Recent Walkabout!

This post if from January 2017. I had a marvelous and relaxing trip to the Yucatan of Mexico. I needed a break from caregiving for my mother and a time to refresh my Spirit. It was perfect! Since then, I’ve had several friends visit the area and I’m always happy to offer tips and support for people wanting to travel! For now, I’m dreaming about a future longer exploration somewhere in the world when I can take a couple months off and really dive into a new culture and experience. Ciao…Larry

In a few days, I’ll be heading off to the Yucatan for rest and restoration. It’s been a year since I have had a break from parental care and I’m weary. Constant challenges, constant necessity to be aware of little things that help mom, communicating with staff, follow-up with staff, medications, etc, etc, etc. My mind and body are “sore”. So I’m shifting gears. The past year has felt a lot like an “internal walkabout”. Medical changes, falls, medication adjustments, house selling, sorting through stuff, my business changing, hospice care, etc: all of that has required or invited me to go internal and choose how I respond to things in my outer world demanding attention.

I’m very deliberate in choosing the word “respond”. A response is a choice, consciously chose, carefully deliberated with awareness of potential benefits and consequences. A reaction is automatic, unconscious, historical, reactive and with little conscious thought. I choose to live in a world of “response” rather than “reacting”. And I’ve had a ton of opportunities to work with that in the past year.

Now, I’m going for a physical walkabout. Now, I’m going to unplug my mind and let others take those reins. Now, I’m listening to my body and what it needs. Ahhhhhh! So important to have balance in life and to know when and how to exercise options!

I’m not taking my laptop choosing instead to travel with minimal connection. I’ll post something when I get home. For now, here are a few photo’s of what I am heading into.

I’m flying into Cancun and taking the ADO bus to the central bus station in Cancun. Within the hour, I’ll be on a bus to Valladolid. Shhhh….don’t tell anyone about that village! It’s quiet, slow paced, full of lovely people and great local food. There is minimal tourist traffic here so please, don’t spread the word. Eventually, I’ll also travel to Merida for the final weekend of Meridafest and then end up in Tulum for a few days on the beach.

As my departure gets closer, I can feel the shift in energy! Part of me is slowing down, present in a different way, unwinding. My mind is quieter. I’ve handled everything I can handle before leaving, communicated all I can communicate and am ready to go. Peace! Peaceful mind and peaceful body.

Next up for me is repacking my pack. Last time, I left with roughly 12-14 pounds of gear. My first packing process included “possibilities” and things that might be nice to have. Anything I can live without, that is non-essential, those all get left out the final pack. I’m doing that today.

If you have any question about this journey, please let me know. And you can aways check in with me on Facebook.

Feed your travel dreams!

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I’ve listened to four interviews of people offering services through the Paradise Pack and have a feeling they really are committed to and interested in helping.  Keep this for future reference!  And browse their works!  Maybe you’ll be inspired and get an ideas to generate more income that will help you travel more!

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Stillness speaks and rejuvenates

I’ve been back from my trip to Bali, Thailand and Laos for a little over 2 months.  My friend Tylson, whom I met in Paksong, Laos and his partner Meghan stopped through last Monday.  How wonderful to have “travel family” visit me here in Colorado!

After several more months of work and life, I have been feeling the need to retreat.  The mountains this time of year are special.  The weather has been cold so they are not too crowded.  The mosquito’s aren’t out yet.  Night’s are cold and days splendid.  Finally, I pushed things together in a way that allowed me to head up camping last weekend.  Normally, I don’t go over the weekend but that’s the way things fell into place this time.

Friday night, it got really cold up there.  Saturday morning, everything was frozen!  My tent wall was a solid sheet of ice, the moisture from my breathing condensing and then freezing.  Water in my cooking pot was frozen, ice covered water puddles around camp.

Yet, it was a glorious cloud free morning!  No wind, blue skies, stillness everywhere around.  And I have such a perfect camp bed, I never really felt a chill all night.

