The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
`To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
And whether pigs have wings.’
This fragment of a Lewis Carroll poem wandered into my wayward thoughts as I sat down to write tonight; I often quote these lines to my niece and nephew when they spout nonsense…
…but worry not, I’ll keep away from nonsense and instead note that my travel plans, like the winds of the world, have changed direction.
Several months ago I was giddy at the thought of heading to the Middle East and traveling through Syria, Israel, and Turkey with a couple of fellow travel bloggers – we hatched the plan over beers but all were serious about seeing if we could make it work. Although I have been talking about settling in somewhere since last March, it didn’t take much convincing to forgo that notion for new travel plans.
And then plans changed, and I find myself confounded by the fact that the very first plan I hatched up during my sad travel fatigue session in Guatemala last April is finally coming to fruition.
My plane sets sail for Thailand in mid-January (mixed metaphor, I know) and I am pleased as punch with this development.
Actually, I’m content, excited, and enthused in a way I haven’t been in ages.
Thailand was the very first location that floated into my consciousness when I dreamed about an ideal location to both relax and work.
I instantly connected with the promise of a vibrant expat community and delicious (cheap) Thai food.
And then for some reason I went to Bali instead.
Don’t get me wrong, Bali’s character, culture and charisma stunned me. The smiling locals, the fragrant frangipani wafting up from the dozens of nearby offerings – all experiences and memories were measured and logged, recorded and remembered.
I enjoyed Bali.
I will go back to Bali one day for a bit longer than the mere two weeks I spent this past fall.
But Southeast Asia is alluring in a way I simply can’t name or number…
I am constantly amazed by my ability to embrace rapid change and planlessness in a way that is so not a pre-travel Shannon character trait. I still battle twinges of doubt and resistance every time a new idea pushes forward and an old one is abandoned, but split second decisions and the unpredictable nature of perpetual motion altered me at a core level. As long as I have the promise of an internet connection, sure, why not, let’s go!
I chalk this change up to an inherent attachment to certainty that we all crave, and conversely don’t crave at the same time. I want a plan. I want a bit of consistency. And yet I thrive on last minute decisions and the adrenaline rush that comes from rapid travel adjustments and a general “unknown” lying endlessly in front of me.
Another way to say all of this: I don’t know what the heck I’m doing with myself half of the time!
I follow whims, so when I announce new “plans,” I use the term “plan” pretty loosely :-)
So now I get the certainty of settling in Thailand with the uncertainty of making and breaking that decision for the past eight months.
It’s to Thailand with me on January 14th for near certainty (the plane ticket has been purchased!). And as much as any plan of mine actually forms fully into fruition, I am setting my sites on Chiang Mai for the next five months-ish.
And in my Asian daydreams I am most looking forward to:
Mangosteen and rambutan – two delicious Asian fruits that will make up the cornerstone of my breakfasts.
Fragrant foods in plenitude from chatty street vendors.
Community and friends already living in the region as expats.
Culture and temples; I’ve been away from Asia too long, since I’m far from being “templed out.”
Hikes, mountains, tigers, animals, adventure.
People and places, new sites and smells.
Simply put, I’m excited.
Are you also in Thailand? Going to be in Thailand? Love Thailand? Have a great “that one time in Thailand story?” Do share! :-)
This post was last modified on December 19, 2010, 10:08 am