Back Home to Chiang Mai, Thailand

Back Home to Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai

One Home-Away-from-Home; it begs the question “Where’s home?”

“Let’s go to Chiang Mai, because it’s boring”

After [getting out of the Maldives on SQ story] escaping from the Maldives and a brief stop in Singapore [link to page], we wound-down our trip with e few days in Chiang Mai, in the north of Thailand. in retrospect, at four days (and a bit like Singapore in this respect) it was neither long enough, nor short enough a visit.We enjoyed it, yet wondered at the end, whether it had been worth the travel hassle.

We had a couple of reasons for visiting Chiang Mai again, I (Scott) think they were the same for both Kathy and I, yet neither of us really articulated them to the other: 1) We thought we’d get together with the people at Heifer we’d worked with in past years — yet despite our intentions, we never actually got around to contacting them. 2) We were (or expected to be — this was planned months ago) stressed out from our travels and we wanted a quiet, known-quantity of a place, somewhere “in the neighborhood”, where we could do nothing if we wanted — and not feel guilty about it., 3) The guest house we returned to (Galare) offered a high speed internet service for about $5/day — and we were very much missing being “connected”.

We did very little in Chiang Mai. If you’re thinking “you went to the cultural capital of Thailand, but you just hung out?”. Yeah. Turns out, the internet connection at the guest house was broken; Scott spent five hours or so getting it working — this was good for free beer, a free night stay, and a free dinner one evening. None expected. Makes you wonder whether there’s a travel living to be made as Guest Geek. In any case, our joint inactivity, and lack of concern about same made us wonder whether we’d unconsciously gone to Chiang Mai because we were missing some notion of home, whether it was “where our stuff was”… or as basic as where we’re registered to vote. From that, we thought: we, home isn’t just “where the heart is”, or “where you hang your hat”.

It’s:

  • Where your stuff is. We acquire things from our lives and our travels, and they need to be somewhere, unless we carry them around with us.
  • Where your friends are. Another ambiguity: we now make friends around the country and the world. Are friends the people you see frequently, the ones you’ve known the longest?
  • Where you know your way around/are comfortable living in — “where you can get around without a map”

The “stuff” part of the equation has probably changed the most for us over the years. When we moved from Massachusetts to New Hampshire we rid ourselves of half our belongings. Why hold on to the rest? Our friends are increasing global — both in the sense that they themselves are located in a variety of places, and that for some, they travel and live around the world.

Finally, as we visit and re-visit more places, the world seems smaller and more locales are familiar to us. At the moment, that set of “comfortable” places could include: Boston, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Singapore, San Francisco, Sydney, Vancouver, New Orleans, as well as our hometowns, the Florida Keys, and parts of Michigan. Not surprisingly, we have good friends in most of those places.

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