I woke up to laughter and conversations across the room.
My watch read 4:30am and I considered asking them to be quiet but my tendency to avoid conflict at personal cost prevailed. They kept their conversation until it became loud and raucous. I found my headphones to drown out their high pitched laughter with something I could fall asleep to.
A few hours later I woke up again, it was later than I had wanted but I lose rest when I’m woken up unexpectedly. Music is one of the easiest ways for me to redirect my moods and this morning I needed a few songs to help my feet hit the floor. I woke disgruntled from waking up too late and the uncomfortable dreams I almost always have. At 8am I grabbed my camera and put my valuables in my locker before walking onto the already busy street. Walking helps me wake up and erase the cricks in my skeleton so I usually try to get walking as soon as I can get from my bed to the street. I was looking for somewhere to eat and after a couple months of traveling I have some criteria to meet. 1-a view of people 2-a nicer chair 3-not right in the heavily touristed area and 4-normal people eat there.
After passing many decent options that didn’t meet the not being in the touristy area criteria I crossed a busy road, walked under a bridge and found a bunch of tables and a few carts topped with stir fryers and various greens and meats ready to be cooked. It had a nice smell and I could watch the people walk by, the chair wasn’t great. I have sat on so many hard wooden, plastic and metal seats since I’ve been in Asia. My body type makes it very uncomfortable. But anyways, I endure for a decent view.
A routine is an interesting thing, it can grow a person like adding water and nutrient rich soil to a plant or it can deplete a persons energy over time. Having a good routine means forward motion and a way to measure that the direction of travel is indeed towards my goal.
Right now my main goals for each day are 1-write 2- give thanks 3- take pictures 4-do one good thing for someone else and 5- walk. I have been good about following these goals in a human way, I want a system that works so I remember that it has to adapt to my needs. I don’t write every day, I don’t always do something very good for another person and sometimes I’m negative most of the day. I’m not strict, I hold these goals in my mind throughout my day so when the opportunity to write or be thankful arrives I will readily take it. I usually do all 5 things every day, and sometimes I’m excessive so it makes up for the days I forget.
My goals might seem very general but they have set the tone for a meaningful and progressive journey, I have learned more because of these goals than I would without any goals. On the days when I want to stay comfortable I still have to step outside and take a picture or help a stranger.
The fried rice I had sitting on the very uncomfortable stool was amazing, fried rice is usually just fried rice. Its not bad but it is hard to make an exceptional fried rice. Starting my day with a good meal and a walk has helped many groggy mornings into productive days. I had no real plan as I walked away from breakfast, I figured I would walk around until I was somewhat lost and than I would ask around until I figured out how to get back to my hostel. Little did I know that this brilliant plan would be shattered 10 minutes later by the kindness of a stranger.
He explained to me that the building he was bowing towards gave him good luck. I hadn’t asked and I only barely slowed down to pass him but his words stopped me, he spoke well and sounded friendly. It was a change from a lot of the aggressive questions I’ve become used to in Thailand. He kept talking, he told me about his favorite temples and than got some paper to write down their names for me, he told me I could get a tuk tuk for no more than 80B to take me to three of the best temples in Bangkok. Since I had no plan, this became my plan.
But before I could act he had called over a tuk tuk and haggled him down to 80B, I had only to step into the back and say goodbye to Pon Chai as I sped away on the rickety, three wheeled machine.
I don’t need to see most temples, its alright but it doesn’t hold my interest for very long. I like the journey to the temple better than I like seeing a giant golden Buddha for the 30th time. After the temples my driver asked me if he could take me to a suit shop because they would give him a coupon for gasoline if I just looked. I hadn’t done anything particularly nice to someone that day so I agreed. 15 minutes later I walked out of the suit shop with a very bad taste in my mouth from the mean words the employee had directed at me after I said I would think about it, he lost all shadow of friendliness the instant he suspected I wouldn’t buy something. I knew his anger wasn’t really towards me but at some larger force in his life but it still stung to be in the way of it.
I still agreed to go to one more suit store for my drivers sake. I went in feeling like some kind of spy, it went smoother the second time and walking out was a relief. I had done my good deed even if the deed was questionably good for all parties involved.
My evening routine is less solid, I may go out with friends if I’ve found a group or I might stay in for some writing. Sometimes if I have my own hotel room I go out for a variety of street food and than come back to watch a movie while I taste the different treats I’ve bought.
Some days are busy and some are slow, I rarely have a plan but rarely does nothing happen. I develop my inner thought with my writing, I appreciate the present moment by giving thanks, I push myself to interact with at least one person by my one good deed, I practice a skill with photography and I always get a bit of exercise by walking. Its a plan enough to work with the diversity of travel. My routine adds substance to traveling, it makes what could be an easy life of eating out and going for walks a bit more pointed.
Each day I take a step, that step could be backwards or forwards but if I take one picture walk down one street, help one person, appreciate one thing and write one word I think that step is forward.