I was really apprehensive to rent a motorbike here in Thailand. I’m so bad with directions, I’ve never been good on two wheels and I have heard countless stories of accidents here. When I came to Pai, I had a feeling this was the place to learn. It’s quiet, calm and a very slow pace. There are several back roads with nobody on them to test your driving skills. If you know me, then you know I hate driving. I always have. But something inside me told me this was the way to immerse myself in the culture of SE Asia. I know it’s going to be the best way to get around this year. So I did it!

There are so many options when it comes to renting a motorbike anywhere in Asia, so I just picked the first one I walked past after I made the decision to go for it.  They gave me the worst bike possible probably because I’m super white and have tattoos and look like an American badass (kidding, obviously).  Seriously though, this bike was well used.  I didn’t bother surveying the bike and neither did they.  My general consensus was that they assumed I was an idiot and would crash the bike.  Low and behold they still rented it to me.   They gave me a “crash course” (not literally), took my passport as deposit and sent me on my way.

Now, I can’t tell you how many people I have met with raspberries, road rash, bandages and bruises from motorbike accidents.  It feels like five out of ten.  So I decided to take the old lady stance on this whole motorbike travelling and drove unnecessarily slow as far off the road as possible.  Sometimes I even slowed to a stop to allow people to pass me. I drove around the back roads and out in the country for a few hours the first day.  Getting lost, learning to turn around, trusting my instincts and losing myself in the feeling of the hot wind in my hair.

The second day I woke up early to beat the heat and headed out to see a few tourist destinations around Pai that I hadn’t seen due to not having a motorbike.  I stumbled upon tons of cute cafes along the way to the Pai Land split.  I stopped at each one and took pictures.   It felt so nice to take my time and really enjoy the scenery.  I had no agenda and no time constraints.  It was so fantastic!  Every time I got back on that bike I felt more confident and really grew a love for this motorbike.

I loved the bike so much that I went back into town and rented for another day.   Then I headed out to a waterfall and viewpoint about 20 minutes outside of town.  I kept thinking I was lost, well because my sense of direction is terrible and kept stopping to check Maps.me to make sure I was going the right way.   I started to notice a guy on a bike that was frequently stopping as well.   I pulled next to him and sure enough he was headed to the waterfall.  We went the rest of the way together and then toured the waterfall and stopped at the viewpoint on the way back.  He was on his gap year from school in Germany (again European, super sexy accent).   Anyways, way too young for me!  This is what I love most about single travel though, you meet such wonderful people along the way who are doing the same thing as you.  You’re really never alone unless you want to be!

My last day with the bike I cruised town, ate and did laundry.  In my last hours with my beloved motorbike I decided to make a long trek out to see yet another waterfall.  It was about a 30 minute drive out.   After I arrived I walked around the mostly dry waterfall, took a few photos and then headed back to my bike.

So this is where the mishap happens to the motorista.  I know you all were wondering what the title was about and you graciously read this whole post in hopes for me to explain.  Here it goes.  I had been putting my key to the bike into the small pocket of my day bag.  The motorbike has a compartment that I put my bag in while I’m riding.  It’s under the seat and unlocks with the key just like the ignition.  Well my idiot ass put my bag into the locked compartment and locked it without taking the key out of the bag.  I quickly realized this when I went to turn on the bike to leave.

Of course I’m like “well shit!!!” About 5 people had just pulled in on their motorbikes and they noticed me and asked what happened, so I told them.  They are all angels and saints as far as I am concerned.  They instantly start googling solutions and take this on as their own project.  I just step back because there is 5 of them and only one of me and they are determined and I don’t mind.  Soon after, a whole other group shows up and starts helping as well.  I’m pretty much lost in the mix at this point and honestly they can’t make it worse.  Then I see a tour van coming down the hill so I go stop the van and ask them if they can take me into town to the place where I rented my bike because I locked my keys in the storage box like a moron.  Of course they don’t speak English and think I’m crazy.

The van pulls over and the driver and all the people inside get out and come to check out “The Scene”.   At this point I’ve got about 15 people from all kinds of groups working on this catastrophe with me.   So the solution at hand is that 3 guys pull up the seat and I shove my hand in and fish for my key out of my bag.   I am more determined than I have ever been and I’m like a pitbull after a beef rib.  I force my fat arm in and dig and dig until I get it!  I throw my arms into the air and shout “I got it!”

Everyone is cheering and I’m giving out endless Thank You’s and hugging all my new hero’s!  I was so incredibly thankful that these people were there and so willing to help me.   I don’t know what I would have done if no one had showed up to see that waterfall after me.   I would still be walking back to town in the dark as I write this now.   Endless love to all you saints who took pitty on my dumbass!

Minor injury, swollen and bruised arm, not from crashing but instead from shoving my fat arm into a small crack to dig out my key.  I’ll take it.  Faith in humanity has never been stronger.  Motorista Mishap.