After being back in the Berlin routine for 1 month, in November 2016, I realized that the summer workation had left me with a constant desire to escape monotony. I decided I’d spend a few weeks abroad again before the end of the year. I was still approaching my future with a big blurry question mark and Nicole being unable to join me for that adventure, I thought the solitude would certainly help to bring some clarity.
But the main question, an important one, was: “Where to go?”. I followed my hunch (and my hunger for exotic fruits) browsed the best deals online and bought myself a ticket to Thailand. In the meantime Nicole surprised me with a weekend trip to Bucharest. I actually got to know the destination, on the day of departure, at the airport, at 5:30 in the morning. I was super excited about it. The trip was relaxing and simple, we chilled in parks and chased expensive raw vegan foods around the city. But that’s for another story.
Where was I? Yes, so two weeks later, I was on a plane heading to Bangkok. The few days before I left, I experienced sort of a light anxiety. The last time I had truly travelled alone was more than 5 years ago. I had left my solitude somewhere in the Moroccan desert, between two dunes. Was leaving again a good idea at all? Old fears were resurfacing, knocking at the door of my mind, first thing in the morning.
After a long but fairly enjoyable 20h trip with a lay-over in Doha, Qatar, I finally arrived in Bangkok. My first impression was just great. Something in me felt very much at ease there and I loved the generous dose of exoticism. And the heat, well, it was hot. The little room I had booked in advance was super cheap and rather funky. Travelling around the country was so enjoyable. My two main attractions were temples and fruits. Both found in infinite abundance in Thailand.
I started wondering what it was that made traveling so appealing to me. Was it a way to take a break from my life, or was it just a way to put myself in such a different context that I could feel alive again? Away from what’s predictable, away from what is said to be “the way”. I didn’t want to become what I can predict, I wanted to become what I don’t know. I wanted to be surprised. It’s too easy to follow the guide and do exactly what people expect from you. No, actually that’s pretty hard too. Nevertheless I tried to remember one important thing, and it was: “Look through the stranger’s eyes. Everyday, everywhere.” And that’s what I did. I kept the vision fresh and new. And it might sound weird or new agesque, but it helped me reconnect with an old friend. A kind of self-compassion, even though it’s not quite the word. It’s more like knowing that whatever happens, you’re never truly alone. There’s this self-perpetuating presence that cares and takes care. Has always been. Your own best friend.