Today marks the three month anniversary of my traveling. I am sitting in the common area at Coincidence Hosel in Chiang Mai. It is after breakfast, before lunch. Most of the guests have left the building. Me, Katrin, Shanna and Sam are having som office time. That has become one of my routines during these months. Office time is when I take the opportunity to read the news, write a blog post, respond to a letter, create digital products, attend online courses and other similar tasks that require I bring out my iPad and keyboard. That is also the time for rest from traveling. Like being at home away.
Katrin and I met in Bali, stayed in touch and met up here in Chiang Mai. She has been on the road for a month and a half and will head back March-April. We are different in many ways and in others very alike. In a few days we will split up, her going to a quiet Vipassana retreat south of Bangkok, me heading west to Myanmar. If the winds blows in that direction we might meet again on this trip.
Sanna is a young woman I met yesterday morning when having breakfast. Her father is from Egypt, mother from Sweden, living first in Egypt and then in Sweden, being fluently bilingual in Arabic and Swedish, now traveling before starting her job with Doctors Without Borders as translator.
Sam is a young englishman I met yesterday morning when having breakfast. Being a teacher, biologi being his major, he will attend a course here in Chiang Mai that will grant his the possibilities of going further in his career, teaching young adults more or less anywhere in the world.
We were six having breakfast, starting with the usual questions, ending up going to Doi Suthep. That included the fun of identifying how to get there, bargain for taxi price, getting there, enjoying being there, identifying and doing the bargaining thing for the transport back, getting off much too early, walking, having a wonderful lunch in a local restaurant in the outskirts of Chiang Mai paying the local price, continuing walking to the city centre, identifying a place offering after work activities, walking back to hostel. Such a wonderful day. That is some days are.
Some days are hard work. When I try to get some information on how to get from point A to point B and everybody are pointing in different directions. When language barriers are very much present. When I get stopped from entering a building because I am a woman.
When a white person gets annoyed with me when I by mistake walk on the wrong side of the street. Because that never happens with the locals, because they are always very patient and understanding and will most probably end our encounter with friendly smile. But the white middle aged man will yell at me because he most probably is one of those who live in this country because it is so cheap but don’t bother to much about the way of living here. That is hard work on my nerves.
Being able to communicate when not knowing the language is essential. I wrote a post on this topic before I left home. It turns out I have proven myself right. A smile and a Hello has never failed me. Praising and showing how much you appreciate the local food will get you ever further.