I am not a cave person. I find them grotesque and eerie. They’re dark and dank, and I can never remember which is a stalagmite and which is the other stala-thing. Public education, baby!
Also, nothing good ever happens in caves. That’s where Gollum lived and went bald, and Frodo
got burdened with wins the ring after an annoying game of riddles. Harry has to force Dumbledore to drink poison in a cave for a POS horcrux that ends up being a fake. And the Buddha found enlightenment in a cave… ok, maybe some good things happen in caves. But mostly bad.
The highlight of our 4-day motorbike tour of central Laos was a visit to Konglor Cave, a massive hole in a mountain that you can float through on a river. I wasn’t super stoked to see it, but it turned out to be pretty sweet.
the entrance to Konglor Cave
There are so many little things that happen each day that I don’t want to forget. Anecdotes are a collection of these mini-stories or adventures. Also known as “filler material” for when I don’t have anything else to blog about.
sometimes, language is unnecessary
Matt and I were in yet another minivan, this time from Vientiane to Luang Prabang in Laos. I ended up sitting next to a pair of Korean guys, one older in maybe his 50s or 60s, and the other younger, in his late 30s or 40s. The older guy was against one window, the younger guy sitting in the middle, and me against the other window / panel door.
Depending on my mood, I will either engage my seatmates too much (wait, you’re telling me there are people who don’t want to talk to me for 9 hours straight…?) or not at all. If I perceive there to be a language barrier, I usually won’t try to talk to people. These two seemed a bit severe, or maybe my preconceived notions told me that they were, so I assumed the van-riding position: I put in my head phones and unfocused my eyes.
After much thought, I have decided to pause my trip and return to the States at the end of May so that I can play the club ultimate season with my team, Molly Brown. But never fear, dear readers! It will not be the end of my travel journey. I intend to play the season from June to November and then re-join Matt somewhere in South America. Matt is planning to travel alone to Europe for a few months while I’m chasing plastic back home.
I got a layout Callahan! For our readers who don’t play ultimate, a Callahan is one of the most exciting plays that can happen. It is a defensive score akin to a pick-six in football. And a layout is ultimate-speak for diving after a disc. Callahans are rare and usually the result of some fluke rather than intent. But this one was fully intentional and the highlight of my ultimate career thus far.
At the 14th annual Bangkok Hat Tournament, I was on the Red Ninjas. Here’s a cool picture of us being badasses:
- Red Ninjas at the 2014 Bangkok hat tournament, photo courtesy of Zrs Gamboa photography
- Continue reading
We arrived in Chiang Mai, Thailand with about five days to spare before the ultimate frisbee hat tournament. So we headed further Northwest to Pai, a small town along the Mae Hong Son loop that is known for it’s hippy atmosphere. I had read about a two-day rafting trip, and after many helpful emails back and forth with with Guy, the French man who has been running Thai Adventure Rafting for over 20 years, I decided to sign up. It’s currently the dry season in Thailand and there was only about one week left in the rafting season. The water levels would be low, but it sounded like a fun way to get to Mae Hong Son where Lisa was going to be hanging out for a couple days.
This rafting trip seems much more exciting when set to an absurd soundtrack!
I went off by myself to a meditation retreat at a forest monastery. Why? The easy answer is faith, instinct, and serendipity. The long story requires a bit more explanation. I’ll start with this quote:
“Faith is the willingness to give ourselves over, at times, to things we do not fully understand… the full engagement with this strange and shimmering world.” ~ Alan Lightman
Note: Writing this post was a struggle. I wanted to avoid discussing theology because my spiritual journey is highly personal and private. I was also afraid that putting my thoughts out there would cause others to label me as some sort of New Age-y, hippy-dippy kook, and that I would lose credibility. But it was ultimately impossible to write anything without touching on some existential thoughts. So I have found a middle ground where I have glossed over a lot of my own beliefs and generalized a lot of others, and I apologize if they are unclear or confusing. They are here to form a framework* for the larger discussion.
Shortly after I wrote the last post, I made the sudden decision to go off on my own to a Buddhist forest monastery near Mae Hong Son in northern Thailand. I’m still processing my feelings on the week I spent there, but I’m short on time and wanted to get a post up since there hasn’t been one in a bit, and it’d be too long to explain the logistics as well as my emotions in a single post. I’ll organize my thoughts soon, but this post is about the basic routine and structure of my week at Pa Wat Tam Wua Forest Monastery.
the milky way! i’ve been trying for this shot for months