Thailand with Mum seems like an age ago. Which it slightly was. Writing has fallen by the wayside over the past couple of months as I’ve pushed through radiotherapy and begun to figure out how to be a functioning human being again (work in progress). I could launch into a lengthy piece akin to the bazillion other travel blog posts out there, but I don’t that’s really my flavour. Thailand is popular and much written about, for good reason. And at risk of sounding like a total pretentious arse (I’m actually only half of one), there’s so much more to the country than what the majority of people visit. Don’t believe me? Go and find out for yourself.
When some people react to my love of Thailand with ‘isn’t it a bit ruined and over touristy?’ I might start responding with ‘oh god, yes, so gross and ruined and gross and don’t ever go there. Ever’. And thus keep my travel gems and nuggets of paradise all to myself (mwah ha ha haaa). But if you haven’t been before, my advice is to look a little deeper; it only takes 5 minutes to stray of the beaten path.
I think the gist of this post is actually about how blissfully restorative it was to go somewhere a) I loved b) warm c) away from the draining medical carousel of my daily routine. I was privileged and lucky enough to go on holiday with someone I love and put the weeks of poison tinged, anxiety peppered chemo haze behind me for a little while. The most beautiful, tear inducing moment I think was when I was sitting at our resorts rustic chic restaurant in my sarong, still damp from one of my many swims, sipping on a pineapple shake, watching butterflies cavort through the verdant foliage. And it suddenly occurred to me. My brain was silent for the first time in months. Like actually SILENT. No worrying about the past or the future. Just perfectly present.
The week running up to the holiday I felt like I was dragging myself to the end of 2017, like the severed torso of a zombie carcass. Psychologically I felt like I was clinging by my fingernails to the pretense of sanity. An ear infection the week before Christmas added to the rising anxiety, the constant mantra going round in my head; ‘Please let me be ok for Thailand. Please let me be ok for Thailand. Please let me be ok for Thailand.’ So when the fates smiled upon me (or maybe my mantra worked!) and I my eardrum didn’t detonate mid-flight, being in that ‘so thick and warm you could cut it like a cake’ Bangkok air brought me so much joy that even thinking about it now makes me a bit tearful.
The days passed in a beautiful reverie of stuffing my face (a travel trend for me, culture = food), stuffing my eyeballs with colours and gold temples and textures and nature, refusing to wear shoes (or many clothes for that matter), bobbing around in the sea like a bald manatee, allowing myself to gradually slow the hell down, feeling my aches and pains recede in the face of 30 degree heat, probing markets full of deliciously noxious smells and the sensation of the scorching sun on my skin bringing me back to myself.
So thanks to my incredible Mother and to Thailand for making me feel like I can start piecing myself back together. Again, work in progress.