Living in the present. Easier said than done when you’re on a 12 hour bus ride! With my curtain pulled back, I can see every market we pass between Bangkok and Chumphon Pier. So many mangos… I could eat one everyday. (Oh wait, I do ☺).
Why do we travel? On the bus today I met a young guy from Hanover, Germany. He’s just finished university and is taking 6 months off before starting his masters program. Another couple from New Castle, England (appearing to be in their early 30s) has taken a year off from work to see the world. And both these stories are quite common. Fresh graduates. Adventurous couples. Enjoying some time off or taking a break before another large endeavor.
And then there is my group. Those looking for something. The ones not sure how to answer, “Where do you live?” or even, “What do you do?”. I have entertained the thought of changing my title on LinkedIn to “Poet”. I still feel it’s the one thing that most adequately describes the job I do best. Well…No one is paying me for that!
What do I look for? Ah… Same as anyone looking, I guess. It’s that thing I haven’t found but will know when I find it. Some of my friends say I’m looking for a significant other. While I won’t deny I think love is grand, I don’t put my dozen eggs in that basket. Love has many sources. And I find it beautiful how many people I can meet and connect with by not hiding comfortably in a bubble with another person.
Home. If I had to assign a word to what I am looking for it is home. That place where all things rest easy. Where the heart is full. (At least most of the time.) Where we can be ourselves. Community. Security. Serenity.
It’s been 2 months and 2 days since I landed in Thailand. With the exception of Koh Lanta, I’ve not stayed anywhere longer than one week. And this is my discovery: I can gladly change my location every month, or live in a new city every year… but every few days is exhausting!! Imagine being at a carnival every day for 2 months straight. It ceases to be a carnival. It becomes something else. That is my experience. And as much as I love new discoveries, I do like my routines. Especially my physical exercise. (Do you know how hard it is to find a yoga studio in every new town you visit??!)
So how do I continue to search without giving up happy routines? Well, I commit to one place that offers the new and the familiar. For me that place is Chiang Mai. A big city with a rich cultural history, abundant markets, plenty of options for study and leisure. The comforting community of other expats for when you need it, and yes, yoga studios.
I’ve decided to live in Chiang Mai for one year. To learn Thai. To practice yoga. To learn more about Buddhism… It’s seems it’s not enough to dip my toes in this beautiful country. I’d like to saturate myself in it. And to continue doing what I seem to be getting better and better at these days – living in the moment. If your schedule frees up, regardless of which category of traveler you fall in, I invite you to visit me here ☺.
3 thoughts on “Saturation: A Traveler’s Decision to Stick Around”
I’ll be in Chiang Mai in a couple of weeks. Very excited to visit now after reading your post. It must be great if you’re sticking around!
That’s awesome, Maddison!! You will love CM 🙂
I just left CM last night after 3 weeks. I could easily do a year.