While living in Thailand, we found ourselves constantly in awe of the Hmong tribe’s weaving, stitching and batiking of textiles. After visiting the Hmong village and learning first hand the amount of skill and attention to detail that was passionately put into every thread, my appreciation grew ten-fold. My head starting spinning of ways to celebrate and share their amazing artwork. To turn them into pillow covers, skirts, curtains, … the works. These beautiful pieces are still on the top of our list of our most valued pieces that we carry. Seeing these amazing articles of clothing made from beautiful Hmong textiles has me wanting to get out my scissors and get to it!
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
Some more wildness to bring you a dose of tropical from our lookbook Run Deep Run Wild! This day really was a hot sweaty one and especially fun. This location had so many exotic plants, one of them being our favorite; Bird of Paradise or sometimes called the crane flower is indigenous to South Africa. Doesn’t it’s vibrant orange flowers remind you of a tropical bird’s beak?
As I pack up the knick knacks and the little boxes of memories that we have collected along the way, I realize how much I am going to miss Aaron and the nest we have made here in Chiang Mai. It was always his birthday wish to wake up a year older in a new city, well San Francisco. We always daydreamed about the culture shock it would be to us compared to Austin, and the hustle it would ingrain in us to not only make it there, but to thrive there. Little did we know that we would both be waking up in New Delhi, India! Wow, life surprises you sometimes in the most interesting ways.
In 3 days, we start our transit to India where I will be spending my days amidst the spirit of the Himalayans to deepen my yoga and spiritual practice as I get certified to be a yoga teacher. I couldn’t be more excited about unplugging from it all for a month and gathering with a sisterhood of yogis doing yoga and meditation from sun up to sundown. I know I will often daydream of what Aaron is experiencing and what stories he will have when we meet back up about his explorations in the cities and the rural countrysides of Northern India. I’ve really gotten accustomed to always having him by my side, but embracing the upcoming alone time and understanding that the togetherness and being apart is after all a beautiful balance.
We couldn’t be more excited to work and collaborate with Bangkok’s dream team on our first lookbook! The location was lush and beautiful in contrast of the big bustling city that it was in. The vibrant colors of our clothing line, and indigenous fabrics and patterns just radiated amongst all the greenery.
I’ve come to understand that truths behind words such as family, love, happiness, home and freedom are all based on a feeling versus a tangible place or object. During our travels people ask me where is home and it always takes me a minute to respond. There are so many places that are home to me, from the mountains of East Tennessee where I grew up, to the Philippines where I spent my childhood, or Chiang Mai where we have called home for the past few months. This past week we spent it on the island of Koh Lanta. It’s always a surreal feeling when you see familiar faces in completely foreign place. Aaron’s childhood friend Patrick came to visit, and though it has been years since we’ve seen him, our conversations felt like it hasn’t skipped a beat. Last time we saw Patrick was in our college apartment, bonding over cheap 40’s while him and Aaron played video games. Today we are here watching the sunset on an island in Thailand, (still drinking cheap beer), and catching up. The way he chain smokes and laughs is like deja vu, and seeing him felt like he brought a piece of our other home to us. While here, we stayed with our friends who were our neighbors in the same zen compound we once called home in the fall of last year. They invited us down to the island to catch up, so we invited Patrick to join us and for the first time since we left home, we are with familiar faces in a completely different place. I can’t pin why it felt like home, maybe it’s the island vibe that we connect to, it could be reuniting with Patrick after all these years, or sharing a small space with close friends again. Home is such a beautiful feeling, and its what keeps us traveling. We have found our pieces of home, friends, love, and freedom sprinkled in different places all along our journey.
This past Saturday we spent it on the busy streets of Chiang Mai for their annual flower festival. Exotic flowers and traditional music filled the streets as beautiful traditionally adorned Thai locals showcased their culture. When we first heard about it, we were told it started at 8AM, so being the night owls that we are this was a challenge to be up and fight a crowd. Funny thing is, it didn’t start until after 5PM! haha We’ve gotten used to the relaxed concept of time around here, so we didn’t mind at all. We spent most of the day temple hopping, sipping smoothies, and finding new discoveries in our own neighborhood. At sundown, the exotic blooms made its way down the streets of Tha Pae. The parade was a beautiful representation of their vibrant culture through people, through artsy floats, music, and yes, their beautiful ethnic threads!
This is the longest we’ve sat still in the past year and we’ve gotten to know the four walls of our apartment very well these few months. We love how the sun shines in through all our open windows and the noisy street noises remind us of the chaos that sits right outside of our balcony. We had found our groove, found our work and life routine, and even made some neighborhood friends. And then it hits us. We’re antsy to leave, antsy to pack and ready to hit the road, the sky or the sea. Not that Thailand is any less exciting since we got here, but our cameras has had time to collect some dust, and blank pages of our journals are still left blank awaiting more stories to be told. Wanderlust, you fickle thing. It’s time to go once more, so we booked a train and it’s leaving Tuesday.
Last weekend Charmie and I took the motorbike 3 hours north to the little mountain utopia known as Pai. The ride up was amazing. It reminded me of home…making the winding trek from Tennessee to North Carolina. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect with the sun when we reached the bottom of the valley. The view of the rice fields in front of the layering mountain silhouettes was wonderful. It almost felt like I was looking at an illustration that belonged on a “Visit Thailand” postcard.
We stayed at this incredible little bungalow village that sat across the river from the town’s main street. At the entrance of the village there was a small field of flowering plants as tall as our heads, with only a small little path to walk between. We slowly walked through in awe at how beautiful the scene was….butterflies fluttering around the purple plants with whiffs of reefer in the air. I started to wonder if there was something else growing in the middle of the towering plants, but with heaving coughing coming from all directions, I quickly figured out the game. Upon checking in the guesthouse owner whispered with a straight face, “If you want cannibas, I have.”…The tone for the weekend was set from there. It reminded me of being at a summer festival again. During the day people chilled out in their huts and hid from the sun. The streets were empty, with people rolling out only to grab food. Pai came to life at night. It seemed almost every bar had a firepit for people to gather around. The first night we watched a fire spinning contest and met some interesting people from all over. We shared a spliff with two dreadheaded chicks – one crazy looking one from Turkey and the other from Russia, and also a guy from Iran. As usual, I didn’t say much. I just sat there grinning at the thought of sharing that moment with those people from such far-out places (far-out to me anyways). Our backgrounds couldn’t have been more different, but we were all there together…at a small little mountain town in Northern Thailand.
The whole town felt like home. I met a leather artisan name Oil and asked if he could make me a pair of moccasins. He told me he could make them the following day and invited Charmie and I to come have coffee and hang out while he worked on them. We took him up on his offer and drove the bike up to his place the next morning. Him and his friends were incredibly hospitable. They gave us Chinese whiskey to sip on with our coffee and then cooked up some extremely spicy but delicious Thai food. It was a prefect day to end a beautiful weekend.
There’s something so beautifully organic about traditionally handmade threads, where each stitch creates a pattern, and each pattern holds a meaning. If we take a minute to pay attention to their details, we would unearth stories of the culture behind them. The faster this world spins perpetually into a technological age, I find myself aesthetically gravitating to pieces that I feel are quickly disappearing, techniques no longer widely practiced, and things that take translation. Maybe it’s my way of holding on and treasuring what was here and what is now. We’re all changing, the earth, our place in it, our lives, the people in it, and us. Whether we witness it or not, as we evolve we learn, unlearn, and relearn our way. Tonight we spend it here, under this glass dome to star-gaze and slow time down even if just for a night. Happy Friday everyone, hope you have an amazing weekend!
Find the tribal textiles and pillows in our shop here.