This post contains corny and cheesy content about a “travel love story”. If you’re allergic to any of that, do not read it. Just stop reading now. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…
This is my travel love story or the story of how I met Greg
It could be just another travel love story. But this is a different one and you’ll soon understand why!
Without further ado, let me start my story. As I said before, those allergic to romance can leave this page right now, otherwise you might be infected by the virus of latin-drama-queen-cancerian-hyper-sentimental-corny Ana.
Long journey to Ko Samui
I had an amazing time on my own in Chiang Mai, exploring the jungle, bathing elephants and feeling like a powerful woman (if you didn’t read about it, here‘s the link to that story). After 5 days in Chiang Mai, I took a 2-hour plane to Surat Thani, and from there a 2-hour bus to the Raja Ferry Port in Lipa Noi, where I boarded the ferry to Ko Samui.
Ko Samui is Thailand’s second largest island. I had read it was not so beautiful, so my initial plan was to spend only a couple of days there and use it as a base to explore Koh Pha Ngan and Ko Tao.
I was the first person to enter the ferry and I chose a seat on the first row, left side. I threw my big backpack on the seat, happily thinking I had made a great choice, because I’d have the whole panoramic view right in front of me (I was proved wrong, as you will shortly see).
Just behind me sat a guy, who was also carrying a huge backpack. He was wearing an orange hippie-ish T-shirt with a tree pattern, shorts and a very charming Panama hat. I left my backpack saving the seat and went to the ferry bar, to buy a package of chips and a lychee juice. I noticed he came behind me and bought a can of Fanta. When he paid, he said a “Kop khun kap” (thank you for men in Thai) that I thought sounded really convincing. “He must have been here for a while”, I thought.
We went back to our seats and he said “Hey, how’s it going?”. (Note: Kiwis are strangely friendly people and believe it or not they still communicate with the person sitting next to them on public transport!) I said I was fine and we started a conversation. I asked if he was Australian, to which he vehemently denied and said he came from New Zealand. He tried to guess where I came from and his first shot was Argentina (how funny, exactly our respective arch-enemies!)
I told him a bit about me: you know, environmental engineer, traveling around Thailand on my own, before going to India to do a yoga teacher training… He told me he worked online and had been living in Ko Samui for 2 months, “for a change of environment” (those bloody digital nomads!) We talked about our projects and passions, such as traveling, sustainability, yoga, and I thought, “wow, we share a lot of interests!”.
No more than 10 minutes on board, I realized he had gotten the absolute best seat, because even though he was on the second row, he was sitting just by the window and could get some sea breeze, while I was melting beside a glass that magnified the heat like a greenhouse. So I stood up and stayed by his side, enjoying the nice warm breeze with him.
At some point, he took off his sunglasses and I remember thinking he had the longest eyelashes I had ever seen! Something about it reminded me of “A Clockwork Orange” (even though now when I see the movie cover I can’t imagine what could have possibly possessed me to think that). I thought he was really cute. I wrote on my journal: “huge blue eyes, huge eyelashes, beautiful smile, beautiful face” (yes, I’m very descriptive on my memoirs).
The sun started to go down and I suggested going up to the deck to watch the sunset and take some photos. We took our Nikons (another shared interest!) and went upstairs. The views were stunning! The sun was setting between idyllic islands, creating dramatic drawings with the clouds at dusk. While we were up there, I realized he had one leg shorter than the other. For some reason, that profoundly captivated me.
Time to say goodbye
After two hours (and a lot of talking), we finally got to Ko Samui. We exchanged phone numbers, but he was living on the opposite side of the island from my hostel. I asked myself if he would call me. I wondered if I should call him instead. “Yeah, maybe I would”. He was really interesting, nice and cute! And I was feeling like an independent, pro-active woman, so why not?
The plane tickets included the vans that would take us to our hotels. We went to catch one but there was just one seat left. I suddenly got really upset, because for some reason I would love to keep on talking to this sweet Kiwi guy for a bit longer. Or maybe I was hoping for something more, who knows? (Well, I know, I was).
For a couple of seconds, my heart sank and I prepared to say goodbye. Then they shouted that there were actually two seats left at the back of the van. So I happily hopped on with him.
We kept on talking all the way and having a lot of fun. I was going to sleep in the cheapest, shabbiest hostel in the center (adventurous traveler life). He was living in a nice flat with two rooms, in a nice condominium with swimming pool, sauna and gym (digital nomads’ life).
At the eleventh hour
We reached my hostel first. When I was about to get off the van, “at the eleventh hour”, the most (un)expected proposal came (you probably already imagine by now):
“Actually, I have two rooms in my place. You could stay in one of them if you’d like.”
(Thank you, thank you! My prayers have been heard!)
