• Hippie Culture in Chiang Mai

    My friends called me in the late afternoon and invited me to Deejai Gardens – a pool/bar/hostel in the center of town. My boyfriend and I arrived to a long strip of motor bikes outside. We walked up, no cover charge, and order our first round of drinks.

    I have found myself running into the same people all the time. I have never exchanged words with them, but their face has already been filed away in my brain. There are certain crowds of people that you will find at certain places, bars, venues, areas of town.

    Middle aged foreign white men can be found at the seedy bars or out to eat at an overpriced western restaurant with a quiet Thai girl. Young 20-somethings who are in and out of Chiang Mai can be found absolutely obliterated at Spicy from 12 to 2am. Chinese tourists can be found staring out the windows of large tourist busses. And then there is the hippie crowd–the 20-35 year olds with dreadlocks and sparkle shawls trying to ‘find themselves.’

    I have been inspired by hippie-types all my life as most have a creative, loving attitude towards life. But these hippies are the nomadic souls that had enough courage, strength, and money to uproot their lives to Asia. They are the cream of the crop–living the ultimate hippie dream. And therefore, there are S O  M A N Y.  I go to a venue that will be playing trance music and there they are with their scarves and glitter. I go to an open mic and there they are again feeling blessed and telling everyone how grateful they are. I went to Deejai yesterday and there they were (again) barefoot and jumping in a gnarly, green swamp-water filled pool not caring that they might get an ear infection.

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  • Why I Have Become a Jet-Setting Nomad:

    T H E  S P A R K:
    I went on an 8 day trip to Italy when I was 16 years old with my high school Latin class. I discovered magnificent architecture, history, a new language, and a completely new way of living life. It made me realize that there are SO many beautiful things and experiences that I must see for myself, in person. And this sparked something within me – more profound than curiosity. I unearthed a longing and duty to travel.

    S I E Z I N G  O P P O R T U N I T Y:

    After Italy, a girl in one of my college english classes told me about a travel course to Ghana and I immediately went and signed up for the class. I ended up spending a month in rural Ghana teaching maternity yoga and volunteering at a junior high school. This adventure made me realize that I wanted to volunteer in another third world country. 4 years later, I found myself in the Dominican Republic volunteering as a preschool teacher. In between these trips, I backpacked through the USA working on farms because it saved me money and all I desired was to travel. After I returned to school, I made the spontaneous decision to spend my senior year of college in New Zealand studying at the University of Auckland. Now, I am a full-time kindergarten teacher in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

    S E L F  R E F L E C T I O N:

    I have always had an independent, adventurous spirit…but I think that I am looking for something. There is something within me that needs to go somewhere new. Each place enchants and frustrates me. Methods of daily life in each country create a new space in your brain, a new alternative that you never thought of before. You learn about people, how we all want the same things and, also, how we clash.Read More

  • Air Pollution in Chiang Mai

    I live inside the city – the South East corner of the moat that puts a square target at the center of the Chiang Mai, Thailand. There are highways outside of the moat that encircles it. You can get from one side to another in 20 minutes, unless you drive through the center and it will take double the time…why? TRAFFIC.

    Chiang Mai is small…in size and in its communities, and it is infested with tourists, travelers, and nomads. Its population can charm and suffocate you.

    I cannot blame the new and settled people who occupy this wonderful place. I cannot blame the famers on the outskirts, the rich, the poor, the Thais or the foreigners. It is all of us. There is litter and exhaust fumes sprinkled everywhere and this special time of year amplifies the air pollution.

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  • Acupuncture in CNX

    Yesterday I went to a Chinese Acupuncture Clinic named Mungkala. The clinic was only a 10 minute walk from my apartment and right next to a small cafe that my friends and I always love to go to (Kat’s Kitchen). I walked down my street (Loi Kroh Road), which is a long windy strip of over-priced restaurants, bars and massage places with pretty, done up Thai girls (short dresses and lots of make up)  standing around. It is more or less a place where old men usually go to eat, drink, and receive attention from pretty Thai girls (some Lady Boys too). It is a little bit disturbing, but prostitution is a reality of Thailand and it is easier than you think to grow numb to.

    I arrived at the moat (the giant square that is the center of Chiang Mai city) and crossed. Sometimes a car almost hits me and sometimes my J-walking attempts are quite smooth. Fortunately, I am still alive and well. Traffic, driving and walking on the side of the street (because there are usually no side walks) in Chiang Mai is very over-stimulating and aggressive. Instead of cars and motorbikes following the street in one line, everyone floods in and out like a very adaptive blob of movement.

    I walk up to a nice little garden area with succulents lined along a stone path, table and chairs, and rusty swings. It always amazes me to find cute nature sceneries tucked inches from the dirty side walks and musty streets. And as soon as you step off the street and into a backyard it is somehow quiet and peaceful with green things like grass and trees.

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  • Seeds

    The following creative non fiction short story received an award in ENG 344 for best creative nonfiction short story at the University of Auckland in 2015.

    I woke up beneath the sound of rain licking the sides of the tent. I wanted to keep dreaming, wrapped in my sleeping bag, but Andrew had already put his glasses on. We rummaged through our musty clothes with flashlights and slipped on our outfits for the day. Brushed hair, fresh socks, deodorant didn’t matter anymore. I walked barefoot across the farm. Keith would chip away at me for not wearing shoes. There was poison ivy every where, but the entire two-and-a-half weeks I worked on their farm in Georgia, I never got it. We loaded the pick up truck with chicken feed and oyster shells and began the day.

    After breakfast, Andrew and I were exiled to the rows of potatoes to weed. Keith and Katie were on the other side of the property, probably inside. My soggy jacket lapped onto my skin every time I yanked out a weed. Whenever we were alone, Andrew would tell me secrets. He shared how his brother moved to Orlando, FL, how he never drank because his mom was an alcoholic. He told me the story of how Keith and Katie had sex in the green house on a full moon because they thought it might get her pregnant (Katie had fertility problems). He talked a lot like he couldn’t stop, so I listened. Mud was caked up to my wrists. I was cold and aching for lunch, but I kept working.

    I had come to the farm to learn about sustainable farming. I longed to get out of the city of Tampa and back to nature. I had a backpack with some clothes, a shitty tent from Walmart and a secondhand sleeping bag that I bought from Goodwill for $8. I was desperate to learn, to change, and to know myself. In January, I started working as a waitress at a sports bar called The Outpost. My boss would make perverted comments every time I wore yoga pants and all the girls I worked with wore too much make-up, but I made a good amount of money. I planned to travel to Georgia to work on Keith and Katie’s farm for a month in exchange for accommodation and meals, then to another farm in Washington for a month, and, one in Alaska for the last month of summer. It started as a wild idea and transformed into a dream I needed to live inside.
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  • Finding My Balance in CNX

    Last week was difficult at school. I posted a photo on Instagram in which many people wrote back with spiritual advice and don’t-worry-i’m-here-for-you-type messages. This morning I cried out of frustration and sadness for how I’ve been treated in this country.

    Why is it that our negative experiences sting us more than our positive ones heal us? The source of my unhappiness cannot be blamed on the outside world. The world will always be like this: rough and imperfect. But it is just as equally extraordinary and perfect.

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