Alongside all the rush of adventure, the necessary beauty of solitude, seeing new majestic and wonderful landscapes, figuring out the crazy ways of shiny new cityscapes, eating all of the new and delicious things, experiencing or witnessing absolutely different ways to life, one of the greatest joys of traveling is meeting new people.
Thailand is full of amazing people – locals, expats and foreigners alike – and we got to meet two of the best of them on our recent trip to Koh Tao, a tiny island in the gulf of Thailand.
Just off the coast of Koh Tao lies an even tinier complex of islands that appear as three hills covered by jungle canopy rising from the crystal clear, aqua blue waters, connected by strips of brilliantly white beach. The view from the top of one of the hills is famously terrific, and due to large-scale conservation projects, the beach is quiet and clean.
So, on one excruciatingly hot and fateful April 30 morning, we were excited to see the beautiful landscapes with our own eyes, void of saturated instagram filters. We hopped on a boat from Dusit Bancha Resort, where we had stayed a few nights earlier, and which is located directly opposite Koh Nang Yuan. In the boat with us were two intimidatingly-goodlooking, and strikingly cool (as we would find out later) people called Dray and Katie (and maybe there was also some other guy who is inconsequential). We were all heading over to do the same thing – hike to the top and be blown away by the view (Well, almost all of us…it turns out one of us had ulterior motives…).
We started climbing the narrow cement staircase, relieved to find that most of them were covered under the scattered shade of the green canopy. As were all lost in conversation, getting to know each other – and at least one of us were nervous AF – it felt like all of a sudden when we got to the top and out underneath the canopy, sweat running down our bodies in steady streams.
The view turned out to be so much greater than instagram, but, if I’m gonna be honest, the awesomeness of the view was totally overshadowed by how cool our new friend Dray turned out to be.
Because he chose to PROPOSE TO KATIE AT THE TOP OF KOH NANG YUAN!
Before we knew it, with Joel having to man the video camera seconds after Dray whispered ‘I’m going to propose now’ as he handed it over, Dray was down on one knee saying some sweet things and something about ‘Settlers of Catan’ (to which we were introduced later), and PULLED OUT THE RING AND KATIE SAID YES AND EVERYBODY CHEERED AND IT WAS THE BEST DAY OF OUR I MEAN THEIR LIVES!!!
I have no photos of this event because I was overcome with excitement.
And while everyone stands there, relieved, shocked, amaze, oozing all kinds of happiness, Joel – the only one thinking straight – whips out celebratory Thai beer that wasn’t confiscated with our water bottles, and offers it as the perfect refreshment after an emotionally exhausting hike up AND PROPOSAL on Koh Nang Yuan.
I would say that being part of their proposal was the highlight of our time in Koh Tao, but then we got to hang out with them the next couple of days and it turns out they are even more awesome than their gestures are grand.
So, dear Dray and Katie, thanks for letting us be part of the best event in Koh Tao yet (probably ever), and for being so fantastically funny, outrageously crazy, equally obsessed over Thai pancakes AND CATS, super cool, kind and generous. We know you guys will be happy together, and we wish you a world of adventure ahead. And for ourselves we wish we could share some adventures with you guys in the future. I vow to remove all the foreseeable spiders if you let us.
Plus, they look super adorable and/or badass with their little scooter helmets.