The next morning, we woke up and wandered downstairs for breakfast. I cannot say that anyone was really in good shape but we were all still alive and that was all that really mattered at this point. We sat with our friends, reminisced about the evening and then decided that we wanted a brief moment alone with the bride. Her husband had already made it downstairs for breakfast and so we knew that she was alone. So we ran upstairs and bombarded her room to say hello and tell her how happy we were that she was married. It was one of the only moments we really had alone with her and it was amazing.
Finally it was time to say our goodbyes to the group. It’s interesting because I do not see myself as an exceptionally emotional person but for whatever reason, having to say goodbye to the group this time was pretty rough. I think part of it was because I wasn’t going back to Seattle where most of them would be going and the other part is that we all live in such different places that seeing each other isn’t a common thing anymore. I cried slightly, partially because I am a contagious crier and the other reason was because I knew that I was saying good bye for the foreseeable future. We loaded into the vans and our group headed off to the Bangkok Airport.
We arrived and it ended up being too early to check into our flights so we sat on the floor of the airport and finally started to decompress from the trip. It was one of those moments where we could finally just sit and relax which we hadn’t done for awhile. Finally, it was time for us to check in and we made our way through the airport to the lounges. We didn’t get a chance to use the lounges on the way to Asia and this time we could finally use it for our trip which was fantastic. We got some food, hung out for a bit, charged all of our electronics and then boarded our flight to Taiwan. The connecting time in Taipei was short and we ended up landing late so we ran through the Taoyuan Airport to our gate with just enough time to make a bathroom stop before boarding the plane again for the 14 hours home.
I was asleep for most of the flight home and that really helped passed the time. When we finally landed in LA, made it through customs and made it home, I finally had time to reflect on the experiences over the duration of the trip. As I settled into my bed and sleep started to take over, I realized just how sad I was to be home. This was by far one of the best trips I have ever had and one of the best experiences I have ever had. I’m not sure if it was because I got to hang out with elephants and cross a few things off of my bucket list or if it had to do with the fact that I had just spent time with some of my favorite people. But whatever it was, I was more sad than normal to have landed back at home and go back to real life. Usually, I am ready for my bed and ready to go back to reality but this time, this was not the case. Even with that realization and being sad that the trip was finally over, I am so happy that I am left with the memories of the journey that I had and the experiences I had on this trip. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.