Disclaimer- this was a newsletter turned blog post. For those who stumble upon this blog after I return from my trip and read my follow up blog post on how my trip was, I wanted you to have some context. Enjoy!
Grab your coffee, wine (if you’re reading this after work hours) or snacks! It’s story time about why I’m going to Thailand.
This Saturday, I will be departing on a flight heading for Thailand, Bangkok to be more specific. After less than 24 hours to explore, I will then be traveling a short distance to Phuket for a luxury nurse retreat. After the retreat, I plan on staying an extra week (because how can you travel for 19+ hours and not experience more?). I will be solo traveling to Ko Samui, where I will be able to experience their Full Moon Festival and then finishing the trip in Chiang Mai where two separate lantern festivals will be taking place (Loy Krathong and Yi Peng).
Now that the day is rapidly approaching, I can feel those pre-travel butterflies turning into boulders on a slick mountain. I have traveled alone before, but something about this trip is different. Let me explain.
The entire reason I am traveling to Thailand is because I won this trip. Yes, I said I won this trip to Thailand. How did I win it? You ask great questions. For the past four years, I’ve traveled to New Orleans to attend Essence Music Festival. During the last 3 years, there is a nurse brunch that I attend (The Nurse Power Brunch/ IG @thenursepowernetwork). Before I even had my plane ticket, I had my brunch ticket this time around.
This year, their co-sponsor Nurses Travel Network planned to give away a spot on their pre-planned luxury retreat to Thailand via an Instagram contest. Of course I entered the contest! Who wouldn’t? As the dates for New Orleans started to approach, those persons who were interested in going started to drop out. Soon it was just me going on this trip with very little time to book all my accommodations. As you can imagine, prices were high. Plane tickets? More then $450. Hotels and Airbnbs? $1,000 easy. It was looking like I would not be able to attend, which meant I would forfeit my chance at winning the contest (you had to be in attendance). One day at church, someone I have known for a long time who moved to Atlanta was in town and sat next to me. He saw me looking at flights during the announcements and made a remark about Southwest. I showed him that even Southwest had high ticket prices. He proceeded to show me his Southwest badge, then gave me two codes to try for 20% off my flight purchase! Praise hands OK! Flight? Check! I still had to figure out where I was going to sleep. Finding affordable lodging that would allow me to walk around alone and feel safe was proving harder than usual. Then I remembered that an acquaintance told me that she may have room for me in her Airbnb. After reaching out, there was indeed space for me and the cost for all four nights was less than one night anywhere else I was looking at! COME..ON! I was elated! I went from almost not going, to being able to pull together this trip within a week! Can someone say orchestrated? Because I am the deal queen, I was able to find a hotel for the one night I was there alone for $100 around the corner from Canal and Bourbon Street. Everything worked itself out!
It’s the day of the brunch. I jokingly said to the girls I was staying with, “I’m going to win that trip to Thailand today. And even if I don’t, I won’t be salty…but I’m going to win.” It was a joke, but I said it anyway because you have not because you ask not. It’s the moment in the brunch where it’s time to give away the trip. The founder of Nurses Travel Network, Karissa Littlejohn began to talk about her journey; basically doing things that seem hard and out of our league before we’re ready. She asks the crowd who has a big idea and knows they should go for it despite fear? Many of us raise our hands. She then asks who’s willing to come up and share their idea. Out of the remaining hands, I was chosen. I walked up and shared my idea, with a shaking voice and sweaty palms. After I was done, Karissa proceeds to thank me for being brave and presents me with my trip to Thailand. Just like that. Mind you, this was a surprise second spot on the trip! I did not know when I walked up, that I would be met with such a blessing. Shout out to Tina for winning the actual IG contest!
As of this Saturday at 12:50 AM, I will be on a plane to a place that is on my travel list, but definitely wasn’t on my radar for this year. Though I am excited, humbled by this experience and grateful for the opportunity, I can honestly say I have more than a twinge of nervousness washing over me. Yes, I have traveled alone before. Yes, I go out alone frequently. The country of Thailand caters to tourists, but it still has customs and scams that I am not 100% aware of. I did not feel that way when I went to Greece. Getting around makes me nervous. No one wants to get lost. Language barriers also make me nervous. I’ve been practicing my Thai, but we both know it’s a struggle and you haven’t even heard me. Even so, something about this trip is different. I definitely feel like I am being set up for something. A shift. A revelation. An opportunity.
Now, if you’ve made it this far in my email story time, THANK YOU! I don’t take your time for granted. My point of this email, other than to share my story, was to encourage you to show up. Show up for yourself. Be bold even when you’re scared. Take as MANY chances on yourself for as long as you are gifted time on this earth. Do whatever it is with a shaking voice and sweaty palms. Allow yourself the opportunity and space to experience something amazing that is packaged just for you. I almost didn’t get a chance to go to Essence, but a way was made; and that way led to this trip.
Just know that this trip may make me a little nervous, but I know I will be taken care of and that I’m doing exactly what I am meant to do in this moment. I will be met there with everything I need to make for a great trip. I believe that deep down in my soul. I can’t wait to see what is in store for me in Thailand!
Thanks for reading!