Hauling four backpacks and plenty of sweat,

we found ourselves at the Koh Samui bus station without seats to Bangkok.

We had planned to take the overnight bus from the island, typically a 12 hour ride. We failed to heed the good advice of buying our tickets a day in advance. And now we weren’t sure if we should stay another night on the island or try to find another way to Bangkok. So, just like taking the sting out of any problem in Thailand, we hiked to the nearest tea station.

After the tea shop owner cut the papaya and mango we had dragged with us, he offered to drive us to the ferry station where we could try and catch a bus in the port city.

We made it to the other side of the water and the ferry company connected us with a van that dropped us in the middle of Surat Thani, the port city. We were motioned into a transportation company office which proposed to help get us to Bangkok.

The lady called four different bus lines. It was dark by then and nearly 7:30pm. No spots were available. She placed another call.

“790 baht. No more regular buses ‘till tomorrow. Only VIP tonight,” she said pointing at her calculator, “Big bus. 790 baht.”

We didn’t have many options.

“What time does it leave?”

One of the workers hailed for a tuk tuk taxi and we climbed on. They ensured us with nods that we’d be taken to the “big bus.”

I gave Joe an uneasy look. “I don’t know if we’re going to get there.”

 

There was certainly a network at play on the dim streets of Surat Thani.

 

It was a transportation network built on filling the gap between big ferries, buses, and trains. The ferry company put us in a van, the van brought us to the middle man that sold us the “big bus” tickets, and the middle man escorted us on a tuk tuk, which would supposedly bring us to the Bangkok bus. They were all in communication, shuffling tourists and locals to the places they needed to go. Without speaking or understanding the Thai language, we had few indicators of what was actually happening.

Churning through the windy roads and tight curves, we determined our tuk tuk might be chasing the bus we needed. Our driver didn’t seem to know where to go. He would slow down, look around, and then keep going. He stopped once to ask someone, but left looking confused. I told Joe this would be the time for our driver to “phone a friend.”

I was doubtful we’d make it to Bangkok.

 

Eventually we were dropped at a small rest station near the airport where the people told us the “big bus” would come at 8:50pm. It seemed like an unusual time. As 8:55pm rolled around, the rest station worker received a phone call. We knew that “network” call was about us. Joe teased, “We’ll probably need to hop on another tuk tuk first.”

Sure enough, the man hung up the phone, and motioned for us to load our bags into his car. He’d be taking us. And he did his best to explain.

“Two airports. Airport here, airport here. Other stop. Buses.”

We pulled up to the other airport rest stop and saw a row of big buses, including one that read, “Surat Thani – Bangkok.” We nodded and thanked our driver.

We weren’t sure how each connected person was paid from our initial 790 baht, but they must have had their stake in it.

 

IMG_2958

 

After purchasing mango sheets and fava beans as snacks for the overnight ride, we settled into our seats. I was placed in the front row and Joe was squished between four men, two on each side of him, in the very back row. It looked perfect for a good night’s rest.

Later Joe shared with me that one man sat on the steps of the bus so that Joe could sit down. We had truly found the final seats on the final bus to Bangkok that night.

I sat wide-eyed in the front row, gazing out of the enormous second level bus window. I pulled out the giant carrot I had stored away in my bag. Not daring to look at the faces of the other, more sophisticated riders, I chomped and took the first bite out of my big, orange carrot.

As I crunched on my over-sized rabbit’s treat, I began to trust that we would get to our destination that night.

 

That’s what I should have been doing the whole time.

 

I should have believed that we would make it, thanks to the tea shop owner, ferry crew, van driver, bus company, tuk tuk, rest stop workers, and big bus coordinators.

Sometimes we expel more energy worrying or wondering if and when we’ll get somewhere, than the energy we spend on the actual acts and operations of getting there. We build up doubt and questions in our minds.

This is evident in many journeys throughout my life. Will I meet my future husband? Will I get the job? Will I make a difference with my writing? Will I be a good mother? Will I ever stop being late?

