When you travel internationally there is always a chance that things won’t go exactly as planned. I have learned to accept whatever situation I am in and make the most of it... AND got a bucket list item checked off because of it!
On my most recent trip to Bali, I got stopped in Thailand. In order to enter Bali, which is in Indonesia, you need to have a passport that expires more than 6 months after you enter the country. My passport expired in 5 months and 25 days... exactly 6 days short of 6 months.
Of course, I found all of this out once I was already in Thailand and it was Sunday morning (A.K.A... the embassy was closed until Monday!). So I found myself stuck in a foreign country, alone, with a whole day to kill. I thought about cozying myself up in my hotel room and just watching TV, ordering room service and having the biggest pity party…
I realized I was given a “free” unexpected trip to Thailand and that I should make the most of it!
I went to the hotel concierge and asked for suggestions of things I could do. We discussed a different options, but my ears perked up when he mentioned riding elephants. I have ALWAYS wanted to ride an elephant, as I think they are some of the most majestic animals ever. Basically, I was sold on the idea before I even knew it was an option.
I hired a taxi, selfie stick in hand, and set off ready for an adventure. After about 2 hours of panic and driving, we finally stopped, I got out and into a boat that would take me down a river through a floating market to get to the elephants. I was in a little boat cruising down the river past other little boats selling everything from fresh coconuts, to pad Thai, to dresses, souvenirs and art. It truly was a magical view and experience. I loved it all so much I almost forgot about the reason I was there – the elephants.
When we pulled over and we got to the elephant park, I walked up a bunch of steps to a treehouse-like structure with a platform that elephants would walk up to so you could get on them at the right height. I was able to sit in the little seat with the umbrella shading me from the sun, but not big enough to hide the massive smile I had on. I was in bliss as we rode through the jungle, went across the river and finally back to the treehouse. The entire ride was a magical experience, we bounced around and flies were always nearby but I was RIDING AND ELEPHANT. I was able to touch the skin and feel the massive strength of this animal as we went along. It was amazing.
This was an incredible experience that I could have missed had I not taken that leap of faith, gone out on my own, and decided to put my bad luck in the past. I'll never know when the unexpected will be amazing, so I know now that when I find myself in an unexpected situation… I have the ability to put a smile on, get out there, and do something I never dreamed I could!