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.

Paper scraps going into the travel journal Journaling

Bangkok wandering and a journal spread

Bangkok has always intimidated me. I always want to get out as quickly as i can. All the smells, the sounds, the traffic, the people, they overwhelm me. My senses overload, i get panicky and have to get out. But Saturday morning, 9 am, when we arrived in Bangkok, i looked at the city from a different angle. I decided to get into it, to embrace it with open arms. And open senses. Also it helped a little bit that this time we got tips and suggestions from a friend who has lived in Bangkok for four years.

After a about an hour of wandering in the streets, greeting local people and local cats, we arrived by a little canal. And we found this little gem called Khlong Bang Luang. A little cafe full of things to see – an old letterpress machine, stacks of filled notebooks, paintings, statues, stickers, sketchbooks and local artists sitting by the tables painting or sketching. We joined them for one afternoon with out paper scraps and travel journals, watched the tourist boats go by and waved at old ladies selling veggies from their small boats.

Boats on the canal in Bangkok near artists house
Boats on the canal
Artists house, Bangkok
The perfect place to do anything artsy in Bangkok!
A local guy painting a mask in Khlong Bang Luang
Local guys painting masks were everywhere around the cafe.
A traditional thai puppet show in the artists house
We also got to see a traditional thai puppet show and watched them train the young puppeteer generation afterwards.

A market boat that passed by the artists house

Another market boat selling fried meats
Possibly the most perfect setting i have ever done a travel journal spread in.

Another market boat selling fried meats

In the Artist’s House – Khlong Bang Luang – i could have spent hours. I was a bit sad to leave, the setting was so brilliant. A peaceful riverside, far from the noise and crowds, catfish playing around in the river and such an artsy vibe going on. The most perfect spot i can imagine to spend hour after hour watching life go by, to see and feel the local life without the feelings of being too overwhelmed. And i am happy we could find a place like this in a city that i have been avoiding as much as i can. Now i am sure there is so much more to see and explore.

A travel journal spread

Travel paper scraps in my midori traveler's notebook
01 – collection of scraps – a guide how to use my new tiger balm, the one dollar bill i couldn’t change into thai baht, the business card of our Phnom Penh hotel, my boarding pass from Phnom Penh to Bangkok and the other side of our receipt from a local thai eatery.
Paper scrap collection going into travelers notebook
02 – Always on the hunt of pretty things to stick into the pages of my notebook. This one we got from a restaurant we had lunch at.
Boarding pass is an important thing to put in your travel journal
03 – My top thing to save and add is boarding passes.
Carry washi tape to add in the travel journa
04 – I got my pouch full of washi samples and stickers with me wherever i go – i got these from my lovely instagram followers (if you recognize yourself, thank you again!!)
Bus tickets also go in the travel journal
05 – To tell about the journey i save everything. Even the ugliest bus tickets.
Writing in the travel journal
06 – And the last step is to write little stories and snaps about my journey to the remaining empty spots.

Finished travel journal spread in midori traveler's notebook

We got to see so many things Bangkok never offered us before – maybe we were not even looking properly before. This time we went to see belly dancing, we took a gong bath from my lovely french friend Lili, and went up to the 43rd floor of a building to look at Bangkok from above.

From the rooftops of BangkokI am not sure if Bangkok is ever going to be one of my favorite big cities. But i am slowly growing into it. And especially after seeing a little piece of the cultural, bohemian Bangkok i feel like i wouldn’t mind coming back for more.