Sunday, April 13, 2014

Day 87 - 97 - Thailand: 11 days of island life: Renewal & Revitalization

How does one end 3.5 months of travel, visiting temples, street food vendors, rolling mountains, clear lakes and bustling cities of South East Asia and observing untouched Bhutanese culture and climbing mountain peaks in the Himalayas of the sub-Indian continent? I chose Ko Pagnan, Thailand to cleanse, relax and zen-ify for 11 days.

Before I left for the island, I had told people I'm escaping to an island in Thailand at the end of my trip to read and not talk to people to wrap up my trip. I figured being a hermit was a good contrast to the populated and nonstop concrete jungle I call home, Manhattan. I should have know that 'plans' never work out as expected.

My lone wolf vision ended before it barely began when i ended up on a ferry with 2 lovely women, Nikki and Sharon:

and I met a whole crew of awesome people whose company I thoroughly enjoyed.

And you know what? Good company is exactly what I needed! At the same time, I got the necessary end of my trip 'me' time to process all my experiences from the last 3.5 months. I truly feel zen and although I could still keep travelling, living the life of the vagabond backpacker, I'm at peace with coming homing for my 'domestic adventures' in the United states.

It's not like my international adventures are coming to a halt though! I have London and Paris at the end of April and more European get-a-ways to come with Alberto in London until the end of August.

So with that said, here are some snapshots of daily island life:

Sharon caught me in this pose, saying hello to the sun before I went for my morning dip:

Daily 5:30am wakeup to see pink skies, red egg sunsets and hear the cicadas awake, chirping in unison like clockwork at 5:58am in short cycles of intense volume to silence throughout the morn.
Delicious fresh coconuts,

Short hikes up and down to the adjacent bays with views of the aquamarine water below

sweaty and hot afternoons from the shelter of a shaded hammock,

Late afternoon steam room sessions before an early evening know the usual island life stuff!

I left Thailand at the start of Songkran Festival (Apr 13-15). This is the traditional New Year's Day celebrated by throwing, or rather dousing, people with water - whether with water guns, hoses or buckets! This ritual represents a time for cleansing and renewal.

While I have no regrets in my life and I'm fortunate enough to presently have my health, a job, an exciting city to live in and wonderful people in my life, my recent travels did provide me with a feeling of renewal and revitalization that only made it fitting to witness the 'cleansing' and joyous water fights between the Thais along the streets and in cars as I drove to the airport to return home.

NEXT STOP: 1 week in Cali

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