What I’m Grateful For//Updates from THAILAND

Hello my beautiful mermaid loves.

I’m writing to you from my hostel in Ao Nang, Krabi, THAILAND and wanted to do a little update on my adventures in Thailand so far.

I arrived three days ago, after spending the night in the Singapore airport on a long layover on THANKSGIVING.

Seriously, while my friends and family were gathering for their turkey dinners, I was literally sleeping on the airport floor, alone.

I only felt the tiniest bit of sadness as I wasn’t with my family, but also felt just so freaking grateful that I am traveling and seeing the world.

In the Thanksgiving gratitude spirit, I’mma list a few things I’m grateful for:


Wow. What a privilege it is to be able to travel and see the world. I do not take it for granted and I also am so grateful to myself for making this trip happen. I think it’s easy for people to think “oh, you have to be rich to travel” or “oh, her parents are probs paying for her trip” and I’m like, I’m doing this all by myself, honeys! I am 100% self-funded and am just pretty grateful that I have the able body, mind, and spirit that is able to do this kind of stuff and doesn’t let fear hold me back (even though I was scared shitless!) I want this to be a reminder to you all, that if you want something, THEN GO AND GET IT. Seriously, if you want to be spending the holidays in THAILAND, then it is 100% possible, you just have to want it badly enough. (also acknowledging that I’m saying this coming from a place of privilege, because the money I make all goes to supporting me, I don’t have to support my family, so I feel lucky that the money I make is mine to do with however I please)


Seriously, being alone for this long really does put in perspective how grateful I am for the people that I love in my life. I’m grateful to my boyfriend, Pax, who has supported me ever since I told him I was leaving him to go travel the world and wouldn’t be coming back to live in CT and instead of freaking out and acting in his own best self-interest, he completely supported me and encouraged me to do whatever I need to do. I try to put myself in his shoes and I’m like wow if my boyfriend chose to leave me to go travel the world and then move away, I’d be like boy, byeeee, but he has stuck by me through it all and I’m so grateful for his support. Also grateful for the unwavering support of my sisters and my incredible, spiritual, beautiful mother, and my best girlfriends who inspire me so much.


I’m so grateful for having outlets like journaling, poetry, singing, theater, music, and reading amazing books that have kept me company throughout my solo time. I’m so grateful that these modalities help me HEAL and FEEL ALIVE. I’m so grateful for stories that inspire me and encourage me to keep going. I’m so grateful for people who are courageous enough to share their own stories and pieces of their HE(ART). I’m so grateful for practices that bring us back to our soul and remind us who we are and why we’re here. My creativity makes me WHO I AM, and I’m so lucky I live in a world that it is SAFE for me to express that (even when my own brain tries to tell me it’s not. It is. It 100% is)

Honestly, there are a thousand other things I’m grateful for, but these are the main ones that I’m just feeling like the luckiest girl in the world for having so much beauty in my life.

I like how I said I would update you on my adventures in Thailand and this ended up being a gratitude post.

Anyways, here are my thoughts on Thailand so far:

I feel really comfortable in Thailand. I haven’t had the “achey heart” feeling I usually get when I’m in a new city.

While exploring, I very much felt like I could be in the Asian parts of New York City, like I couldn’t believe I’m actually in Thailand.

There’s just something so friendly about Thailand. I haven’t felt nervous or unsafe (which I did a few times in Bali when taking Grab Bikes back to my villa. For some reason, I always had this fear they weren’t going to take me home).

The people I’ve encountered have been so nice.

Example: I was just walking on the street, drinking a coconut and was trying to get the meat out with my straw, and this lady from a restaurant saw me and ran to grab me a metal spoon and then helped me spoon out the meat so I could eat it. Like WHAT. So nice.


I’m getting a very different feel in Thailand so far. I planned my trip so that in India I was doing an organized program (so not any individual travel) and then I planned my Bali trip to stay in ONE place the whole time (even though I did short trips here and there) because I wanted to get the feel of what it would be like to “live there”, but in Thailand I’m doing the most “hopping around” and true “traveling” experience, like staying in hostels and going from place to place.

I was feeling nervous about leaving my solo villa in Bali and was nervous about staying in hostels in rooms with 10 other people because I have kind of graduated from that type of traveling and now enjoy my luxurious comfort of being alone and didn’t want to have to be forced to socialize or just feel uncomfortable, but I had a great experience at my first hostel in Phuket.

I stayed in an all-girls room and met a girl who was originally from El Salvador but lives in the Bay Area (small world) and we hung out and went to the night market together with some French people. It was a nice reminder that I’m not an anti-social freak and I can meet new people (which were the lies my ego was telling me during my time in Bali) and I’m understanding that my alone time in Bali was INCREDIBLY necessary for me and this is just a new phase.


I’ve been going to a night market every single day since being here and they are amazing.

Such cheap and local, delicious food. I’ve tried sweet potato balls, pad thai (obvi) exotic fruits that I’m not even sure what their names are, veggie dumplings, spring rolls, coconut pancakes, herbed rice, etc etc. I’m questioning my choice to stay vegetarian because all the night markets have so many meat options, but I think it’s safest for my belly to stay away 🙂

Every day I wake up and am so excited that I get to eat pad thai and drink thai iced tea. Thai food has been my favorite cuisine for a long time now and I’m just feeling so lucky that I get to experience it in it’s most authentic form!

I love that night markets are just a thing here. It reminds me of fairs during the summertime, except in Thailand it’s a daily thing.

I love that they don’t hold their drinks, they carry them 🙂
meat, meat, meat
smoothie & fruit galore


I highly, highly recommend doing group tours (which you can book through your hostel) during your time traveling (solo or not, but espesh if you’re solo).

In my experience, it’s the best bang for your buck if you want to do some specific tourist sight-seeing stuff without having to figure out all the logistics of how to get from place to place. You just pay for the tour, and the rest is taken care of.

I did a tour in Phuket where we saw the Big Buddha, took pictures with a baby elephant, visited the Chalong Temple, had lunch at an all you can eat buffet, did a tour at a cashew farm and a bee farm, and then took a boat to three different islands, snorkeled, hung out on the beach, and just had fun.

All of that cost 1,200 baht (about $40) which I thought was a great deal, because just trying to figure out how to get from all those places and booking various things like the boats and stuff is just too much of a headache for me and would end up being more expensive with taking taxis.

Honestly, unless you’re comfortable renting and riding a motorbike then book a tour.

I don’t like being in places where you can’t walk everywhere and Phuket was HUGE so you have to take taxis everywhere. Krabi so far seems to be the same, so I immediately booked a tour tomorrow to see the Emerald Pool, soak in the hot springs, and go to the Tiger Temple (all the things on my list).

I’m spending 3 nights here and then heading to Koh Lipe, which I’m happy about because then I can live a more simple, island life.

Anyways, in short, I’m feeling grateful to be alive. I’m feeling grateful for my life. I’m feeling grateful, grateful, grateful ❤


OH, and AS A REMINDER, you can still book a creativity coaching call with me.

I have spots available from Dec. 16-20th.


-you’re feeling creatively stuck or blocked

-you want to set some creative intentions and GOALS for 2020

-you’re feeling uninspired and want to spark that creative fire that you feel you may have lost

-you need a sounding board to bounce your ideas off of

-you want to learn new practices to tap into the creative flow

-one of your new years resolutions is to establish a daily creative routine!

-you want to spend more time with YOURSELF in 2020 and create more art

click here to book a 60 min call for just $33: www.calendly.com/leyavandoren/60min

Okay, sending you all so much love. Thanks for reading all of my jumbly thoughts ❤

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
love from me & this elephant









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