Expat stories

Remembering Wally Sanger of Ko Kradan, Hawaii and the open seas

By David Luekens

Last week I wrote about Ko Mook, the first island that I visited on my very first assignment for Travelfish back in October 2011. It started a three-week swing through nine islands in the Lower Thai Andaman — and that whole trip turned me into an island lover.

My second island on that swing was Ko Kradan. There I met Wally Sanger, the co-owner of Paradise Lost Resort, and I was able to interview him for my first-ever paid piece of writing. Originally published on the old Travelfish blog in early November of that year, I now present it to you largely unchanged save an update at the end.

Ever notice how avid world travelers — and especially sailors — seem to see the world a little differently than most? They don’t lock up their homes and go on vacation; they part with their possessions and set forth on a journey. They don’t see the world as a big, scary, insurmountable planet, but a perfectly accessible playground. They don’t have a plan and an itinerary. Instead, they have a thirst and a vision.

At Paradise Lost on the island of Ko Kradan off Thailand’s southwest coast, I spent a few hours chatting with one such world traveler: 71-year-old Wally Sanger.

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Wally in his element at Paradise Lost.

Originally from Hawaii, Wally grew up sailing from island to island while encountering diverse people, so he felt at home when he first came to Southeast Asia in the 1960s. In 1980, at the age of 40, he set out to sail the world for good. More than 30 years later, he’s yet to return to Hawaii or anywhere else in his native country.

“I’ve been to just about every state, country, territory and island in the Pacific,” he recalls.

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Nina

Nina loves to travel Thailand and is always looking for the best offers.

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