Travel reflections: community

The time in Chiang Mai was really comforting and nurturing for me in a few different ways that got me thinking about what we’re doing.

Before I continue, for anyone that doesn’t know me that well let me put it out there right now that I am a greedy person and have a tendency to want more than should be possible by the laws of physics. 🙂 So, it is completely true and accurate that I 100% want to be doing this big trip and am still amazed and grateful for the fact that it’s actually happening.

But… I have also been spending a lot of time during this trip thinking about the future (not wanting to be there yet, but contemplating how I’d like it to be) and often feel somehow unfulfilled.

The things that felt best to me about being in Chiang Mai seem to be pretty at odds with life on the road.

It was great to have someplace that felt like “home”, to have someplace a bit more spacious and personal than another hotel room, to have the ability to do peaceful-feeling domestic things like laundry and cooking (I know, in “normal” life things like laundry can sometimes feel like a chore, but in this context it felt really comforting. 🙂 Allison, you’ll be amazed to hear I even didn’t mind (much) doing the dishes.).

It also felt very sweet to have a “neighborhood”. Finding the cute health food shop down the street (it became a regular shopping destination) and chatting with its friendly owner made my day. Finding a good yoga teacher in town was great too – Vari at Namo studio was a sweetheart and totally inspiring.

Probably the best part of Chiang Mai though was meeting Jaime, the amazing Ayurvedic director at the resort. Beyond being great at her profession, she’s also a totally nifty, heartfelt and fun chick, and I felt immediately at ease with her. Connecting so easily and openly with another person was better than all the massages I got at the resort combined. She lives in town and was generous enough to invite me to join in some group discussions on Ayurveda and digestion at a healing center run by one of her friends. It was such balm to my heart to have that time with the small group of like-minded women, sharing and chatting and laughing.

It helped to underline some of the dis-ease that I’ve been feeling. I recognize now that something I’m really longing for (while, as I said, still being excited for all the travel we have ahead of us) is community.

I think Roman and I are different in this way. He loves his friends and family for sure, but so far I don’t think he’s been feeling a lack of socializing, while I feel pretty hungry for connection. I’m have enough perspective at this point in my life to be able to see it relatively objectively (most of the time at least… 😉 ), rather than to just feel it and feel overwhelmed by it, thank goodness. But it still makes me a bit sad sometimes, even as I am enjoying where we are.

I don’t have any sort of pearl of wisdom or enlightening anecdote to share from this experience (yet??). I think perhaps I have more to look at and think about in terms of how I was living before in Switzerland and the choices we are making during this trip. One thing Roman and I have been talking about is trying something different for some of our next stops, like volunteering of WWOOFING, so we’ll be in one place for longer and having more interaction with people. And I can’t help but fantasize about what life might be like in the next chapter. At this particular moment, I’m picturing a big, cozy kitchen full of people I love dearly and lots of laughter.

One thing that is more solid than any of those speculative thoughts though, is the huge love I feel for my friends and family. Even though I keep moving physically further away from them, they remain very immediately present in my heart and thoughts. So to all of the people out there who I love, please know how very and truly grateful I am to have you in my life, and how much I’m looking forward to seeing you again. 🙂 Much love!

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