A reset was needed.  No connection to phone or internet.  No projects to be thinking about or working on.  No pile of clutter screaming to be cleaned up.  Just a simple life to be embraced from sunrise to sunset each day.  Nothing complicated but it certainly is challenging for many people.  The only demand of the day:  be!  Be still.  Be present.  Listen!  Feel!  Notice!  In that kind of stillness, nature surrounds and greets!

Before leaving, as I normally do (when I remember), I asked permission of the mountain to come for a visit.  I learned this from the Shaman I studied with in the past and was reminded several years ago from my Philippine healer friend, Brother Gregorio.  Ask permission!  It’s a sign of respect and of connection.

Grandfather Black Elk talked about the energy people enter the forest with.  Many people come barging and go thrashing about. They bring their harried nature, full of distraction and angst, charging ahead full speed and not noticing much of what is about them.  I noticed this in Laos amongst some of my trekking mates.  I referred to them as “shoe top” trekkers, that’s all they saw.  One trekking mate from Israel plagued by a sore knee walked to the rear slower than the rest.  Being in no hurry, I traveled just in front of her taking my time.  I watched the tree tops, searched for the birds singing there and for other signs of life.

Later in the day, she told me she liked hiking near me.  I reminded her to stop and look up, to notice and enjoy her surroundings.

Asking permission before entering the mountains, intending to go connect with the peace and stillness there and feeling calmness move into my body before I even arrive, I’m blessed by seeing a ton of wildlife.

Humming birds buzzed around my head inside my tent shelter.  They were no longer checking me out to see who or what I was.  Now they seemed to be greeting me, maybe even blessing me.

Last summer, a moose walked right through my camp.  Two days ago, a Pine Martin came within about 10 yards of me relaxing in my hammock.  The sound of my finger moving across the page got his (or her) attention.  Looking up, glancing at me, it then turned it’s head and slowly ambled off in the other direction.

The mystery novel I was reading (“Critical Mass” by Sara Paretsky) even had a line about quiet.  My paraphrase:  “some places are so quiet, it connects a person to the quiet within”.

Campfire, mountain bike rides, hiking, moose watching, hummingbird enjoyment, cold crisp night sky gazing, beaver slapping  their tail in warning at night, elk and deer, this is an amazing back yard to go and relax in.  Connected once again to my own stillness within, I’m back!

RMNP Birthday trip

After a quiet morning, writing in my journal and doing some dream for what I am birthing in the next year, I headed up to Rocky Mountain National Park.   While enjoying the sights, sounds, smells and foods of SE Asia, I reminded myself how fortunate I am to be living here in Colorado.  Not only living here, but I get out and enjoy it as well!

Off I went to a trail I haven’t hiked in years.  It has a more Southerly exposure so I assumed it would be fairly dry.  After breakfast at Mountain Home Cafe, I headed up.

During late spring and summer days, especially on weekends, the parking area fills very early!  There were only two cars this Thursday after noon.  I’d never find a parking spot this late in the day later in the spring.

The trail was dryer than I expected and I walked amidst evidence of damage done here during the floods in the fall of 2013!  Hiking nearly 7 miles, taking my time and enjoying myself, I saw only 5 other hikers during my time on the trail!

Coming into a cluster of pine trees, I suddenly smelled a very strong skunk smell like it was really close.  I stopped and looked about, saw movement, then noticed the flock of turkeys moving through.  They must have startled the skunk and it put off a warning shot!

Red Tailed Hawks circled over head.  The sun warmed me and there was little wind which is unusual up there.  The last part of the trail was a bit icy and slick.  You’ll see some of that slush in the photo of my shoes.

The last time I wore theses shoes, I was hiking in the hills of Laos!  How weather, surrounded by the fragrance of blooming robusta coffee trees, amazed by the scent and environment, that was the last time I wore these.   Now, over a month later, I was walking on snow and ice with them in the Rocky Mountains.  These shoes will collect more stories in the coming months!

