Getting lost while travelling solo
Before I go into the horrifying part let me tell you about the preliminaries. How did I get to that situation? It was my first time to travel solo, and Phuket was my first destination. I am supposed to be a guest in Vas’s place – Phuket Stash, we got connected through Couchsurfing. I was pretty confident that I could easily spot their place because I’ve seen it on google maps. I’ve printed the directions of the map and Vas also gave thorough directions on how to get there. And me as a prideful and adventurous person I didn’t want to ask more questions and just said to myself, “hey, I’m a grown man, what could go wrong?” And I never could’ve imagined the things that happened next.
I arrived at Phuket International Airport at 11PM, it’s so late but as Vas said there are taxi’s and mini-buses around(also to note, airport personnels in Phuket can HARDLY SPEAK English, most of them can’t even understand simple words at all). I chose the mini-bus because it stops near the place on the map I showed and I’m gonna be with other passengers too which felt secure. But there were lots of commotions, they kept switching the vans for us to ride, I think we switched 3 times and they only spoke Thai so me and the other passengers just kept looking at each other with baffled faces wondering what they were doing. But after like 10 minutes of commotion we were finally able to set off. One thing the driver weirdly does though is that he always looks on the back mirror(the one in the middle) and I always catch him looking so it was like so weird for me. So it got me alarmed, the overthinker in me set in, “what if this guy will bring us to dangerous place, bad things are gonna happen, blabla”. I tried to talk with the other passengers but they were in no mood for it and they looked like rich people too so that kind of added to my evil hypothesis. But after so much thinking the driver just stopped, looked at me and said, “Boat Lagoon”. Took me a few seconds to process to know that it was my stop haha. I felt relieved I arrived safely to my stop, overthinking just doesn’t help guys, take note of that haha. And now, the encore of my intense experience.
I walked across the road to the opposite side because it’s where Vas’s place is located. I viewed the printed map I had( yes I didn’t buy any web/mobile help, I could’ve easily seek help with waze or gmaps or even call Vas but I wanted to try old school traveling ). I had two choices, as you can see on the map below there are two roads going in the place, I chose road B because it had big lights on its entrance, road A? None. There was a light post but it wasn’t functioning so yes, to the light it is! I also THOUGHT there was a path from road B which is also near to the Stash as you can see on the map below. As I entered the road B, the proceeding path was freaking dark! Like if you’d light a candle from the other side I will obviously see it because it’s the only light! The only light you could see was from the houses that looked like a kilometer away from the end. And no freaking human in sight! I turned 360 degrees to see if there’s someone in sight but none! Then I glanced over my watched to see its 11:55PM. It freakin’ made me gulp. Because back in the Philippines we have lots of supernatural superstitions. That on 12:00AM that’s the time evil spirits appear. Though I don’t believe in such things, one just can’t stop ones brain from imagining things! *stupid brain haha* I wanted to go right, as I thought there was a road from there going to the Stash, there was security outpost at the entrance. So I walked over there and saw a human, a security officer, what a relief! I asked him if he knew this place but he can’t speak English. So I pointed on the map and acted using my hands that I wanted to enter as I thought it would be nearer. He took a look on the map for like a minute and he acted with his hands(made x signs and stuff) that I can’t. But I really wanted to go in there so I entered and I think he understood me so he accompanied me for a few meters walk and there was only one block, upon reaching an intersection he pointed over the houses on the end of that block and yup, it was dead end. Walking back to the outpost he pointed to go straight, freaking straight into the darkness.
My plan just crumbled and now I need to enter this dark road( view first image for darkness reference haha ). As I proceeded on walking for a few meters, I just noticed that there’s a bridge. I totally forgot about it, I actually knew it when I viewed it on google earth but imagining it back then was totally different. It was so dark! And as I came nearer to the bridge, the smell of the water below was so bad. Then, flocks of stupid imaginations came flying all around my head. It was like 20% supernatural imaginations but 80% of it was realistic imaginations which got me scared. “What if there are men hiding on the shadows who will rob me”, “What if someone’s waiting on the other side holding a knife to rob me”. I actually thought of just going back to that security guard outpost and just spend my night there sitting by his side haha, but yeah, I was brave enough to push through *traveler spirit*. It was the longest 100m bridge I’ve ever walked on to. And those spooky insect and animals sounds just added too much hype to the spookiness, they were like those eerie sounds insects and animals make in horror and suspense movies. At that moment, my alertness levels were just over the top, like I was getting ready if someone would just jump right in front of me and kill me, yup my imaginations were no longer about them robbing me, it hyped up to them now killing me haha( I’m laughing at myself now writing this, how crazy my mind was, but if you were in my position I know most of you wouldn’t even cross that bridge haha ).
