Lucky

Back on the farewell tour: and how do we feel about leaving again?

 
More than one thing can be true.
— Mike Wilbon**

Less than a week left in Krung Thep and my feelings are mixed, but not that straight-forward: more like all of one, then that gets wiped out by the next that comes crashing in, then the next next obliterating that one and filling me to the outer layers of epidermis and thongs.

I feel ready

My time in Bangkok has been positive and very necessary. The stability gave me time to write, saved me money, and let me roam while providing comfort. It's a great city for a farang.

But it also becomes difficult/expensive to maintain visa privileges in Thailand unless you're employed by a Thai company--and that's not the deal for me right now. Plus I've struggled with the language, and it becomes isolating, even for me, to go days without a decent conversation (you should see the excitement in local eyes when you say "Phom puud pasa Thai nik noi" turn to disappointment when they discover just how little Thai you puud).

Much as I love this place, I don't fit. Sometimes literally.   

my apartment stairwell

my apartment stairwell

Plus, I want to explore all I can of these kingdoms and republics before the money runs out. So it's time to ramble on. But then...

I feel sad

I've been lucky in this life so far: parents and siblings still alive, I'm pretty healthy. So my greatest sadnesses (aside from the deaths of extended family and a dearly beloved mentor) come when I leave those I love. Had a lot of that on the 2017 farewell tour, shed a lot of tears. Those feels came back last night when my Thai friends (after a little birdy told them) organized a going-away dinner and tacked on a game night afterward.

Photo credit: Ashley (or in Thai, AshLEEEE)

Photo credit: Ashley (or in Thai, AshLEEEE)

Besides being travel buddies and islands of bilingual relief in a sea of mae ruu, they are sweet, and funny, and giving. They've made me feel at home half a world removed from mine. And as I walk away from them, and a city that has sometimes frustrated but deeply enchanted me, it's hard not to stumble. 

And then...

I feel scared

Because when I left last time, I came to a farang-friendly city where I had at least a friend. And while I'll have the same (a brother, in fact) at my next destination, the time there will be--unless plans change dramatically--much shorter. After that, I'm on to lands where I know not a soul. Lands where English and kindness to farang (or whatever I'm called there) and maybe even cell service aren't guaranteed. I'll be pushing outside of my comfort zone father than ever before.

And that's the point. That's where growth happens. That's the kind of fear I'm here to push through.

It doesn't make me any less afraid. 

 

**I'm sure somebody said it before him, but PTI was a long-time thing for me so I'll give him the dap.

Slow going in this magic city

 
no, not  that Magic City

Monday I sat in a Bangkok McDonald's, distrait and distraught, missing my home halfway round the world.

Friday I sat on a Bangkok sidewalk, sweating in the night swelter, sipping iced coffee and nibbling fried cheese, with an interesting person (interesting, not "interesting"), sharing thoughts on bucket lists, karma, the great barrier reef, Thai monarchy (all positive, I promise), family, relationships, mistakes, and crazy decisions amongst others.

She called me courageous. I called me lucky. The people I carry with me are courageous.

love you all

love you all

We talked for hours and sometimes we didn't talk at all, just sat or walked, taking in all the beauty in this magic city.

trump would abide

trump would abide

There were more photo-worthy sights but I didn't take pictures of them, because sometimes it's about being there in the moment. Because living life through Instagram's lens seems to me a fate worse than death. And because, while I love visiting a good wat, the magic of travel is always in the people you meet and the experiences you share with them.

So instead, this night in Bangkok, most of the magic was mine (ours) alone.

Afterward I walked 4 km to my room, sweating through my cleanest dirty shirt, disdaining every taxi and tuktuk because I wanted to make the night last. Just taking things slow.

I'm not used to going slow. But I'm enjoying getting there.