But because Greg is the sweetest boy, he said he genuinely just made that offer to help a poor traveler who deserved a nice shower and a nice bed during her travels in Asia. I believe he actually did. As for me, I can’t say my intentions were as pure (oops).
I thought (or pretended to think) for a couple of seconds and said, “why not?“. After all, was it that much different from couchsurfing? And by then, we had talked for almost 3 hours!
So I told the driver I was not getting off at my hostel anymore and was going to his condominium instead (I wonder what he thought about it). His flat was located in Bo Pun, on the north part of Ko Samui.
We arrived feeling so hungry that we decided we wouldn’t take a shower and would go straight find something to eat.
He took me to his favorite roadside restaurant, where I had a delicious Pad Thai (you must think I only eat Pad Thai – and you’re probably right). When we finished, he asked if I’d like to have a couple of drinks before heading back to the apartment. “Yeah, why not?” So he took me to a street full of bars that ended at the beach and we bought a couple of beers and drinks from different bars.
Brace for cheesiness
In the end, we reached the beach and went to a bar where there were some fire dancers doing amazing performances. We sat on bean bags on the sand and ordered a couple of piña coladas. Up to today, I don’t think my mind could be so creatively cheeky and cheesy to create such a perfect, romantic first-kiss scenery: on a beach in Thailand, drinking piña colada and watching fire dancers perform in front of the sea, on a warm night of starry sky, tempered with adventure and excitement. All elements perfectly blended in a timeless moment.
(Could you come up with a cornier description? Well, it gets worse!)
I don’t know how to put it any other way, but it was so perfect that I felt like I was kissing myself (yuck, narcissistic Ana!) I’m sorry if that sounded weird. I just mean it was the most perfect kiss. Ever.
When the spectacle was over, we went back to his apartment, walking through street market stalls and holding hands, as if we were a couple (maybe we were?)
This is the moment where you take the kids from the room!
Jokes apart, I think it’s needless to say that the extra room remained empty…
Exploring Bo Pun
The next day we woke up and went for a quick swim in his amazing swimming pool (it is said the sea in Ko Samui is not so clean), before going for breakfast at a local restaurant where I ate poached eggs for the first time (yes, I know, sorry, Brazilians don’t really eat poached eggs).
Then I went for a 3-hour walk by the beach while he was working on some urgent assignment (who said being a digital nomad was easy?)
Ko Samui proved to be quite beautiful, even though the sea is a bit polluted and the city a bit chaotic. I visited a temple, walked through the neighborhood and went back to the swimming pool.
I came back, he finished his work and we went out to the explore the other side of the island. He hired a motorcycle and took me to visit two famous rocks, one shaped like a penis and the other like a vulva (how romantic). Then he took me to Lamai, one of the main beaches in Ko Samui, where we had a few drinks before going back to Fisherman’s Village, on “his” side of the island.
Everything we did felt like we had been a couple for years. Riding a motorcycle together, holding hands, taking selfies. It was a connection that I can’t really describe. This might be me being cheesy again, but it didn’t feel like just another “travel love story”. I felt like we were old friends, like it was meant to be, like I had finally met who I wasn’t even looking for.
Let me put it this way: on our first day together, I felt like deep inside I knew exactly who I was looking for (even though I wasn’t really looking for anyone) and that I had finally met that person.
Corny session closed, let’s move on.
Another register from my journal says, “I had so much fun with him. His accent is very funny. He says teeeen (for 10) and teeemple (for temple). And I love when he says “Kop khun kap”.
But I was so happy by myself!
As I drank, I grew nostalgic. During that trip I admit I was allowing myself to live without guilt or shame and I was really happy not attaching to anything or anyone. I felt empowered and happy by myself. But at the same time, that guy was really special. His ideas, his words, his style, his body… everything matched, suited, fit me. And I was leaving the next day! Something had come up and I’d have to go to Kuala Lumpur for 3 days (not Ko Pha Ngan anymore).
Anyway, I had to leave. And he had to stay. That’s how life is. It was just a summer love. Or travel love. I was determined to enjoy every single moment and then let it go without attachments. Just take the beautiful memories with me and keep on traveling.
Farewell stranger. See you one day. Maybe.
The next day we woke up early and he took me to the ferry on his rented motorcycle. However, we arrived right on time to see the ferry leaving the port! Luckily, I had a time buffer, so we went for breakfast on the other side of the pier and I left one hour later, on the next ferry.
The farewell was quick. A short kiss. I thanked and said I’d had a great time. He agreed. And I said, “maybe we’ll meet again one day”. He said, “yes”.
He left. I boarded the ferry still smiling.
To be continued…
Have you ever fallen in love while traveling? What happened next? I’d love to hear your travel love stories! Please leave your comment below!