A Travellerspoint blog


Satun, the #1 Place We Want to Be

Listless. What a useless, boring state. Today's listlessness comes from a too-long nap in the afternoon and an innocuous email from my father that nonetheless left me feeling anxious. Just the word "plan" from him elicits this reaction, and suddenly all our thinking about Chris becoming a divemaster and us living abroad for a while seems like a silly daydream.

I like not knowing what my future holds. Is it comforting to map out your path to its furthest extremity, this your one and only life? There's such a wide gap between what I believe is best for myself and what "they" want. (They give so much, but their giving is like a trap.) Well, it is a useless refrain.

We're in Satun right now. Tomorrow we head to Malaysia. Onward. Is it more marching or drifting? We've eaten well here. More than made up for hungry nights in Ko Lipe when I was too lazy to venture out again in the wet and instead lay curled up in the mosquito net daydreaming about pizza. It was a beautiful daydream. Here we have difficulty conserving our stomachs so we have enough room for all we want to eat. It'll be sad to leave Thailand and its good food.

Posted by chschen 05:19 Archived in Thailand Comments (9)


I feel lucky. For once it has nothing to do with comparing myself to the 7 billion other people on the planet and counting my privileges, and everything to do with the fact of being physically alive. It occurs to me that simply getting through life is a constant reaffirmation that things usually turn out, as we live through one scrape after another. The first time we don't we are dead, and then it doesn't much matter what we think after that.

Respect the ocean. Could we really have been fish once? If so my body has no primordial remembrance of this. In the water I am fearful, constantly on the cusp of panic. Out in the sea cries of help get strangled by distance, by the salt water that rushes to fill the space in my mouth that beautiful, life-giving air has just vacated. When someone says that they have seen currents so strong that swimming sting rays have gone backwards, I laugh a little but receive the message: Respect the ocean.

And yet I, an inept swimmer, dared to go out too far. And there I was, swimming hard with growing fatigue and panic but still going backwards, and the beach so distant and slipping away fast. I could scarcely believe I'd gotten myself in this spot, I who had so much respect for the ocean. Wasn't this a lesson I'd already learned?

Back on land finally, grateful and incredulous, I discovered my body was trembling. With weariness, or a sort of mute anger at being defied and used? It knew better, but I didn't. I had wanted an afternoon snorkel to our usual rock. I was going to show Chris the back side this time, the mottled sea cucumbers that drifted upright like grotesque giraffe necks. We never got there.

In the end it was Jason's words that came back to me as I felt my muscles giving out. Something about just knowing you could do it. I didn't exactly experience the sense of peace or security that he felt after the realization--maybe because I knew there was a good chance I could not do it; in fact, I was failing fairly rapidly--but it was enough to battle the panic, just barely enough.

I guess in the end my body shouldered the burden. It wanted to live.

Posted by chschen 17:00 Archived in Thailand Comments (2)


It is altogether too hot to fall asleep on this hammock. What little breeze there is doesn't reach me here, so the sweat accumulates and accumulates until I feel like a broth made up for supping.

Posted by chschen 17:00 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

A Beginning

Tired in a full, satisfied way. It occurred to me today that, while traveling, I have never once had that feeling of not having anything to look forward to. Even when all this moving about had gotten wearisome, and I could hardly see the point of it anymore, the old emptiness stayed away; I didn't notice its absence until Jason reminded me, and I remembered how often I used to feel that way, as if waiting for my life to begin.

It's begun.

At moments like these I can believe that traveling like this changes your life. Of course it's not all I imagined it to be, and sometimes I am bitterly disappointed, mostly in myself. But I see what a variety of lives people live--I realize that everyone is all right, and I will be, too.

Posted by chschen 17:00 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Could We Live in Thailand?

Outside of Krabi we truly feel we're on our own again. No longer can we visit the night market and say, "Remember when Marcus stepped in the running wastewater here?" We've left the echoes of our friends behind.

On the bus we met an Englishman on his way to Penang. He's lived in Thailand for the past 30 years, crossing the border every 3 months to renew his tourist visa. He and his wife rent a house in the hills near Trang for 3000 baht (~$100) a month. Tempting. Thailand is an easy country for a foreigner to live in. If you wanted to be the kind of person who didn't work for a living, you could do it here, you could be that lucky. Or, many of us are that lucky already--if we'd only just believe it.

I feel so pleased and comfortable in my skin right now. It has to do with being clean and cool, for once. Even this slight edge of hunger is pleasant, reminds me I'm alive. Tomorrow we go diving. Can't wait.

Posted by chschen 17:00 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

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