It was bound to be an ugly day in Koh Tao for me, even despite the fact that I was closing off an incredible year in Asia. I learned a new language after being awarded a full-ride scholarship to study in Malang, Indonesia. I had already enjoyed several days of incredible diving in Thailand. Yet… The stormy clouds above me were bringing back the demons of my struggle with chronic fibro pain. I could feel them, bone-deep, as invisible knives began to slash all over my body, cutting my freshly-healed hope open.
But the wonderful staff at Crystal Dive, Crystal Images, and Koh Tao Regal Resort fought back.
THEY TOOK ME ON A MOTORCYCLE ROAD TRIP AROUND KOH TAO!
Is that what an ugly day in Koh Tao Thailand looks like? What it’s like to ride around the island in a motorcycle, while graced by gray skies, stray dogs, exploring rock climbing spots, hiking up viewpoints, jungle fitness courses, etc.?
Yep. Although it was a radically-different experience to me than what it seems…
I couldn’t dive that day. I was having another flare of my chronic, painful condition. Getting out of bed, getting out there, was so hard to do given how stiff and painful every limb of my body typically feels on a rainy day. Add to that that heck, I already knew how bad the roads could be when wet!
So yes, it began as an ugly day in Koh Tao for me.
But wow, what can the brain not do?
Once I took that first step, that first arm swing to brush my teeth, to clothe, to go outside, to breathe deeply… To really open my eyes and be thankful I could still see a sky, however gray it may be… To be grateful to be surrounded by people who want to make it all better for me…
The pain slowly faded into the back of my mind.
Don’t get me wrong: the pain was still there. I was still hurting despite all the smiles, climbing up and down, grabbing the camera and clicking the shutter. Gee, you have no idea how badly my index finger can hurt sometimes just by taking a few shots…
But that doesn’t stop me from continuing to take shots.
I focused on all the beautiful landscapes right in front of me that day — the day that was supposed to be an ugly day in Koh Tao and yet another painful day in my medical history. I didn’t allow the gray skies, both physical and metaphorical, cloud my perspective.
I didn’t allow the pain to take the spotlight.
I persevered by pushing it off, brushing it off, depriving it of any attention. It’s incredible how fast the rest of our body starts changing as soon as we start to shift our attention to other than the pain.
Some days are better than others – you don’t always get to spend an ugly day in Koh Tao – but keep fighting.
You may think I’m just lucky because I’m the travel blogger. Of course if the worst you seem to experience is in an exotic land – easy for you to say!
Chronic pain doesn’t care about your perceived “worldly privilege,” I’m afraid.
I’m in chilly Washington DC now — but I continue to seek and find beauty in different ways. I continue to find reasons to keep on wanting to push that huge wall that tells me I’m sick as I wake each morning.
I get my a** up, as hard as it may be, mind-fogging fatigue and stabbing pain overwhelming me and all.
Whether my bed has an ocean view or just another wall and a window facing even more walls…
Look around you – we are all surrounded by beauty, we just need to train our eyes to see it.
You’re stronger than you think. Please don’t give up. Keep on fighting in this world with me. Thanks for following – I am back 😉
Full 2017 travel recap AND 2018 travel plans coming up soon! <3
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This ugly day in Koh Tao was sponsored by Crystal Dive, Crystal Images, and Koh Tao Regal Resort. Thank you so much for your hospitality — you went way above and beyond than my proposal! You have hearts of gold! Can’t wait to see y’all again