I spend valuable time and emotion wondering if I will get there, how I will get there, and when I will get there. Certainly, I have to put effort into where I want to go. I have to make conscious decisions and take important steps.

But I also need to put more faith into trusting that I will get there, somehow and at some point.

 

I won’t get there alone. Other people, like the Thai transportation “network,” will bring me to the places I need to go. My good friends, family members, and influential acquaintances will take me by the hand and walk me closer to my destination. At some points, they will even help me leap a river or scale a mountain. In fact, we go very short distances by ourselves.

I’m working on a few projects right now, from writing to improving as a person and wife. Without question, the steps and the work are essential. But perhaps even more importantly, I have to trust in myself, in God, and in other people. I have to believe without a doubt that I will get where I am going. I have to press ‘pause’ on my wondering, take the ride, and just trust.

You and I will both get there.

 

Please feel welcome to leave a comment! 

We would love to hear from you!

35 Comments

  1. Oh…you both WILL eventually get…to wherever it is you’re going. The BIG DIFFERENCE..especially in countries where you do not speak the language…is…its going to BE an adventure…and study in human nature…in getting there. Yes, establishing trust is important. But sometimes…you’ll be required to operate on “blind faith” (with a little common sense mixed in). Been there…done that. Enjoy!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much, Randy! 🙂 The language barrier has certainly presented an interesting challenge here in Thailand. The value of smiles and gestures has been made quite clear to us. 🙂 Usually people are willing to help and communicate as much as they can. Haha, yes, blind faith does come in handy but can be a little scary at times!

      Reply
    • Que alegría saber de uds y que están adquiriendo nuevas experiencias Dios los bendiga.Saludes de cada una de las hermanas

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      • Thank you so much, Sister Eva! 🙂 We are now at a retreat in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It makes us miss you, the convent, and all of the sisters! Much love and blessings to you all, Jenna and Joe

        Reply
  2. I love hearing about your journey!! Thank you for sharing and cannot wait for the next one!

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    • Norma! Thank you so much! That means a lot to me 🙂 Thank you for reading along and taking the time to leave a note! Hope all is fantastic!

      Reply
  3. Jenna – what a fantastic journey you are on; a life-time of experiences that will shape your future and you will never forget. Thank you for sharing with those of us who are otherwise chained to our desks 🙂

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    • Hi Kathy! 🙂 It is so wonderful to hear from you! Thank you for reading and taking the time to write! We are so blessed to be on this journey and continue our efforts to follow our hearts and learn. I hope all is going well at Mercy Health and with your family! When is full retirement?

      Reply
  4. I look forward to hearing about your adventures, in travel and in life. Thank you for sharing it with us. I can’t wait to read the next one and see your photos!

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    • Thank you so much, Dodie! 🙂 That really warms my heart! I am so glad you are reading along and taking the time to write. It’s a wonderful way to stay connected! Enjoy your week. – Jenna

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  5. Thanks. It looks like fun.

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    • Thanks so much, Kevin! I miss your honest statements and great sense of humor!

      Reply
  6. Jenna,
    No one could make up an adventure like that. It was almost surreal. You certainly had to trust in the outcome. Blessings for your continuing journey.

    Reply
    • Hi Aunt Jan! 🙂 Thank you so much! I so appreciate you reading along and taking the time to write. Sending love and prayers! – Jenna

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  7. Amazing!! Believing that one’s choices are the best and that all will eventually work out is sometimes difficult. It takes an enormous amount of faith, trust and determination, which at times, can be difficult to muster.
    Totally enjoyed your most current experience.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much, Gloria!! 🙂 This trip has definitely taught me so much! It is a good reminder that I need to keep strengthening my faith. Thank you again and have a lovely week!

      Reply
  8. Hi Jenna! I LOVED reading about your adventure and admit that I found myself holding my breath a couple of times—I think I was feeling nervous for you! Such an exciting time for you—I admire your sense of adventure. Take care!

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    • Cheryl! It’s so wonderful to hear from you! 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave a note. It feels great to stay connected while being so far away. Hope all is fantastic with you and thanks again!

