As we rode out of Chiang Mai, we approached a small village where music was blasting from speakers. We had been in Thailand long enough at this point to know something entertaining was about to happen.
As we rode up to the masses of chairs covered by a big blue party tent, several party-goers motioned for us to come in.
We entered to find a stage with several older ladies wearing different colored silken suits and sunglasses, dancing wildly to very loud music. Naturally, they invited us (insisted) that we come join them on the stage, and we obliged. We danced and drank homemade white rice whiskey. As Anshuman did a shimmy shakedown with an old and very tipsy woman, I giggled and exchanged a wink with him. After dancing, they invited us to eat. We munched on piles and piles of litchis and ate bamboo stew with sticky rice. Not long after dinner, we casually excused ourselves, thanked the hosts, and went on our way.
After this event, I was reminded of the first party we accidentally crashed. We were stunned for at least 2 hours straight during the event and afterwards. We kept glancing at each other excitedly across the room, we couldn’t believe our luck, we couldn’t believe the amazingness of circumstance and coincidence or fate.
In general, our first few weeks of the trip held an air of whispered excitement. We giggled our way onto the bus, staring at everything, gasping at views, taking photos of everything.
In recent weeks, this excitement has started to wane. We don’t feel like blogging or taking photos, awe-inspiring views don’t phase us, we are only slightly surprised when we stumble into a party with spirit mediums and homemade white rice whiskey.
I suppose this is a natural progression, but it is somehow amazing to realize that even the most unpredictable and seemingly ‘unroutine’ lifestyle – a nomadic one – can begin to feel mundane. Indeed it is not the circumstance which determines the level of gratitude, but rather the mindset.
How does one maintain perspective and ‘fresh eyes’ in the midst of everyday life? And everyday life can be anything – from that of a blue collar worker, to that of a Queen, to that of a nomadic bicycle tourist.
I try to remember ‘where I am’ and how unique an opportunity this is, but that method might not apply in a more traditional everyday life situation. Instead of constant stimulation and newness, I wonder if it is possible to look at the same thing again and again, and by ‘looking a different way’ actually see a different thing – like close reading a painting or a text.
If not, perhaps this feeling of boredom or complacency is not something to be feared? Maybe it is an essential part of the human experience? Maybe it shows us that we have learned and that we are adaptable and that we are curious?
Just keep pedaling, just keep pedaling….