At the moment I live on an island called Koh Phi Phi in southern Thailand. Having spent the last year backpacking Asia I began running low on funds so after hitch hiking/couch surfing my way up Malaysia (hair raising at times but definitely worth it) I found myself with an English girl and an American girl, freezing our tootsies off in a McDonalds in Phuket, stealing the air con and wifi in return for buying a cheeseburger every hour, waiting for the first boat to the infamous Phi Phi island. That was five months ago, and I haven’t worn shoes or seen a car since.
Koh Phi Phi is the island of lost souls. She’s exotic, enticing and wild in the best kind of ways.And she offers a haven for those often labelled ‘eccentric’, amongst other things. Everyone who spends a substantial amount of time here is either running from something or looking for something. And that’s not as menacing as it sounds. All it means is that life’s extremities end up living here together, sparkling and adrift, on an island where anything goes. We live a life without limits.
During the day we may sell boat tickets to Maya bay, where they filmed “The Beach”, and in the meantime get to meet the passing traffic of characters weaving their way through the islands. Life for me is stories, making them, telling them and hearing others, even if they don’t buy a boat ticket from me they’ve already given me so much by sharing with me something of them that I could never have known before. And in return I can tell them where the most beautiful lagoon on Phi Phi is hidden, as long as they seem like they can handle a kayak, and won’t throw their cigarette butts in the ocean as it kills sea turtles. Turtles do not know that cigarette butts look exactly like what they eat but will then swell up in their throats eventually killing them.
During the night we dance and smile, and through the haze of smoke from the fire shows watch the lithe bodies of the Thai fire boys gyrating and glistening with sweat and gasoline. It’s a hedonistic and seductive energy weaving its spell all around at night here.
And anything goes, there’s no secrets on this island. You may think you’re walking alone but then you notice the twinkle of eyes hidden in the dark, the flash of a smile from a closed bar, the murmur of voices with no bodies. Nothing here goes unseen, you can be sure of that.
The next day paradise is reborn, the sun bleaches away the sins of the night before, the cheerful chattering of the Thais can be heard as stalls and shops are opened. A fresh batch of starry eyed backpackers will step off the ferry into wonderland, and our open arms. If we don’t feel like going to work one day, we don’t go to work. There is no deadlines, no restrictions, no conforming, no judging.
When I speak to people about my life and how I’m choosing to spend it currently the most common reaction I get is “I’m so jealous”… But there’s no need to be, it’s easy. It’s just being brave enough to give up what society says is right and normal. I have no money really to speak of, the only material possessions I have can fit into a backpack, but life here is beautiful, everyday I learn/see/sponge up things I could never even have believed existed. Anyone can join, and paradise is our playground.
About the Author. My name is Niki, and I’m a bit of a wanderer I suppose. I wilt and die in 9 to 5 office environments so I’ve given them up completely.I have an appalling taste in boyfriends which means I’m usually running away from them to new and beautiful corners of the world. I love to write, draw and talk.
Thank you for reading and commenting. Please enter our next Travel Writing competition and tell your story.