I saw the first Mountain Blue Bird of the season! I found this photo:









It was a wildlife filled day!  I saw a lot of elk including some large bulls.  Then I came across a herd of Big Horn on the side of the road.  Then a large herd of elk and shortly after, the herd of deer!  It’s unusual to see so many deer together.

What a lovely day highlighted later by all the birthday wishes from friends across the world!  I feel like birthday’s are a time to set clear intentions for what I want to birth during the next year.  What a lovely experience which continues!

Here are photo’s from my day up there.

Expanded, enriched and grateful!

Since arriving home three days ago, I’ve taken several days to slowly unpack, rest, be still, hold onto the sense of ease and flow, and savor being reacquainted with my home.   I’ve have little effect of any jet lag in spite of nearly 30 hours of travel and a 13 hour time change.  One the flight home, I regularly closed my eyes, breathed into a quiet and still place inside, and reached down in my imagination to ground myself in each time zone.  I didn’t know where the time zones were so listened when the inner nudge invited me to do so.  Someone once told me that jet lag is separation of the Soul or spirit from the physical body.  Grounding keeps them together.  I continue this each day at home to stay connected and in balance with myself.

Periodically, I’ve felt a nudge to write one more post, a message of gratitude and thankfulness to all the people I met and who enriched my experience.  It’s now shortly after 3:00 am.  The nudge this time pushed me out of bed to grab my computer so here I am writing.

Alex in Laos
Alex in Laos. His mother died so he had to leave his village in Vietnam. Completely uprooted, he’s now making a new life in Laos.


Yesterday morning, a young friend  whose family is from Cambodia was asking me some questions about my trip and marveled at what I was telling him.  He told me he wished had more courage to do something similar.  What I do, how I travel, doesn’t feel like courage.  The first trip was.  Then, it was about experience.  We are good at nothing we haven’t begun!  With experience, everything becomes  more comfortable.  It takes that first step though.  And remembering that travel is not normal life so leave normal expectations aside or choose to stay in all inclusive resorts.  Being present, developing awareness of the inner message always available to us, making choices based on a feeling of ease and flow rather than the constant and confusing and critical process of the intellect and something happens to the traveler.   I call it “magic”.  The right person shows up at just the right moment.  You think you have a plan, overhear a conversation, learn about a place you have never heard of, let go of your old plan and launch into a new experience, one you could have never anticipated before but touches your life in unimaginable and delightful ways.

Girls in the village where we stayed in Laos. Materially, they don’t own much. Spiritually, they are rich!

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And in travel that way, you change!  Mark Twain is often quotes for saying, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”  Travel especially alone forced me into growing a stronger relationship with myself.  At first, my mind was so active and concerned, it literally wore me out.  As I learned to be quiet, go internally, listen to my heart and Soul, the fatigue of making decisions and constantly tumbling them around in my head stopped. The joy of listening, feeling the path of ease, discovering magical places and experiences and people in the journey replaced the intellectual weariness.  I’m not the same person returning from a trip as the one who left.  I’m expanded, refreshed, revived, my perspective has shifted.  I’ve had to let go of control and be present with what is.  No denial!

“Trust is a verb!”  I heard Stephen Covey say that once.  It’s not a noun like money in your pocket that you either have or you don’t.  It’s a verb, something you do, something you are, something you use and extend.  Traveling without tour groups or itinerary, making up plans as I move along, none of this would work without trust.  Maybe trust is the key that opens up so many magical connections and opportunities?

Leaving the comfort of a familiar place, time to move on. I heft my pack onto my back and hike to the side of the road. Sitting down and waiting, I know some form of transport will come along. Trusting! The comfort of trusting myself, the moment and that I can flow with whatever shows up. And always, it works out.

