Vanilla vs. Wildlife

Vanilla vs. Wildlife

We completed our one month worldschooling trip to Koh Samui, Thailand, and the world has schooled everyone, kids and grown-ups alike. So many lessons available!

I think the insights from the trip will keep trickling in little by little, a single travel post would quickly turn into a two hour read. I will write more about the process of the trip as inspiration strikes me. My initial plan was to write the travel story as we went along…travelling with a four-year-old and a one-year-old, hilarious! I have been abroad with one child before, but two small ones are a new game altogether. Until then, a few thoughts on my old and new life colliding:

Before I had kids, I travelled all over and often. The lessons now are a little more in the form of “going to the edge of insanity and back while in mostly comfortable surroundings” and a little less “doing risky and mildly illegal things with people you just met who seem genuinely crazy”.
When you have kids with you, people engage with them all the time, and you have all the small talk you can handle. But when you’re by yourself, you run into totally different kinds of people. I was reminded of this as I took a walk by myself during this trip (note that I was by myself for the first time in two weeks, the silence was deafening), a 25 minute walk to a Seven-Eleven to buy noodles, peanut butter and diapers.
On the way there, my hyper-alertness, courtesy of motherhood, kicked in for several reasons. First of all, I was walking underneath the highest trees I had ever seen, which happened to be coconut palms. Somewhere in the back of my mind, a statistic sprung forward: 200 people die each year when a coconut falls on their heads. (Hang on, going to google that right now to see if it’s true: oh. It is not. Anyway…). As I was trying to get out of the direct force field of the coconuts, I became aware of all the bulls with giant horns sitting in every (un-fenced) field I passed. Having just been charged by an untied goat the day before, I became very interested to see if they were properly attached to trees. I then came onto the main road, that was clearly not for pedestrians but reserved for motorbikes at breakneck speeds.

I made it to the store, a little sweaty from the walk in 33 degrees and from all the worrying, and picked up what I needed. At the register, a guy did a double take and I think he literally said “how you doin’?”. Smooth as a velour tracksuit. A part of me thought “ugh”, another thought “wait, is this how grown-ups talk to each other? I can’t remember”, and yet another was really glad to have an English-speaking adult to talk to, so we made small talk on the way out. Thirty seconds in, he offers me a ride home.
I did a quick calculation and figured out that the odds of him being a murderer were much slimmer than being mauled by a bull or (most probable of all) run over by a motorbike. So I said sure, thanks! And then told him all about my husband and kids to which he raised his eyebrows. I was a little less sure about my decision once I got in his car and it was filled with opened bottles of alcohol. In that moment I looked up and saw an acquaintance and made a huge deal of “OH THERE IS MY FRIEND, HELLO. MY FRIEND WHO HAS NOW SEEN ME IN YOUR VEHICLE”. On the way back, he asked if I wanted to come do psychedelic drugs at a beach party, again reminding me of how childless life is so very different from my current gig. I got back non-murdered and was pretty happy to continue my vanilla lifestyle with the kids. Although things are exciting and unpredictable and stomach-tingling when you’re traveling alone, the company and lessons my family provides just make me feel so connected and satisfied.

Oh, and later in the same day I saw a monkey and then almost electrocuted myself. So you see, the trip needs to be split into different posts! (Although this is probably the only non-child related one. Because I had ZERO personal space. More on that later).

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