When I came to Thailand, I thought I’d be based in Chiang Mai. Only Chiang Mai, with maybe a small chance to be a part of The River Asia’s work in other parts of Thailand. I am here for just under 5 months, which is not a lot of time in comparison to others who have given years to this movement. Instead, I’ve been everywhere.
So I’d established in my head that it was ok to be in one place for the whole time. I can do stability. I can do it just fine. Chiang Mai is a long stretch away from my life in Melbourne, and so getting used to life here was enough I guessed. Yet life in Chiang Mai was fairly easy to get used to. I thought it would take months, and then it would be time for me to go home again, but instead it only took a few weeks. ‘Ease’ has been a defining feature of this trip. Working within a culture and language not my own has had it’s frustrations, but I’ve been able to take it in my stride, and not let the frustrations rule. And thank goodness for this sense of ease, because I’ve been everywhere.
Within a 4 weeks of being in Thailand, I was off to Phuket for a conference, and then down South to observe the booming sex industry in the border town, Sungai Kolok. Back up to Bangkok for 2 days – which turned into 1.5 months. Here the pace, the style, the work of Chiang Mai was flipped on its head. Then down South to teach at x3 English Camps, then back to Bangkok. And now I’ve landed myself back in Chiang Mai. I’ve covered the length of Thailand, and I couldn’t feel more privileged to have been given these opportunities, to see that Thailand is one nation made up of so many different identities and issues and cultures and people.
I don’t know what my final month and 20 days will hold, but by now I know to be ready for anything: here, there, everywhere.