Sitting on the roadside waiting a ridev

I just saw this quote,  “A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”  from John Steinbeck.  That

Home, I’m remembering all the ways travel has touched my life and inviting those same allies, to guide my life here.  I’m remembering I’m always guided and have assistance.  I’m reminded to stop intellectually analyzing everything and pay more intention to where the feeling of ease and flow is.  I’m reminded that my most important alignment tool here is energetic, not action, and to remain clear each day on what my intention is.  No wavering!  Decide, be clear, hold the space for the intention to unfold, live the life I imagine and celebrate the magic as it unfolds.

Young friend PJ who saw me having dinner, and asked to join me. He was traveling with several friends and was always with them. Without his friends to talk to, he branched out and we met. Traveling alone, I talk with everyone. People traveling together generally talk to each other.

Home, reflecting back, I am so grateful for all the old friends I reconnected with, the new friends who showed up in my life, the experiences that showed up in front of me and the friends here who connected and joined in some way with my journey.  I check email now and have messages from around the world.  I’ve met new friends from the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Holland, Canada, New Caledonia, Laos, Vietnam, Bali, and many more places.  I connected with people from Columbia, Peru, Chile and Brazil, England, Ireland and France,  Italy, Iran,  Israel,  Switzerland,  Sweden and Finland, Australia and New Caledonia and the Philippines.  And I even met new friends from the USA.  My travel family has grown, my inner world has expanded, and I’m so grateful for the ways each person touched and enriched my life.

Thank you all for touching my life!

I wish you all a great life, life full of blessings and magic and a life filled with peace!


Time warp and decompression at home

I’m writing this post under very unusual conditions compared to recent trip post.  I have a great WiFi connection, am sitting in the comfort of my own living room, am sipping a homemade Chai and experiencing much cooler weather.  Home!

Where is that?  Home?  The answer depends on whether or not you are present.  Really present.  If you are present right here, right now in this moment, there is no home more comforting than that.

The experience of traveling home was an extension of the “segment intending” process I wrote about.  During my trip, I picked up a few gifts, some coconut oil, a wooden statue of Buddha and such.  On each occasion, at least one person cautioned, “you’ll never be able to get that through customs”.  Hmmm, how do I relate to that?

Each day, people around us, conditions around us, are planting unconscious intentions for us.  Whatever we focus on, we put energy into.  And what we feed our energy to, we increase the likelihood of happening.

I’m choosing to live in my world, based on my intention and staying present to be clear about the best live experience I can choose.  We either purposefully and clearly choose our own intention or allow some external mindset, often based on fear or worry or simple unconsciousness creep in and we have to then live with that.

I’ve often used this quote from Carlos Castaneda in my workshop materials:

“The trick is in what one emphasizes.  We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.”

What you emphasize is a choice!  Choose wisely, you will reap the reward or cost of what you focus on.

Monday am, 1:30, I was shocked awake from a deep sleep by my phone ringing.  I wondered if I could get back to sleep?  I couldn’t control that but I knew I could focus on my breathing, intend to relax, be still.  The result:  of course I got back to sleep.

My minibus to the airport was to be there by 5:00 am and I was to be in the lobby ready 10 minutes early.  I checked out of my room, moved to the front of the hotel to wait in the humid fresh air rather than the stale interior air.  And my mind wanted to wander.  I had been warned that minivan’s could be notoriously unreliable.  And they take much longer than the agents say they will, maybe 90 minutes or more rather than the 60 minute ride quoted.

Those thoughts would breed worry, concern, fretting, emotional energy being wasted left and right.  As those thoughts were popping up, a young couple came along pulling a lot of luggage and asked me if I was going to the airport too?  They had reserved a taxi.  I considered joining them.  But, the feeling inside, the place of calmness and trust, said to wait.  I had the feeling that everything would be OK.

