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Notes to self

Globetrotting writer Gaby Doman reflects on the everyday ups and downs of being a modern woman

Tabloid on Saturday

My friends Chris, Josh and Brock (Brock’s the one I cycled from Bangkok to Singapore with last year) came to visit Thailand last week. They were here for a week and we took time to visit the beach, eat all the food in Bangkok and generally be really sleep-deprived, sun-burnt and stuffed full of noodles for a week. It was great.

Overeating and lounging around on a beach are two of my favourite things to do and luckily I happen to be pretty good at them when I have great company as well. I don’t like to brag, but I really excelled in both activities this week.

But their visit left me with more things to think about than how on earth I’m going to shift this belly fat. These boys have really got life sussed; they have friends all over the world, jobs they’re passionate about, and they travel a lot. It reignited a bit of passion inside me; the passion to travel. I suppose I never really lost it, but I feel like moving to Bangkok was a little bit akin to meeting the love of your life when you’re 17. You feel as though you’re so happy you don’t need to pack up your bags every few months and explore somewhere else. You feel settled and happy, but also a little sad that you didn’t have a wild few years making mistakes. Bangkok is the love of my life. Why would I risk moving somewhere I wouldn’t like when I’m happy here? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

But last night I chatted with Chris in a way I haven’t with anyone for years. We chatted all day about everything. Actually, I’m not really much of a talker (unless you get me on the subject of my personal trainer), so I just listened to him talk all day while I took notes about everything he was saying. You know when you talk to someone who just makes everything seem so simple and obvious, even when they’re discussing stuff that you’ve been mulling over in your head for months and still can’t figure out? He’s like that. That’s why I took notes. Now, I was a little bit sleep-deprived, so they don’t make as much sense today as they did last night, but he was basically saying that with my job, I am location-independent and yet I am stuck in my routine which I get very bored of. I could be anywhere doing anything. I could base myself in Bangkok and get away every monsoon season, or something. He actually put it in a way that sounded much more magical and cerebral, but my notes don’t extend to that. His ideas seemed obvious, but it never really crossed my mind. He made me think about my circumstances in a new way and now I’m really excited.

Anyway, what he said doesn’t matter for this column. My point is that sometimes the right person is there at the right time. I needed something to light up my future a little bit; to see where I could progress to and to think that maybe I could get some respite from this routine that I both love and get incredibly tired of and frustrated with. I suppose I find comfort in the fact it’s so predictable.

In fact, all the times I’ve had a breakthrough or a big pick-me-up, it’s been because someone gave me a hug at the right time, gave me a new way to think about something or just listened to me rant. And thanks to Twitter, Facebook, Skype and Whatsapp, they’re always just a few clicks away. Except when they’re asleep — time differences can be so pesky.

I had a few moments at the end of last year when I said that the older you get, the more you realise good friends are very few and far between. I think that’s still true but we probably all only have so much friendship to give and I’d rather get a big chunk from a few people and give them the same back than be drip-fed friendship by lots.