Monday, February 27, 2012

Road Babe Dispatch From An Island

Before going to Thailand, I heard what a tourist’s mecca it was. I knew my greatest challenge would be finding authenticity in places the tourists hadn’t already overrun, plus avoiding the party scene in the name of accessing something pure. Does pure still exist in Thailand, I wondered? Or should I have booked my ticket to Vietnam instead, which they say is like Thailand circa 1998?

My goal, in one of the most touristy places in Asia, was to discover a secluded island – the kind you refer to when you ask hypotheticals beginning with “if you were stranded on a deserted island …,” the kind where you’re more likely to see an animal than a human and the kind where people you see are locals because tourists have never heard of it. Well, much to my surprise, I found it.

Though Bangkok and Chiang Mai did surprise me with their eclectic beauty (like hearing a Thai with a voice like Barry White singing the blues), nothing could compare to this island, my own little slice of paradise. I stayed in a simple bungalow where a lovely family not only provided me with shelter but became my friends. I saw maybe 10 other tourists on the whole island. Grabbing a kayak, I hit the ocean then found the most perfect isolated beach in the world – with nothing in sight behind the palms but a grazing cow.

In the tiny 3-stool reggae bar where a cool Finnish chick Nina worked, I drank Mai Thais and discussed the nature of the travel industry with a small world-trekking clique: a Brit, a German and fellow travel writer Ian Ord. “What does it mean that places like this still exist?” Nina was quick to chime in, “It means people like you haven’t written about it.”

Ouch. Yet, I knew she was right. Travel authors are like gatekeepers for the best kept secrets of the travel world. Are we obligated or even permitted to reveal all of them? If we do, what will remain? Before I left, Nina and I shared a breakfast. She was quick to bring it up again. “You know what will happen if you blog about this place, right?” I laughed. “You’re giving me too much credit. No one reads my stuff.”

“It doesn’t matter. This is how it starts.” We sat there in silence. I had brief flashbacks to Tonsai, a beach that 10 years ago was a hidden secret but now might as well be Krabi Beach. She had a point. “Promise me,” she insisted. She didn’t have to spell out the promise. I knew she wanted to keep something so pristine and perfect a secret. I agreed.

Mittie Babette Roger is from Louisiana but lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University and authored the book It's Better to Visit the Shaman Without Questions to Ask. She travels the world volunteering to help disadvantaged children and promoting Blue Iguana Tequila to empower serious drinkers.


  1. And then you went and blogged about it!

  2. I liked the photos because have a color very beautiful !
    the blue the sky, the trees and the clear water do a big landscape.

  3. I like this photo because is beatiful and looks wonderful