Well, another twist and turn. I happened to spend three weeks in Thailand recently enough to still be jet-lagged.
Thank you, hard-to-explain lefty Catholic organization I work for, to send me there.
I got to spend 10 days with fabulous Asian theologians and community organizers, and young adults from all over the region. It was such a peaceful trip, with so many wonderful moments of laughter and joy, sharing ideas and learning about refugee and migrant issues, ecological sustainability, and of peace and hope.
I loved my fellow conference attendees, and became close with several. The theologians were incredibly impressive too–a famous Dalit land-rights organizer and a feminist theologian from India, theologians tying environmental sustainability with spirituality, and oh–the badass well-adjusted Thai priests who were so welcoming and open to me and my fellow American’s presentation which covered women priests and LGBTQ equality.
We stayed most of the time in Surat Thani, in a lovely diocesan center. I shared a room with a spunky 22-year old Chinese girl who was abroad for the first time and shared my dry sense of humor. We had silly evenings together.
We also went to Phuket for a few days, which were spent at a fishery where migrant workers sling fish around for little pay and slum housing. I slept on an office floor for a few nights with several other girls, and slept well.
After the lovely conference, I took a train to Prachuap Khiri Khan, a little sleepy beach town in the middle of Thailand.
Prachuap Khiri Khan turned out to be a total dream. I stayed in a hostel owned by two of the nicest people I’ve ever met–Ping and Oy, a Thai couple in their 60s. They basically adopted me for the week, and I spent several days zooming around the Thai countryside on Ping’s moto.
Ping took me to some wonderful places. Temples, a cave with massive Buddah statues inside, his friend’s country residence where I got to pick a coconut off a tree and eat it immediately. I played with monkeys, I swam in the ocean, I drove the moto too, on the British side of the road. Ping and Oy took me out for a seafood meal at a beautiful outdoor restaurant on the sea, too. And I went out on a moto-taxi to the airport and held my suitcase on my lap.
I forgot how calm travel makes me. It felt so good to be away from the stress of America, of news, of people who have a lot of stuff that makes them stressed out. It felt good for me to not know what would happen next and to not be in control. To be with a lot of salt of the earth people. Lovely peaceful earthy travel, and spicy food. Peaceful Thailand.