Koh Phangan in Thailand is undeniably a beautiful place. Little wonder people flock here from all over the world. Blue skies, clear water, beautiful white sand beaches and a super relaxed vibe. Here are some photos to give you a feel for the place.
Despite all of this beauty and unrivaled relaxation something is up with Tanya and I. After having spent a lot of time island hopping from tropical island to tropical island we seem to have developed a condition we are calling tropical island fatigue. Sure, the scenery is beautiful, the beach is lovely and the weather is great. It has just gotten a bit dull.
When we took the video below we were on Koh Phangan in Thailand. It was the fourth or fifth island we had visited in a row, spending one to three weeks on each island.
We are not asking for sympathy here. This is a great problem to have. We are just pointing out something that you might not have thought of. Drum roll...
Any place, no matter how awesome, gets dull eventually.
This is especially true of places where the main focus is relaxation. It turns out that being relaxed is not far off being bored.
I have heard numerous people say that if they had the money they would move to a tropical island somewhere then just lay on the beach drinking cocktails for the rest of their days. To that I say that should you ever actually fulfill that scenario I give you approximately one month before your life in paradise becomes so boring that you want to claw your eyes out just so you can feel something again.
It seems that tropical islands are not the key to happiness (like money perhaps). Simply being somewhere beautiful is not actually enough to sustain you. This may sound obvious but what you are doing and who you are with is at least as important as where you are. If you are not participating in activities that challenge you, doing things make some sort of difference in the world and sharing the experience with other people then being somewhere awesome will, at best, provide some occasional short term pleasure.
What does this mean for us?
Firstly, we need to make an effort to participate in activities when they are available. Maybe we should have been learning to dive, taking language classes or something else to give us purpose (aside from our usual work). When you only work around 4 to maybe 6 hours a day the days can get rather long.
Secondly, we need to grab any chances for socializing with both hands. We always have each other of course but being perpetual nomads means that lasting face to face relationships with other people are exceptionally difficult if not impossible. Having people to hang out with has definitely made some of our stops more enjoyable. Other nomads generally have lots of great stories and are usually really friendly. They are in the same position as us after all and need company. We may have to start factoring in the likelihood of meeting people when choosing future destinations.
What does this mean for you?
Do not pin all your hopes for the future on a beautiful island somewhere. Life is not just about where you are and not being challenged is extremely dull. A life of no responsibility and no struggle may sound appealing but it leads many into a cycle of boredom, loneliness and creates a void that many choose to fill with alcohol. What you are doing and who you are sharing your journey with is just as important.
By all means make the jump and live somewhere radically different. Just make sure to include meeting people and doing stuff to do in your plans. Laying on the beach is not all it is cracked up to be.