Having skipped Bangkok to avoid anxiety, despite my desire to see ping pong shows plus knowing it would be a great place for digital nomads and startups – I expected to find calm and peace in Pai, so that’s where I headed. It didn’t hurt that many people had told me it was one of the best places to visit in Thailand. I decided to skip the islands as well, tossing out my Thailand travel guide along the way. I mean, it did mean missing cool things like the Maeklong Railway Market, but what can you do? We just can’t see it all.
An anxiety attack isn’t exactly the first thing you think of when you imagine the sprawling mountains, and the peaceful life in a hammock in Pai, Thailand. But, if you’re me, this may be exactly what you’re in for.
I’d been working my ass off. I mean seriously, I’d schedule when I needed to do this or that, attempting to work as much as humanly possible in order to save up for Myanmar. But at the end of my work day, instead of going for a walk, drinking some beers with some friends, or reading a book in my hammock, I’d just continue working on tomorrow’s to-do list.
It was inevitable that I’d run out of steam.
Back in my university days (which lasted all of a year and a half), I’d have to mentally make a note of when I’d worked enough for the day, and it was time to turn off my brain. The thing is, this brain doesn’t turn off too easily. That’s where weed came in handy, not as a recreational thing, but as a medicinal tool. It allowed me to shut off, relax, and have some much needed me time.
But with pot being so illegal in Thailand, I hadn’t even contemplated picking any up. To boot, my stomach doesn’t seem to agree with beer at the moment, and although I’m sure there are many wonderful people around, I just don’t have the patience to sift through the idiots to find them.
So I’d been working from the moment I woke up until the time I fell asleep, often with the help of Valium, as my brain couldn’t even shut off when it was horribly exhausted at one in the morning.
Finally yesterday I decided enough was enough. I needed to train myself to both work and enjoy my god damn life. I’m in paradise here, guys!
When I’d flown to Thailand, I had the incredible chance of being seated next to a super cool guy from Australia. You never land a cool person next to you on a plane. EVER. Yet I did, and I hadn’t hung out with him yet, because I’m insane.
He picked me up on his rented motorbike, telling me how he rarely crashes as we cruised along. Very soothing, Matt. We headed down to see another friend at his timeshare, as he had obtained some of the terribly illegal and much needed medicine for my brain.
But something magical happened as we arrived. Several people sat at a table, one pouring tea. He brought out tiny little cups, serving us each some tea, and never failing to top up our cups. Paul was originally from Russia, but had been studying the art of tea in China for quite some time.
We tried various types of tea, while chatting away with a small yet wonderfully assorted and like minded group of people. By the end of it I felt calmer than I had in weeks, though I hadn’t even touched the green I had just bought.
Off Matt and I went to visit the farm at which he was living. Now, I knew he lived at a farm, but I had no idea what this actually meant. The place sprawled for acres upon acres, with huts made of mud and bamboo scattered around. Most of them were currently empty, their inhabitants coming and going from all parts of the world. Matt told me that the farm was bought decades back in exchange for a bag of tobacco and a machete.
We were a mere seven kilometers outside of Pai, which is only a small town itself, but the views from the farm were nothing short of spectacular. Rice fields spread far off into the distance, meeting huge mountains behind them. After wandering around for a while, and showing me this deserted, peaceful place, we headed back into town.
I splurged on some Indian food, paying a whopping $5 for a meal that stuffed me, before heading back to my hut, rolling one up, and watching some television.
Not a single thought of work crossed my mind. No, I had done my work for the day, and it was now time to relax.
Some people have trouble getting motivated to work, while I’m just the opposite. And some days I’ve just got to remind myself that the whole reason I live this crazy nomadic life is to enjoy every moment of it.