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 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.
During our stay here in Thailand, we’ve experienced some unique and inspiring handmade homes and it has spurred our imagination into thinking about our way of living and how the space you surround yourself can really stimulate and create a beautiful energy that nurtures your soul. From simple huts made out of leaves in the midst of a mountain landscape, to concrete domes with glass ceilings under the most starry sky, to traditional Thai barns converted into artsy homes. All perfectly imperfect and passionately built, they have created an a new found appreciation in us for building your home beautifully and sustainably. What a dream it would be to have one to keep the road our home, and one in a far away desert somewhere, or tucked in the mountains with air so fresh, just breathing in revives you like morning coffee!
Images sources: from Moon to Moon
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.
We stacking high with lots of tribal textiles for you indigenous hearts, teepee makers, festival fairies, and gypsy crafters! Some shiny, new and fresh off the hands of the Hmong tribe artisans, while others have been passed down for generations and have now made it into our vintage series of textiles. Whichever tickles your fancy, we’re sure these tribal beauties will keep you warm, or have you winning the raddest picnic blanket award. Each one of a kind, so call dibs on your favorite before it gets picked up! Check out our textile collection HERE.
Our first 30 days in Thailand were about to expire so we planned to take a trip across the border into what many now refer to as the “Wild Wild West of Southeast Asia”, Cambodia. I can’t even begin to express how much I loved our time there (i’ll save for another post), but I do strongly encourage anyone who is in this part of the world to be sure and pay a visit to this beautiful kingdom.
Getting from Chiang Mai to Siem Reap is a fairly cheap and inexpensive trip. Although there aren’t currently any buses running directly to Cambodia from Chiang Mai, there is a new government-ran bus serving connecting Bangkok to Siem Reap. I found a lot of good information on various posts/forums sprinkled throughout the interwebs, but I wanted to compile a quick run-down of how we got from Chiang Mai > Bangkok > Siem Reap all in one post.
Chiang Mai to Bangkok
In Chiang Mai we purchased an overnight VIP bus ticket to Bangkok from the Arcade Bus Station, located 3 or 4 kilometers east of the old city. There are several travel offices located around the old city, but don’t fall for their dirty tricks. Most charge double the rate you would get as opposed to going to the bus station in person and booking yourself. Chiang Mai is such a small town, getting to the bus station is well worth the extra time and effort. When you arrive to the station, you’ll immediately be blown away by all the Thai women yelling at you from their little ticket booth windows. Have no fear, they’re shouting because ticket prices are not a flat price and will vary slightly from agency to agency — so be sure to shop around to work the best deal. We ended up booking a super comfortable double-decker VIP for 550 baht each. And when I say “VIP” I mean VIP! Each seat had its own LCD monitor with a great selection of movies to choose from, they all reclined waaaay back and had an electronic massage function built in! Needless to say we both fell asleep very easily and woke up 9-10 hours later in Bangkok.
Get your ticket before leaving Mo Chit! You’ll arrive to the Mo Chit bus terminal in Bangkok, and this is also where you can purchase your ticket for a direct bus ticket from Bangkok to Siem Reap through Transport Co Ltd Bus at booth 22. As of September 10, 2013, the agent at the ticket counter confirmed that there is only one bus each day, and it leaves at 9:00 am. So plan on staying at least one night in Bangkok after reserving your ticket for the following day. The tickets can be purchased from booth 22 on the ground floor, for 750 baht ($25 USD) each.
Bangkok to Siem Reap
We only stayed one night in Bangkok. I booked a dorm room at the WE Bangkok Hostel because it was the most affordable option that was located within walking distance of the BTS (Bangkok’s Skytrain) line. Staying near the BTS made it super easy to get to the Mo Chit station the next morning without having to fight rush hour traffic jams. From BTS Mo Chit station catch the 11 bus to take you to the terminal.
This direct Bangkok to Siem Reap line opened in February 2013, so a fairly new luxury. In the past, you would need to change to another bus service (Cambodian run company) at the border. With this direct route, however, you will be traveling on the same bus and with the same driver and staff the whole route. From Bangkok you’ll drive to the border where the bus stops for about 20 minutes for passengers to arrange their Cambodian visa. They also provide a small boxed lunch to snack on throughout this stop. From here, the bus will drive you a little further to the Thai immigration office. The bus will drop you off here and you’ll walk through Thai immigration to get your departure stamp. You’ll then walk to the Cambodian side to get your arrival stamp and the bus will be waiting for you on the Cambodian side. Welcome to Cambodia! It was another 2-3 hour ride from the border to Siem Reap. Enjoy the bumpy ride along the beautiful countryside. Can’t wait to make this trek again. 🙂