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Published: January 26th 2015
I have never experienced freedom such as this.
After phitsanulok I took the train to Chiang Mai. I stayed in a popular guesthouse and met some fantastic people within minutes - there was such a strong social vibe there. We went clubbing a couple of times and I had a few too many Chang beers. We also chilled with some locals and hippie types outside a clothing store. Had some really interesting conversations.
I spent the rest of my time in Chiang Mai exploring, eating the most delicious (and cheap!) vegetarian food and lounging in one of the most beautiful city parks I have ever had the pleasure of going to.
I also chatted to a couple of monks beside a temple. They hold 'monk chat' sessions which are designed to give monks an opportunity to practise their English. We spoke about pad Thai noodles, school, the Buddhist middle way and nirvana. All the key topics.
I stayed in Chiang Mai for a few days then got the bus to pai. The bus journey is infamous for making people throw up due to the sharp curves and steep hills. I didn't feel sick but I was more worried about the vertiginous drops next to the narrow winding roads. Luckily I survived.
Pai has been incredible. I know this journey is only temporary but I have never in my life felt so free. If this experience has taught me anything so far it is to enjoy the present. I met up by chance with a couple of awesome people from my previous hostel and we went out for a few too many drinks and enjoyed the nightlife. When I went back to my guesthouse I noticed the neighbouring hostel was throwing a kicking party so I invited myself and mingled...
Yesterday I jumped on a motorcycle with a great guy I met on the minibus to pai. We went to a quiet hot spring, a nearby canyon, and enjoyed the sheer freedom of travelling on the open road. The scenery is honestly transcendental. Some people say that travelling alone is almost a religious experience. I'm inclined to agree.
I met up again by chance with max and cat from my last hostel that night. Had a few beers and spoke about politics and religion.
I heard from some fellow travellers that you can blow up a cow with a rocket launcher in Cambodia for around $20. I think that's one of the most disgusting things I have ever heard.
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