Goodbye Thailand

Tomorrow I head to New Zealand. 

Thailand has been wonderful. Everything from my entry coming from Africa, my time with Terri and the city of Bangkok. The few pounds I shed in Africa I found again… Here. The city is a monster but not a scary one. It’s mammoth size is like that of NYC but its so, so very different. I spent most of my time in an area called Prompong and walking around. Once back from my island time, I hopped on the sky train and explored a bit more. I decided to take in some touristy sites on Sunday but was limited to a Longtail boat ride up/down the river and the oldest temple in Bangkok, that is home to the Reclining Buddha. I saw more Buddha statues than I have my entire life in those few hours walking the temple. The actual Reclining Buddha was epic … His feet were huge and the bottoms had beautiful inlay with mother of pearl. The grounds of the temple reminded me of walking the Forum in Italy … Beautiful, mystical and surreal amidst this massive city… and, cats. Cats everywhere. I’d definitely come back as a cat & hang out in temples and ruins. The people watching would be amazing. : )

I tend to enjoy doing the “other” things when I travel and found that my TukTuk ride from the temple home was quite the adventure. My driver was great and took me for an adventurous ride (I think he was trying to avoid traffic, which is maddening here). We witnessed a scooter crash, zipped in/out of markets setting up for the night, dodged some sprinkles & had to ask for directions toward the end. It took nearly an hour and a half and I saw a lot of Bangkok, at dusk ~ perfect! I walked back to my swanky apartment and bam it started pouring down - thunder, lighting and pounding rain. Again, … perfect. 

The food has been great. I’ve had everything from noodles to curry to sushi - which I’m heading out for tonight my last night. I’ve ordered street food from vendors and not quite sure what I ended up eating. One day I thought I ordered some grilled chicken on a skewer … I’m certain it wasn’t chicken. The first day in Bangkok I found a cart that was very popular and ordered a noodle bowl from a tiny lady. She pointed to a piece of grilled/BBQ’d meat and I said “sure!” Again, not sure what that was. On the island, I had great tasty dishes. One morning I had a BLT that was Devine, …Oh, Bacon! We shared some pretty great pancakes the size of our heads, and fried bananas with warm honey. For me the only thing missing was good wine, but I got thru it. : )
New Zealand will make up for what I missed the last 6 weeks. 

The other day I visited two different Starbucks locations here in Bangkok. U-Sa Patanachotikul, from Partner Resources was kind enough to meet me and set up two interviews, one with a store manager and the other a part time barista. I was able to chat/film them each, in their stores and ask them about their dreams and how working for Starbucks is helping them achieve those dreams. It was invigorating, inspiring and just plain fun. They seemed as excited about my DreamMaker project as I am. It was … A very good day. 

My time has been surreal. I’ve started to see the end of my travels and my bank account is dwindling. The stress of my “real world” has begun to creep in and freak me out. I’ve let “that” voice crawl in and tell me what I’m doing is irresponsible - that I shouldn’t throw away my life savings like this! It’s difficult to talk yourself down from that, but I’m trying. I know the stories I’ve witnessed and captured are amazing but that ‘devil’ of a voice really is evil. It can take all these amazing experiences and squash them in a nano second. I’m human and have fallen prey to this over the last few days. What if everything I’m hoping to do doesn’t work out? What if I interview all these great people that work for Starbucks in Thailand & New Zealand and Starbucks says “thanks, but no thanks?” What if I make a documentary about the Porters of Kilimanjaro and people aren’t interested? What if the connection I wish to make with Bridges To Prosperity & Starbucks doesn’t pan out? What if… I have to end my sabbatical early and go back to managing a store? Does thinking this way make me weak or not confident? My answer that I have to sometimes fight to find… Is NO. 

I can’t help but remind myself where I was last month and how lucky I am. Feeling these moments of fear or emotion are part of the journey. I’ve had a glorious 6 weeks so far. My experiences, the people I’ve met, the hours, days and weeks have been pure magic. The code of our culture (which can be fucked up at times) is bound to creep in. I haven’t had the opportunity to really talk to anyone who knows me since we came down off of Kilimanjaro & The Scott family left. I’ve had FaceTime with Terri a few times and she came to visit, but otherwise it’s just been me and wonderful people who don’t really know me. I’ve posted pictures on Facebook & Instagram - but my community, my friends & family, my everyday connections haven’t been here. It’s a strange thing to do for an extended period of time. I enjoy this time to myself and revel in it, but it can take a toll on me when I’m feeling alone or emotional. I don’t think I saw it coming, which is another factor. Regardless, I will kindly usher “those” feelings out and work to steady myself - in myself. Then, I will remind myself that everything will be, what it will be - and I will be, … grateful. 

New Zealand is my next stop. I get to travel to this wonderful new place where my old neighbors Kim & Matt now live. I’m excited to see where they’ve landed and what their lives are like now. I’m also meeting with some farmers who provide the wool for SmartWool socks. I get to hang out with these folks and film them for a few days. It’s a connection that came from my sock drop to the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Program (KPAP). It’ll be a real treat to witness these farmers and where all that great wool comes from. How wonderful is it that I asked for some socks to donate to people who really, really need them & now I get to see how/where it all starts. This is the final destination before I begin my long journey home October 1st. 

As always, thanks for checking in and ~ stay tuned for the last leg of a wonderful journey.