I left DC in a puddle of tears, a heart swollen with excitement, and a pocket full of cash. This was not my average goodbye. Usually, I slip through the cracks unnoticed, social media turned off, skulking away on the downlow. This time was planned. This time was different. This time I have left people behind, real friends, and my heart aches a bit each day. I’m not concerned that I’ve made a “bad” decision, but more sad because I know I finally made some connections I’ve been missing for quite some time.
Yet, I am a nomad; unapologetically so. I’m in your life, I leave your life, you miss me, I miss you, we live on Skype and What’s App, and then we move along. Not that you’re forgotten, because once I utter the words, “You’re my friend” it doesn’t just disappear. No my friend, that is for life, but what I mean is, my vacant space is filled where I once occupied in your world and I’m now taking up a new space with new emotions and new experiences elsewhere. DC Round 2 was a special one. I never really return to places I’ve lived before, but DC has a special draw. It is my HOME in the U.S. I can accept that I have a home if I want it. I can return, I will have friends, I will know the streets, and know my bartenders. I will know my coffeeshop and my neighbors down the road. I will have familiarity. You know what I hate though?? Familiarity.
To me, it reeks of complacency and comfort. It feels good to me for 5 minutes and then I get anxious. I like discomfort. I like that I’m sweating here in my bed alone near the border of Burma. I like that I know no one. I like that I’m smacking mosquitoes off of my arm and sipping lukewarm water on my nightstand. I like that my body smells of sunblock and my hair feels of straw. I like that I have little to no possessions. This fan blowing across my naked body is my only relief from the stifling heat and I revel in it. Raw, rough and tumble life is what makes me grow. It makes me stronger. It makes me, me. So here I sit, alone in a cowboy border town typing away the minutes. I’ve never felt so good. Alone…alone is happiness. Sometimes, I crave human interaction, but only on my terms; it is a controlled petry dish that sometimes gives me the cure.
Bangkok is a seedy city with a dark energy. Unfortunately, I landed in “Backpacker Alley” (KhaoSan Road) where every first timer to Bangkok is directed to stay. I’d rather not dwell on Bangkok too much; however, it has it’s own interesting charm. I was keen to escape north as fast as possible to Chiang Mai to celebrate Songkran, Thailand’s New Year Festival. I arrived in Chiang Mai the day before the festival began, yet was soaked upon arrival. Songkran is a three day festival, which happens every year from April 13-15 to ring in the new year. To put it lightly…it’s pure madness. Three days of water guns, buckets of water, river water, sink water, ICE water, all being thrown at you, in the air, out of trucks, spewing from buckets, at your face and down your back. It.Is.Fun.
I’ve been taking in Thailand day by day. It is exactly what I thought it would be…A LOT of foreigners, which was to be expected but I am not quite used to it. I’m also accustomed to the conservative nature of East Asia. Thailand is absolutely stunning, but the vibe is murky and tough to navigate. A place which unabashedly advertises for “ping pong shows,” is a little off my square path. I strike the average joe as an “anything goes” kinda girl, but I have my limits too. Thailand is a feast for the dark at heart. I don’t quite fit in as I thought I might. Traveling the northeast by motorbike has proven to satiate my curious needs in a more positive manner. I’ve laid my eyes upon some of the most rural parts of the country completely alone feeling both scared and exhilarated the same time. I landed in a border town called Mae Sot, just eyeshot away from Burma, tasting the local cuisines of Thailand and Burma each delicious vegan meal at a time.
It has been an adventure so far. I highly encourage those traveling to Thailand to check out the more rural parts of the country. I love being off the beaten path because it feels closer to authenticity. Thailand has been corrupted by the West for both good and bad. When traveling in areas where foreigners do not go, such as Mae Sariang and Mae Sot, it feels different and real. Leave the backpacker trail behind and make your own trail. It’s been a lot more interesting this way so far…