Travels with Ryan

My Travels to Thailand

I arrive in Ko Samui, this island in the bay of Thailand. Tropical night air, the people, taxis, palm trees, ocean all around…My host for 4 days are so generous Axel + Su inviting me and my friend to stay in there home…sharing home-made coconut yogurts and teas, cashew nuts…and Su preparing traditional Thai dishes and fresh coconut juice. We talk in English as Axel is from Colorado and has traveled all over the world. His partner is Thai from the north and so sweet and gracious host. I come to discover through out my travels in Thailand this sincere greetings of hello, thank you and good byes with big smiles and deep presence of being from the Thai people…. The men saying Kap and the women Ka. For 3 days I explore the local town, food markets, local Thai restaurants and discovering Thai dishes…sauteed “morning glory”in an oyster sauce and chill pepper dip that is unbelievable good! And were I live its a noxious weed never eaten. The pad thai never got old and one of my favorite dishes! Curries, Rice and veggies, Coconut soup and of course world cuisines of sushi, italian, american burgers, etc…from ex-pats that have moved to Thailand. 

After 3 days I catch a ferry to Ko Phangan and arrive in Thong Sala…the south of the island is known for the full moon & half moon parties…but not as busy as Bangkok or Chiang Mai. Scooters, taxis and a few cars buzzing the streets in afternoon into evening…Ko Phangan know for Vegetarian & Vegan cuisine! And I recently became “Pescatarian” which means I eat vegetables + fish but no red meats + eggs too. I feel more energy and fits my yoga & mindfulness lifestyle 🙂 I also want to raise environmental awareness by how I eat, recycling, composting and living minimally. I buy a water bottle to cut down on the plastic which is overwhelming here and many Asian countries (+ all around the world). Back at home I have a Van but no house or apartment. I can fit all my belongings in my van and still its too much…I love walking, riding bicycle and learn to ride scooter here on Ko Phangan. Buzzing around the island going 40-50 kilometers, on the opposite side of the road. I did have a good instruction on do’s and don’ts of riding the scooter & I highly recommend. But be sure your comfortable and safety first! So  wearing a helmet, good awareness when driving, taking turns slower and making sure lights/brakes works well.  So much freedom I felt  on the scooter…the wind blowing by…taxi-ing friends and riding to the beaches to see the sunsets! Dancing at ecstatic dances, djembe circles…Volunteering 3 weeks at a yoga school helping with meals, bamboo bungalows for the students…and offering my yoga teaching skills 3x with Yoga Nidra. Meeting students, volunteers and staff from all over the world! Spain to Saudia Arabia, Argentina to Japan and much more…embracing the jungle and getting use to the humid heat, new smells, mosquitos, geckos and so much life seen and unseen…learning some Thai along the way and letting go of my daily stress back in the states. I even went 1 week not looking into a mirror once, cold showers, walking barefoot to the yoga shala…Learning Acro Yoga on the beach, and making coconut yogurt with passion fruit, mangos, bananas for my daily breakfast. I had to let go of having a set plan as the unpredictable happens every day here…occasional rains, full moons, cats & dogs on the streets, food carts, monkeys in the jungle. After riding a scooter the first 2 weeks, I move to biking the island and to cafes for my daily cappuccinos, coconut water. Paying in Thai Baht 100 = $3. Often eating meals for $4-$8. Renting scooter for $3 day and bicycle $1 day. Going to the night markets in thong Sala, playing pool and swimming in the warm blue ocean…

From Ko Phangan I ferry to Surat Thani and catch my plane to Chiang Mai up north. This town so full of charm! And the weather very consistent this time of year sunny daily low 70’s and less humid in the winter time. Thai people have coats and long sleeve in morning, evenings but I can run around in my shorts and t-shirt being from Colorado 🙂 I book a place to stay at “like home hostel.” Grabbing a taxi motor bike to my hostile and greeted by Thai owner Nui and her partner Yan from Germany…I love hostiles for all the travelers and stories, conversations…where they’ve been, going and recommend. Motorbike rides to Chiang Rai and Pai, yoga classes to visit, places to eat, cafes…and of course adventure trips to see Elephants, waterfalls and city things to do like visiting the 300 wats (temples), learning muay thai, dancing and learning to cook Thai. I plan for 5 days here and fly out on Friday late back to iowa and then Colorado….of course things don’t go as planned 🙂 the last night I go out dancing and biking back to my hostel I stop to exchange my Thai baht to US dollars and somehow lose my passport but didn’t realize till the next day in afternoon as im packing my pack. My flight isn’t till 11:15 pm and its 3pm. But I did “freak out” looking and didn’t find…i bike back to the exchange but they didn’t have…then I biked 3 miles in traffic to the airport and they wont accept a “copy of passport” so I cancel my flight. I grab a cappuccino on way back, dinner and exhausted…the people at the hostile were so sweet listening to my situation. Nui even driving me to the police to file a “lost passport report .” At first I was so stressed, worried and even mad…trying to redo the past (which is not possible) and then realize this is my practice to be mindful, in the present and let go of things beyond my control. I do my daily practice of meditation and yoga & breathing exercises…I even teach a young man from Tokyo yoga for the first time…and realize the beauty around me, friendly smiles…and how it could be much worse. I think about the recent news of the “coronavirus” breakout in china and people very sick, and some deaths…or Kobe Bryant and daughter crashing in helicopter and dying…life can change and end so quick! So im thankful for each and every moment…and to me its not good or bad, it just is what it is. I do my best to project compassion, peace and really feel this when I teach yoga. And the other times when im tired, angry, or sick do my best to breath through it till it passes…and it will pass 🙂 this is life and a matter of perspective 🙂 

I now have the chance to explore more of Chiang Mai and add to my Thailand experience too! I meet so many new people from all over the world at “like home hostel” and Nuy & Yan are such gracious host 🙂 I visit local yoga studios, take a Muay Thai boxing class, and walk even more of Chaing Mai discovering new cafes and temples and nooks of magical places! After 5 days of waiting to get appointment at the US consulate Im approved for and “Emergency Passport” and taxi to the airport to transfer the money for the first ticket to this current ticket back home. 🙂 and now I know when I will return but also know im ok in the unknown that im still alive, safe & present… 
The next to last day at book a nice hotel and pamper myself before heading home…going out to new places, seeing live music and meeting some new Thai friends 🙂  Ive had plenty of time off work now to collect new experiences, learn so much about Thailand and myself and what’s most important to me in this life…Connection and knowing im ok with the change and unknown life will always throw at us to help us grow, evolve and let go…

The Ocean

I am the pause between the breath the stillness before the wind blows the quiet before the storm. I am the light that shines from my eyes and I’m the shadow that isn’t perfect all the time… I am love radiating warmth  and openness from my heart There are waves in my life but nowContinue reading “The Ocean”

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