The Art Of Travel And Travel In Thailand

 Travel For Self-Discovery

The word travel means journey or to journey through. Travel used to be purely for pleasure, but speak of the word travel now and it opens up no end of possibilities. Travel today is a massive industry. So just what does travel really mean.

Whenever I am in Thailand I will stop off at a new place whether town, city or village and take my early morning wandering. If I am in the same place for a week I will just set off in a different direction each day. I have done this for as far back as I can remember, leaving around 6-30am on foot and returning approximately some 4 hours later. I need no guide-book, no direction and no plan and take what ever turnings my intuition tells me to take.

Vagabonding or a real sense of adventure traveling is the only true form of traveling in my opinion. No time schedule, no itinerary, no destination, no mobile phone and no mail ”what a joy”. nobody knows me and I know nobody. I go in which ever  direction I choose and I stay for as little or as  long as I choose.

I love to go a wandering

When traveling around the congested areas  I love nothing more than for a self-confessed expert  to ask me where I am going. On replying I am usually told ”oh there is no interesting sights to see there and no one really goes there. My answer is always ”good that is why I am going”. Anyway further questioning will usually reveal that they have never been either, but received some second-hand information. Second hand information is fine of course as long as you check it out yourself.

Whilst in a small village or town I want to be tasting the local food, observing the people, interacting with them as much as possible and observing their customs. Observing people is fascinating, but I don’t know them and they don’t know me and it’s the mystery that I love. However when in the mountains surrounded by nature I care not to see people. Observing the lakes, bridges, flowers, birds and the natural beauty of the area is all that is required.

In the west we are taught as we grow up to keep our minds occupied, keep ourselves busy and out of mischief. To set up to-do lists and see how many tasks we can strike off in one day, but of course the never-ending to-do list fills back up again.

In the East they talk in the opposite direction in the form of emptying the mind, the stillness and the quietness within and the process of finding your natural self. I would suggest that a trip to the mountains for a day surrounded by nature is just the right setting for finding one’s self, just let the observations, quietness and stillness do the rest. 

 I am somewhat at the half way house here using the benefits from both the East and the West. Quiet and still enough to receive ideas, but sensible enough to bring a pen and paper to capture them. 

Observing life in Chiang Mai

Travel By Design

Travel is very much like a side road or an off the beaten track road that eventually leads back on to the major road of life. Eventually after all your experiences and traveling, you find the things you truly love to do in life and sustain yourself on that. There is a great proverb that summarises this. There are two things to aim at in life, first is to get what you want and after that is to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second.

So at the other end of the spectrum, when you have discovered what you love to do and what makes you happy it is time for travel and life by design. No I do not mean some itinerary where you are two hours here and two hours there visiting apparent points of interest with a tour guide. I mean deliberately designing enough time to do exactly what you love to do.

For me the last thing that I would want is to be taken along to various points of interest and have someone tell me the date it was erected and who erected it. The tour guide is somewhat like the Estate agent who informs  you on your house viewing that ”this is the bedroom” . 

The travel experiences are really the refined travel, as you already know to a good degree what you don’t like to do. For instance there is no point booking me a morning of Golf as I don’t like Golf and would class it as a complete waste of my time and would decline the offer.  Although I love the sun I have no desire to spend a day at the beach either, I don’t do it in England or Thailand, however I do love the coast. I find a day at the beach equivalent to having teeth pulled, both very painful, but shut me in a book shop for the day and I am in my element. It’s basically about whatever does it for you or what your passions are. This of course can be tailored to both travel and the bigger picture of life.

However the main purpose of travel for me is all about ”the difference” observing how others do things differently, learning different things that are of interest to you, tasting different food, meeting different people then staying a while and moving on. Keeping it fresh and varied as it were.

I never understand the people who go abroad and stay in the five-star accommodation, to meet the people and taste the food from their home land. However on the other hand if that is what makes someone happy, and there is nothing they would rather do, then that is their prerogative. Of course though traveling and tourism are two totally different things.

As far as  group travel  is concerned I cannot think of too many things worse. An itinerary full of places you’re not that keen on going to, with a load of people you would rather not be going with and a babbling tour guide full of useless facts and information. Unless traveling with the family I would say two people is the biggest group you should have, that is you and a partner or mate. And only then should a mate or partner accompany you if you really love doing the same things.

