Local public bus in Thailand from Takua pa to Kuraburi General

Goodbye Thailand

Goodbye everything i know to be familiar. My first time in Thailand was in 2013. I remember a shop lady teaching me how to pronounce thank you. I remember breathtakingly cute and cheap earrings in Chinatown, Bangkok. I remember taking a night train down to the south and waking up to sweet coffee. I remember the first deep breath of ocean air and the first time i was on a longtail boat. The first time seeing a pineapple grow on the ground. Or a banana tree. Or a coconut falling down.

It’s so funny how we lose our sense of wonder. And get used to things so quickly. Or get distracted and focused on other stuff so we just don’t notice things the same way anymore. I have been in Thailand about eight months of my life if i count it all together. So, already, when i wake up on a Wednesday morning to see a coconut palm and a green jungle river from my window, it feels so normal it’s almost scary.

A man and his boat in Kuraburi Thailand
A man and his boat on Kuraburi river yesterday morning

Helen from Journal With Purpose told how she and her partner spent a weekend acting to be tourists in their own hometown. I love the idea. To mindfully open your senses to the familiar and suddenly you can see so much more. All the little things you haven’t noticed before and all the big things you thought to be so normal, familiar, even boring by now. So i told myself this: when i wake up to find myself bored of yet another place, i will open up my eyes and look at it with a childlike wonder. With a mind of a tourist who has just arrived.

Tomorrow i will be gone

Anyway… With Thailand, i do not need to do this right now. I have a relationship with Thailand that feels easy, safe, comfortable, familiar, homely and sometimes even a little bit annoying. So when i think about flying out tomorrow, it feels like leaving home all over again. Because i am leaving the surroundings i am so comfortable with, the culture i’ve became familiar with, the language in which i can order myself vegan food anywhere i go, the people i have gotten to know, the knowledge of how much a kilo of mangosteens should cost. I’m leaving behind the knowledge of public transport, the knowledge of cultural etiquette, the prices, even my boyfriend. Everything.

Public bus from Takua pa to Kuraburi, Thailand
Trying to write in the public bus on the way to Kuraburi

And right now it’s setting my soul on fire. Everything feels so alive. I am sitting in my comfortable hotel bed, surrounded by white sheets, and i feel like i hear everything. The local men sitting outside having breakfast soup. The motorbikes going by. Birds singing on the rooftop across the street. Thai music from a local eatery nearby. I feel like i see everything. I feel like.. I feel everything.

It kind of feels like waking up from a deep sleep. Being born again. Starting fresh. This is the beginning of something entirely new. And i am not terrified anymore. I am welcoming whatever comes from the unknown. Allowing the unfamiliarity to come. Allowing it to change to something familiar one day. A routine, a safe space awaits me in Rishikesh. I am ready to go.

Nature never hurries, yet everything is accomplished General

Too much preparation is too much

The rain has been continuing for about six days in a row now. Being basically stuck, with my toes freezing and everything I own being damp, I started dreaming about an escape from the rainy season. Even though I love the lushness that the rain brings, and the new fresh green popping out to contrast the old, I am craving to be somewhere dry and warm. And then it hit me – I am going to leave in nine days, but only to move towards another kind of monsoon season. Towards northern India. And i need to prepare for it.

New green the rainy season brought
Fresh new green

So the time has come. For me to start preparing for my 200-hour yoga teacher training that will start exactly ten days from now in India. I got an e-mail with the list of students in my training, and some of the girls made a Facebook group in which I joined. Only after reading a post about what people are going to bring with them, I started wondering if I should prepare myself somehow.

I feel like i should prepare to prepare

I started googling and reading blog posts on how to do the preparing. I would need to bring at least 5 or 6 sports bras, same amount of pants and shirts for yoga. I would need casual wear for chilling out and also appropriate clothing for getting out of the actual school. And not to forget all the snacks. Protein bars, peanut butter, good coffee and my favorite comfort tea. Protein powder, magnesium and iron supplements. Plus of course all the medicines in case of getting the famous Delhi belly. And still, half of the guides said; “pack everything you need and remove half of it”.

I got so confused on what to take with me. I have less than half of the recommended clothing, not to talk about the ability to buy nice vegan protein bars and snacks to take. My backpack of 30 liters would probably fill up on only on the recommended supplements. I know I am able to buy so much amazing fruits and I will probably find a lot to snack on in India, but oh the worry of getting hungry and tired! All I can think is “if all these blog posts say this, how can they be wrong? I will probably get hungry and tired and I will be weak and malnourished and get sick and I will not have enough to eat and all my gear will be dirty in two days and I am not prepared enough!”

The line between preparing and overthinking

And then I went on to read how to prepare mentally. Until the point of extreme anxiety and worry. How am I ever going to be able to keep sample classes for experienced people? How am I ever going to remember left from right and guide a class of people? I haven’t even talked in front of people in years – probably last time was over ten years ago at school. They will probably all laugh at me. I will mess up my words, I will not be able to give people what they expect from me, I will not be able to handle the feedback, I will probably freak out and cry alone in my room at night.

Rainy season jungle river

All the preparation guides helped me to do nothing but worry. After closing another guide and opening the next, I thought “maybe after reading this one I will be ready”. But no. I will never be ready. I am scared.

Actually no, I am not scared – I am terrified. I am terrified of going alone to a country i never been before, and for the country to be India. I am terrified of facing my fears. Terrified of how will i succeed. I’m terrified of criticism. I’m terrified of making mistakes. And to put myself out there, to do a month of intense training where I will have to literally face so many things that are so hard for many people, including me. Speaking in front of people, showing people my weaknesses. I need to let go of my pride and my expectations and my ego. I will need to be prepared to go unprepared. Because even after reading so many “what to expect” guides, I have no idea what to expect.

Pink flowers in the preparation of blooming

So I will try to expect nothing. For the next nine days, I am going to breathe and open my heart. I want to go with no expectations, with no pride, ready to make mistakes and be vulnerable. All the guides in the world will not prepare me to face the mental challenges I am going to be facing in ten days. And for the physical challenges, I will trust the instinct that tells me I can handle it. And the instinct that tells me to eat a lot of local bananas.

I am  not ready and i probably wont be ready in nine days. But i can’t wait for the day I would be ready, I probably never will be. Wish me luck, please. And courage, and strength, and anything i will need for the month of July.