Hi beautiful souls♡
After my 5 month solo trip across South East Asia (which ended in Vietnam), I came back home to Melbourne in August quite unexpectedly.
Originally I had planned to travel for 8 months, however, not everything in life always goes according to our plan. I like to say, it goes according to God’s greater plan.
I felt the need to return home after feeling severe loneliness, depression and having my phone stolen which left me with no way to contact anyone while travelling. I needed grounding, to feel safe, and to connect with a community and loved ones again.
August through September was the hardest time I had experienced in my life so far. The depression that came so suddenly took me to a very dark place, and most days I felt purposeless, empty and did not want to get out of bed. I will share more about my depression in the future, when I feel fully ready, but I have briefly mentioned some things in this video here, and this one too.
The point of mentioning this backstory, is because my trip to Phuket this time was truly the light at the end of the tunnel.
Mid-September, after having done therapy sessions and focusing a lot on myself, I began to feel a weight elevate out of my body. I remember waking one morning, and actually feeling good. I was starting to feel like Jasmine was returning again. This led me to being called to book another trip again, and an inner voice said “go to Sri Lanka”. It was the first time I felt like travelling again after having returned home, and even the thought of it brought me excitement which helped to heal depression.
Since there were no direct flights from Melbourne to Sri Lanka, I thought that I would stop by in Thailand for a week first, and revisit Phuket.
This time, I wanted to make things different. After experiencing severe loneliness, I honestly felt hesitant to solo travel again, but I listened to my heart and chose love over fear. I knew that I can create anything, and my life is my responsibility. So, with this determination to experience something different, I decided to stay in a hostel, which I didn’t stay in one at all during the previous 5-month travel journey.
Another big decision I made was to not bring my laptop and take these 3-weeks off ‘work’.
It may sound like something little, but for me it was a huge step forward in my mental health. I had never really give myself much break before, and as much as i am so grateful for my work and love it wholeheartedly, not taking longer breaks did cause a lot of stress. I intended to solely focus on creating with my camera in terms of work, as well as have a lot of fun and meet many new people.
One more thing I decided to do differently, was to give backpacking a go. I had always wanted to try it, and thought it would be easier while staying in hostels. It also gave me the chance to travel more minimally.
The day I arrived in Phuket, I remember having a great feeling. Solo travelling, staying in a hostel, and backpacking were all steps out of my comfort zone, and even in spite of some nerves, I was in a much better place mentally, and couldn’t wait to explore again. Something told me this was the beginning of a new healing journey.
I chose to not take things so seriously. I chose to focus on fun. I chose to say yes to going on spontaneous adventures and hanging out with new people. I chose to be present and surrender. And it turned out, that the fews days I spent here in Phuket were some of the most memorable in my life to this point.
I ended up meeting some wonderful people at the hostel, seeing new places in Thailand, and feeling so alive again. You see, when you have experienced depression, it teaches you to be so much more grateful for the happy moments. These moments meant a lot and I simply appreciated it with my whole heart.
There was one girl in particular who I met in my dorm, and was like a gift that came into my life. Her name is Min, and she brought me so much joy, laughter and love. I’m eternally grateful that we crossed paths, and it showed me that when you open yourself up to meeting others, you never know who you can invite into your life by simply saying “hello”.
I discovered that staying in hostels is truly the best way to meet people when you solo travel. I enjoyed it so much, that from then on I decided to stay in hostels every time I travel. Life really is about human connection, and not once on this trip did I feel lonely.
This trip was a big turning point in my life for many reasons. I hope that my journey can be a reminder that everything is temporary, and dark times mean there is ALWAYS light coming. Dawn comes just after the darkest hour of the night. In times of struggle, it can be challenging to see the hope and healing, but I promise, through my experience it is always there. You can get through every day, and one day you’ll wake up and realise the darkness was meant to teach you something. Things always get better, and the best is yet to come.
This post may have been more about growth and healing than travel, but below you will find all of the details of my trip, and some tips for travelling in Thailand. It is such a beautiful country rich in culture, and it definitely one of my favourite places to explore and be in.
Lots of love and many blessings,
Throughout Phuket, you can easily use Grab (south east asian version of Uber) to get around. Other ways of getting around include taxi, renting a scooter and tuk tuks.
Upon arriving, I exchanged some money at the airport to Thai Baht, and throughout my trip I mostly used cash to pay. There are many ATMs in the main towns to withdraw money (just know it will have a transaction fee for international cards), and I still recommend carrying cash around as most places still use cash.
I highly recommend that no matter where you travel to, to purchase a SIM card when you arrive at the airport so you can travel with more ease, safety and convenience. I purchased a one week SIM card upon arriving at Phuket airport for around $15 AUD which included data.
Being a tropical island, the weather is always hot and humid in Phuket, and September can be rainy.
In general when travelling in Asia, a common custom is wearing clothes that cover you ‘modestly’, unless you are at the beach or in a very touristy area. If you are visiting temples, you will need to cover your shoulders and knees. It’s best to wear light clothing as well due to the heat, so sarongs, cotton tops, long skirts, shorts and thin pants work well.
Thailand is a food heaven for many, and you can find many plant based eats no matter where you go. Due to the predominant Buddhist religion, you can find lots of vegetarian restaurants in Phuket.
While the official language of Thailand is Thai, you will be able to get around fine with English only if you’re travelling in the more well-known areas. That being said, it’s important to not assume every local can speak English, and it would be great to learn some basics before you go too for respect and convenience. Phuket in particular is quite English friendly due to the popularity with tourists.
Phuket is a hotspot for solo travellers. When staying in hostels, you will meet many, and while it’s important to always take precaution to stay safe no matter where you travel, overall it is a great place to solo travel.
Important things to bring
Passport, insect repellant, sunscreen, hat
An amazing day tour I booked with Klook, taking us to the famous James Bond island, a beautiful National Park, and kayaking. They organised everything so well and I had so much fun!
Where I went
Phuket Central Mall
My favoruite place to eat at was ‘Yo Mama vegan and vegetarian”
The most popular street in phuket known for its night life
A secret gem of Phuket that I wouldn’t have discovered if it weren’t for Min. This is definitely the most beautiful beach I have ever come across in Thailand, and the reason why it’s not very known is because you need to do some hiking to get there. It’s worth it though, I promise!