wanderlust quelled, paradise found

“… it hits me how much books and writing have fueled our shared wanderlust… A curious boy reads about deserts and dinosaurs and Eastern intrigue, and the man wants to go find them.”

“Unlike Bangkok, with its huge shiny malls stocked with Maserati dealerships and Starbucks, Chiang Mai retains a provincial feel, its walled old center woven with quiet, narrow lanes.”

“In a corner, a young monk with a saffron robe and a shaved head sits at a table. The Chedi Luang wat holds monk chats — a chance for monks and everyday folks, mostly tourists, to talk. ‘Lay people have a lot of problems,’ says the young monk, Pena Met, ‘but in the temple we follow the middle way, with less problems.’ It turns out he’s got wanderlust. He wants to talk to tourists, to learn English, to read books written in English; he has even downloaded TED lectures onto his computer to find out about other lands and other ways. Finally, he says it: ‘I really want to go to America!'”

Travel is all about stepping through gateways into other worlds, but usually just for a time. You drop in but climb out again. I’m about to leave. My father isn’t — he’s here on the ultimate travel journey, a one-way ticket.”

“… Presenting the world as a place of wonder to be dived into, not feared. To take big mouthfuls of the world. To be an opportunistic omnivore.”

~ Excerpted from Last Goodbye in Chiang Mai

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