So… February and March has seen some financial blows. I am skint. This is a term I feel is subjective as many people have different meanings for skint. Some say they are skint when they have only 1000 quid in the bank. Others say they are skint when they have gone into their 500 quid overdraft by a fiver. A few say they are skint when they reach into the ten thousand dollar (for all the Americans out there) savings and pull some cash out for a flight to Moscow. It is different for me. I follow the definitions of the word skint found on sites such as Urban Dictionary.
I have nothing. I am broke, poor, out of money. Literally.
Why do I let myself get into financial situations like this? Honestly, I really do not have a scooby doo (that means ‘clue’ Adam). I am good with money when I have enough. I paid off over 4000quid in debts in around 10 months last year while travelling and working in Chiang Mai. I had my butterfly to rely on and friends if I got myself into a sticky situation, but this year, this is something I am trying to improve. Actually improving.
It is a few days before payday and i’m living generally on a pack of 10B cookies for breakfast and Noddle Soup for dinner. I am walking to work as I cannot relieve my bike from its thirst. I literally have nothing. Until now.
As I was walking down Huay Kaew Road in Chiang Mai eating my packet of 10B Creamos (cheap version of Oreos) I was delivered an unexpected gift. As I walk along the unsteady pavement kickin my toes every few metres on the broken tiles, my eyes randomly look to the right and there laying in the foot of the hedge is my saviour for the month. What do I see?
In amongst a carrier bag and a bottle of sprite there is one, spanky thousand Baht note with the King of Thailand smiling at me. Without a thought I bend down and pick it up. This kinda shit does not happen to me. What was going on?
The universe provided.
Why did it provide? Again I have no idea, it just did. I’m a good guy. I can sometimes offend certain people, but it is always with absolute unintentionality. I smile, i’m generous with my time and I genuinely care about others. Bottom line is, I was skint and the universe heard my passive calling.
I needed. It delivered.
Respect the universe and keep your ears and eyes peeled. It does deliver when we least expect it.
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.