A mindful traveller, perpetual wanderer, part time meditator and newbie blogger

Posts tagged “blueness

My Chicken Run to Mae Sai

Most people when their VISA is coming up to expiration, they jump in a little, crazy, capsule of claustrophobic’ness and shoot up to the Thai-Burmese border town of Mae Sai. Pick up circa 7am, drop off circa 7pm.

Most of the day is spent in a poorly window’d, much smaller than big minivan, driving as if, both the van and the driver were spiked with Yabaa (mad drug). Once there, you say, “Hey!” to Burma, buy some cheap spirits or Chinese imitation electricals, and then solemnly return to Chiang Mai an an equally uncomfortable and depressing atmosphere of smallness.

This ain’t my cuppa tea.

Just the words;VISA run kinda sounds exciting. Well, the word ‘run’ gives this sense of freedom and experience; ask the chickens, they know! It is only VISA that has necessity and bureaucracy embedded within it making it sound like a boring chore of an expat in Thailand. You want advice on how to get a VISA from Mae Sai?

Ensure the stamp has an experience embedded within.

What better experience than taking my motorbike. I am a chicken out on the run. Prior to leaving, I was debating on whether to take Nong-B, my beloved ridiculous ‘bat bike’ of a bike, or my rented 110cc Honda Wave. The reasons being that Nong-B isnt that mechanically sound right now. As I am driving 300km into the thick of Northern Thailand then I don’t fancy it going pear-shaped (for Adam, that means wrong). On a long drive like this, I feel like a want a proper bike.

If you read my previous post (motorbikes and mindfulness), I mentioned the alive’ness I felt being this vulnerable, mortal being cruising along at 80km/ph with the fear of sudden death perched on my shoulders constantly reminding me that my soft-tissued skin was nothing compared to the hard, concrete skin of the road.

How can I feel more alive? Kick, rev, bite and go faster!!!

So, I chose Nong-B, my 19 year old Honda NS150 that I purchased for 7,500THB (that’s around 130quid and Adam, quid is not a fish). This was a NTNK (never try never know) decision. Stupidly thinking if it breaks down along the way, then at least I will know the 7500THB was worth it or what needs to be done to make it more reliable.

This was however, until I drove past Bikky Chiang Mai motorbike rental shop on Huay Kaew as I was leaving the city. The compulsion to stop and look lead me to rent a Honda CBR 150R. Hahaha….. I left Nong-B, 4000THB deposit (that wasn’t mine) and my license as deposit.

Kick. Rev. Bite. Go.

I was on my way from Chiang Mai – Mae Sai with the newly rented CBR, my nutshell, and my camel shorts habitually stuffed with unnecessary items. A post will be coming soon regarding these camel shorts.

Now, let me digress for a few lines. The last 5ish weeks I have very rarely drunk alcohol. The last 3ish weeks I have been meditating 2 hours a day. This has seen my mind change. It is beginning to flower.

I was aware.

I was mindful.

I was sharp.

With this and the teachings from Eckhart Tolle’s amazing book, ‘The Power of Now‘, my ability to stay present and conscious now came more easily and less likely to be distracted by the mind. My senses were more aware. All 6 of them were alive as I snaked my way through the countless mountains and provincial towns of Northern Thailand. The focus was my respiration. I did not alter my breathing, I simply watched and observed it. How fast was I breathing? Was the breath cold or warm? What smell was being channelled through my nostrils and hitting my olfactory system? Was the smell pleasant or unpleasant? I know what you’re thinking and it was not a distraction. This focus on my breathing kept me exactly in the present moment. This presence opens up your consciousness and you become so much more aware of your surroundings. You begin to appreciate the blossoming trees, the passing Buddhist temples, the blueness of the sky and the shadows on the ground creeping across the road with every minute of the day.

The present moment is all we ever have” – Eckhart Tolle

I finally arrived in Mae Sai with only a few stops to refresh my contact lenses and take a shot with my rented Honda CBR with a temple as my wallpaper. I arrived, tired and back-broken, but alive. Not only was I alive, but I arrived feeling alive. The stamp now had an amazing experienced embedded within in it rather than a choreful, crazily cramped and claustrophobic car ride (Wow! Try saying that with a lollipop in your mouth).

The return to Chiang Mai I shall leave to your imaginations.

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Bee inspired (pun intended)

I liked this movie and surprisingly was inspired by this movie. However, only by the first 30 minutes or so and then it involved a weird infatuation an insect had on a human being. The movie I am talking about is Pixar’s Bee Movie.

The movie begins with Barry the bee graduating from bee school and it’s now time for him to get a job.

A job where?

A job in the hive. He can choose from hundreds of different options as long as it’s in the hive. His family want him to become a stirrer of honey because his grandfather was a stirrer,his father is a stirrer and they want Barry to also become a stirrer. The thought made Barry shudder with fear. As a result, he envied the pollinators and was determined to leave the hive. However, socially, this was not acceptable. Why couldn’t he go out and see the world with the pollinators.

There is no reason, apart from social norms and expectations. Which for me, are not a reason to be unhappy and not live your life the way you wish. With determination and some cheekiness, Barry persuades the pollinators to take him out to collect pollen. Meaning he will have an opportunity to leave the hive and experience something new.

Inspired yet? Wait for the next part.

The moment Barry leaves the dark orange of the hive, you can really sense the wonderment and freedom he feels when he sees the vast blueness of the sky and the deep green of the trees for the first time.

He literally is in awe.

Barry, the bee that was expected to follow social norms broke out from his box and saw the world, and all its wonders. For him, this involved seeing the trees, the flowers, the sunlight and the blueness of the sky. He saw life. As you will see with the trailer I have embedded, he makes mistakes. He makes a lot of mistakes, but he is free from norms and expectations.

Why do we have to follow social norms or expectations? The answer is that we don’t have to, however we have spent our lives being conditioned. Take parents for example: Most do an amazing job for the first few decades, but then struggle to let go let their children and let them live and make their own mistakes. Some parents expect a lot. Some parents want their child to gain a career, settle down, find a boyfriend/girlfriend.

blah blah blah…

We are born into the world and dependant on our parents. As with a bird, a whale and a tiger, there comes a time when we have to ‘fly the nest’. For some, this could involve breaking free from the norms and expectations parents put on them. For others, it simply means moving out and tackling the world by making their own decisions, along with making their own mistakes. In fact, my way of learning is by making mistakes. I have made many in the past. I am possibly may be making one now but unaware of it. I know for sure I plan to make more in the future. Some will be intentional by taking unknown risks, others will be a mistake only in reflection. Whatever they are, the secret is to know they are mistakes and learn from them.

Do not regret them.

As a teacher of both swimming and English, I have always taught not only how to do things correctly, but I also taught my students how to do things wrong. I feel there is some great wisdom in knowing when a mistake is a mistake.

It certainly makes you more aware of when things are going right.

For me, I am realising more and more I am blessed with parents that have never expected much of me as long as I was happy. Of course, if I was addicted to Heroin i’m fairly sure they would have something to say. But, all in all, happiness was encouraged. I guess I sometimes used to wish they encouraged academia more, but in the end it meant that at the age of 22, I chose to go to university for myself and not for any other reason or expectation.

This is something that I appreciate (a lot, a lot, a lot).Thank you to both my mum and my dad. 

I guess what I am trying to say is life is confuzzling enough without people being torn between what they want and what their parents, or anyone else for that matter, think they should do. Like all things in nature, you need to break free from your nest and break free from social norms and expectations and start living your own life. If that is what you so desire.

Just like Barry.

P.S Check out the video below and ‘bee’ inspired.