The familiar call of geckos offers comfort as night sweeps over my new little home. Mosquitos squeeze through cracks in the bamboo walls – buzzing hungrily and vying for their first evening meal. The fan turns gently from side to side, offering minimal relief from the heat. The bathroom is outside – sunlit, or moonlit – your choice. There is something so beautiful about showering in nature with the sky looking down and you looking up. Music wafts through the jungle in a steady rhythmic swirl, lost and then found in creeping vines and swaying palm leaves. It wails occasionally and at other times is driven by relentless heavy beats. It gathers momentum as the night folds into the early morning. The energy builds and then the sun rises again. It always does. The light always follows the darkness. And I surrender to it. The moist sticky air tucks me in. There’s comfort in the life that surrounds, and there’s comfort in escaping it.
Without trepidation I unpack my bag.
I’ve come back to the place where this dream began over twelve months ago.
First born over long conversations spilled into the sea. Details delicately converging to create new ideas, new shapes, in salty air thick with humidity. Sun kissed skin and thirst is quenched from the inside – out with fresh coconut juice and pina coladas. In a place where endless sunsets mark days that fold effortlessly into nights. In a place where there is no noticeable beginning, or end. This dream was of a life less ordinary… and it was first born here on Koh Chang.
Little did I know that those conversations were heard, and every wish I made then, has since been granted. I think they call it the law of attraction.
I worked hard for it. But I am also lucky. It has taken me six months of travelling through third world countries to realise just how lucky. So lucky. Because for some, for many even, it doesn’t matter how hard they work – the option simply never arises. And for me it did. This dream came true because I made it. It also came true because I am lucky. Both those factors were necessary for this to become my reality. Both of these things allowed me to give myself the gift of time.
To come back to a place is never the same. Maybe it’s changed, or you’ve changed, but it always feels different.
Same, same – but different.
To be here, where these dreams were made, is almost surreal. I still remember arriving twelve months ago like it was yesterday. I remember feeling I was on the cusp of some grand plan. It was so sweet I could almost taste it. Almost. That sweetness was softened by the saltiness of truth, and obstacles that appeared insurmountable. But it can be done. And for me to return here is my own solid evidence that dreams can become reality. And the friends I made back then, remain here. It’s like coming home, back to a point in time where everything changed – and yet forward to a point in time, where this is my life.
So I have simply stopped and unpacked my bag. I booked a bungalow in the jungle for two weeks to recharge my batteries and prepare myself physically, and mentally, for trekking in the Himalayas. This chapter is about being still.
Thailand. She’s like an old friend I am always glad to see.
As the days melt away I feel myself folding into the cracks seamlessly. I feel myself beginning to unwind and let go. I am affording myself some time to process the last six months, and to digest the lessons learnt. I am allowing myself some time to spend with friends and to just be in the moment – not preoccupied with finding a bed, booking a bus, figuring out visas or how I will get myself from A, to B. This time is the most expensive, luxurious gift I have ever given myself.
The precious gift of time.