Monday, February 29, 2016


This morning we set out to explore a few of Chiang Mai's Buddhist temples. The two temples that we visited are the two that are said to house the two relics of the Buddha. The first, Wat Suan Dok, was my favorite. With its perfectly white washed mausoleums housing the ashes of Chiang Mai's royal family and the breathtaking golden chedi, this temple stole my heart.

As Kadison and I wandered its grounds and throughout the ubosot, we felt dwarfed by the enormous statues of Buddha. We quietly admired the intricate details as monks meditated nearby and tip-toed back out into the garden to rejoin our group, humbled by Wat Suan Dok's beauty.

We cruised around the gorgeous Chiang Mai University campus before heading up the mountain to the second temple we were to visit, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. This temple is the most famous temple in Chiang Mai named after the mountain on which it was built. According to legend, the second relic of Buddha was placed on the back of a white elephant and was released into the jungle. The elephant climbed Doi Suthep, stopped, trumpeted three times and then dropped dead. This was considered an omen and the temple was built at this site.

We climbed the 306 step staircase to the temple and waited for the rest of our group (who opted to take the cable car to the top.) This temple, though beautiful, was crawling with tourists. We saw a million different Buddha statues, had our fortunes told, and visited a jade factory and showroom before we headed back to the hostel for our usual lunch of Pad Thai and a cheeseburger and fries.

Friday, February 26, 2016


It is safe to say that our first day in Thailand will be remembered as our worst day in Thailand.

After 24 hours on a plane, a few stops in Moscow and Singapore, and only dinner rolls and roasted peanuts in our stomachs, we still had the daunting task of finding our way from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Instead of a quick 2 hour flight, we took some bad advice and headed toward the train station. We both agreed it would be a nice change of pace, plus I had never ridden a train before. It was said to be scenic and quick.

Besides nearly losing my life to a taxi van the moment I stepped off of the curb, our taxi ride to the train station was the highlight of our day. The adorable taxi driver, Vanda, was giggly, jolly, and a sight for sore eyes. She popped in a CD that she clearly only played for her American passengers and got us to the train station in one piece.

We purchased our tickets for the "Rapid Express" train that would board a few hours later. I asked a gal working there how long the train ride would be and nearly shit myself when she said 15 to 16 hours. We tried to stay optimistic by telling ourselves that this was the worst case scenario and sat down to await the 13:45 train to Chiang Mai.

Hualamphong Station in Bangkok, Thailand

The people watching was PRIME at this train station so the two hour wait was nothing but a pleasant experience for me. Kadison watched a few episodes of Grey's Anatomy on her laptop and I stared at any and everyone who passed me by. A crawling man, a couple performing some sort of tantric love karate, and bob-tailed cats were just the tip of the iceberg...

We boarded the train 45 minutes early, struggled to lift our beyond-heavy bags into the overhead storage and slumped into our seats, exhausted. This was not the sort of train I had always imagined I'd ride through a foreign country.. this was the kind of train you take from one side of Disneyland to the other. But worse. The chairs were busted, their was no air conditioning, and the bathrooms...well, the bathrooms were holes that you had to squat over while you bounced down the tracks. We stayed pretty optimistic throughout the entire endeavor.. despite the heat, the bugs, and the f.i.f.t.e.e.n. hours we spent on that damn train. But! We did make it to Chiang Mai and we did save $90 in the process.

All aboard the shit train

We took a taxi to our hostel, threw our bags down, took the best showers of our lives and reminded ourselves that we were in Thailand for the next 16 days! And also that we it could only get better from here.

View from the rooftop of Hug Hostel in the center of Chiang Mai, Thailand

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Leaving on a Jet Plane.

Only a few days stand between me and my next adventure. I've taken nearly an entire month off of work to turn off all of my alarms, scrap all of my daily routines, and clear my entire schedule. I'm headed towards Thailand with a suitcase full of books, empty journals, and yoga pants to absolutely indulge in a true blue v.a.c.a.t.i.o.n.
I've been working painfully long work weeks to make up for the days my PTO wouldn't cover while I disappear. Miraculously, the last few days there, I was unexpectedly cut loose early and able to enjoy a taste Austin's early Spring! It's already patio weather here and I was fortunate enough to spend a handful of days basking in it! Nothing feels better than skipping out into the sunlight after freezing your tail off in a cold, sterile surrounding. After my last shift, it took every bit of self control not to click my heels together and squeal, "I'm free!" right there in the hospital lobby.

That afternoon, I was laying on my bed, buzzed from a few unplanned margaritas, when I realized something. After considering the beautiful and supportive people in my life, the incredible things I've been fortunate enough to experience, and all of the love and happiness that I've been able to cultivate, I realized that I really am the luckiest girl I know. And I began to cry...

.... and laugh. I tucked my knees to my chest and gave myself a serious hug, rocking side to side, rolling around my bed in my own blissful delirium. I don't know if I've ever felt as happy as I did in that very moment. And ever since, I've been walking on clouds.

My pulse quickens every time I think about Thailand. We leave the day after tomorrow. Which, to me, sounds a lot sooner than "Tuesday."  We have nothing scheduled other than check-in time at our hostel. I'd like to promise that I'll share my experiences in posts to come, but there's just no telling.

I'm leaving with an open heart, and open mind, and an intense hunger for discovery. I'll check in soon, sweethearts.