Written in October 2008
One final time I write to you from the glorious beaches of Thailand. My last evening and morning here progressed in the slow, musical rhythym of the islands that I have quickly grown accustomed to and fallen in love with; a swirling mix of beaches, blue drinks, fresh food, laughter, coconut oil, salty hair, crashing waves, fireworks, and smiles. I am so sad to leave, but will be so happy to be home. I long to look once more into the eyes of the friends I love, to dance with you and to cheers with you and to celebrate life with you.
There is so much I have experienced my three weeks here in Thailand that I have not written to you and can only hope to remember myself. Like the people walking around with gibbons and eagles on their arms, hawking photos for $5. How soup is sold in plastic bags. When you are getting a Thai massage, ‘OW!’ means, “harder please”- ‘OY’ means stop. How I was riding along in a tuk-tuk in Bangkok, wondering why all the barbed wire across the road and riot police, and then realizing I was driving by the Thai Parliament Building, site of all the protests that left hundreds wounded and some dead. How I have run into very, very few Americans at all. How the whole country freezes at 6PM to listen to the national anthem. The sound of the Thai language in my ears. How some toilets here don’t flush- you just rinse them down. Cows riding in backs of pickups. Restaurant tables set up between train tracks. Corn in a cup as a popular snack. Hotdog pizza. Sanuk.
Sanuk is a Thai phrase that means fun, or enjoyment, and this idea permeates every aspect of life and every action in this beautiful land. Thais believe that everything you do in life should be filled with sanuk, not only if you are vacationing but also if you are washing dishes, or helping a friend, or waiting in an airport. I really like this idea and try to live it, and will try even harder. Sanuk is where it’s at.
They also have a saying here: Same same but different, which seems to apply in almost every situation you find yourself in. It is true- outside of America you may order a Big Mac and a Coke, but it will taste completely different from those at home. Same same but different. It applies to people all over the world, from a young Thai girl playing with a snorkel to a loud Aussie party kid to an old British couple eating breakfast to a girl from Seattle pecking away on a keyboard. We are all same same, but different.
Life is so incredibly colorful here, much more so than in the US. Boats, houses, restaurants, clothing- all are splashed in the beautiful brightness of the tropics, as if they are reflecting the flowers and birds and bugs themselves. Blue, orange, yellow, pink, red, purple- with no apologies. Life seems more passionate here, as if it is infected by the sunny climate and warm ocean water, and has no choice but to be happy. People smile more and laugh more. Life is slower, and more deliberate.
When your eyes are filled each day with plants and animals and vistas you have never seen before, it refreshes your soul in a way that nothing else can. There is a reason it is called the ‘travel bug.’ Before you travel, you do not know what you are missing out here. But after that first trip, something grabs a hold of you and will not let go. It will not let go of me; I am a life-long addict with no desire to be cured.
Every time I travel I am filled with a renewed gratitude for my life, my home, my family, my friends, and myself. I love Seattle now more than I ever have before, especially for the people and music who make up the electronic community- we really have something special, you guys. You don’t just stumble across that shit anywhere. You must cultivate it, and we are doing that, and we will continue, and it is just going to get better and richer and deeper. The music pumping out of speakers every night in our city trumps anything I have found out here; I wander into clubs and wonder, is this the music that people who don’t listen to music listen to? Because for the most part, it really sucks. Granted, I am not traveling in Berlin or San Fran or Montreal, but I am homesick for our music scene.
I have had many homes in this world since I left my parents’ house at 18 and went out into the world: Austin, Maine, Paris, New Zealand- but none have meant as much to me as Seattle does right now. I have almost-tears in my eyes writing this, I am so overwhelmed with love for my world. This trip has inspired me, of course, to do new things and retry old things in my life. I must plan another trip as soon as possible. I need a major move, next spring, there is something boiling inside of me that I can’t yet put my finger on. I am enamoured of Southeast Asia and want to go to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. I want to get my bicycle fixed and ride it. I want to start sketching and drawing again, I have the skills but not the patience for it, and it would be a good way for me to learn the virtue. I want to cook more, especially Thai food. And as always, I need to slow the hell down. Slow down, Shilo.
In Thailand everything seems more potent, perhaps just because I am traveling, but the bananas taste more banana-y, the sun seems hotter, the nights seem darker. I feel more like Shilo than ever before, I feel I am more me than I ever have been. Even sharing this with you is proof of a newfound sense of strength and sensual sureness of myself and my world. I am a loner, which might strike some of you who know me as the epic party-girl as odd, but it is true. I never mind being alone, I enjoy my company. However this trip, much of which was spent with new friends, has reaffirmed that yes, life is more fun when shared with other people. Dammit. Time to trim in my loner ways and my nature of being independent to a fault.
Sharing my adventures with you through this blog has made my trip so much better; funny how we all affect each other that way. This world is so so small. I have never blogged before on a trip, though I have always kept a journal, and I have found the blogging experience so inspiring. From thousands of miles away you have made my trip to Thailand more fun, more rich, more real. I have loved sharing it with you; your comments as always put a song right into my soul that seeps out of me for days and gets shared with everyone I meet in the form of positive energy, of smiles, of a bounce in my step. Thank you so much for reading; it truly has added a layer to my trip that I have never experienced before, and I now will always blog wherever I travel.
In just a few hours I begin my long journey home from the other side of the earth. I fly from Ko Samui to Bangkok (1 hour), have a six hour layover, fly to Seoul (5 hours), have a 12 hour layover and then a 12 hour flight to Seattle. That is a hell of a lot of time to think. I will return to you a different person, afterall, that
is what ‘tripping’ does, and if the travel gods and party gods continue to smile on me, I will see you on a dance floor soon with a fat grin on my face and a smile in my eyes.
Reason # 9287 to travel: To go home.
For now, I go- where else?- to the beach, for one more slice of paradise. Mai ko puun kah,