We are a mysterious breed, we travelers. I think I spend about as much time trying to make sense of my fellow travelers as I do getting to know the countries and people I visit.
By far one of my favorite, most used and most employed travel accessories is my Apple* iPad mini.
My favorite thing about the mini is that when loaded with a bevy of apps it turns into a powerful and flexible ereader for everything from the latest best sellers, to classics and even graphic novels. Typically I enjoy reading multiple books at once; when traveling by backpack this is a luxury I previously had to forego… Until ebooks came along. On my mini, I’m able manage multiple titles at once, store news articles for offline reading, and even subscribe to my favorite magazine all on 1 slim package weighing less than a pound. Technology nirvana indeed! Continue reading
After a lazy morning, rainy river taxi ride, and serene experience at wat pho in Bangkok (famous for the huge gilded reclining Buddha and as the birthplace of Thai massage) Kate and I hurriedly commuted across Bangkok and onto a train bound for the historical capital of Siam: Ayutthaya.
We couldn’t have timed it any better. Arriving at Sam sem station near the Dusit area of Bangkok at about 4:40, I stepped up to the window, announced my destination and paid a whopping 28 baht (28 baht, less than $1!!!) for a train to Ayutthaya! Not 5 minutes later the train arrived and we hopped on for the 2 hour ride north.
Upon arrival we had one of those cliche tuk tuk rides in which the driver insists he knows the location of your destination yet proceeds to drive in circles for the better part of an hour. Oi vey.
Luckily neither Kate nor I needed to pee and, thanks to my handy stash of PB&J survival materials, we’d sated our hanger. This left us only slightly annoyed at the inconvenience but also slightly chuffed at our sunset cruise around the ancient city. We watched the sunset over brick stupas and glimmered in awe as flood lights turned the millennia-old city into a dramatic scene that transported us to wonderment and awe….
Our hotel is delightful & dainty and gives free bike rentals so we’re sunscreened and ready to explore!!!
Made it to Bangkok […and it only took 16 hours]!
If you follow me on social media, then you know my train left 6.5 hours behind schedule. You also know that I was quite pleased by this delay because it provided me with a few extra stolen hours to close of this 7 month chapter of Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand living.
Rather than wait a few infernal hours at the train station feeling stranded in a city that I’ve started to refer lightly to as “home,” I decided to better use my time by going to SheDance at The Yoga Tree. Continue reading
My father and uncle, on the rare nights when they open up their Martin & old Gibson guitar cases, rattle through a repertoire of folksy and country songs. Rarely does anyone know all the words (Billy is the best contender for that prize) but generally enough of us know enough of the words to butcher any of about 3 dozen tunes. On the road again being one of the classics… Familiar yet unknown and therefore perfectly evocative of the nostalgic tug of home and magnetic draw of whatever comes next.
That’s the predominant emotional cocktail I have now. Reflective nostalgia coupled with that vibrating, yearning body sensation that tugs towards what’s next… Continue reading
A few months ago I volunteered at Care for Dogs–I offered to take pet portraits, lucky me!–a wonderful Chiang Mai not-for-profit organization providing comprehensive veterinary care to abandoned, abused and malnourished street and temple dogs. They house 150-200 dogs at their main shelter, with an additional dozen or so at a special, isolated distemper treatment facility. A small staff attends to daily medications, twice daily feedings, veterinary treatments, placing animals for adoption and the general running of the shelter. Volunteers are always welcome at Care to provide loving interaction and give attention to the dogs, as well as assist with adoption campaigns and awareness raising. Continue reading
I like flying solo. I like it that my days are my own. I like that I get to set my schedule and go where the winds take me. I enjoy quiet meals alone, or alone in the company of a book.
I also adore afternoons spent with a friend, poolside and catching up in our respective latests. I like dropping by a friend’s shop and whiling away the hours laughing and learning words in another language. I enjoy showing up for a yoga class and then trying out a new lunch place with a classmate.
Life is in the balance. Finding time for myself creates peace and serenity. Too much time alone and without the warm love and stimulation of people to care about leaves me feeling dingy and isolated. Continue reading
Coming back to Chiang Mai is like comfy shoes. The streets are familiar, I practically know the yoga schedules by heart, and there’s always delicious food to be had. Best of all there are familiar and friendly faces to reunite with and exchange hugs.
A common refrain amongst those who call chiang Mai home is that many–okay most–came here for a 2 days, were just passing through, or otherwise considered CM just one more stop along the SE Asian travel circuit. What none expected to find was a place that basically exudes a magnetic pull: if you feel it, you can’t leave the force field until CM decides to let you.
“Friends remind us of who we truly are.”
It seems with every passing day these words gain new meaning. I blush to think how lucky I am for the friends in my life–for they constantly reassure me and egg me on, as if a silly childhood challenge: “go on, I dare you–you be you. See how you you can be…”
Any my what a challenge that is! Isn’t it curious? The thing that should come so naturally is in fact so elusive… Why is this? How did it come to be this way? Has it always been so..?
We often talk of “being grounded,” but how do we understand and what is implied by this phrase? In the sense of physics gravity effects us all the same. I am no more or less subject to Newton’s universal law than he or she or y’all over there–that’s why it’s called universal, duh! My feet are just as grounded as anyone else’s yet why has it felt that I’m adrift, wayward, grasping my toes towards the solid earth? Continue reading