      Reply
  9. So very true! Well said. I am so happy for the two of you; I love catching up and following your adventures!

    Thank you for the great reminders to live life, and for sharing all of this with us.

    Reply
    • Sarah, It’s so great to hear from you! Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave a note! 🙂 Your kind words really touch me and make me smile. Thank you, Sarah! I hope all is wonderful with you!!

      Reply
  10. Just want you to know how excited I am each time you pop up in my inbox. I think we are all living vicariously through the two of you.

    Love ya

    Reply
    • Hi Aunt Carol! 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind message!! 🙂 It really made my day. We appreciate you reading along and writing a note. It feels great to stay connected while being so far away. Love you too!

      Reply
  11. Oh, Jenna…this post is absolutely perfect! I spend so much time worrying about IF I’ll ever find a husband, someone to share my life with. What a waste of energy I now see that is. Trusting that I’ll get there and find him is a much better use of my energy than worrying.

    You write so beautifully and everything makes sense. I can’t wait to continue on this journey “with” you. You are wonderful & truly making a difference!

    PS-circle line line

    Reply
    • Rachel, Thank you SO much for writing such an amazing and thoughtful message! Your words really lift me up! I am so happy that it is relevant and helpful. You are a beautiful person in so many ways and I’m excited to see who God has in store for you!

      Thank you again! Sending love and circle line line! 🙂

      Reply
  12. I can barely make it through customs without anxiety! Fun times and great story.

    Reply
    • Haha, thank you, Sheryl! 🙂 The trip has definitely given me practice in maintaining anxiety. Thanks so much for writing!

      Reply
  13. Jenna, reading about Bangkok and the tuk tuk brings back great memories. Our trips to get places in Thailand were like that for us last year too. Enjoy your trip!

    Reply
    • Hi Brigid! 🙂 It’s great to hear from you! 🙂 Thanks for reading and taking the time to write! We are loving Thailand and recently talked about you and your trip here also. Hope all is fantastic in CA!

      Reply
  14. Hey Jenna, what a great post and the lessons learned! I love reading about your journey. Yes, your writing is making a difference. It has impacted my husbands and my decision for our 40th wedding anniversary trip. We are going to be more adventurous and think outside the box.
    I just returned from Zambia. I was with a group of 8 visiting Cure International hospital. Met some amazing, dedicated, hard working people doing incredible things. Was able to see Victoria falls. This trip has made me want to see more of our beautiful world.
    I am looking forward to your next post!

    Reply
    • Pam, Wow, thank you so very much! 🙂 Your comment really filled my heart. I am so happy to hear it is making a difference. Please keep me posted on your anniversary plans; it sounds incredible! And congratulations!! 40 is a huge celebration! 🙂

      Sounds like an amazing trip in Zambia! I’d love to see pictures!

      Thanks again!!
      Jenna

      Reply
  15. All I can say is Amazing!!! There was no doubt you were putting this into Gods hands. Who else could have gotten you to where you needed to be safe and sound, when you had know idea what anyone was saying and where you would really end up? It’s called trust and that’s exactly what God wants us to do. Much love to you both

    Reply
    • Leslie, Thank you so much!! 🙂 It’s so wonderful to hear from you. Thank you for reading and taking the time to leave such a kind and thoughtful comment. God was definitely in charge during those moments! 🙂 Love to you as well and sending hugs!

      Reply
  16. Jenna- What a wonderful adventure! I find myself looking so forward to every post:)
    You are a very talented writer and I enjoy the message it sends.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

    Reply
    • Prudy, You have no idea how much your comment made my day and filled my heart! 🙂 Thank you so much for writing. I’m so happy to hear you are enjoying the posts! Thank you again for your kind words. I hope all is fantastic with you!

      Reply
  17. We’ve seen why we trust and also why we sometimes trust poorly. Now it’s time to consider how to get trust back on track. If we are to harvest its genuine benefits, we need to trust more prudently.

    Reply

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