In June last year I finally got up the courage to go into a travel agent and book flights for a trip to Thailand in 2014.
At the time it seemed like the trip was so far away, but here I am counting down the days until I catch that plane. I’m nervous, but so excited. It will be my first international trip by myself.
In my twenties I longed to do some travelling on my own, but I was quite ill with a number of conditions throughout that decade of my life and was never able to follow that particular dream. I had kind of put it out of my mind until the last few years. I will be forty in June this year and I started to think of the things I wish I’d done in my youth and I started to question whether it was really too late for me to do at least some of them now. It isn’t. This trip is like a present from my twenty-something year old self, who couldn’t follow a dream, to my almost forty-year old self, who can.
I’m going to northern Thailand to stay at an elephant sanctuary “Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary” for six nights. I will get to spend time helping out with the elephants, washing them, getting their food ready, and giving them all the love and attention I can. I will also be helping with the other rescued animals at the sanctuary – dogs, cats, birds, and even a Brahman cow. I can’t wait to get to spend time with all these animals and with the family who run the sanctuary – including three little kids…yay!
After the sanctuary, I will be staying at Sukhothai for three nights and visiting an ancient city (built around the mid-13th century) and then I will be going to Chiang Mai for five nights – which will include a tour to a national park, a visit to an orphanage to play with the children there, and a visit to one of the Karen hill tribes. Overall I will be away for fifteen days. Kirby is staying at home to look after the fur-kids, so I am going all on my own.
It is interesting for me to reflect on the likelihood that I would not be doing this trip if we had children, because I would have wanted to spend my holidays with my family. Sometimes when I think about this I like the idea that I am free to do this trip, and then I feel guilty.
Should I feel guilty? I would have loved our children, but we don’t have them, and instead I am doing things that I want to do, creating a different life. Should I feel guilty for enjoying this life and feeling blessed by the opportunities I have? I don’t think, but that niggling little guilt fairy likes to try and convince me I should, and sometimes I believe them too.
But, as the trip to Thailand gets closer, the level of excitement is certainly drowning out any guilt I might feel. I can’t wait!! So, guilt fairy, take a hike!