Shortly after 5:00 am, a minivan pulled up, my ride!  There was only one person on this 12 person van.  Part of me started thinking, “Oh great, it’s going to take forever to make all the stops to fill this van up.”  Cancel!  Stay present. Breathe.  Trust everything is OK and focus on getting to the airport on time.

The driver cruised down several side streets stopping at another hotel.  One person got on.  I stayed calm, breathing, relaxed.  No worries.  Worry is a choice.  Calmness is a choice.

The van turned on several more side streets before turning onto a major road and zooming along rapidly and a bit carelessly.  The woman sitting next to me said she hoped she wasn’t going to die in a van headed to the Bangkok airport.  Really?  That’s your focus!

The van arrived at the airport by 5:35.  It dropped me right in front of Thai Airlines.  It took less than 10 minutes to get through check-in.  Another 10 minutes or so for immigration.  By 6:00 am, I was walking down the corridor toward my 8:00 flight!  Calm, staying peaceful, smiling inwardly at how wonderful it feels living from this place.

My departure was 40 minute late giving me a very tight 60 minute window to get to my next flight with Nippon Airlines to San Jose.  I stopped at an information booth to ask a question about direction.  Even through I already knew my gate number, the information hosts asked to see my ticket, looked it up on the computer and informed the gate had changed.  Poof…just like that and I was off to the right gate in the right terminal.

Nippon has given me an exit row seat for my longest flight.  Yay!  I arrived in San Jose, breezed through customs and immigration and had to take my backpack, leave the airport, walk down the sidewalk, re-enter the domestic part of the airport and check back in.  Within 15 minutes, I was checked in and through security.  Poof!

Upon arrival at DIA, I texted my friends waiting in the “cell phone” lot that I had just arrived.  Baggage was not there but my friends headed to pick me up anyway.  I texted them that I would let them know when my bag arrived.  A few minutes later, the belt started and one bag came off, my backpack covered in it’s bright yellow protective cover.  Untying the cover, putting on the pack, traveling down a flight, walking out the door and at that exact moment, my friends were driving up to the door.  Yay!

I’m home and experiencing that time warp feeling when everything around me in my world changes so dramatically in such a short time. Climate, connection, warmth, being in a world in Bangkok where everything is a few short steps away, being here in the US where neighborhoods tend to be isolated and distant.  I’m here and continuing the same intention process.

Today, I was asked how I deal with the decompression challenge when I come back from a long trip.  The more I’ve traveled, the less decompression I’ve had to deal with.  My trick: stay present, in the moment, wherever I am!  Be here now!  And this trip, after a friend suggested I visualize grounding myself to the earth each time I pass through a time zone, that feels like it’s really helped.

So, after 30 hours of travel and a 13 hour time change (this moment would be noon tomorrow were I still in Bangkok), I’m home and feeling here.  My tulips are coming up.  Daffodils are about to bloom. I put out bird seed last night and filled the heated bird bath and my critters returned already.  I’m back home, in a new rhythm, staying focused and intent on continuing an inspired, meaningful, joyful life that flows with ease and lightness.


PS…and I’m home in Colorado!  What a great place to live!

Bangkok Final Day

The phone rang a little after 5:00.  I believe it was the minivan driver here to gather me for the bus to the airport.  By the time I got to the phone, it stopped ringing.  I don’t leave until tomorrow morning!  So, will the minivan be here or not?  That’s the question!  I double checked with the agent who called the company and they assured her everything is OK.  That doesn’t necessarily mean a lot so I’m practicing my segment intending again.  It will be a perfect flow getting to the airport and onto my first flight.

Last morning here so I was back to my favorite coffee shop for breakfast.  Lovely moka and chocolate banana pancakes.  What do you think about the pancakes?


trim boat movie 104

I walked through the Wat on the way and immediately upon entering, left the noise and chaos behind.  Surrounded by stillness and the singing of morning birds, my gait slowed and I entered a walking meditation state.  How lovely!

On the other side, this is the world I entered.

