I hardly even know where to begin with this massive post since I've been mentally planning it since January. Thailand genuinely was the trip of a lifetime. Supposedly, traveling is supposed to turn you into a storyteller. I know after this trip for a fact that it does because I have 1,000 stories that I could share from just these 9 days. I know that I personally will cherish them forever, but I have no clue how exciting they are to others. After lots of contemplating whether I would copy and paste my journal entries, I finally decided that I really have nothing to loose by sharing my stories. As a result, this is a pretty wordy post (plus there are also 70 pictures...) so I'm really sorry about that. 
*the vid + vlog are at the bottom of this post!
June 10/11-
Today's the day!!! Me and Syd left Las Vegas early in the morning to catch a flight to Seattle first. Checking our bags was a nightmare because the attendants were SO rude to us and treated us like 12 year olds. Once we got to Seattle though life was good. Me and Syd were off on our own getting a bite to eat when a group of around 10  girls came up to us and asked if we were on the trip. We couldn't believe that they found us in the crowd and found us so approachable! It makes me so hopeful for the friendships that are going to come out of this week. We met Hailey, Brad, Elsa, Kimber, and all the people we'd been talking to the last few months and practically knew but had never actually met. We flew to Tokyo first then connected to Bangkok. The total travel time was around 20 hours. I had such a hard time getting comfortable and falling asleep so it made me all the more content once we arrived at our hotel at 11pm Bangkok time and were welcomed with fruity drinks in champagne glasses, live music, and swag bags full of sweet tooth fairy cake bites and Arvo watches.
June 12-
We started off today having breakfast at the hotel buffet  then headed out to LDS church. It was so familiar and so cool to experience firsthand knowing that the church is true wherever you are in the world. I really appreciated that Brad and Hailey put it on the itinerary because I've been trying to go to church EVERY Sunday regardless of where I am or who I'm with. I think it's a great habit to have. After church we went to lunch at a super modern and posh restaurant with a view of the river and a temple on the other side of it. I have no idea what I ate but it was culturally enlightening for sure. We then headed out to the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. We had to take off our shoes to go inside which actually added to the experience a lot. It made it really cool to know that these people are sharing something so special to their culture and religion with us. The temple was unlike anything I've ever seen before (or probably ever will have the chance to see again any time soon). There were so many details all in saturated colors. I'm looking at pictures of it right now trying to find the right words and there honestly just isn't any way to describe it. Neither pictures or words do it justice- you really just have to be there. Even now looking back on the pictures I took today it doesn't feel like they're mine. I can hardly even wrap my brain around the fact that I'm here right now. Our next stop was the Golden Buddha Temple. I thought this one was even cooler on the inside. Surrounding the giant golden Buddha in the center was gorgeous wallpaper and exotic pink flowers. When we walked out we spotted some Monks and asked to take a picture with them. After that all these Indian tourists came up to us and started taking pictures with us and then they just kept swarming. No exaggeration there were at least 20 jumping in and out of pictures with us. It was so stinking hilarious. Hailey joked and said that it was our karma for asking the monks to take pictures with us. We went back to the hotel to freshen up a little bit then left for dinner on the Chaopraya Princess boat. It was a huge dinner cruise with probably an exact ratio of 50/50 Americans to Asians. It was super touristy but super fun. It was buffet style and seriously so funny to see all the Asians rush to get their plates and push us out of the way. Not joking I got closed out of the line about 10 times while patiently waiting my turn. Since we were going around the entire river the cruise lasted much longer than it took us to eat. We filled in the time at the end by going up to explore the top deck and see the sights. Once the singer picked up the pace a little bit with the music we were all out on the dance floor. Random Asians would come up to everyone and start dancing with them and thought it was the funniest thing. I wonder if things like that are a nightly occurrence on the cruise or if we brought the party. I'd like to think we brought the party. The jet lag finally started to sink in right about then so I was grateful that our adventure for the day was over. Me and Syd slept so soundly in our hotel room. Beginnings of vacations are always my favorite though. There is so much hope and anticipation and you have the entire rest of the trip with you still. I'm going to quote Brad on this one though and say I'm sad that this has begun because that means it's going to be over so soon. I hope I can really take in every second on this trip, make the most of it, and remember it all.

