As you read this, I’m headed off to Thailand. Specifically, Chiang Mai.
I’ll live in Chiang Mai for the month of December, which will be the second of my four preparatory trips. Each of the trips I’m taking is designed to help get me ready for the Great Adventure that starts in May (or so) 2012.
Thailand, however, was a bit of a surprise. It’s a country I’ve always wanted to visit, but it didn’t originally fit into my plans for this winter. Then my trip for learning Spanish in Mexico City got pushed back a month, and I found myself wondering how best to fill in the time.
Part of the motivation for Thailand is leisure, plain and simple. It’s been a while since I’ve taken a proper vacation, and while the Great Adventure is going to be amazing, it’s also going to be rough. Walking and biking through risky areas, sleeping outdoors or on the floors of kind strangers—I’m going to love it, but I wouldn’t mind being fully rested before I go.
Even a rogue priest needs the occasional mojito.
However, I like to do more than just lounge when I travel. I decided to give my trip to Thailand a purpose of its own. Several, in fact. They are:
- Meditation retreat. I don’t know anyone in Chiang Mai, and I have no obligations there. I can cloister myself and have a proper meditation retreat for the first time since spring 2010. For me that means about five or six hours of meditation per day, plus reading and taking walks outside. This one will probably last a week.
- Learning an art. My teacher suggested that one of the best ways to visit a culture is to learn something from them that you can take with you—an art or a skill that is unique to that place. His example was Thai massage, which is a wonderful healing system. Whether I will choose that or something else, we shall see…
- Survive on my own. When I came to Milwaukee I had many friends here. In Mexico City I’ll be staying with Cintain, a man who is like a brother to me. I cherish my friends, but I won’t always have friends on the big walk. I’ll often be on my own. Chiang Mai completely foreign to me, and I know no one. It’s a good testing ground for my awareness and ability to cope.
Those are a few of my personal goals. I also hope to increase the frequency of posts here at Rogue Priest. In the coming weeks I will get back to the discussion of the Heroic Life, delve a little deeper into my own spiritual setbacks, and develop what I want to accomplish with the Great Adventure—something a little more concrete than just “meet the gods.”
For now, I just want to say thank you to everyone who reads this blog regularly, and double thanks if you share it on Facebook or Twitter (or any other social media). I’m a writer at heart and sharing my travels is as important to me as living them.
(Oh, and of course there will be pictures!)
Thanks for being here and, until next time, phop kan mai!