Stepping onto the island of Phuket was a bit like stepping into a very beautiful house. But once you are in that house, you soon discover it is owned by a hoarder and there is not one bit of space for anything more, not even you. I have never seen more shops, restaurants, and bars packed into one space in my life, and anything else that you may want to enjoy.
A spa where you can go stick your feet in the water and have the fish nibble the dead skin off of your feet? They’ve got it. A store that sells fake iPads for$100? That’s there, too. I was expecting a bit more of an island feel, but this was busier than Bangkok! It was sensory overload as I stepped out after dark to be met by flashing lights hanging from the trees, blaring music from the outdoor bars, fireworks, advertisements that were lasered onto the ground and moving from place to place on the sidewalk. This was, I guessed, the Times Square of Thailand. I stopped at one of outdoor bars just to get a grasp on all of this and wound up playing Connect 4 and some other games with the bartender there, Pim, who wanted to practice her English and quickly decided that it was time to create my own sanctuary. Walking home at one in the morning, I realized I was hungry, so I stopped at an all night fruit stand and bought three perfect mangosteen (my new favorite fruit), some rambutan, and some flowers and headed back to my oasis of a hotel.
On the plane I had asked myself, “What are the things that bring you pleasure?” Number one on my list was baths…luxurious baths…and I realized with sadness that I don’t take very many long baths anymore, because I don’t really like my bathtub at home. Its made from a plastic material where the one I had before was an old deep porcelain one, and the one before that a clawfoot tub. So you can imagine my smile as I walked into my room to discover an extra long (longer than the bed) Asian soaking tub and shower with a shower head bigger than a dinner plate.
So, I created the perfect relaxing ritual, pouring the ylang ylang oil that I had found into the water, sprinkling the flower petals inside, getting in an enjoying my mangosteen right there in the bath. And I got to thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great, if we could always remember to nurture ourselves like this when the outside world gets to be jarring? To create a space, a ritual to keep calm inside?” So, that’s exactly what I did and what I have continued to do ever since. And you know what? I have now even become grateful for those sometimes jarring moments because I now look as them as a message to myself that it’s time to relax and to do something that nurtures me and brings me peace.