On a plane heading back from Queenstown to Auckland, I haven’t written in the past couple months. Time to catch up on some overdue reflection.
I wrote this blog:
There I was on a highway just outside of Chiang Rai, with no idea what was to come. My only plan was to get to Hanoi in Vietnam within a week or so. How? That was the big question.
I was getting across Thailand by hitch hiking on the back of utes, motorbikes and trucks. It was definitely a wild adventure, especially when it was getting quite dark and I was in the middle of nowhere and a group guys on motorbikes stop for me.
The group reminded me of my boys (Drew, Jared & Ben) back home. Although we weren’t cool enough to be cruising on motorbikes but just how they acted around each other; all up to my interpretation of course. I had no idea what they were saying. For all I know they were talking to each other about how they were going to eat me. You never know in remote Thailand.
We ended up having the most broken misunderstood conversation and I normally wouldn’t trust people where I didn’t know their intentions. Normally.
Silly billy Daniel gets on the back of one of the motorbikes and travels with the Thai boys into the night.
Another scorching afternoon and I wasn’t having much luck on the side of the road. It’s difficult because many Thai people don’t really understand the concept of hitch hiking. They would pull over and be like; “man, what are you doing?”. And the more I try to explain the concept of hitch hiking, I find myself more and more sounding like a freeloader. And I guess its perspective, people have asked; are you just trying to get the best out of people and move on? And unfortunately, you can look at that way. But there’s no pressure, it’s simply just giving an opportunity.
Many drivers who have picked me up in Australia, Europe and Asia have often said “I’ve never picked up a hitch hiker before, this is new for me”.
Which is awesome, because it ruins the predictability of how the day was going to go.
A mum and a son stopped by and asked where I was going, Lampang(2-hour drive away). They said they weren’t going that way, just down the road. I quickly jumped to the opportunity and said that any little distance would be great.
Once again, I found myself having a broke conversation in English as I got to know these two musicians. They started talking in Thai to each other and continuously pointed back at me, I was trying to decipher what they were saying, but the hand gestures were completely different to Italian.
The son looked back at me and said “we’ve changed our mind, we were going that direction tomorrow, but we want to help you. We will take you to Lampang today”.
I was completely blown away. They change their plans for me? For a stranger? And they were so happy doing it, feeding me lots of food and taking care of me.
Now people can read this and think Daniel is a free loader.
But I like to think if I was given the same opportunity, I would react the same way and if we all responded like the mum and son, the world would be a bit more of a brighter place.
At times throughout travelling through Thailand, Laos and Vietnam I would feel episodes of loneliness and boredom. That’s all part of it, I knew what I was signing up for.
But overall as much as I like doing things solo, an adventure is much better shared.
After a very long and bumpy bus ride, I finally made it to Hanoi. I definitely felt those feelings of isolation when in rural Thailand. It was like I was on one of those ‘find myself pilgrimages’. Sorry for the cliché.
I do love these kinds of adventures when you are more integrated with the locals rather than meeting other travellers.
Something I want to continue pursuing for the future.
Oh, the ideas that rattle the brain. Now I just need to find someone who’s willing to share it.
If you know someone, let me know.
Looking at you Cyrus.