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Hanging a left, walking 100 meters and there was Ricki’s.

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This is the site of my chocolate banana pancake and moka latte.  Yum!

On the way back, I decided to walk through the Wat again.  This time, I entered the temple and was treated to an hour of chanting and prayer by the monks there and a gathering there for services.  How lovely!  The feeling of the room vibrating is with me still!

trim boat movie 098 trim boat movie 097 trim boat movie 109 Monks chanting

I stumbled upon a coffee shop wandering along the river before visiting the Wat.  It looked really good but I was too full to enjoy it.  After some afternoon exploring and my changing plans because the heat was so intense, I went into the cooled space fragrant with the scent of coffee.  Reading, sipping a great coffee, cooling off, what a perfect way to spend part of my last afternoon in Bangkok!

trim boat movie 102















Across the street is a traditional Thai coffee maker with a creative little cart.

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Cooling off in the pool, going back for one final massage, good dinner at Roti Mataba and a final stroll along Khoasan Road.  Now, packed, I’m charging up my everything for the 30 plus hours of travel back to Colorado.

I feel like I’m entering my time machine.  There is a 14 hour time change from here.  I leave the morning of March 16th and get home the evening of March 16th.  Time zones, dramatically different experiences, hours of sitting, lots of hydrating, three different airlines, customs and immigration and the chauffeuring of friends and I’ll be home.

I’m happy and sad to be leaving.  And I feel like I’ve been gone for a year or more.  What a lovely experience, amazing new friends, balance of adventuring and relaxing and lots of healing time.  It’s time and I’m heading back with the feeling of going back to a different life and energy.


Vibrating bed and segment intending life

It was a late night for me last night wandering the street, listening to music and people watching. Add in a full day of travel and I was exhausted when I crawled into bed before midnight. Still a little annoyed I was not able to get a king bed, even after it was confirmed, I decided it best to let that go and enjoy what I have. A very nice room, private bath, ac, refrigerator, tv and nicely decorated. No complaints really.

Feeling content, I quickly dropped off to sleep hoping for a good night sleep. I did, for two hours. That’s when the vibrating bed and walls woke me.

The description for Rikka Inn suggest it is located on Khaosan Road but is in a Soi off to the side. Walking down a long corridor to the registration desk yesterday, I was happy to see how far it was off the actual mayhem of Khaosan Road. Once registered, turn right, elevators, turn left, down the hallway, turn left again and find my room, I had no idea what part of the area my room was located in.

When my bed started vibrating, I knew my room was practically over Khaosan Road and between multiple dueling bars. I couldn’t really hear the music but the deep base vibrated right through my room. “On No!” I thought…I may have three nights of this! Waking and sleeping until the music stopped around 3:00, I considered I might have to check out, lose my money and find a more peaceful place to stay.

In my sleepy state, I realized what I was doing, I was intending for this to be a problem. And I remembered Abraham talking about “segment intending” which is taking the time to specifically and carefully intend how you would like the next segment of your life to unfold. Shifting gears, I imagined waking up rested, going to the front desk, asking for a different room and having things move slowly. Part of me was skeptical after the luke warm help I received the night before.

Awake, showered and heading for breakfast, I went to the registration desk and explained how noisy my room was and asked if there were any rooms quieter. A quick glance at the computer and the woman at the desk said, “Yes! It will be ready for you in two hours!”.  Nice segment!

So I continued that through the day. I wanted to find the coconut oil Tyson told me about but after visiting four or five Boots Pharmacies, I had come up empty. A large store called Big C’s has it. The woman at the desk pulled out a map showing me where it was. I needed to check in with Thai Airways for my flight. Their office was right near where I would get the boat to go into the city for Big C’s.

The flow was in full engagement mode now! After breakfast, I changed rooms. On the way out of the hotel, I found transportation to the airport Monday morning at 4:50 am. A shared mini-van for $150 TB will get me there in time rather than having to take a taxi for $550 TB plus tolls. Cool!

