Since he was at the end of his trip Heewon decided he wanted a bit of comfort and decided to book himself a nice hotel room for his last few days. We were chatting about our rooms when he sent me a picture of his, which included a huge couch. I jokingly replied, “It’s huge, I could sleep on that couch!” but he generously said, “Sure? If you want to you can.” I had already paid for my dorm room for that night, but he said if I wanted to move Saturday morning it was fine with him, so I figured why not. Which is how I also wound up spending the last few days of my Bangkok trip in luxury, and not even on a couch.
My trip to Thailand was unplanned, I only knew it would begin with a good friend, relaxing on the beach and then, who knows? As I should have known Chiang Mai pulled me back and within a few days of landing in the country I had a ticket North booked. Although I have a spot (Teeraya) in Chiang Mai that I love I thought I’d take a look through the Couchsurfing profiles and see if anything jumped out. Loads of profiles were expats and digital nomads, living in Chiang Mai and offering up their couch or floor for the wandering souls, not so much what I was interested in, but then I came across Peace’s profile. An energetic, enthusiastic local who just so happened to host English camps and was sometimes looking for volunteers, I was interested and so I sent him a message. Within no time he got back to me with a detailed response, including an offer for me to join an upcoming English camp, the only catch it was in Krabi - the pace I was about to leave.
This story starts walking down the streets of Chiang Mai with my new friends from the UK, all of us with a large beer in hand. What I assumed would be a fun last night out in Chiang Mai, a few drinks, new bar, good food and possibly a ladyboy show, turned into a pivotal moment shaping the next few weeks of my travels and possibly more.
When traveling I find that I’m quick to adapt to the different surroundings and crowds that I immerse myself into. I’ve never had a major problem finding comfort in a new situation, no matter how different it may be to what I’m used to. It’s funny, actually the most uncomfortable I found myself in the last year were the two times I was preparing to leave the United States, not sure what laid ahead in my life. Once I found myself abroad though those worries disappeared and I fell back into my Chameleon skin.
Before you get started do yourself a favor and read about my first and second days with these goons
On day three I was up early enough to catch the sun rising over the mountains directly in front of us. I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful and peaceful morning and spent it doing yoga and daydreaming about this crazy life I've acquired. Laura was up soon after me and we sat drinking coffee (if you can call 3 in 1 mixes coffee) and talking. Chet came out with his gigantic smile and cheerful “goooooood morning” which was soon followed by another round of eggs, toast and candy spread.” Before leaving for our hike back to civilization we took a small walk through the village to get more of an idea as to what life is like here. Chet explained we should have done more of this the night before, but due to the rain and our tiredness, we didn’t get the chance. I met one man who spoke decent English and upon hearing I was from Milwaukee responded “oh famous basketball – the Bucks!” which of course left me laughing, I'm not sure I'd call them famous.
Continuation from Part 1 of my Jumbo Trekking Adventure:
Everyone was skeptical as to how well we would sleep, sharing one LARGE room with elephants, roosters, dogs and other wildlife as our neighbors. After a few months of travel I thought the conditions were fairly ideal, I had a bed, pillow, door that closed and most importantly (for me) it was nice and dark. I guess the other thing that helps is that I always come prepared for the elements of travel sleeping, my eye mask and ear plugs close at hand. I’m not sure who came up with the idea that roosters crow when the sun comes up because it’s not true, those retarded animals crow whenever the hell they want and 3am seems to be their favorite time. The earplugs were definitely used and I slipped my eye mask on as well when the skies began to lighten. I eventually gave up on sleep when the elephants started screaming (I’m not exactly sure how to describe it but it was loud)! Laura and I immediately broke into laughter but it appeared the rest of our roommates were unmoved by the noise.
I'm not sure what I may have done in this or a past life but somehow I have acquired the best luck when finding trekking tour guides. There was my first trek in Australia where the tour guides idea of "soon" were much much different than mine, not to mention getting lost and almost missing the bus home. Then there was the eight, turned 13 hour trek in Taiwan, although that one had bright turn of events. And now, my adventures continue in Northern Thailand; one more trek, another great story and one quirky guide I'll never forget.
After my month of paradise, new friends, and lots of yoga it was time for me to return to the hustle and bustle of the big city, Bangkok. I arrived a bit more rested than my previous train trip to the South and quickly found my way to my new hostel. It was early meaning our room wasn't ready, instead I took over the waiting area with all of my crap and waited for my friend Laura to join me. She was due to arrive on a 7am flight but thanks to a delay, all the transportation and maybe a quick wrong turn she arrived closer to 12 (just as I was beginning to kind of, get concerned)
It's kind of crazy to think back to the day that I first came across Vikasa yoga, from a Facebook add of all places, how long ago it was but short it seems. I actually never click on those things but for some reason the Vikasa add caught my eye and I decided to give the website a few minutes of my deskwarming time. Now, having completed the course I'm pretty happy about those few minutes I gave up. During a month on the island of Koh Samui I met some awesome people, did lots of yoga, climbed one million stairs, relaxed at the beach, learned about myself and ate lots of coconut, oh yeah and became a certified yoga teacher!
Just like that and my time at Vikasa is almost at an end, it's hard to believe it was a little over three weeks ago that I arrived here not knowing what to expect or who I would meet; now as I'm preparing to leave (thankfully with big plans to distract me) I know i'll miss my time here. Some days were a struggle to get through; my comfy bed luring me in, restless legs in meditation, long afternoon lectures and of course the dreaded chaturungas. But when the days were good (which was more often than not) they were good. Mornings filled with beautiful sunrises, peaceful morning meditation, delicious food, hours by the pool or at the beach, massages, and new feats reached when Kosta pushed us the extra inch. I didn't actually come into this training with a full on intent to leave after and start teaching; to be honest I wasn't even sure I could do it. But now all of that has changed just a little bit.
High on the tourist track for a reason, home of good food (mostly) happy people, rich history and culture. Thailand as many tourist soon learn is just easy. Easy to visit, easy to get around and even easier to stay.