I got this new dental floss here that says it’s laced with charcoal and when I floss with it I can’t help but think that I’m super flossing and keep staring at my teeth to see if I can notice that they’re now super teeth. I also got a toothbrush laced with charcoal with the same promises, but as of yet I still have the same teeth and same smile. I’ll keep you posted on this progress.
I took an inventory today of everything that I have as I’ve got this creeping feeling that I’m collecting too much. There’s only a few things new that I have: toothpaste, day bag, t-shirt, shoes, phone… why does it feel like I’m consuming? I’m spending my money on what I guess one could call essentials: food, rent. Also, my scooter. I seems to go from café to restaurant to café to restaurant to night market. Food food food.
Not eating animal based foods is actually pretty ok here, I just have to be patient with my ordering. For example, tonight I stumbled upon this market outside of town where I had a small bucket of every vegetable tempura one can think of in the midst of food stalls serving kebobs. I followed that up with some vegetable spring rolls.
I recognize my conscious resistance to spending, which in my mind equates to consumption. I recognize when my resistance butts up against a friend’s desire. I’ve met this fellow here from USA, Dale, who shares the same sentiment about spending. We’re becoming good friends and talk for a long time about cryptocurrencies over coffee. (sidenote: I like that everybody seems to be getting excited about tasting different roasts and trying to recognize flavours.) I feel it’s actually a really hard challenge in this world to not spend; I think I’ll add this as a chapter in my Warrior Training Handbook. Really though, we’re bombarded with hyper stimuli that is designed to give us a high that we want more of, and we feel it’s a safe high. When I sit in my small room typing on my computer in this foreign city with night bazaars and a chill lounge that I feel like I’ve been looking for my whole life, I get this feeling like I’m not living my life to the fullest sitting here with my digital tools enabling me.
But what even is fullest? What is this Carpe Diem. Is it paying for zipline rides and flying from city to city in my local tribal clothing I’ve bought? Or is it sitting in a café I’ve become familiar with learning a new culture, language, and taste of local coffee beans with a new friend? My actions will show you my answer to these questions I hope.
Taken from Horace’s Odes (considered to be the origin of the saying Carpe Diem):
Ask not (’tis forbidden knowledge), what our destined term of years,
Mine and yours; nor scan the tables of your Babylonish seers.
Better far to bear the future, my Leuconoe, like the past,
Whether Jove has many winters yet to give, or this our last;
This, that makes the Tyrrhene billows spend their strength against the shore.
Strain your wine and prove your wisdom; life is short; should hope be more?
In the moment of our talking, envious time has ebb’d away.
Seize the present; trust tomorrow e’en as little as you may.
A little saying I’ve been teaching some of my Thai friends that my grandma, mom, and aunt taught me in German is: morgen, morgen, nur nicht heute, sagen alle faulen Leute – or – tomorrow, tomorrow, not today, all the lazy people say.
Such a tricky thing to balance. I know that when I get home to the farm I’m going to talk to people about this journey and there will be countless things I missed, but luckily there’s Instagram and Google with hoards of photographs for me to pretend like I’ve visited these places I’m surely missing. I’ve also been browsing hashtags of Thailand looking for beautiful photos of places that intrigue me and making note of them on my map. I think it’s getting time to hit the road.
My friend Janpen, the barrista at Jikko Café (where I go to every day) whom I learn Thai with and also give food to the monk with every morning (long before coffee time), told me that I haven’t been to Chiang Mai if I haven’t been to Doi Suthep. It’s the big looming hill that you can see from town which of course has a Wat at the top, Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. Everybody just calls it Doi Suthep though. So, we woke up before sunrise and hiked up! It was beautiful to be in the forest in darkness, and then as it became light we arrived at Doi Suthep. She also told me today that she thinks that I know more about Chiang Mai than she does now.