy. Here’s to unburdening myself! Now that’s a birthday gift.

And besides, I am seeing the world, living life, and choosing my own destiny. Sounds pretty fantastic to me! I am elongating my 2 on a remote island in Thailand and cannot think of a better way to send my twenties out to sea.



Koh Yao Yai | Thailand

KOH_YAO_YAI_1So Koh Yao Noi was a little slice of heaven and we didn't really want to leave except for the fact that we had a booking at Yao Yai Village on neighboring island Koh Yao Yai to celebrate my 30th birthday in style. Koh Yao Yai is bigger than Koh Yao Noi and most of it looks untouched. We took the short (few minutes) speedboat ride over to Yao Yai and our welcome drink at Yao Yai Village was waiting for us. Yao Yai Village is comprised of several private bungalows set among the jungle and hillside where cicadas and other insects hum into the night. Each bungalow is unique but each has an impressive balcony or terrace. KOH_YAO_YAI_2Our bungalow was nestled among the trees with perfect privacy. We even had our own private driveway! (For when you want a lift from the hotel golf cart.) Goodbye backpacker life for the weekend! Hello luxury. KOH_YAO_YAI_3Our terrace is bigger than most apartments I've lived in and boasts some amazing decor... KOH_YAO_YAI_4 KOH_YAO_YAI_5This is probably the most comfortable bed since the trip began and the bathroom with outdoor shower (amazing!) is larger than many rooms we've stayed in. I could literally move into the bathroom and be happy. KOH_YAO_YAI_6On my actually birthday (March 2nd), housekeeping had left a present on the bed... KOH_YAO_YAI_7.1Did I mention they have an infinity pool? Or that there are two of them? We were loving life. KOH_YAO_YAI_7 KOH_YAO_YAI_8The beach is not so much a swimming beach and the tide recedes quite a bit which makes for some dramatic landscape. KOH_YAO_YAI_9 KOH_YAO_YAI_10 KOH_YAO_YAI_11 KOH_YAO_YAI_12 KOH_YAO_YAI_13 KOH_YAO_YAI_14KOH_YAO_YAI_15 KOH_YAO_YAI_16 KOH_YAO_YAI_17KOH_YAO_YAI_18 KOH_YAO_YAI_19 KOH_YAO_YAI_20We didn't really leave the premises for 3 nights. We enjoyed all of the amenities and wished we could move into our bungalow. On my birthday Rick treated me to some spa services where I received a sixty minute massage and sixty minute facial. Thirty doesn't feel so bad. We were sad to part and return to the realities of backpacking. The good news was there was one last surprise! We arranged for a speedboat transfer to Phuket and on that particular day, no one else had booked a transfer so we had our own private boat! The ride was not long enough (30 minutes) but it was the perfect ending to an epic birthday weekend. KOH_YAO_YAI_21 KOH_YAO_YAI_22 KOH_YAO_YAI_23 KOH_YAO_YAI_24 KOH_YAO_YAI_25We arrived in Phuket to our room that was much smaller than our previous bathroom, reeked of cigarettes, and was pitch dark. We were suffering from post Yao Yai Village blues. Back to backpacking.