Moments Like These

I’m writing this from a bamboo bungalow in a small town in rural Northern Thailand. I just commented on my friend Kim’s latest post and it inspired me to write about my day, because she is where I was almost four months ago, packing up the entire contents of her life (and discarding most of her possessions) to travel.

I just had a moment where I realized how far I have come, not just geographically, but mentally, emotionally and dare I say spiritually, since that stressful time.

I’m not going to lie, it’s taken me a while to get used to this lifestyle, to process the enormous changes involved with selling our home and leaving my job.

Not that I have missed those things, but rather that the reality of this actually being my life, not a holiday or an extended vacation, took time to sink in.

I’ve been feeling it for a week or so now, maybe since Mum’s visit. Maybe since the amazing day I had with my new friends last week.

A sense of wonder, of gratitude, of (and I’m scared to say this because I don’t want to jinx it) contentment.

I’ve never felt like this before.

And it’s moments like these that I think are partly responsible for this wondrous feeling

Last week, I visited my new friends house again (I did go for dinner and it was amazing, not just the food but the conversation, everything!). This time, I took along another friend I made when I first arrived in Chiang Mai, as I wanted both women to meet.

It was great, they chatted in Thai for ages, I had no idea what they were saying, but I was glad that they seemed to get on. Uncannily, they both have two children about the same age, 10 year old sons and baby daughters.

As we said our goodbyes, I was surprised that Min began wheeling out her motorcycle. With no explanation (in English, anyway) she motioned for me to get on the back.

“Oh cool, we’re all going for something to eat,” I thought, food on the brain as always.

With my other friend following behind on her motorbike, we zoomed through the narrow back streets of the neighborhood, before parking up at a small shop front.

“Fortune teller,” Min explained.

Of course.

We made our way to the back of the shop, the front part occupied by hair dressing equipment. I guessed fortune tellers were multi skilled around these parts.

My friend went first. She had some personal questions she wanted answers for, and Min thought this would help steer her in the right direction.

The fortune teller and her sat on a wide wooden daybed, with a low table between them. Cards were shuffled. Hands were dealt. Futures revealed, and questions answered. All in Thai of course, I would have to wait for the translation afterwards.

Then I was up.

I changed places with my friend, Min settling in next to me. She translated the instructions and I did as I was told, shuffling (badly), placing the cards down on the table, cutting the pack with my left hand.

Cards were arranged in intricate patterns, then more shuffling, more cutting.

The lady spoke quickly and animatedly, Min trying to keep up with the translation.

At one point the girls eyes both lit up as the fortune teller began excitedly babbling and pointing to several cards with the number 10. This meant, apparently, that I was rich.

The reading continued. Some things she said were surprisingly accurate, and I definitely felt a sense of deep connection.

She told me that everywhere I travelled, I would meet people with ‘good hearts’, and not to worry about anything, that I would be taken care of. I knew, looking at the two amazing women next to me, who both opened their hearts, homes (and kitchens!) to me, that she was spot on.

************************

Yesterday, we rode a motorbike through the narrow back roads surrounding the colourful small town of Pai, 160 kilometers northwest of Chiang Mai.

We came across a hot spring resort, and paid $3 to bathe in the hot and cool natural spring pools. It’s off-season here, so we had the entire place to ourselves.

Later that day, as the sun was low on the mountainous horizon, we crossed the river by a rickety bamboo bridge, meandering through the dirt tracks that ran alongside rice fields.

Two children followed behind, stopping when we stopped, waving when we waved.

They weren’t game enough to come close, and when I inched slowly towards them, they scampered up a grassy embankment. To reassure them, I made the common Thai ‘wai’ gesture, to which they promptly responded with tiny heads bowed over tiny pressed-together palms.

My heart swelled so much I thought it might burst.

***********************

Perhaps it’s moments like these that have led to this sneaking feeling of contentment growing inside me. Perhaps it’s just time. Maybe I’m learning the lessons I need to learn.

This too, shall pass…

I don’t for a second believe that just because I’m travelling, I’m going to be happy all the time. Life ebbs and flows, and I have no idea what’s coming next.

But right now, I don’t really care. The fear, the uncertainty and the stress of changing my life so drastically, has already been worth it.

*****************

I wrote this post on my iPhone, whilst lying in bed. Whilst part of me wants to make it perfect with pretty photos and well-edited writing, the other part of me just wants to capture this moment, as it is.

Comments

Moments Like These — 22 Comments

  1. beautiful sarah. been wonderful following your journey, and I love the honesty. I especially loved your meditation post. love from all of us girls here in perth xxx kaz

  2. Loving reading about your adventures and experiences-truly inspirational and a reminder to never stop dreaming and doing! Keep up the great work-wonderful writing! :)

  3. Sarah, I am replying from my iPhone, sat here at my desk at work, tapping away to let you know that you don’t need to change a single word. Everything you just wrote is already perfect. Your honesty and grace is so inspiring, and that doesn’t need editing or pretty photos – we can already see its beauty xxx

  4. I love having those moments!!! I just had one of those the other day. I had returned from an incredible trip and was a bit down that I wasn’t traveling anymore, but my patient sent me the most lovely email calling me her miracle worker and it made me feel so blessed to be able to live a life of constant travel, as well as have roots.

