Looking back on Sunday, September 30th:
Lying on the beach with Mel, admiring sea shells. Recognizing, respecting the ocean–at once an artist and a geometrician. Sian and Allie kidnap us for a motorbike adventure. Mel and I rent one and I drive. I didn’t realize how much I missed my scooter until now. Maneuvering with intuition, wind-in-the-face freedom. We rode up the mountains of Koh Phangan, through the jungle terrain. Steep slopes, uneven roads, pure exhilaration. There’s always a little danger mixed with my happiest highs. We stumbled upon some elephants on the side of the road and fed them bananas. They were friendly, obedient, and majestic, but looked weary from visitors. I hope we find the elephants at the Nature Park Conservatory in Chiang Mai in better condition. We bought some fruit (Ngo and Langam, our favorites) at a fruit stand before we hit the road again.
Next, we head to a restaurant called Lake Hut, where the purchase of a drink awards you unlimited access to a rope swing and water obstacle course (trampoline, blow up rock climbing wall, floating monkey bars, etc.) on the lake. In the water, I met a middle-aged German man who called himself Dr. Holiday. He told me the imminent coming of Hanuman (ancient Hindu monkey god) was to happen two years from now. Where? I ask. Out of the sunset, of course. The doctor proceeded to make monkey sounds whenever there was a break in our conversation.
He liked my necklace and asked me what it was. I said quartz. He said let me feel, put his chest to mine, hugged me, breathed deep. “Warm, you are very warm,” he says. “This is very good, means your heart is open. If you ever want to follow your dreams, you need to go to India. There, they can unlock you. You will become more open, more whole. Here, yoga is just for fun, but over there, it will change you. The Indians have it all figured out. The meaning of life is to feel, to feel everything. Nothing more complicated than this. This is the secret of life I’ve just told you! Shh!” I asked Dr. Holiday how long he’d be traveling for and he said, “probably…until the end.”
While talking to Dr. Holiday, I thought him full of hullabaloo, but afterwards I realized everything he said made perfect sense. I felt a consciousness shift, a weight lifted from his presence. The doctor led me to a profound realization: that the Thai saying, “Same, same, but different” is comparable to the meaning of the Hindu’s “Namaste.” After the rope swing, Allie, Sian, Mel, and I went to watch the sunset at Secret Beach, traditional Indian music playing from a hut nearby. Synchronistic events infiltrate my existence.
We head back to Had Rin to go to the Full Moon Party. Meet up with our ferry friends, Josh, Odee, Bphe, Phon, and now Jtaau, a newcomer. On the beach, under a full moon, and with thousands of others, we dance the night away. DJs, psytrance, house music, and horrible American pop music. Beach party, Gangnam style (which they played several remixes of throughout the night.)
In between the chaos, long conversations with Josh, Jtaau, and Bphe. My energy warms Bphe up, make him more sober, which he tells me he appreciates. Raging and laughing and walking and talking. The island has gone bananas! Everyone I talk to has something interesting to say. I meet backpackers from all over the world. I have conversations in English and French and Thai. So much knowledge and emotion is shared amongst us travelers. We help each other by encouraging and inspiring each other along our journeys. We share stories from home, experiences abroad and we enlighten each other. With conversation and open hearts, we are slowly changing the world’s perception of itself. We serve as representatives of our countries. Unifying people and cultures.