On August 18th, 2017, 14 new Booth students approached O’Hare with a bit of nerves and excitement as we were about to embark on our first formal Chicago Booth event, a Random Walk to Thailand.
The journey began alongside two other random walks, Indonesia and Vietnam, who accompanied us on the first leg of our trip to Hong Kong. Right away, we were able to make not only new friends from our trip, but meet other Boothies that were headed to the same continent. All together on the airplane, we had a solid 14 hours of talking and bonding time (and in my case, most of these talks surprisingly centered on philosophy since my airplane buddy was reading Friedrich Hegel).
We started our journey in Bangkok, a beautiful, bustling city. We toured the Grand Palace, bowing and marveling at the Emerald Buddha statue in reverence. We walked through the city’s markets and streets, taking in the culture, smells of delicious food, language, and ambiance. We enjoyed the wonders of the city’s night life by starting with a traditional Thai dinner and some very icy local cocktails.
On the next step of our journey, we jet set off to Phuket, where we enjoyed a lovely boat ride to the gorgeous Phi Phi Islands, which are beautiful islands donned by large cliffs and mountains. We spent our first day there taking in the sights and sounds, relaxing on the white sand beaches, listening to the local boats crashing toward the pier, and enjoying the marvelous sunset from a top the island’s highest peaks post a very scenic nature hike. The RW Thailand crew finished the exploration of Phi Phi by donning their best neon apparel (on Phi Phi Don, pun intended) and exploring the various beach venues of the island, stopping along the way to appreciate Thailand’s version of an Ibiza pool party.
While sad to leave the islands we were grateful for the memories we left behind as we boarded our boat back to Phuket. In Phuket, the group relished in the night life, taking several trips to the infamous Patong Beach. We soaked up the last few days of sunlight and beach time at the Phuket resort (and of course, savored the unlimited brunch specials), and made our way back to Hong Kong.
In Hong Kong, we were able to see the city from the highest vantage point possible – a top the open ceiling venue at the Ritz Carlton where we relished our last few hours in Asia.
Random Walk Thailand was an incredible experience. Lifelong friends, two beautiful countries, and endless laughs, memories, and late nights really brought together this amazing group of Boothies. Can’t wait to apply to lead Random Walk next year with people from this great group!