  5. I can completely relate to this blog Sarah. It is such an awesome feeling. I know I will never return to my old life. For now I am happily traveling with one eye open for a home. I have wondered several times why you have chosen northern Thailand. Please explain. To happiness!!!

    • Hi Jill, that’s fantastic! I can tell from your blog you guys are having the most amazing time! As for Chiang Mai, it’s somewhere I had always wanted to visit. Plus after working our butts off, selling our home and all our stuff, then backpacking through Cambodia and Laos for 6 weeks, we were buggered! We needed to chill out somewhere, and from another blog I learned that we could rent a nice, air conditioned one room apartment for $300 per month.
      We got a two month visa in Vientiane, Laos, came to CM, and threw the back packs in the wardrobe, best feeling. We’ll be heading off again early next month, but it’s been so great to have a base for a while, and Thailand is a very easy place to live!

  6. Gotta take those perfect, happy moments when they come and not worry about the next thing. I think the contentment you’re experiencing is true happiness–not just a feeling, but a state of being. I’m so excited for Kim and Brian to start their own adventures…yet another couple of people to get me pumped up and keep me inspired until my own!

    • Hi Carmel, yes so true. The fortune teller told me not to worry about anything, and even though I already know there is no point worrying about the future, I was still doing it.
      Can’t wait for Kim’s post about her travels to start flooding in, the lead up has been epic enough, I can’t imagine the travelling posts!!! And also your journey, are you going to blog about all the wonderful food along the way?! Or will your blog become a travel one?! I wish you all the best xxx

      • Haven’t decided yet. I’ll probably keep mine up for food-related writing, but my husband and I will start one together to keep up with our overall travels. I would hate, after all these years with the food blogging, to give up on it for a whole year just because I may not be the one cooking. It’ll just be a picture blog. :)

        Last night I was watching an episode of No Reservations from Thailand and got so excited when he was doing a piece on Songkran. I called my husband over to see the piece, then had him read your blog entry about it. He enjoyed your writing quite a bit!

  7. I read this lovely quote the other day about how travel makes us rich in experiences if not in actual money, and I think that fits nicely with the fortune you were given! There are so many ways to have a rich life, and I think that so rarely does this refer to the actual balance in our bank accounts!

    In about a month, my husband and I will be moving out of our apartment and heading back to Toronto to live with my parents for a few weeks before setting off on our big trip. While I am dreading packing and moving, in the past few weeks I’ve actually found comfort in knowing that we’re selling as much of our stuff as we can, so there won’t actually be that much to pack. I realized that most of the furniture and belongings we have can easily be repurchased after our trip if we find that we are in the position to need/want them. But out on the road, I doubt we’ll ever think of them at all!

    • Steph, I was just thinking about that very concept, driving back from Pai today. Travel has taught me that whilst I may not be what I consider to be financially rich, compared to so many people, I am. But moreso, I am rich in opportunity and choice, something so many people of the world do not have. Making a basic living is enough of a challenge for so many, that the concept of travel is an unattainable one.
      Your choice to sell your stuff and travel the world will enrich you in so many ways, so much more than piles of material things ever can. And you’re right on the money about not missing your stuff, I don’t think about it. It’s amazing that we gather so much stuff we don’t actually need, and it’s funny that when we’re living the life of our dreams, we don’t need the stuff we found so hard to let go.

      Good Luck!

  8. What a beautiful post. I love reading your stories. It’s truly incredible of what happens when we listen to our hearts and Let go.

    Good for you to take a moment to honor how far you’ve come! That’s just as important as appreciating the journey you are on!

    • Hi Lauren, it is important isn’t it? The learning curve has been particularly steep over the last 6 months, let me tell you! It’s nice to recognize that the hard work, tough decisions, stress and fear were all worth it. I wrote about all that in detail at the time, so I think it’s good to say, ‘yep, it all turned out okay!’ Good luck with your own adventures xxx

  9. Hi Sarah, love to still follow you. Sue and I will be Phuket and Koh Samui first couole of weeks in August. Just in case you are around at that time !!

    Hey, and don’t forget, love, happiness and contentment come from the inside. You can have these your whole life long, no matter if you are travelling or not.

    Miss your face here on a Saturday – but then, I have my memories and woooosh, there you are with me. Love Di xxx

    • Hi Di! Miss you too!!! That’s great, I have no idea where I will be, but would be so great to see you, I’ll drop you an email soon. Lots of love to you and Sue xxx