Written By Fields & Jordan
Greetings from an airport cafe in Taipei, Taiwan. This past week has been a kerfuffle of events. We began the week in Chiang Rai, refueling after a long stay with the Hill Tribes full of games, learning bamboo skills, chickens, and amazing foods. City life was popping. Our hostel was mega bougie. There was a pool table and a real life pool. It hosted our spa nights as well as well as our Shrek movie nights.
Our journey continued on the Sahainan permaculture farm on the most windy road we had ever been on. A couple hours of hairpin turns and many Dramamines later our group lunched on some noodle dishes and arrived ready to get our hands dirty. Sandot and Shen, our hosts, welcomed us with open arms and tasty vegan food. Highlights from the farm included Whitney climbing a banana tree and whacking down banana flowers with machetes (much harder than it looks) and Daniela and Fields learning the art of an inexact banana cake recipe (sparking a debate over the differences between a ‘palmful’ and a ‘handful’ of baking powder). As always our journey included a companion animal. This time it was a white and orange cat named Crispy, after crispy bacon (a common threat to the cat while it died to eat from the communal table). As we were settling into the slow steady pace of farm life, life outside began to go nuts.
While maintaining presence while trying to quickly wrap our head around such giant plan shifts we tried our hand at bamboo house building as well as the subtle science of compost mixing. To top it off Rosalba donated her copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as a group read aloud for entertainment through the day. Late night card games and prank wars were replaced with news briefings and processing sessions as our itinerary shifted daily with the world’s response to COVID 19. Mega shoutout to Carpe headquarters for working round the clock (a hard thing to do with time difference thrown in). When the final decision to return home was called, we hopped in a van and made our way back to Chiang Mai for one final dinner, a stroll to the glorious 7/11, and a last minute trip to the night market where Miku showed off her finely tuned bartering skills.
Using our collective powers of manifestation, we bent time to squeeze a plethora of days into one farewell dinner on the river. Both Jordan and Daniela’s birthdays were celebrated with cake, song, and artistic cards. Between bites of tofu pad Thai and pineapple rice (served in a pineapple) we reminisced and gave gratitude.We thought back to our first week together in Chiang Mai tasting our first of many mango smoothies, a scavenger hunt resulting in Whitney spitting out her smoothie onto Rosalba and Fields, and riding our first songtao.
Our memories brought us back to our Mae Rim homestays with Ajarn Petchara where we sang the notorious elephant song and took part in Thai dancing with the ladies. The village of Ban Apa stood out in our minds as a favorite time on the trip. Whether it was McKenna and Jordan mixing paint for multi colored handprints to decorate the well we worked (shoutout to Jordan for getting Shackle’s paw print on there as well), Nat busting out some mad rad jams on the banjolele or swimming lessons with Rosalba.Our jungle trek was a test of strength and endurance as well as patience and care of step. Our guides brought light to our days with puzzles, jokes, and the iconic ‘learning by doing’. All of this time was made ever better by Shackle, our loyal companion who stuck with our group even after countless attempts of Manop’s to send her home. Our days in the hills came to grand hurrah with a full moon dance where Paff showcased his bird like dance moves. We ended the night with a full moon lit chat reflecting on the beauty of our journey thus far. Back in the city we continued our journey to a crowd favorite, the underwater mermaid style Blue Temple, and later to the pop culture embedded White Temple where we found Keanu Reeves, Harry Potter and Yoda on the walls. From temples to markets to villages, mountains to cities, and farm food to street food, Thailand was pretty rad all around with mega groove tucked around every corner.
Our month in Thailand taught us lessons that we will keep in our tool belts for a lifetime such as the game of Hearts, how to fight a scorpion you meet on the path, the true importance of learning by doing, the art of the squat toilet, and the hygienic joy of the butt gun. Perhaps our most important lesson as well as challenge was flexibility. The ability to fall into the “flexy flexy” lifestyle as we laughed at our mistakes while getting to know a new city, learned to use previously unfamiliar transport, and ate new foods. We learned from our mistakes and took challenges in stride. As our minds were grooving and moving to the Thai rhythm of life we were given the space to dive inward and explore our inner landscape through both self guided and prompted self reflection. Our ultimate test of flexibility came with the decision to return to the states. No matter how much we had planned or how much hard work we had put in to make this semester happen, there are so many things we have no control over, pandemics being number one on that list.
As our time together is rapidly coming to a close we are reminded of the beauty of human connection and the miraculous potential of each day of our lives. Each member of our group brought their unique essence to our journey and together with Rosalba’s humor, Whitney’s drive, McKenna’s quirkiness, Daniela’s curiosity, Paff’s poetry, Miku’s kindness, Jordan’s strength, Nat’s authenticity, and Fields’ funk, we mixed and melded to create a month of Thai magic.
Thank y’all for an amazing Thai adventure.
Kop Khun Kha,
Signing off from the plane,
Fields & Jordan