I was in Koh Phangan for a whole month, mainly to train at Diamond Muay Thai . I started practicing Muay Thai around 2013, I had just been cheated on and needed to find my strength again—what better way than learning how to fight. I was obsessed with the sport and eventually it brought me here, to this lonely little paradise in the Gulf of Thailand.

Koh Phangan is amongst the two most popular islands in Thailand, its known Full Moon Party every month, but that’s not what drew me to it. I was craving the sort of isolation you could only find in a small island like Koh Phangan. All I wanted to do was train and swim, which didn’t entirely go as planned. First of all, thought I would be able to avoid the partying and social side, but that was hard. Most people training at Diamond were there for those “ I’m gonna go to Thailand to work off all the partying I plan to do in Thailand” types of holidays, rather than being interested in the Muay Thai. With that said, I did train and often I’d switch to Namsaknoi— a more technical gym run by a Thai legend. Everyone was so welcoming, fun, and the extroversion was contagious. I was pulled out myself with all these happy people inviting me to dinner and whatnot. I’m not complaining, just reflecting. Second of all, swimming there had to be planned only specific beaches are deep enough for swimming, in my mind I thought I could walk to any end of the island and take a dip. I could not. I didn’t want to rent a scooter ( there are so many scooter accidents on the island.) and ll I had was a bicycle which made going to the beach a little more difficult, but doable (just a lot of uphills)! Of course, I’m not saying I didn’t go swimming— I just had to rely on people or taxi shuttles to get there.

One day, I went walking into the shallow water (which went on for miles) and I found these lone mangrove trees, it may be one of the most memorable moments of my life. I don’t know why, but seeing them in their quiet, delicate space moved me—I stood there staring at these mangroves for hours. Eventually, I found a balance; I got caught up in the silence and pace of the island. A pace I had forgotten to practice; places like Koh Phangan remind you that most real-life stresses are self-imposed and that life could be just as fulfilling without them. At least it reminded me of this.