^^ famous amongst the Indians lol
June 13-

Today we took a boat ride to the floating market. It was so cool to ride on a little boat through the river and see the locals little living spaces on the sides. Me and Syd bargained for some sassy Thai dresses and bracelets. It was super super hot and humid though so we were already a bit tired and done by the time we arrived at the grand palace. It was so so so hot and sweaty which made it hard to wander around and explore but it was still gorgeous. All of these temples and palaces don't even feel real. There is so much color and detail and shimmery metallic tiles. There really is nothing in the world like this. After the grand palace we really all were beat so we went back to the hotel to listen to Hailey and Brad give a video workshop in a nice air conditioned room. After they finished giving us some helpful tips we headed to the pool and just relaxed and ate dinner there too. Our group Kindof split up a bit and our dinner conversation ended up consisting of me, Syd, Olivia, Kennidy, Adam, and Brad. It was so fun to chat and laugh and get to know them all in not a group setting. Brad talked to us about the new chapter of their lives making YouTube videos and how whenever Lucy is "naughty" he tells her to go to the corner and she goes "dada why?" In the cutest little voice.Talking to both Brad and Hailey seems so normal and natural which I love. 
special thanks to www.kennidy.com for taking these gorgeous pictures!!
 June 14-
Today had the best start when me and Sydney were taking the elevator ride down to breakfast and it stopped on Hailey and Brads floor on the way down. We got to sit with them at breakfast and have such a fun chat about our lives. Hailey and Brad are both such genuine people and you can tell because they remember the details of your conversations and always go deeper than asking us the usual questions "where are you from" and "where are you going to college". We left to go to the Mercy Center here in Bangkok and it was so tender. Immediately when walking in you could feel their sweet spirits from their smiles and eagerness. Me and Sydney were both a little bit nervous to go in because we were uncertain of how we should act and what we should say but that all went away instantly after seeing the kids. They showed us their welcome dance and how they meditate and it was the most adorable little thing. All their uniforms were pink shirts and some of the kids had them tucked into their shorts half way up their little bodies. I went with the older group first to help them bake pastries that they would later sell at the local markets. It was so funny because we were there to help them but they took over so quick and showed us how to do it almost every time we got our hands on anything. We went back to the little kid classrooms a little later and gave the kids stickers, bubbles, taught them little cheers like down by the banks, and played duck duck goose. My favorite part had to have been the dance party we all had afterwards. All the kids loved grabbing onto us and giving us high fives. Most of the kids were locals that fount refuge from the sex trafficking in the slums there but some were orphans that lived there. It absolutely melted my heart to see all the dark skinned tiny bodies walking around all in a well behaved group with their pink shirts. It was humbling to think that this was their daily lives. While my life is full of waking up in my clean white bed sheets and driving my car to school, work, and get togethers with friends, theirs is simply all within the walls of the mercy center. After that me and Syd went and changed into the sassy Thai dresses we bought yesterday (lol) because we thought we were going to another temple and we were all out of knee covering clothes. It turned out we were only going to the flower market but we still rocked them (Kindof). The flower market was probably one of my favorite places that we've been so far. I'm a sucker for some good flowers but it truly was like no place I'd ever been before. All of the vendors were driving through the narrow and crowded streets on little scooters with bags full of flowers piled on the back of them.

