I tucked away my shabby maroon backpack, tucked it deep within the far recesses of my tiny studio apartment, behind my wardrobe, where no one could see, where I couldn’t see. I tucked away the memories from traveling through Southeast Asia for the past six months.
The gravel flecked tar splattered across the bag’s front from tearing across fresh wet tarmac on the back of a motorbike in Laos. The tiny rips and loose stitching from endless plane flights and rough baggage handling. The faint smells of cheroot cigars from Myanmar and the myriad of nomadic smells from weeks trekking through tea plantations in Sri Lanka, the remnants of loose white sand from the lustrous beaches of the Maldives, dinginess from hostels and trains in Thailand, and the weathered fabric and mud from biking through Vietnam.
These details that defined the last six months of my life were now put to rest in my new abode, signaling the close of one life-changing chapter and the emergence of a new one.
At the end of March 2015, with four days left before my flight home from Bangkok to West Palm Beach, Florida, I called the airline company and cancelled my ticket.
My heart screamed, ringing in my ears, thoughts racing through my head from the time my eyes closed to slumber till the morning when they opened to sun beams.
“I’m staying. With the money I have left, I’m moving to Thailand, and that is that.”
Why Chiang Rai?
My first taste of Chiang Rai came in November 2014. I took a weekend trip to meet up with my good friend, Alejandra, who is teaching in Thailand. We only spent two days in Chiang Rai, but we both readily agreed, if we were to ever live in SE Asia, Chiang Rai would be the place. It sucked us in, made us smile, laugh, dance and relax….made us feel at home.
Playing with the kittens in the garden of our guesthouse, gazing at the grand golden clock tower glistening proudly in the city center, perusing the Saturday night market along with the rest of the city’s inhabitants- Chiang Rai is different from the rest. It is a modern Thai city that few foreigners venture to. It is a modern Thai city that has been shaped and influenced by the Thai people, and the pride and devotion of the people is felt.
In April 2015, Alejandra and I made the move, the move we had chatted nonchalantly about back in November 2014. I’ve never lived abroad before, or made such a hasty decision in such a short amount of time. But I’m trusting my gut, my heart.
Now, here is my story of life in Chiang Rai. I am a writer and adventurer. I fear and love unpredictability and constant movement. My eyes crave to see, my mouth yearns to taste and my body dreams to fly. Back in October 2014, I quit my job as a full time sports writer and sold my belongings to travel the world. Since then, my life has changed drastically into a beautiful, complicated journey of overcoming challenges and self growth. This blog will encompass my true, day-in and day-out experiences living in Chiang Rai, Thailand; the good, the bad and everything in between.
© Copyright 2015: Courtney Lambert