Every place we’ve been, we’ve made it our intention to listen locals perform their music. My ears fluttered to Cambodia’s music as I listened to an incredible songbird belt out traditional Khmer tunes. Danced to a reggae version of Thai music from a band in Chiang Mai, and their band name was “ChiangMaica” hahah get it? =P Now we’re in India, where their music has such a spiritual soul and traditional beats and I’m gravitated into this beautiful vortex of music and it has become the soundtrack of life lately. Hope you enjoy <3
*Photo above is a Thai man and his didgeridoo
Misty mornings by the boat dock
Small villages amongst breathtaking mountain landscapes of Laos
Incredible layers of mountainsides made for a scenic ride
A temple within a cave
Through film: Temples along the river
Through film: At the boat dock
Through film: Monks accompanied our long boat ride. It was interesting to see them meditating while on the boat!
Through film: Temp rooftops over the Mekong
Sundown on the Mekong
One of the biggest realizations we’ve had on the road is the reality of being rich with time. All of a sudden I am happily hand washing our clothes, when it used to be such a chore sticking them in the washing machine and pressing a button. It’s an incredible feeling to get up early, to listen to bird songs, watch the sunrise and write in my journal. Quite a contrast to the days where I’m frantically running out the door and listening to beating horns of early morning traffic. Now I slowly sip my coffee throughout the day for the aroma and bold flavors, not to “have to get through the day”. The more I see different walks of life, the more I realize that the unmarked paths are there for you to create your own. Knowing that has been such a freeing feeling, and I don’t think it’s anything I would have understood without seeing it for myself.
We decided to take a “slow’ trip to Laos. We had nowhere we had to be at any time and creating an itinerary just seemed unnecessary. The slow boat took two days slowly riding the current of the Mekong river. There’s something so therapeutic about sitting still for hours as the wind blows your hair, and views of the majestic mountain regions of Laos pass by. We live in such an “instant’ society where you’re expected to do more with less time. We can answer 10 emails in one hour, but it’s hard to establish any true connections that way. It’s getting harder and harder to sit still, because it’s seen as lazy or unproductive but reflection is imperative in clearing your mind and centering your priorities.
As the sun started set, the boat came to stop at a small riverside village for you to sleep and find some local food. We came with no expectations therefore everything became a discovery. Some good, some so-so. I’ll have to save our story of when we played pin the tail on the map of Laos and ended up in a village where we felt stranded. Or that guesthouse where all you could smell was cat pee. We laugh about it every time, and can honestly say these moments color our travels.
A quick snapshot from my phone looking out the window of a bus swerving down the mountainside of Laos may not make for a great photo per se, but I couldn’t think of a better image that can translate my thoughts. A bit out of it from a long 10 hour bus ride through the mountainsides of northern Laos, I woke up to a beautiful sunrise. We were so high up that the mountains rose above the clouds and laid like snow. We passed by small villages and I couldn’t help but smile at the children waving as the bus drove by. What a radical change this Friday morning is compared to my Friday mornings prior to leaving. I used to wake up to a screeching alarm clock, sit in morning traffic with other anxiety ridden, overworked, road raged people and I was no different. As each day of higher sales quotas, and tighter deadlines drained every bit of me I kept asking myself, so this is it? This is what the “real world” that I prepared so diligently for throughout college is like? This illusion was sort of depressing. I found myself at a crossroad and I wanted to run the exact opposite direction. So I did.
You always hear people say “follow your bliss” ‘live like there’s no tomorrow” like a broken record of cliches. I settled for a one way flight and trusted the unknowingness of tomorrow. I admit, it gave me goosebumps, but in the best way possible. The journey of creating yourself didn’t go off like a lightbulb, but it was a mashup of moments such this sunrise on the bus where you feel a slow yet permanent change. It humbled my perspective, and shook my understanding. I finally understood the feeling of being rich with time, knocking out a to-do list that’s all yours, and getting up in the morning excited of what might come about today. Working with dream clients and collaborating with friends, and past colleagues to produce work that we’re passionate about and proud of is truly rewarding.
Someone once told me the difference between fear and danger is that danger is very real, and fear is something we have made up. Made up of a misuse of our imagination to create anxiety of what might happen. Live in the present and trust yourself enough to know that you’re on the right path and that you’ll know when you need to veer off. Trust that you are not in control and if you let the current of life take you, things will unfold as it should. Don’t just work hard, work passionately. If you’re decent at performing at a job you don’t like, imagine the meaningful work you can produce doing something you’re truly passionate about.
I had to write this to express my perpetual gratitude and hope that this energy manifests into whoever is reading this. If missed most of my ramblings, just remember this: Whatever it may be, follow your bliss.
I asked Aaron to design a tattoo for me that will always remind me of our journey thus far and he nailed it. Inspired by our road trip across the states into the deep southwest and with an ethnic flare. Hmm.. now where to put it?