^^ our view at lunch 
June 15-
Today we woke up super early to get on a flight to Chiang Mai. It was so fun to get a few little lessons on grading and Final Cut Pro with Brad while we waited in the airport. He's so patient and really willing to help everyone learn his skills no matter what level they're at. It was only a quick hour flight but it reminded me how much I do not want to struggle through the plane ride back home in a few days. I can already tell that I will love Chiang Mai way more than Bangkok though. It seems so much more local and definitely more how I pictured Thailand. It's full of trees and jungle which also makes it a tad less hot than Bangkok. We went to lunch at a super cultural Thai restaurant. It was actually really disgusting because all the food consisted of things like chopped up brains, frog, and (the icing on the cake) soup with an actual whole burned chicken in it. Claws and all. We all got a really good laugh about it and then we're super grateful to find little Haagen Daz ice creams on the way out. Those saved my life. America definitely beats Asia as far as ice cream goes. After lunch we went to a local village where the ladies with rings around their necks and knees lived. It wasn't touristy at all and it was so cool to see the way that they lived. It was straight out of national geographic or something like that. All of them were out weaving fabrics and making things to sell. One of the ladies was burning intricate charcoal patterns into scarves and tablecloths and it was absolutely mesmerizing to watch. Seeing their way of life really made me contemplate why I was born in the place that I was to the parents that I was. I am so tremendously blessed. 

June 16-
This was THE coolest day in my entire life. We went to an elephant rescue center knowing we would ride elephants but I don't think any of us expected what was to come. When we got there we put on the funniest little Thai shirts and pants over our swimsuits. It was so uncomfortable in the heat but we all toughed through it. We started off meeting the baby elephants and they were SO adorable. They were huge though- even the youngest baby was almost shoulder height on me. We fed them and they gave us "hugs & kisses" with their trunks (it was actually a little bit scary letting that trunk come near my face). Then we led them to the muddy water where we actually got in with them and gave them a mud bath. It was so cool but actually unbelievably scary because these huge animals would just lay down sideways and be kicking and rolling around right in front of you. After we got thoroughly muddy and disgusting, we went into the "clean" water (basically glorified nappy pond water) and washed them off. The elephants were blowing water out of their trunks, splashing us everywhere, and making such a mess. It was so much fun though. It got to the point where we were so messy and disgusting nobody cared so we all just let go and went crazy. We cleaned ourselves up a little bit, ate lunch, then went to the other side of the camp with the grown up elephants so we could ride them. Me and Syd's elephant was named Sosa and was massive. To get on, it's mahoot (the men that trained them, fed them, took care of them) told it to kneel down then we hopped on its bare back as quick as we could and it stood up before we could even get our balance. I was 95% sure I was about to fall off of a 10 foot elephant and get trampled by it but thankfully that didn't happen. The entire trail, the mahoot was leading Sosa, taking pictures of us with Sydney's phone, and handing us leaves to fan ourselves with. It was the absolute sweetest thing. Riding on the actual elephant was crazy. I was right up on its head with my knees behind its ears so with every step my entire body would tilt to one direction or the other. And I was a great target for whenever it would stop to sip some water and spray it back out its trunk. We gave it a bath at the end and were sure to tip our mahoot for being so sweet and taking such dope pics. Afterwards talking about it with everyone I said it was for sure one of the top 5 coolest things I've ever done and Syd was like "what's the coolest then?" I realized this trip I've been able to add a lot of experiences to my little adventure list. Some of these things are THE coolest things I've ever done. 

it was actually really really scary I felt like I was going to fall off an elephant and be trampled but it all worked out so no regrets... 
June 17-
Today was one of our last days in Thailand which makes me more sad than words can even say. We took a long drive to a Thai cooking class that was in the prettiest little scenery. It was so cool to cook Thai food with a background of Thailand. We made pad Thai and a bunch of other things that I forget the name of. At one point we threw chicken and a special mixture of ingredients on a hot pan of oil and it went up in flames. I almost lit myself on fire and Syd's ingredients never actually made it onto the pan. It was so funny and made the best videos. Hailey told us there was a big surprise for us later on in the night. When we walked out of the hotel we were shocked to see 20 tuk tuks for 40 people lined up in the valet spot at our hotel. We all grabbed a partner and piled in and it seriously felt like real life Mario kart while we were driving to dinner. All of the tuk tuks were revving their engines, racing each other, and weaving in and out of the other cars on the road. It felt like a scene from a movie and even though we were headed to our farewell dinner was one of my favorite parts of the entire trip. After dinner we got the chance to explore around the night market and buy some souvenirs. There was a little fish spa set up in it too so me, Syd, and our friend Olivia decided to try it out (just to add it to our list of cool things we've done). It was so funny we were freaking out so much throughout the entire thing other tourists stopped to take pictures of us. It felt like exactly what it is. Little fish biting your dead skin off. It was an experience but I can't say I recommend it.

