I have been obsessed with visiting SE Asia for many, many years. I would see these beautiful, breathtaking photos full of spice and fabrics and jungles and elephants, and would imagine the people I could meet and the photos I could take when I finally got over that way.
Last year, my parents, husband, and I decided to meet in Thailand for three weeks. I had the tickets booked and travel guides ordered before we even got off the phone. It was pretty much all I could think about, all the time. I told anyone who would listen about the trip and the things I had been desperately waiting to do there, and riding an elephant was at the top of my ever-growing list.
Naturally, I started to research. If I was finally going to ride an elephant, I wanted to ride the finest elephant who lived in the finest jungle and who would give me the finest ride my tourist dollars could buy.
Unfortunately, instead of unearthing the best elephant riding experience in Thailand and reading stories about the life-changing experiences others before me had shared, I unearthed a whole dung-pile of elephant research which simultaneously broke my heart and blew my mind.
Here is what I learned. Continue reading