Off the Beaten Path: Finding Adventure in the Thai Spirit

Adventures can happen in unexpected moments. It can awake senses that have gone dormant for too long. The adventure of  jumping out of an airplane can be equally as powerful as the adventure found in quiet mindful moments. Thailand is full of all shades of adventure, allowing us to feel more alive and connected to the world.

In a quiet moment a fellow Trekr veteran and I went searching for the much exalted street food in Patong, Thailand. Patong is a medium sized city north of Phuket where our sailing adventure concluded and the Trekr team was celebrating our first night back on land.

Street food is a staple of Thai culture. In every town, there are food stalls on the street that can put the best Thai restaurants back home to shame. In larger cities, there is often an entire alley dedicated to regional Thai cuisine. Finding the food stalls can be an adventure in and of itself. It requires doing advanced research or communicating with people on the streets.

We set out to peruse the main strip in Patong and were surprised to easily find the alley lined with food stalls. The stalls were filled with simmering cauldrons of curries, noodle dishes, and fish. The air was packed with the aromas of the fresh food that had been cooking since sunrise. As we sat down, people from all walks came in for dinner: people in suits, strippers, students and moms carrying their kids.  Among the crowd, we noticed a small elderly westerner enter into the alley. We was warmly welcomed by the Thai food vendors, kissing him on his forehead and hugging him.

He sat down across from us and we greeted him with smile. “Good morning,” he said to us. We nodded and smiled. Then the gentleman started to speak in in a language we didn’t understand. His eyes weren’t really focusing and it was clear he was not well. One of the street food vendors brought him a bowl filled with noodles, shrimp and broccoli. It was off the menu and not from any of the large pots of Thai delights.

Curious, we investigated further. The gentleman had been coming to the ally for years. People in the community got to know him and began treating him like a family member. As his health began to deteriorate, this community resolved to care for him. It was a touching display of spirit of the Thai people.

Moments of adventure can be swimming with sharks, racing the yachts or enjoying the people around you. It can also be watching how people care for each other in a foreign land. All of it can be a great and unexpected. It is those constant moments of adventure and surprise that make Thailand so special.