The next leg of my journey took me to the crystalline waters of the Gulf of Thailand. The aquamarine waters and stretches of blond sandy beaches were very welcoming after almost two months of traveling in the intense heat and humidity. It almost seems unfair being over 200 countries in the world and Thailand snagging up a good majority of the best beaches on the planet.
Koh Tao, otherwise known as divers paradise was the first stop on the trip. The open water certification course was quite an experience. Becoming familiar with all the equipment was exciting. What was more exciting was what happened once you dip below the surface. I found it amazing to experience basically a whole other world. The sights, the colors, and the marine life created a magical realm. Under the water I saw everything from moray eels, to triggerfish, and even a little family of “Nemos.” The colors and varieties of the corals and fish was intoxicating to the senses.
After surfacing the world above the sea was just as terrific. The long stretch of sand coupled with stunning sunsets and thumping music created quite a unique atmosphere. After a couple of Thai massages right on the ocean at sunset, I began to really surrender myself to the hermit lifestyle of southern Thailand.
The course ended and it was once again time to move on. Hopping a ferry to Koh Pha Ngan, home of the legendary full moon party, I was really ready to sit back and soak up the laid back, beach bumming lifestyle. After a few nights of mischief on a overdeveloped beach I hopped a water taxi to a somewhere a little more quiet.
As I arrived the bay opened in front of a crescent shaped beach with the backdrop of green emerald mountains and peppered bungalows all along the shore. Here on this beach, there was nothing to absorb except the white powder under my toes snuggled up against the crystal clear and mirror flat sea. I rented a bungalow right on the beach for the US equivalent of $8 per night. The next few days consisted of strolling the white sands, eating lots green curry, bathing in the sea, and a ridiculous number of mosquito bites. The nights consisted of fresh fish and sharing stories with fellow travelers doing nothing but soaking up the sun and living their cast away fantasies. It was really quite a pleasant experience.
It was finally time to depart, much to my dismay. I hopped another fairy to the mainland. I stood and absorbed the beautiful sunset; the sky and the sea looked like an oil canvas. The beautiful reds, blues, and yellows were elegantly on display, thanks to the artistry of the rays of the sun. It was in that moment that I really reflected on my last few days in Thailand.
The last few months, post graduation, I have kept in contact with a multitude of people who are really out there making a big difference. At times on this trip, and especially in Thailand, I have almost felt lazy. I really have been trying to make sense of everything. I feel like I should be out there on the front lines making a difference as well. In those moments on the beach I became really present to the fact that we really are, in essence, meaning making machines.
Carl Jung once said, “As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.”
We are all at the creation of the meaning we put to each and everything. It works as a double edged sword because at times we create negative connotations to situations with absolutely no merit. While other times, we create meaning to manifest a cause bigger than ourselves. This ends up effecting the lives of thousands or millions. However, where does the base of our stories and “meaning” come from?
Like Jung said, it is simply “mere being”.
On the beach, it was my fellow travelers that helped me reach that spot of consciousness, of “mere being.” There was no meaning to being there except the ones we had all created. It was simply fantastic to just “be” everyday, watching our cares roll away like the waves in the ocean.
Getting to that “beach” in our minds can be a long and arduous task. However, once we get to that realization we become free and our attachments begin to melt away. How much different would our lives be if we took a look at every situation, every emotion and asked ourselves: “what meaning am I creating right now?”
When that distinction becomes clear, a whole new world of possibility opens to us. We reach that “beach” in our minds. The wonderful thing is that we don’t have to travel halfway around the world to get there.