So some exciting news! Whilst my partner is doing some fieldwork there, I am planning on joining him for 10 days in Thailand. Sadly it won’t be 10 days of holiday, but we are planning a long weekend 🙂 ON A TROPICAL ISLAND. Now, I’ve never been to Thailand, in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been to Asia (never mind specifically South East Asia) so this is super exciting. It is particularly exciting because my partner knows Thailand pretty well, especially the places we are going (Bangkok and Ko Tao). So I don’t even have to get too nervous about being somewhere new or not knowing the deal. Thailand always seemed a long way away from the UK, and it is (Birmingham to Bangkok is a cool 9607.7km) so I hadn’t ever really thought about going there until my partner suggested it (because Australia is just next door? I don’t know….!). I figured that ‘whilst I’m down here’ (here being the southern hemisphere) I might as well ‘pop’ over to Thailand whilst he’s there and spend the time he’s doing fieldwork going through my thesis and working out how to make it a better book.
As a European I don’t think I/you/one is aware of quite how European a mindset we get about travelling. Countries that are ‘near by’ really ARE nearby- when my parents lived in Amsterdam it was a 50 minute flight to see them (and even with check in, baggage, security etc it was sometimes still quicker to see them in another country than drive from Birmingham to Brighton… well, it felt like it, and I could drink more mimosas before the flight…). Here in Australia I am reminded AGAIN (because apparently I didn’t learn well enough the first time) just how far we are from… pretty much everywhere. I had in my head that Indonesia was at tops a 4 hour flight from Canberra/Sydney (where ever you can fly from) and expected Thailand to be a couple of hours extra, maybe 6-7 hours. Which, after nearly 30 hours from the UK to Australia, feels like the flight equivalent of a big yawn. HOWEVER, it turns out that Thailand is NOT 6-7 hours away, it is at least (i.e. if you fly direct) 9 hours and if you don’t fly direct (which I am likely to do because it is cheaper) its about 12 hours! That’s almost half the distance back to the UK! OK, no its not but still! For visiting a neighbouring country it is still a really long way away, in fact it is 7,473km which is only (only!) 2,000km less than the distance to Birmingham. Wowza. This world is a pretty big place.