Willfully trapped on Koh Phi Phi

When I showed up on Koh Phi Phi Island Thailand about two weeks ago, I had zero intention of staying for more than a couple of days. My plan was to get in 1-2 days of scuba diving, 1-2 days of R&R and then head on my way to India, per my original itinerary. 

But that plan changed and I now find myself on Koh Phi Phi Island indefinitely. Why? Scuba diving. 

A view of Ko Phi Phi Island from the highest viewpoint.

A view of Ko Phi Phi Island from the highest viewpoint.

When I arrived on the island, I figured it would be as good of a time as any to refresh my scuba skills that haven't been put to use since 2008, so I booked two days worth of diving. Those two days of diving changed everything. The marine park off of the coast Koh Phi Phi was so beautiful and I enjoyed being 18m under water so much, that I repeatedly found myself wandering back towards the dive shop that I had booked the trips through. One of the divemasters, noticing my frequent trips by, jokingly (or not?) told me I should work at the dive center. Less than 24 hours later I had spoken to the manager and was hired and enrolled in course to get my Divemaster certification. Crazy right?

*****

Even though I grew up in a landlocked state, I've always had an affinity for the ocean. I remember having aspirations to be a marine biologist at one point when I was younger. My favorite animals have always been aquatic ones (dolphins, turtles, penguins). Then, when I moved to California in college, being so near the ocean made me feel more connected to it then ever. Frequent trips to the beach simply to just  be by the water and involving myself in activities related to beach conservation with Daana Blue and LA Waterkeeper became some of my favorite pastimes. For a long time they were just hobbies, but more recently as I was transitioning into my travels, I intermittently wondered if I could find ways to make it a career. It looks like the answer might be yes. 

Since I've been traveling, I've developed an interest in Ecotourism. Since arriving on Koh Phi Phi--a beautiful island that is at times struggling to maintain it's beautiful because of the high volume of tourists--that interest has become more specific: marine ecotourism. Of course there is no saying what will happen after I earn my divemaster certification in the next couple of months, but I like to think that a simple trip to Koh Phi Phi Island for some R&R has unexpectedly become the catalyst for my career, and more importantly what I believe to be my calling in life. 

The past couple weeks have been very eventful as I've sorted out everything my visa, rearranged my plane flights, found a place to live and started working. As of today, I am a certified first emergency response diver and a certified rescue diver and I'm excited to begin my divemaster course in the coming days. 

Needless to say, an extended trip on Koh Phi Phi Island wasn't in the original travel plan. But life is determined by opportunity, and I didn't want this to be an opportunity that I missed. 

More updates re: scuba diving and island life to follow shortly! 

My favorite meal I've found on the island so far. Chicken friend rice inside a pineapple. 

My favorite meal I've found on the island so far. Chicken friend rice inside a pineapple.