I’m quite content to be alone. This is one of the magical gifts of travel: it exposes what you probably need most by giving you space to be fully self-directed, self-motivated & “selfish.”
There’s nothing wrong with being alone, and there’s nothing wrong with being selfish. The word selfish has a very unfortunately negative connotation. This pejorative implication of selfish can prevent us from making decisions that are in our own best interests. Following the advice of my Oregon Mom, I replace ideas of selfishness with “valuing oneself” and “making choices and decisions in the interest of my self-betterment.”
It is in this style of selfishness that I’m reveling on being alone, making my own agenda and following my priorities with single-minded pursuit.
This brings me to Chiang Mai, why I’m here and what I’m doing while here:
Originally I booked a jaunt in Chiang Mai in order to be with some familiar and friendly faces during Christmas. Since booking my travel, obligations have called that family to Bangkok and parts South for about 10 days. As a result, I find myself in the role of house & cat sitter for the holidays; I welcome it. More than I expected its a chance to ssssslllllllooooowwww down and spend time concentrating on what I want to concentrate on. That means yoga, and lots of it–a 30 day yoga challenge in fact.
It also means unadulterated time reading, napping, doing laundry, eating all the favors of northern Thailand’s heavenly cuisine, being a tourist, taking photos, wandering the markets, going to the spa, and dabbling in all the various out-there, in-there and otherwise spiritually healing modalities that this city has to offer–after doing my yoga class, that is the rule.
Chiang Mai is one of those mystical places where people gather from all over the world seeking healing and spiritual guidance. Asheville, Boulder, Sedona, Oregon, Key West. These are all similar places to which people are called. They’re known for communities of artists, good food, and a bunch of hippies. Sound too spiritually out-there? Too hippy-dippy, too touchy-feely? Maybe. But consider this: Chiang Mai is also very famous for its temples, hundreds of them. Why, of all places, have so many come here in pilgrimage in the past, called to erect temples throughout the landscape?
The Thais knew it and now it would seem many a westerner also knows that this is a place imbued with spiritual richness. Meaning, it’s a good place for growth and a good place to come in order to find what you are seeking.
I departed from my known life and set out on a non-descript, open-ended journey. The target-lessness of this trip remains but it does have the same universal goals of any journey: to go, to learn, to expand.
By these measures my trip is extremely successful so far. In Malaysia I made dear friends who I’m certain will continue to enrich my life & (borrowing from earlier posts) continues to show me who I am. I’ve truly loved getting to know these people but all the more so pouring my own love into them and into our flourishing friendships.
On my last day in Kuala Lumpur, West Malaysia I began my shift away from the über-social version of myself in order to prepare for transition into the introspective and introverted version of myself that has been called to Chiang Mai. See next post for an update on how that’s going so far…