After 3 weeks of traveling, the princess in me finally came out. I needed a bit of normal to balance me back out, and be ready to tackle more adventures on a budget. While individually each of the following are appreciated experiences and part of the fun of traveling, the culmination of them led me to seek out a little luxury.

– A massive bed bug attack on my feet and legs (yuck.)
– A severe lack of vegetables in my daily diet
– Showers that make me cringe (although I’ve come to love cold showers :))
– Bathrooms where squatting was the only option. If there was a toilet, 85% of the time there was no toilet paper
– Being woken up at all hours to hostel mates stumbling in
– Taxing transit days on hot buses and haulin around heavy backpacks
– A few coral bites from snorkeling (my own fault!)
– A minor motorbike accident

Traveling isn’t always so glamorous, especially on a budget. But I wouldn’t trade any of it. Having bed bugs gave me the choice to either be miserable or suck it up and not complain- I chose the latter. Not having the foods I’m used to made me branch out and try new things. Grodie bathrooms and showers are  better than none at all. Crashing the motorbike reminded me that we’re not invincible. And staying in hostels is far more interesting than a boring hotel room.

Sitting at a coffee shop in Koh Tao researching splurge options (which means $40-$80 resorts over $10 hostels), I stumbled upon the perfect place, Vikasa Yoga Retreat on Koh Samui – just an island hop away. Fast forward past the 6:30am ferry ride with an enormous hangover, still in clothes/makeup from the night before and the most awful bout of sea sickness to ever take over my body… I arrived at Vikasa. I could have kissed the gal that greeted me – she sat me down in the restaurant surrounded by 180 degree views of the water, brought over a cold fresh coconut and offered me a towel/access to their showers. I spent the afternoon by the infinity pool reading, before hitting my 4pm yoga class. The yoga salas were beautiful wood buildings situated on the cliff with no windows, so you could feel the ocean breeze and hear the birds chirping throughout practice. I got to experience a different instructor for all of the 7 classes I took during my stay, each with a refreshing presence and uniqueness to their practice. What got me the most was the variety of their backgrounds and of course, the accents (British accents make me melt). I explored new poses and reached more depth in those I was familiar with. Meditation brought about some much needed stillness in my mind and heart. I gave myself permission to think during meditation, instead of trying to remove all thoughts from my brain… I think when we are silent and still, the topics that come to mind are those that are carrying some weight on our hearts and could use some deeper exploration. I made a couple commitments to myself that I know will be challenging to keep, but necessary for my growth.

Breakfast and Dinner were included in my bungalow package and were EXACTLY what the body needed: fresh mixed greens, local seafood, vegetarian dishes, muesli and yogurt, coconut mango sticky rice, fresh fruit and cinnamon tea.

At night I enjoyed the panoramic views while getting some work done and chatted with fellow yogis. I slept soundly, feeling safe, surrounded by a familiar sense of community.

Mission blissfully accomplished.