Jungle Village in Pak Song

I wake up in my thirteen bed dorm at Eco-Logic in Pak-song in the south of Thailand. TakeDSCF0958 a shower in the beautiful bathroom: Bamboo pipe as the shower head, with cooling water pouring over my head. The entirety of the bathroom is designed to be wet. Large red tiles covering the floor with drains. Its nice to have so much space to be able to be wet in. I do some push ups and sit ups in the bath room rinse off walk around in there, say hello to my gecko friends, dry up and walk out.

Yoga in the morning! I had two teachers  throughout my stay. One female Dutch woman who had beautiful sequences and a sun salutation sequence that she designed her self, named the dragonfly. After practicing her sequence, I finished in savasana: mental stillness and physical bliss. I ask for nothing more in my experience with yoga.

The other teacher, a male Scottish teacher. He had just gotten his 200 hour teacher training, which is the first training someone receives in order to become a teacher. He was very kind, but very eager. In his conversations he would eagerly try to sell his point overlooking the listening or understanding aspect of the conversation. In his classes he portrayed the same style. He would try to get you in this “advanced” pose without much progression. For me yoga is not about the posses you accomplish or how deep you get in the stretch, but the constant focus on the exploration of the body. When your awareness is on the exploration of the way your body feels in each pose, for an extended period of time… it is meditation… it is grounding and freeing.. you are present. He was an over eager student as I see it, not yet a teacher. And so I stopped attending his classes after 3 attempts. I did not tell him how I felt, because I didn’t feel it was my place. But I did explain to him what Yoga means for me… perhaps that sparks curiosity.

Traveling and Yoga are one in the same. You can know all of the poses, how they are done, and try to accomplish each pose; you can know all the places, where they are located, and check off all the sights you wish to see. Yes you can move through the motions. But it is in the exploring of how these things truly feel for you and discovering new ways to move about in those spaces that is the art. That is learning. That is living.

Day to day at Eco-Logic:

5-meditate

6:30-yoga

8-breakfast

9-work in the garden, weeding, watering. Cleaning the new restaurant that that is being renovated with a view of the jungle (Ta mah cha a.k.a natural).

12- lunch (mostly vegetarian, we occasionally had fish)

1-5- Wander around. Take a walk up the river with my water sac, a hat, camera, and spf. Walk or hitchhike to the near by swimming river.Walk into town for an ice cream and their local market.Thai language lesson.

5-Yoga

7-dinner, then Hang out with friends talking, or sitting by a fire. Lay in a hammock.

Mini adventures:

-Lan and I decided that we had to build a raft out of bamboo to place in the water and hang out by. So we went off into the bamboo forest, a.k.a the backyard, and chopped out about 8 bamboo logs. They were dead ones in case you were wondering. We roped it together threw it in the water and checked if it floated… you can say it was good enough… then we never used it again. In the process of carrying the raft I broke my flipflops. Lan quickly got some rope and we MacGyvered my sandal. We didn’t do the best job and so it broke once again shortly after. When I went to get some more rope Kon (another staff member of Eco Logic) saw me and put his hands up saying “wait here” (I think). He ran off and came back with new sandals. Presented them to me and said “for you, take take”. He presented sandals that don’t have that thong between your toes, they are silicon I believe so can get wet, and a nice color blue. The sandals I didn’t even know I wanted. I wear them everyday. His action was so warm, I was so touched. He didn’t really know me and he doesn’t have much to give.

-I went to the beach one morning with a group of people staying in the same place as me. As many people as you could count on your hands, clear water aqua colored water, Large mountains towering upwards in the distance, soft flat sand underneath the clear aqua, buffalo walking around enjoying the beach with us. It was beautiful. As I walked around I saw a large rock about forty feet from shore poking out of the ocean.  I quickly headed over to climb it. As I got closer… I saw tons of jet black crabs about 4 inches in diameter scurrying around when they noticed me. Waves crashing into the rock in quick repetition. The rock was taller than appeared from the distance. Fear came up of course and I almost didn’t go climb the rock, but then I remembered: I am a Cancer, these are my people. So I jumped up and climbed the rock feeling the adrenaline of doing it even though I was scared. Then I sat there for some time letting the waves crash over me. Such a large amount of water, being thrusted toward me by the tide from the moon. So powerful, yet no intention. All my worries and thoughts now clear,  being brought to presence by nature 🙂

-Walking to the swimming river was such a beautiful walk. I ran into a small monkey. They were selling him for 500 baht a.k.a about 20 dollars. Yes a monkey for 20$. He was so interactive. I put my bag down and instantly he reached for it and yanked it toward himself. He wanted it. “You don’t even know what is in there”!!! Then, I put my hand out and he held my hand. Chained up by the neck, poor creature. He had ears, and finger nails, and was so curious. I know I couldn’t just let him back into the wild, he might not survive. I feel bad for the little fellow and continue my walk. I reached my destination and swam around for some time. Then got out of the river and it just started pouring (good thing I had my water bag). It was so humanizing standing in the rain not caring if my things got wet. Not caring if anything got wet. It felt as if nothing else mattered. I then walked home and ended up getting a ride down the road by some guy with a pick up truck. Grabbed an ice cream and then went to evening yoga class.

