My favorite vacations have been filled with surprises.
Thailand was no exception. I set out to visit this country on the way home to the States after living and working in Southeast Asia. My older sister also happened to be living in the region, and she decided to come. Then my younger sister joined in and it became a family reunion. Three sisters, two husbands, and a meticulously planned itinerary that would take us to one of the most beautiful
islands in the world, Koh Phi Phi. (This is the scenic setting for the movie THE BEACH, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, BTW).
There is much to love about Thailand–friendly people, delicious food, and some of the prettiest coral reefs in the world. Unfortunately, we booked our trip during the rainy season and, guess what? It rained! And rained! And rained! After taking two planes and a ferry boat to get to this gorgeous island, we ended up trapped in the hotel staring out at the downpour. Finally, we ran out of vacation days and boarded the ferry, still very soggy, back to the mainland.
Which, of course, was when the sun came out.
We decided to make the best of it and went up on the top deck to soak up the sunshine. Then we took a taxi to our hotel and prepared to make our flight home. I knew something was wrong when I climbed out of the taxi and my sister gasped. While we were blissfully sunning ourselves on the ferry, her purse had been stolen, along with HER PASSPORT. This was a disaster, and I chimed in with my stern older sister voice, “HOW could you be so careless as to loose sight of your passport??” Then I thought for a second and turned to my husband, “Oh, damn, where’s my passport?”
I had left it back on the island in the hotel safe.
We had no choice but to change our flights. I had to get back on the ferry and make the half-day trip to retrieve my passport. Then I stayed over in Bangkok for three extra days with my sister, as she had a new one expedited at the American Embassy.
But there are so many silver linings to this story. I got to spend three amazing (unplanned) days exploring Bangkok with my baby sis. That last (unplanned) afternoon on Koh Phi Phi I swam in the ocean and saw the most beautiful coral and fish I have ever seen. The vibrant colors were straight out of a Disney movie. And the entire setting would later become the backdrop for one of my favorite short stories, SURRENDER AT DAWN. When I sat down to write this little love story, I put a postcard from Thailand on my desk and got to re-live the joy of visiting one of the most spectacular spots on earth.
So it’s a good thing the best laid travel plans, for us at least, often go awry.
Here is a glimpse of the story, which just became available for eReader.
Leave a comment about a vacation that went awry and you’ll be entered to win a $25 gift card to Amazon. Happy reading!
Former Navy SEAL Jack Brenner knows he’s in trouble the minute Charlotte Whiteside steps into a seedy Thai bar and asks him to help rescue her brother, who is being held hostage on a nearby island. Jack doesn’t want to get tangled up in Charlotte’s problems or anyone else’s, but an obligation to a SEAL teammate prompts him to get involved. They embark on a nighttime mission that turns out to be more dangerous–and passionate–than either of them ever imagined.
Available for eBook: