As I’ve begun this trip, I’m finding myself saying that this is not a trip, a vacation or a holiday. I am traveling. Someone who is on a vacation is packing in, planning their days, making lists and getting things done; someone who is traveling is observing, they are relaxing and being somewhere.
Last week I found my way up to Pai, Thailand. I arrived in awe of the mountains, ready to tour the wats and hike the trails bathe in a waterfall and soak in the hot springs. Tuesday night I settled into my bungalow about to walk the town and taste one of the meals I had heard about from the amazing restaurants that were recommended in my travel books. Instead, on my way to town the bungalow owners stopped me and handed me a beer and a bag of bugs: “here, you do this,” he showed me how to pull the wings and legs off, “we will fry, it is cicada season! Cheap, delicious, aroi.”
The night continued from there. We had a family dinner at the Family Huts Bungalow and this is how my three nights turned into four, this is how I slowed down and decided that sitting at a coffee shop called The Good Life talking about life, energy, the past and future was more important than touring the mountains.
Don’t get me wrong, I got up each morning and went for a quick run before the sun got too hot, I did a yoga practice or two on the porch of my bungalow, I drank fruit lassis, I added spirulina algae to my beet and carrot juice, I drank wheat grass and got my ass kicked at Muay Thai. I sat and wrote. I people watched. I talked and listened with new friends, I drank beers under the moon at a bar where we lounged in hammocks and listened to bad cover music. I also went to bed at 9pm.
My slice of Pai has kicked off this travel right. It was hard to leave but I was afraid that if I didn’t I wouldn’t have left. There’s so much to observe and I have a feeling I’m going to see less but experience more.