Locals Life:

Being in the Eco-Logic community, I felt how they were all working together to keep this one community moving. Their work was all day… always at the location, it was their lifestyle. Some of them even had huts there. Surrounded by whom they now call family, laughing, working when something needs to be done… but they had all day here. They were committed to this place, to being here. So the work was done at their own pace. When something came up they went in that direction. My back pack was broken and a woman stopped and spent about 20 minutes fixing it, just because. If you were speaking with any one, they would turn and face you and really try to understand what you were saying. When it was break time they sat down and relaxed.. and break time was whenever break time was 🙂 Although they were at work, they appeared to feel timeless also. Different style of working.

DSCF0954At this village, and I assume most villages in Thailand, they were so resourceful. Bamboo chairs, shower heads, straws, benches.. because they had a lot of bamboo in the area!! Using nearby trees for the fire wood (used for smoking out the bugs), shredding fallen palm trees for mulch, clay dirt for their homes. They LIVED OFF THE LAND. Such a connection with nature. With out having to get connected, they just need to be. Economically, they are forced to live off the land and be connected. Is that a bad thing? I’m not sure yet. I do think that if a financial opportunity came along that might ruin their Land (selling of trees) they might take the opportunity. I don’t know for sure that that is what they would do, but perhaps.

 

 

Friends:

Shami-27 year old from the Congo/Rewanda traveling around with a suit case and his dj set… his life in his possession. Translating directly from his Swahili style to English words, creating many beautiful prose. He had many wise things to say, when he spoke at all. “I speak when I have something to say”.

Maarten-very kind welcoming dutch kid 23 years old. Speaks decent Thai and has been traveling to Thailand back and forth for 3 years. Likes to party!! Electronic mellow dj

Freek-Best friends with Maarten. A lover at heart. Likes athletics, talking, and Electronic music. He had the moves!!

Tina-Sweet free flowing indiana girl. USA! First time out of the country!

Candace- Very interesting girl. Photographer who wants to live in the San Francisco Bay area. Also from Indiana 23 years old. Many life questions she is still trying to figure out, but has time 🙂 Good conversations.

Lan-The Thai jungle man. Truly a traveler by heart. Its in his nature. He lives in the south working at a hotel resort makes money, then goes to Eco logic and lives in the jungle for a few months. Then off to the next job and back for twelve years. Can make it in the jungle with just a machete and his sling shot. Always cheesing! Always going with the flow.

Ilona-33 year old Dutch woman. Just had a lifestyle change and is getting really into finding herself. Comfortable showing her excitement, which was nice.

So many different people, all harmonized in one location. Separately going off on our own or with one other, uniting again as one big family. Always in harmony, it was nice 🙂 A feeling not always felt.

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Once my 7 days were up I was comfortable with the timing. I was happy with the connections I made, felt like I was able to open up and show my true colors. I was leaving no stone unturned as far as my personal beliefs and being vulnerable. I was being myself and it felt good. So when it was time to go, I was happy to. It was my time to move. I felt that I wanted to be in a more mobile area, so I decided to go north to Chiang Mai where I could easily get around to many different towns. So, I hopped on a plane and went north about 3 hours.

I got to Chiang Mai and went for a walk around. Found a cool yoga studio, so I took a class and the teacher was great 🙂 Aussie man with good alignment ques, challenging class for sure. It was called Freedom Yoga and I highly recommend it. Adam chased his dream and landed in Thailand owning a Yoga Studio.

I went out to this little square close to my hostel. It was a square block of dancing and social activities where everyone was hanging out. Sitting down enjoying a beer, some fellow travelers from the table over invite me to sit with them. We spent the night out together and it was fun… but I learned that I want more time with people to truly unravel and get to know each other and myself. If ends up feeling better. Although, I do feel like sometimes I do connect deeply with someone in just a moment. So maybe time is not the variable I need to change.

Early in the morning I woke up feeling an uncomfortable lonely feeling. Im not sure why I felt this angst to move, but I ran away from Chiang Mai! So many options… I just didn’t want to settle for one. Or unhappy with what I had, just “not this” my mind said, although it was perfect there. It’s a balancing act to travel around. Having to find the balance at each different place you go, each different person you meet. This time, I tipped off balance and ran off to Wat Tam Wua. A vipassana meditation center in the mountains. Hoping to recenter myself and more easily catch this balance and be able to be present wherever I was instead following the urge for “not this” and making frivolous moves. But instead meet the town. Catch the balance. Settle in.

I went to the bus station and got on the bus to later find out it was a 6 hour ride! Before getting on the bus the driver asks me where I am going: “To Mae Hong Son” (the town near the Wat) “Hmmm.. are you going to Wat Tam Wua”? “Yes, as a matter of fact I am, how did you know?” He didn’t understand that question. But he knew I was getting off at the Wat and said it was about an hour closer than Mae Hong Son. Interesting and lucky for me.

I arrive at Wat Tam Wua. Hike up about a mile with my pack into these beautiful mountains. Such a peaceful air. All different faces strolling along the land with white linen clothing. I felt happy with my decision. I was given some linen clothing, slipped them on and began my centering phase 🙂

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