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… to change her mind.

That’s how the saying goes, right? I sure hope so, because not too long ago I declared that I was moving on from Koh Tao — that I was forging ahead to find my next piece of paradise. And yet just around six weeks later, I felt that familiar siren song pulling at my heartstrings and calling me back to the island once again.

And so I found out that I’m the kind of girl who follows her heart instead of her head.

Koh Tao, Thailand

I was supposed to be in the Philippines. I had a ticket to Manilla, freelance work assigned, and a plan to spend six weeks in a new and exciting country. But after a few days of what I can only describe as a walking anxiety attack, I realized I needed to listen to my gut — I wasn’t ready to leave Thailand. Instead I would split the difference — three weeks in Philippines (the length of the free visa upon arrival, which saved me from a pricey extension) and three more weeks in Thailand (which would unfortunately mean extending my 60 day visa).

As soon as I made the decision a weight lifted from my conscious and rather than sitting on the brink of tears, I felt giddy with happiness for the first time in ages. After a few final days in Bangkok catching up with friends, I booked it down to Koh Tao.

What can I say about Koh Tao that I haven’t said before? For this one cheeky bonus week, there were birthdays to be celebrated and parties to be had…

Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh Tao, Thailand

Beaches I’d never laid eyes on before to be explored…

Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh-Tao
Koh-Tao

Loving my new bikini!

Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh Tao_066

Old favorites to be revisited…

Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh-Tao
Koh-Tao

Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh Tao, Thailand

Lazy Sundays to be spent at my favorite beach bars…

Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh-Tao
Koh-Tao

Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh Tao, Thailand

And as many hours possibly squeezed out of the day to be spent with the friends who made this place my home. I suppose I was naive to think that I could be done with Koh Tao. This place has its hooks in me, maybe deeper that I’m willing to admit — even to myself. And so I’ll end this post the same way I did with my last one…

This little island will always have my heart.

Koh Tao, Thailand

Which do you find yourself following more often, your heart or your head?

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42 Comments...
  • Chris Shaw
    April 7 2013

    ตามหัวใจของคุณ you’ll never go wrong…

    • Meihoukai
      April 9 2013

      I’m impressed! Love the Thai characters 🙂

  • TammyOnTheMove
    April 7 2013

    What a lovely post Meihoukai! I don’t blame you. This place really does look stunning! I would love to go one day! Love the photos by the way. Those hammocks in the water look so welcoming!
    TammyOnTheMove recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      April 9 2013

      Those hammocks are Babaloo Bar… best spot on the island!

  • memographer
    April 7 2013

    Just no comments… I wish I was there… Can’t wait for my next piece of paradise 🙂
    memographer recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      April 9 2013

      I kind of wish I was there too, even though I’m in my own new lovely place now 🙂

  • Laura
    April 7 2013

    When I look at your pictures I can’t say I blame you for loving the place so much. It looks so beautiful. Wish I could visit… 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      April 9 2013

      The place I’m in right now is quickly becoming my second runner up favorite place… come here! 🙂

  • Charlie
    April 7 2013

    Looks like paradise. I totally get your choice to go back. Always follow your heart, not your head 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      April 9 2013

      I’m starting to find it’s my favorite way to live life! Thanks Charlie.

  • Christiane Von Linz
    April 7 2013

    Lovely pictures and writing. Looks like you have a lot of fun and live the life you have dreamed of. Go for it girl!

    • Meihoukai
      April 9 2013

      Thanks Christiane! I am having the time of my life 🙂 I’m just trying to keep it going!

  • Stef
    April 7 2013

    I always love your photos, they make me want to pack my bags and travel immediately again which is quite impossible as I just started my “grown-up” job 6 months ago and I guess it’s time to settle down for at least a while. but i definitely have to visit this hammock bar haha looks like a lot of fun. Enjoy your time in Thailand.
    Regards
    Stef

    • Meihoukai
      April 9 2013

      Thanks Stef! Hey, there’s something to be said for a grown up job as well! And those hammocks will always be there…

  • Brittany
    April 7 2013

    I stumbled across your blog while doing some research for my upcoming trip to Thailand, and I love how honest you are in your posts and the fun style of your writing. It has been a great way to procrastinate from the studying I should be doing, and is making me so much more excited for my trip this summer. I will definitely be following along on the rest of your adventures!

    • Meihoukai
      April 9 2013

      Hey Brittany! Thanks so much and I’m so glad you found me 🙂 You’re going to love Thailand, congratulations on the upcoming trip!

  • Dave Staplin
    April 7 2013

    How would you compare Koh Tao [where I haven’t been] to Kauai [where I have been]

    Luv your posts!