I got a mangy fruit shake on the corner and started walking. The taxi driver wanted $100 TB to take me less than a mile so I decided to walk. The Thai Airway office was closed, it’s Saturday here, but the security guards told me where the one was open and gave me a map.

After telling me I could not get there by canal boat or BTS Sky Train, I set off for the canal boat. What a cool way to travel around the city. Bangkok was once known as “Venice of the East” for all the canals. A few boats still operate and that’s what I was on. It dropped me 200 meters from Big C’s.

A short video of the canal boat:

Big C’s isn’t a store, it’s a massive shopping center! I stopped at information and asked for directions. Then, on a lark, I showed her the map of the Thai Airway office. It was on the same street but a couple miles away. She told me to take bus “7”. I looked up my phone map and showed it to her to confirm. “No, bus 77.”

I found Boots and they had one bottle of the coconut oil. Upstairs, I found another bottle at the supermarket pharmacy. When I asked the pharmacist if the store had packing I could wrap the bottle in to carry it home, he said something to his assistant. She pulled out a new shipment of bottles wrapped in bubble wrap, unwrapped the bottles, wrapped my bottle, put it in a bag and sent me on my way.

Out the door, down to the street, stopping at the bus stop and I looked up to see bus “77” approaching. Once seated, the ticket lady on board was completely confused about where I was going. However, the woman in front of me looked at the map, told the agent how far I was going and I paid my fare. Then, she told me she was getting off at the same stop. Before we arrived at it, the man sitting across from me pointed out the office for Thai Airways.

Flow, help showing in many forms, more flow, and I believe it was all because I shifted my focus and decided what I wanted rather than what I was worried about.

On the way back, I was able to take the BTS Sky train part way. Then had to walk through a mall where I discovered Krispy Kreme Donuts! Then was back on the canal boat, a motor cycle that was waiting, stopped for coconut fruit shake and was back at my hotel.

When I remember, and I set my intention for how I would like things to flow, things always flow well! I hit the pool. Then decided to go see my favorite massage place from my past couple visits and they had a table open. It was a really amazing massage. One table was open at Roti Mataba, a wonderful small Indian cafe overflowing with customers on weekends where I had dinner. Now, I’m unpacked and reorganized. Tomorrow, I load my pack for the flight home.

One more day here to play. I will go get on the water taxi if only for a fun ride. And as I walk in the morning, will carefully intend the other segments of the day I choose to experience.


Last travel day, another mystery

I’m writing this while riding on a bus, from Koh Samet to Bangkok, reaching Bangkok during rush hour traffic on a Friday evening. If my request fora minibus had been fulfilled, I’d be in my hotel, maybe an hour ago.

It’s 5:40 pm. My “minibus” left at 1:30 for the three hour journey to Bangkok. The conversation to confirm this trip went like this.

“You sell tickets for bus to Bangkok?”
“Yes, minibus.”
“How long?”
“Three hours”.
“Only three hours?’
“Yes, three hours.”
“Can I buy a ticket?”
“No, wait until Friday morning. We call to see if they have room, then sell ticket.”
“Can I buy one now, ahead of Friday?”

And so it flowed. It sounded good with the exception of Friday rolling around and not getting a seat. But, I knew there were other less favorable buses and I would get to Bangkok.

As I write this, now four plus hours into this three hour trip, I realize I forgot a key piece of my own travel advice. Ask at least three people! Combine those answers and something close to the truth will reveal itself. I failed to do that!

There is a minibus. It runs directly to Koh San Road where I want to go. And that minibus takes three hours. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen about a dozen of them pass our slow moving deluxe bus in the past few hours. However, that company is not the one my hotel sells tickets for. Duh! I knew better! So I settle into my extended slow drive to Bangkok.

