Read more about my Self Care Sabbatical and the other places I’ve visited!
Nearly three weeks ago I arrived in Koh Tao from Bangkok. After a lot of touristing around big Asian cities and temples, I was super excited for island time and beaches. I also planned to get my Open Water scuba certification while on Koh Tao and was very excited to learn how to dive.
Fast forward to today where I now have not only my Open Water, but also my Advanced Open Water and Rescue Diver certification. I kept extending my time on the island, a few days here and there. After 2 weeks, it felt like I might never leave (until my 30-day Thai visa expired).
In fact, I’m not really leaving. I’ve decided to stay on Koh Tao and signed up for the Dive Master course, the next level of certification which will take 4-8 weeks to complete. So instead of returning to the US at the end of February as initially planned, I won’t be going back for a bit longer.
(At least I get a trip into Penang this week to sort out my visa!)
Getting stuck here was sort of a perfect storm of a situation. I arrived here worn out from traveling. While I was in Bangkok I could feel that I was really sick of sightseeing – I think Siem Reap was the final straw – and I just wanted some time to chill. As someone who loves islands and beaches and water and being on boats, Koh Tao seemed like heaven. And I quickly fell in love with diving (if you haven’t tried it, I’ll warn you that it’s quite addictive). I also met a cool group of people while diving here which, after months of being on my own, was a welcome change.
I was sick of moving around, staying in hostels, and being on the go. I didn’t want to return to New York, I was seeking a bit of permanence while in Asia. And I found it on Koh Tao.
It seems that a lot of people get stuck here – they come to this island planning to stay a few days and keep extending their time for days, weeks, months. So many people I’ve met through the dive shop arrived here like me to do their Open Water course and are now instructors at the shop. It’s hard not to love this lifestyle – you are living in paradise, diving every day, and watching beautiful sunsets every night over beers on the beach.
My decision to stay here felt a bit reckless, but also like the right decision for me at this time. While I have quite a few things to sort out due to staying here, I am super excited to take advantage of the opportunity I have to stay, become a better diver, and let things for the future just fall into place.