A few phrases come to mind when the question is asked – What does adventure mean to me? Embarking on a journey that excites, inspires and challenges. Breaking free from the ropes of daily life, be it for a short period of time. Adventure to me is goodness for the soul.
It is a fairly personal question and each and every individual views adventure from all sorts of angles. Travelling for me is an adventure. I like to think that I am not holidaying, I am adventuring!
Our mini adventure took us to a small tropical island in Thailand called Koh Samui. Our base camp for the week was in a luxury boutique villa set high on the hill nestled in and around tropical forest in North Chaweng, the views across the bay were sensational. In our base camp we were surrounded by the luxuries of a private plunge pool and pavilion, room service, coffee, a comfortable bed and cold air conditioning. We had been saving for this trip for a long time. Despite the lovely comfort of of our accommodation, my most vivid memories come from being on the back of a moped (motorbike, scooter).
The resort and surrounds, our base camp
Our adventure began when we hired a 150cc moped from a garage on the side of the road, we reluctantly handed over our passports as a deposit for the bike. The main road in Koh Samui loops the entire island and from a glance at Google maps we figured it was totally ‘doable’ to scoot in a day.
The days to follow on the moped were spent stumbling across new and unusual places such as Wat Plai Laem (a temple park) and unwinding by beach front restaurants for refreshments or diving into the cool waters of a secluded cove. On the island of Koh Samui there is a lot of life to see and different scenes to look at. On a moped our senses had awoken from the coma that our working lives had created, we were also noticing more than we would if we were comfortably sitting in a taxi. One day we passed a man on the top of a homemade ladder doing what I could only presume to be tapping into the electricity wires, we passed a front garden of monks sitting down to lunch and then we spied some elephants in a field along the back roads. We had an idea of certain stops for food and drinks but other than that, we made our own judgement as to where we would go, no deadlines to remember, we had all the time in the world. One of the perks of holidaying far from home. It was a refreshing feeling and if we saw something interesting, we took notice and pulled the moped over.
Discovering the island on a moped
On one particular day, we were on the other side of the island and I could see black clouds approaching in the distance across the Gulf, it was the daily monsoonal storm front and it was not even midday yet, it was early! Normally we would be in the villa snoozing when the weather descended through, but rather, we were on the moped. Monsoon season is a normal occurrence for the locals on the island, street side merchants can baton down their shops in minutes and wait until it passes before they open up again. For Derek and I, who have only ever known mild Perth weather all year round, this was new to us – exciting and unnerving.
We were on a road that traced the ocean along Nathon and the front was moving pretty quickly towards us, the clouds were scary black. We thought or hoped we would be able to race away from it and so we both positioned our bodies lower on the moped in an effort to increase the speed, this is about the time when you need a race car to drop from the sky. The rain started and it became heavy quickly, the wind swept through and light debris was blowing around. The overcrowded power lines were swaying around us and I started to hold my breath. Meanwhile in front, Derek was absolutely loving the thrill of our situation and he still talks about it today. At about the time where we had next to zero visibility and the ability to pilot the moped was being severely affected by the wind, we followed a couple of local teenagers to a Seven Eleven convenience store. Smart thinking guys, riding it out under a porch. We bought a couple of Kit Kat chocolates and sat on the porch waiting for the front to pass. I don’t think I can recall a time when mother nature had abruptly forced us to stop what we were doing before.
Caught up in an monsoon front
The front eventually past after 40 minutes and calm tropical weather emerged as if nothing had happened. We moved on. and headed to a restaurant in Bophut to unwind and laugh over mango and coconut cocktails.
Later that evening we went into the nightlife district of Chaweng and enjoyed a delicious blue cheese gnocchi and sausage wood fired pizza from an Italian restaurant called Rice.
The next day we hopped on the moped once again, continuing our island adventure with perfect tropical island weather.
Our hotel did recommend for our own safety that we not hire a moped and so did most of the brochures. Accidents, particularly on bikes is a real problem on the island. We wore helmets and Derek is an experienced and confident rider. Having spent a week on the island I observed way too many stupid and inexperienced riders, and the majority of them are tourists. You should only ride a bike if you exercise caution and safety, are experienced and more importantly can be responsible.
The garage where we hired the moped had some good quality bikes and helmets, wish I had of taken down the name!
Writing competition – What does adventure mean to me?
I wrote this post as an entry for a competition being run by Southern Cross Travel Insurance. If you wish to enter please visit their website.
The competition criteria:
Include a collage of 3-10 photographs images that represents what adventure means to you and;
Include 200-250 word answer to the question, “What does adventure mean to you?” and;
Nominate two other bloggers to take part in the Competition and;
Share the competition page so that others can take part and;
Open to Australian residents only and non-employees of SCTI
The competition requires me to nominate two other bloggers to take part. I nominate WenY Wonders Why as I have enjoyed reading his posts about Seoul. Secondly I nominate My Square Frying Pan, I loved reading the recent holiday trip to Vietnam.