Call it selfishness if you will, but I am a massive fan of solo travel. The art of doing exactly as you please, at the time you want to do it. At the very least if you are in a group, make sure it is a group of like-minded people.

The Natural Beauty Of Surrounding Chiang Mai

The Simple Pleasures Of Thailand:

Don’t you just love it , when your sat in a small side street restaurant under a galvanised roof with the rain beating down. The rain hitting the roof is making one heck of a noise, but you just watch without a care in the world. Whilst observing the rain your drinking an ice-cold Singha beer and eating a delicious noodle and the dog is chasing the chickens.  Oh how I love that.

Don’t you just love it, when you jump in to a taxi in Bangkok and watch life through a traveling taxi window. So much to see, so many people going about their business and so many stories both happy and sad i’ve no doubt. I just don’t want to get out of the taxi as I just love watching life in action.

Don’t you just love it, the freedom you feel when your out early evening with younger children and you hear some good music. You stop you listen, but you remember you have youngsters with you and can’t go in. You ask the lady at the door if it was possible to come in as you have children with you. (In England it’s no I’m sorry sir),The lady say’s (ได้ค่ะ) of course you can and you stop for an hour. I just love the freedom.

Don’t you just love it, when you arrive in any new town or any new city in Thailand and you just walk. No map and no concern of where you are heading, just pure discovery. Discovering the character of the town and people, discovering that delicious side street restaurant or food vendor and getting a feel for the place. I so love to discover.

Don’t you just love it, that whilst in the land of smiles, what ever time of the day it is, or where ever you are, some one is going to give you a beautiful beaming smile. Isn’t that one of life’s most treasured pleasures. I just love a smile.

Don’t you just love it, when you disappear in to Chiang Mai’s used book shops and you cannot make up your mind as to which books to buy. There are so many you like and so much to learn, so you must take all day to decide.  I just love being in a book shop for long periods.

More Natural Beauty From The North

5 Great Travel Proverbs From East And West

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step …… Confucius

Its better to travel ten thousand miles than to read ten thousand books ….. Confucius

Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going……. Paul Theroux

One’s destination is never a place, but rather  a new way of looking at things……… Henry Miller

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the one’s you did do……..Explore, Dream, Discover………..  Mark Twain

Just Popping In This Chiang Mai Book Shop For A Moment

Letters From Thailand

One of the most enjoyable and insightful books I have read in recent times on traveling to experience life and to attempt to make one’s fortune is the book called Letters From Thailand. The original Thai version was out in 1969 and written by Botan, a pseudonym name. The book has been translated in English by Susan Fulop Kepner a translator of Thai literature.

The novel is based on a young man from China named Tan Suang U, who leaves China at the end of World War II setting off on a long boat trip to Thailand to make his fortune. The book gives some fantastic insights in to Thai life and culture, the culture and work ethics of the Chinese and how in the early day’s they perceived each other.

Tan Suang U dutifully writes letters to his mother one after another keeping her informed of his progress and life in general. Through marrying, raising a family and building a successful business, he keeps sending the letters from Thailand to his Mother.

It is a fascinating novel that I have had the pleasure of reading on more than one occasion. If you want some knowledge and insights into  Thai and Chinese thinking, then this is definitely the book to do it. plus you will love this novel anyway. The book ” Letters from Thailand” by Susan Fulop Kepner can be found by clicking here http://www.engagingthailand.com/booksaboutthailand2.html

Natural Smiles

The Changing Face Of Engaging Thailand

Engaging Thailand are to focus more on assisting you with your own independent niche travel, rather than taking you. The site will slowly but surely branch in to a world of information products and advisory services on niche travel in Thailand, self-discovery, life design and life long learning. Engaging Thailand will be all about finding the information for you on the things you love to do, in the places in Thailand that you love to do them. Over time Engaging Thailand will be covering many places in Thailand and many subjects.

The Engaging Thailand site is in the process of being transformed in to a world of information on Thailand that will contain….

  • Free tips on Thailand direct to the website
  • Engaging Thailand’s own information products on Thailand and Asia
  • Selected products from other people on Thailand and Asia
  • Specific niche travel information products from Engaging Thailand
  • Self – Discovery and life Design by creation products
  • Assist you with specific tailor-made designed for  purpose travel in Thailand

The process of change is already underway at www.engagingthailand.com

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