Our trip did “begin” with a minibus. For 30 minutes, we rode to a main highway, pulled over to the shoulder and wait for the big bus. After a 20 minute wait, the bus arrived and we transferred over.

When the big bus stopped for a 30 minute break at 3:30, I was certain this would not be a 3 hour trip. Such is travel! If you are unable to be flexible and go with the flow, which is most definitely going to be required, maybe reconsider the notion of traveling. It might not be for you.

A bit frustrated but, no worries! I am hopeful that this bus does actually take me to the part of Bangkok I want to reach. I selected this for ease and convenience. The other options go to either the airport or one of two bus stations. From there, I would be required hiring a taxi which would cost more than the hours reaching Bangkok. Or, getting a public bus from the airport which, during rush hour traffic, is a slow and very hot proposition.

Thus, I’m on the “minibus” bound for Bangkok. While slow and cumbersome, it is extremely comfortable, not full so there’s plenty of room, the air conditioner works great and I get a birds eye view of the city as we approach.

Once again travel reminds me: let go, stay present, deal with what shows up and continue smiling and being happy.

Two women showed up at the minibus place in Ban Phe shortly after I confirmed y ticket. Their bus to Koh Chang left 90 minutes earlier. They missed it.

They complained and argued with them manager. Having missed the bus, with non-refundable ticket, they would have to purchase a ticket to Trat, then get a tuk tuk to the ferry, then a ferry ticket and finally a taxi to lodging. They won’t make it today as the last ferry leaves before they will get there.

Arguing strongly, they were missing the one essential truth of the moment. This is NOW! The bus is gone. They can’t turn back time. NOW! What are the options NOW. There can be a certain adrenaline rush from being right, arguing, blaming a ferry or taxi driver, any form of denial can provide that rush. The essential truth, until a person surrenders to WHAT IS NOW, no positive action can be taken.

In frustration, irritated with the manager, not owning their responsibility for getting there on time, they took their luggage, went back to the pier and on to their next experience. Quite possibly, it will be very similar to this one.

All things considered, YES, I am appreciating my big “minibus” very much. It’s moving me closer and close to my destination. I have a reservation for the night so won’t have to lug a pack around while looking or a room. And soon, I’ll be happily grazing on Koh San Road before heading to my roof top pool to cool off this evening!

THE END…we finally arrived at 7:25. I left my hotel at 11:00 am this morning. Yes, it did drop me near my hotel so no other transportation was required. And yes, this is a short day of travel!

And yes, my room was not what I reserved! No king bed, sorry. My practice, be present with what is. It’s a lovely room, close to where I want to be and quiet. I dipped immediately into the pool which was heavenly! I left without my extra money which somehow got tangled with my passport and left in the safe. Craving something other than rice and fried noodles, I splurged on an $8.00 US burger, $230 TB. That is my total meal budget most days. And that’s when I discovered the extra $1,000 TB wasn’t in any pocket! Anticipating I’d have to go find an ATM and have the management trust me to come back and pay, I pillaged every pocket. And to my surprise, came up with EXACTLY $230 TB.

The burger was really excellent!

Making a living

Yesterday was really hot, even under the shade of my umbrella. I had the luxury of dipping in the ocean and rinsing off when it was too much. Amidst that heat, there are people who make their living walking up and down, all day long, selling to tourist and hoping to make a little money.

My first evening here, I saw a group of these people, strap on their shoulder, getting onto the back of a truck together and presumably heading off to their homes. The next morning, I watched a truck amble by, loaded with perhaps the same people I’d seen the night before, heading back for another hot day of trying to make a living.

Some carry hot coals in stoves where they cook in front of guest. There wander up and down with fruit or coconuts, sarong’s, ice cream, rice crackers and such. Perhaps the fortunate few reside under the shade of tree and umbrella waiting the next massage client. However, how comfortable can it be, evening the shade, exerting the effort of an hour massage. While I’m relaxing and recharging, I am appreciating what these people do to bring money for their families.