Lifestyle, Travel

What I Learned While Watching the Sun Set in Koh Tao

There are a lot of things I’ve wanted to write about recently: freediving, Thailand, living abroad, food, making a living. I’ve also been trying to find my viewpoint on all of these things, too. It’s one thing to have a thought or an idea, but another one entirely to be able to share it with others.

To start off, I think I’d like to take a second to talk about reality. It’s kind of ridiculously warped right now. Like the kind of warped that we read about in George Orwell’s 1984, except that we’re currently living it. Everything is streamed live and on screens and in moments where technology should never be a witness to the moments we’re living.

I went for a run the other day because I was feeling a bit stressed out. Needless to say that once my anxiety was stomped out from my sneakers into the ground, so too did my energy leave, leading me to stop running and watch the sunset at a beautiful, fancy resort where sweaty me clearly did not belong. Besides the point, I digress. 

So, sweaty me is particularly absorbed in the satisfaction of simply watching the sunset on my beautiful little island, Koh Tao, when I took a moment to look at the people around me. Or rather, should I say drones. All I saw was people taking selfies, posing for a perfect Instagram post that I’m sure all of their followers will ‘like’ but actually be jealous of, or staring at their pieces of hand tech. 

I was stunned. It was literally every single person. Phone zombies, every last one of them.

At that moment, I had a thought: what if all social media were to crash right now, and take their beloved social profiles with them? If none of these platforms existed, would we still take these pictures? Or do we just take them to get a reaction from other people?

I guess I should also say that I’m also guilty of using social media too much and taking pictures ‘for the Gram,’ but since moving to Thailand and traveling I have to say my attachment to my phone has changed. I never got a phone plan while traveling, so when I was out of WiFi my phone wasn’t good for much. No social media, no text messages, nothing. And it was so liberating. I just got to enjoy the moment for exactly what it was, not worrying about the other dimension that existed inside my pocket.

While I sat there by myself, phone silenced, I experienced a sunset where I truly noticed everything: sounds, smells, colors. I heard the leaves rustling on the tree next to me, the waves tumbling on the sand beneath me. A squirrel fidgeted around on the tree next to me looking for nuts, I assume, and the sun kissed the sky goodnight as it slipped beneath a blanket of clouds. I don’t think anyone else really saw the sunset that night.

silhouettes of palm trees as the sun sets in the background
After watching the sunset, I took a long walk home and stumbled upon this beautiful view.

Sure, those other people might have physically been present, but they were all hostages when it comes down to it. My reality was so different to theirs. We are all alive and breathing and have eyes, but that doesn’t mean we all have the ability to see.

It really depends on what you’re looking for in life, but I know that I’m looking for more moments like that. To be somewhere, really there, in every way possible. To see and feel and live. That’s what life is all about.

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