The Quest

Location: Chiang Mai
Soundtrack: Ke$ha

At the heart of every good journey is a quest.

It may be to see something famous, or to experience a culture or their food, or to see an old friend.

Quests also have goals. I’m on the hunt for something here in Thailand – and it’s not what you might think.

Thailand for me has always been a transition place: a place that I come to when I’m transitioning between one life phase and the next.

On this transition, I’m not looking for enlightment or a rare mystical photo of a hidden city – I’m just looking for a bit of clarity.

So, after travelling for the better part of Boxing Day, I found myself in Chiang Mai at my hotel, the Centara Duangtawan, at sunset.

Even though I  was finally here, it didn’t feel like I was in Thailand. It felt like I was still trying to arrive.

I showered the travel grime off, and went to find some food at the night market. I talk about it in my first video blog: Chiang Mai Night Market, Food Avenue.

After dinner I went a-wanderin’, to try to convince myself that I really was in Thailand. I walked in on a Countdown festival, which is the Thai way of celebrating New Years. Their New Year isn’t until April, believe it or not.

The stage is set, the die is cast!

I happily sought out some famous Thai sausages, full of meaty gingery chilli goodness. And they were everything I’d been dreaming of – so good! You’ve got to have them when you come to Thailand.

I then stumbled into yet another random event: the regular Sunday Walking Market where the city shuts down a few streets and folks just go walking through looking for bargains. Thailand love their markets…

Just keep walking, people.

I still felt displaced, but it was slowly dawning on me that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore, Toto.

When I was here a few years ago, the same friend that features in my vlog and I went and had a beery session at Pirate’s Cove. I realised it was just around the corner from the walking market. I went to find it again in a whim of nostalgia.

I didn’t feel i was in Thailand until I spoke to Lee, the new owner of Pirate’s Cove. Mid-40s, goatee’d and running his bar in a loose shirt, pants and sandals, he’s your typical American ex-pat who left their rat race to settle somewhere foreign and quiet. An intelligent and friendly guy, he reminded me of why I was here: adventure.

And suddenly it clicked: I was in Thailand. I was drinking Chang. A tuk tuk just tore past the bar. The croaking wooden frog ladies were just outside.

I was back.

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