Step by step I was waiting for any movement around me but thank god nothing moved. I reached the end of the bridge but I was still very cautious because it was still very dark and the bright lights at the end of the road looked like it’s still a kilometer away. There were small lights every 100 meters( I think it’s 100 meters) but those small lights were so dim everything was still dark. Like if there was a naked black man standing a few meters a way, I would’ve hardly seen him( not racist, just factual haha I’m almost black too okay so I feel you my black brothers ). I viewed back the map as I crossed the bridge and thought, “man, the Stash is just right on that side( as I watch on my right side with houses and trees )”. I felt quite dismayed but after continuously walking my feeling kind of lightened up a bit because I kind of adjusted to the situation, so I walked calmer than before, realized that there is no one around and I was just overthinking too much. But just after a few seconds of breathing in that sign of relief, I heard car breaks, I looked back and saw a car stop over the bridge. It was like 300 meters away from me, the drivers seat opened the door, light popped inside the car. There was only one man, the driver, he opened the backseat door and was trying to get something. Me? I was continuously walking but with my head turned around as I curiously watch the driver get something in the backseat. In a flash he threw something he got in the backseat over the bridge. The big splash sounded so loud as it was dead silent around the vicinity. After throwing that thing( let’s just call it a thing okay, think positive haha ), the driver acted to be in a hurry to get back to the wheel and that got me thinking like, “hmmmm what’s happening here”. Heard the engine back on and then he started to drive, weird thing was he was driving so slow, like a walking pace and I was like “Woah, what are you up to? Maybe he’s planning to kill me” But then again, when the car was like 150m near me, it drove off fast, and as it drove off past me, my shoulders just came from heavy to super light! What a sign of relief! Step by step I came closer to the big lights at the end of the dark road, I started seeing big houses. I viewed the map again and how I wished I would just go straight where there are lots of nice big houses with heavy duty lights but that wasn’t my day.
I needed to turn right, and you know what the road from the right looked like? Freaking dark! Again! ( haha it wasn’t really a good day for me ). As I turned right, there was a chinese-like gate, no freaking lights, and the road became narrow, like only 2 meters in width. As I entered, I saw on the right side some lights, and a few candle lights, it was like a Chinese temple and I sure was hoping it wasn’t a freaking cemetery! I just looked straight and it was still freaking dark! A few meters I saw houses, but these houses had no lights on, so I just thought, maybe they’re just asleep John, think positive. But I was really thinking that these were abandoned houses maybe because people died in here, yup, my imaginations just became worse haha. Of course I was in alert mode so I was looking around every time and I noticed a house number and for more unluckiness it was marked 3/152, the address of the Stash – 16/72. I walked more and more hoping the numbers would go nearer but it just wasn’t, 24/160, 25/160, 29/160. My eyes grew large as I saw a big house and there was a security outpost, I looked inside and saw a security guard sitting but sleeping haha you can’t blame him, it’s late. So from 2 meters away from him I said hello, he woke up, showed him the map, pointed on the Stash and he just stared at it for like a minute and just shook his head, and said “No, no.” Freaking useless security guard! And just a few meters walking again there were 2 big German Shepherd dogs guarding this big house, barking so loudly and the surrounding was still so dark. Dogs don’t really bother me because I love them so I just walked calmly, as I walked past them, I don’t know why but I looked back and the freaking hell, those dogs were loose! I didn’t run because I know that would be stupid. Kept calm and just felt lucky they didn’t bite haha. I just continued walking, looking at the house numbers and it was just going farther, 7/167, 7/168, 7/169. I was asking questions to myself now, “Am I going the right way? Could there be a path that would lead me to the Stash from here? Should I just go back?” But the calm person that I am( with years of practice haha), I took deep breathes, removed the the clouds in my mind, smiled, and just moved on, said to myself, “just keep going John, and hope for the best”. And there I was, my traveler spirit just took hold of me, said to myself, “this is what traveling is about, the experience” So I just walked and walked, I think I was walking for 30 minutes now. At this point, I don’t know why but I didn’t glance at the map ever since, I just continued watching the house numbers, and as sweat was now heavily sliding down my face, I saw this big sign, “Phuket Inter Villa” and reading that, it was like a light bulb lit up in my brain, I totally remembered this was part of the address, so I got in, saw the first house number 2/70 and right there and then, I knew I made it! Just 2 blocks of walking and I saw the place! I have never ever been happy in my life, my smile was so big it looked like The Jokers lips, but yeah, no one was there to see it. I entered and was greeted by Vas’s friends, pointed to my bed, showered a bit, prayed, felt so grateful, and slept.
This was my most exciting, ill-fated, travel-experience-booster by far. I never regret all the choices that I made, rather I’m thankful of how things turned out. As a traveler you really can’t expect for things to go the way you want it, you just live with the moment, be spontaneous, be yourself 🙂 Now I have an awesome story to tell my grandchildren in the future! To more travels!