I am excited to be featured this month, December 2017, on an internationally well-known travel site Nomadic Matt! Kirstin Addis, aka Be my Travel Muse, is the sites female guest post and earlier this year approached me for my story of travel as a ‘non’milleniall’ backpacker – living my life-long dream to travel and see the world more than I had before. So I did and here is the link.
Also, a link to the post on my travel blog too so you can look around – Clear Mind Thinking, and read some of my adventures in 2015-16 in Thailand, Laos, VIetnam, Cambodia, New Zealand, Australia, South America and Spain!
One of 6 older traveller stories, this is the picture Kirstin chose – me with the young monks I met, learning English outsdie their wat as I explored the city. Reading in the travel info I collected on my travels, I found there were English-speaking monks living in Vietiane, capital city of Laos and so I went in search of monks to chat with and find out more about Bhudism and their lives. And I did – I found these young men, aged 14-19 who invited me to join them as I passed through and asked if they spoke English! I helped them with the English work they were doing, sat outside Wat Ong Tu, and we chatted about life, in particular with Somsay who was lovely. They invited me to join an evening service later that day, which I did, watching them and the local people walk three times around the temple with candles, chanting. And it was enchanting!
A temple service
I went inside, uncertain of the etiquette, but was helped and welcomed by the people nearby. I did know you dont point your feet at the Buddah, and they sit almost on their haunches – much more lithe than I was – and I wasnt comfortable for the long service, feet tucked behind and beneath me. But I joined it, watched and enjoyed the very personal experience that brings a lump to my throat even as I remember it! A very moving moment for me.
Afterwards, I watched them chat to people, serve some food and drinks as they do throughout the day, to locals who have little, and share what they collect on their homage walks about 6 am, after their first service of the day at 3 am. How do I know that? I had a room across from another Wat and heard the bell call each morning! I didn’t mind – in fact, it was thrilling to be part of the culture there! Somsay laughed when I said I would come to the morning one, but suggested the 6 pm one was better!
He gave me a small book that I treasure, about Bhuddism, although it’s a general book, it was passed to me on a personal level, following a very personal expereince for us all. I am still friends with Somsay and another monk on Facebook today, and we exchange messages and share/like each others comments. A new, unexpected and unusual friend made on my journey …
There were temples on every corner, literally, and most you are free to wander, and look at, not always photograph inside and of course, taking off your shoes to enter, covered at least in part, sometimes shoulders or legs, never both exposed. I carred a sarong or scarf for just this purpose, for most of my time in Asia – tied as a skirt over shorts, or around my bare shoulders. Respecting their customs is essential as a traveller and it is also a learning experience, and feeling part of their culture and welcomed if you embrace their needs too.
Live your Dreams
Will you live your dream in 2018? There are various posts on here about that trip and how you can plan, live and love your dream! A dream life, a dream trip, a dream activity – when yours comes true, what will it feel like?
Other Dreams to Share
In my yearning to travel, I was often inspired my my brother-in-law, and sister, who moved to Australia many years ago, and followed his journey when he lived his dream – of diving a sunken Spanish galleon to find lost treasure perhaps, which he tried over a few years, based in Guam (a dream in itself!). Through ups and downs of fearsome weather, lost friends and highlights finding and raising the canons from the ship, now displayed on the island of Guam his story will be here soon too!
I will share other people's dreams on the blog, as inspriration and motivation for you to live yours so keep an eye on the site, or sign up for our regular newsletter!