A Tiny Story of Temples & Fruits, My Solo Trip to Thailand
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.
A Tiny Story of Change, My Workation out of the Musician’s Lifestyle
I started 2016 by working on a music project of mine, an album called “Annie”. I formed a band with which I went on tour in Germany and Switzerland during the spring and I officially released the album last October. But early in June, one thing happened. One thought. After 10 years of making half a living as a musician I realized I didn’t enjoy it anymore. I was deeply unhappy with the lifestyle. I realized it was time for me to quit. So I bought a little black book and started brainstorming, writing everyday about what else I could do. A new project, a new medium, what would be my next thing? I pushed many new ideas like starting a blog, I started making YouTube videos but somehow nothing seemed to really do it.
In the meantime my girlfriend Nicole and I left Berlin for a workation of 2 months on the mediterranean sea. We started in Rome, visited Naples, spent a month in Sicily and went traveling through Croatia and Montenegro. The locations were amazing, but my obsession was still peaking. What would I be doing with my time? And it went deeper, who was I now that a big chunk of my life was left aside, to drift away. I had a huge identity crisis. I started questioning, everything. What was my mission? What was my purpose? At the time I was waking up at 5am every day to write in my little black book while Nicole was still well asleep. Quietly sipping my coffee while sitting on the porch of our apartment in Naples, or on the dock near the house, waiting for the sun to rise on the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro.
One thing I came to realize was this: I was 2 persons at the very same time. I was this guy traveling with his girlfriend in beautiful territories, living an adventure, and I was the man who was scared to be missing out on his own life. A strange paradox.
At the end of the trip we flew back to Venice for a few days. I had not found any valid answer to all my questions, neither I knew what to do next. But I had accepted my state of mind which could only lead to a deep transformation. That, that’s what I believed in. At least I knew there was a transformation happening and I was just getting excited to see the outcome.