Prior to my stay at the Happynest Hostel in Chiang Rai, I had been traveling the islands and Chiang Mai (home of the 5 Star Hostel Oxotel) with my husband and 6 other friends. Needless to say, we were rolling deep, which is a rare concept considering we’re all American and it’s hard to get that many people together to head overseas, let alone a weekend in Vegas!
So it came without saying, that when everyone headed home to LAX, and I stayed behind to trek Thailand solo for a week, I felt alone and depressed. Don’t get me wrong, I was ecstatic to continue my travels, but the thought of being alone after being so accompanied by, felt like a shock in the weirdest way possible.
The 3-hour bus ride from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai was painful, even though I tried mercilessly to take my mind off it by gazing out the window watching the beautiful Thai countryside pass me by.
“Focus on the positive. Focus on the positive”
I kept telling myself.
A few breathing exercises and a short nap later, I arrived in Chiang Rai. I got off the bus, dazed and confused, and it hit me. I snapped out of the “poor Chloe” mode and into fight or flight more as I have landed in a new city, unsure of where to go, and with no taxis in sight. I’m sure the look of worry showed on my face because before I know it, a police officer that spoke broken English, was helping me locate a taxi. A smile came across my face at the kindness of this sweet stranger and as I climbed into my taxi, the young driver offered to drive me for free considering that Happynest was right around the corner. A tear rolled down my cheek as I was thinking about how silly I was for feeling down and my heart began to open up to the experience of solo travels.
Related article: 5 most-common backpacker mistakes to avoid
When I arrived at Happynest, I was greeted with happy faces and beautiful smiles at check-in (it’s amazing what a smile can do!). After checking into my amazing room, I went downstairs to grab a beer and peruse the bookshelves for something to read. I picked up a Lonely Planet Thailand Travel Guide book to help me plan for the remainder my trip.
I cracked open the first page and there it was, a forward written by three female travelers who had once stayed at Happynest.
The forward struck me and I suddenly felt connected to these women, even though we have never met, it was as if our paths had crossed in one way or another. And there it was at the bottom of the note; one of the travelers names was Chloe – like me. At that moment, sitting alone in my room, I suddenly didn’t feel so alone.
I felt as this was a sign that I had made the right decision to travel solo. It made me realize that while the familiarities of home were over 6,000 miles away, that I could do this. So I got a good rest, started off the next morning with a pep in my step and kept a smile on my face for the remainder of my trip.