“A couple of weeks later and everything was booked and I was ready to hand in my resignation: No safety nets – I was going to figure my life out.”
I’m not afraid of travelling solo – the majority of mine has been and I like it that way, it is empowering and fun. Thailand was a different story: I had originally planned to travel with a friend, but 5 days out and suddenly I was going alone to South East Asia. Me, a 23 year old kiwi gal, going to Thailand for almost a month. Solo.
I needed to escape from a job that had jaded me and a back injury that had stopped me doing all my active hobbies. I needed to feel alive and to accomplish something, to push myself. Thailand fitness camp ads were popping up all over my internet and Facebook feeds. Having been to Vietnam before, South East Asia seemed like a fantastic place to explore further and I’d soon roped one of my besties in. As someone who considers myself a bit of a gym junkie, naturally this appealed to me and before I knew it I was obsessively budgeting and planning. A couple of weeks later and everything was booked and I was ready to hand in my resignation: No safety nets – I was going to figure my life out.
Turns out it’s not as straightforward as travel blogs have you believe.
With a few near misses to start off the trip (running off the plane to retrieve my laptop from the departure lounge and losing my passport in Kuala Lumpur’s Airport), I landed shakily in Thailand to start my 3 weeks of intensive training at Phuketfit, on the south coast of Phuket. The place was sleepy on arrival, which was surprising considering it was only about 8 or 9pm - this puzzled me for a couple of days until the training exhaustion hit and I was in bed before the others I had befriended.
Phuketfit, like most training facilities in the country, offers group classes, personal training and gym access, as well as the infamous Muay Thai kickboxing. The onsite restaurant served healthy, nutritious meals with the nutritional information broken down so that even those with no prior knowledge could understand what they needed to eat to keep them going. Being a big foodie, the restaurant-with-rules concept made me a little tentative, but I could not have been more pleased with the quality and flavour of everything on offer – I found myself sending pictures of food to everyone just as often as I had on my previous travels! Best believe I ate my way through the menu in my three week stint!
The camp was humming with positive energy and like-minded people tackling their fitness and weightloss goals. As much as I love making friends and meeting interesting people, it freaks me out and I am terrible at it! I say awkward things and tell awful jokes (this is no different to how I communicate with my loved ones, but instead of making them cringe, it makes me, me). Fortunately, group fitness classes and meals together in the small restaurant were enough to break the ice with many.
The majority of my trip was spent at the camp, doing up to 7 hours of intensive exercise a day, eating and sleeping, but I did manage to get some sight seeing in with my best friend Grace, who was able to visit for a week of my trip. By the time she arrived, I had lots of people to introduce her to and favourite classes for her to try. It was her that convinced me to start taking the Muay Thai classes. I was hooked and after going to a fight night, convinced that I needed to compete. I was brought back to earth with questions such as “do you like your nose?”. In favour of keeping my face the same, I decided against a real fight, but trained harder than ever - just in case.
Phuketfit taught me to get outside my comfort zone and talk to people, to try new things and to push myself. I gained my passion for fitness back and a sense of adventure and accomplishment. I met two of the most wonderful women I have the pleasure to call my good friends and plenty of other fantastic souls – there are even talks of a group reunion, which I will be attending. With bells on.
I truly believed that with all this me time, I would have a moment of clarity about the direction of my life – an epiphany if you will – but I'm still waiting on that 'aha' 6 months later. Guess I'll have to do some more exploring and uncover it along the way... Maybe I'll find it in Spain later this year?
Rose Thexton is a New Zealander currently planning to move to Spain later this year. She has travelled Asia, America and Europe, lived abroad and wishes to visit every country in the world before settling down in NZ again. You can follow her journey on her blog Rosey Travels – the Rosey (and sometimes not so rosy) travels of Rose, a kiwi infected with the travel bug.
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