    • Meihoukai
      April 9 2013

      Well I’ve only spent 5 days on Kauai compared to over a year on Koh Tao so its not the most fair basis to start a comparison on 🙂 But in general I’d say Koh Tao is much more backpacker and party oriented, while Kauai is more relaxed and focused on enjoying the natural beauty of the island! I love both and can’t wait to return to each 🙂

  • Travel is always about following your heart and not your head! I know what it’s like to have an island steal your heart. But your photos make Koh Tao look awfully tempting…we had three dive instructors from my shop leave and they are arriving there today… I may not be too far behind!
    Rika | Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      April 9 2013

      It’s a pretty saturated market but I’m sure you’d find work in no time! Unfortunately I have to say I think Koh Tao is much more lovely above water than under it these days.

  • wes
    April 7 2013

    I am uniquely positioned to comment here. You were a changed woman once that decision was made – but go easy on yourself, girl! It was just life, sneaking up, causing you to make choices, diversions, changes. When the facts change, you change your mind. What else would you do?!

    I’m missing that apartment, btw. 🙁

    • Meihoukai
      April 9 2013

      I’m having a little chuckle to myself remembering Sam’s message… “We will miss you…r apartment.” Snort.

  • While I am sad you didn’t give the Philippines more than 3 weeks (our latest post is on exactly why 3 weeks is not enough there!) I do understand where you are coming from… though ironically I felt that way about the Philippines! 😀 When you are constantly on the go, it feels really good to have a place where you just feel comfortable and feel like you’re at home… and when it’s time to move on to another destination, it can be really hard to do that. I guess the one thing that always gives me comfort when we’re moving from one place to the next is that there are no rules that say you can never revisit a place (thank goodness!), and if you miss one place this time around, you can always check it out the next time. By following your heart and doing the things you want the most, you’ll never regret it!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      April 9 2013

      I definitely wish I had more time in the Philippines, as I did feel quite rushed there and my time was kind of hectic. But in the end I was so stressed by lack of internet I can’t imagine having been in that state for six weeks! Next time I go I’ll have to be more prepared.

  • Gaelyn
    April 8 2013

    Always follow your heart. That’s how I ended up in South Africa again instead of Central America.
    Gaelyn recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      April 9 2013

      Both seem like pretty enticing choices to me! And as I’m always being told, the rest of the world will be there when I’m ready 🙂

  • Dad
    April 8 2013

    Nice little love note to Koh Tao……and more great pictures. I love the one of you in the hammock. You look natural, relaxed and having fun.

    • Meihoukai
      April 9 2013

      There simply aren’t enough over-the-water hammocks in this world… I do adore that one though.

  • Frank
    April 8 2013

    ….five more months….five more months…five more months. It seems like the closer I get to my trip to Thailand the harder it is to look at all these great pictures and not book my ticket for tomorrow…aagghhh!

    • Meihoukai
      April 10 2013

      Time flies by when you are here… if only it did the same at home!

  • Jessica
    April 8 2013

    Look at those beaches, I don’t blame you for wanting to stay! Every post of yours makes me want to book a ticket to Thailand now! Enjoy every minute you have in your second home! And remember, you can always return!
    Jessica recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      April 10 2013

      Thanks so much Jessica! And yes, I’m starting to accept that Koh Tao is going to be a reoccurring part of my life!

  • jun
    April 8 2013

    this is a beautiful place! oh you know everytime i check out a new blog and find new infomation about a new place it drives me crazy! to think how am i supposed to be visiting all of those places in my life! thanks for sharing all these wonderful information alex! great blog!

    • Meihoukai
      April 10 2013

      Ha, Jun I feel the same 🙂 Especially on the road I am always meeting fabulous people from wonderful places… and then of course I want to visit them all! Luckily there are many years ahead.

  • Audrey | That Backpacker
    April 10 2013

    Even though I haven’t made it to Koh Tao yet, I can see why you would return. It looks like a very special place. And I like the fire spinning shot!
    Audrey | That Backpacker recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      April 10 2013

      Thanks Audrey! I used the Fireworks Setting on my Canon s100 to capture that. A handy second use for that setting!

  • Sam
    April 10 2013

    AHHH! This makes me so homesick for Tao. Such lovely photos. I want you to stop but keep going at the same time. Such a good post !
    Sam recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      April 11 2013

      Don’t worry, only a few more Koh Tao posts coming up… at least for now 🙂

  • Ash
    April 14 2013

    Meihoukai You are one and only one marvelous Awesome Blogger as always….!!!