 Pad thai omelet, chicken curry, and chicken with cashew nuts. I must have done something right because it was seriously the best thai food I had tasted on the whole trip.
 June 18-
Our last day waking up in Thailand. I'm having major withdrawals already. We went to the yummy breakfast buffet at the Shangri La hotel for the last time. We had a bit of extra time before our flight back to Bangkok so a little group of us went off across the hotel to get a massage. It was the best 300 baht I've ever spent. It's also a good thing that we decided to go for the first time on the last day because otherwise I would have been there every day twice probably. We packed up and headed to Bangkok which was a quick flight. It was a little annoying though because it Kindof felt like a teaser to what was coming. When we arrived in Bangkok it felt like our journey was over or we just had a quick layover but instead we went and tried to get some sleep at the airport hotel for a few hours. Before we went to bed, some of the girls split off with me and Syd and we crashed a wedding that was at the hotel. It was so funny they were all so welcoming of us and thought it was the funniest thing ever that we were there. They even took pictures with us. I'm going to miss the hotel life and having every night be a big adventure with all of the funny, crazy, darling girls that are here. 

I just want to find myself somebody that cares about me as much as Brad cares about Hailey. When we were in the airport at customs and he got through before her he kept looking back every few seconds almost making sure she was fine. After we gave Hailey her elephant necklace Brad pulled us aside and thanked us personally for "thinking of his wife and making her happy". When he was teaching me a few things on Final Cut Pro we were testing everything out on a clip of Hailey. I said, "Brad you have the cutest wife!" and he goes, "she really is a rare breed". They are the kindest people that I've ever encountered. Both of them were quick to ask us if we're doing okay if something seemed off, get any of us water, snacks, and medicine if we felt sick, and listened intently during every conversation. At one point I overheard a story of Brad talking to an old woman who was a tuk tuk driver in Chiang Mai. She only made about 500 baht a day and had to rent her tuk tuk for 300 baht. Brad asked her if she had an email so they could set up a gofundme for her once they got home. The fact that things like that even cross their minds just shows how much they truly are grateful and count their blessings. 
With that said, I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of this group. It hit me hardest when me and Syd were riding on the elephant that this truly is one of the only chances I'll ever have in a lifetime to do this stuff. I feel so blessed to have met the people I did and have every detail work out so perfectly. 
I remember clearly still the moment me and Syd applied for this trip. We were sitting in Mr. Shimko's 2nd period government (which we never have the chance to be on our phones in) but for some reason this day we finished our work early and were just browsing Instagram. We saw the post about it 2 minutes after it went up and spontaneously applied on our phones instead of taking that day's gov notes. Later on we would find out that the spots on the trip were first come first serve and it really was a stroke of fate that we saw the post when we did. 
It's so cool that we got to go with the Devines on this trip when we did because me an Syd have loved them ever since we first saw their wedding video a few years ago. Their old videos literally define our freshman year. It feels like we've been following along their journey as we go on our own. It makes it so much more meaningful that we got to go on this adventure with them right as we graduate and start a new chapter of our lives. Never in a million years would little freshman Syd & Mads believe that they would end up in Thailand with Brad & Hailey Devine. Dreams really do come true guys. 

1 comment:

Bry Peterson said...

Just came across your blog via Vimeo and dang girl you are talented!! Would love to ask you some questions about videography and final cut! Do you have an email?