29 hours and 3 airplanes later, I landed in Bangkok, Thailand. Despite being a frequent flier, with over 28 other countries and over 100 flight segments each year for the past several, this is my first ever trip over the pond and to the left.
I was attracted to Thailand for many reasons:
1) As a raw food vegan, Thailand is like “Paradise Found” because of all of the wonderful in-season local organic fresh fruits and vegetables, and,
2) As a resident of Winnipeg, Canada (the coldest city over 500,000 people on record), spending 5 weeks away from winter in the tropics looking at white sand beaches, stunning sunsets and palm trees, is as close to Nirvana as I could find. See my video blog How I’ve done Raw for 6 years in the Coldest City in the World?, and,
3) As a person who has dealt with neck and back issues for decades, getting daily authentic Thai massage for 30 + days in a row for less than $ 10 an hour is an opportunity too appealing to pass up. It will also serve as my own personal experiment in body transformation, and,
4) The country’s Buddhist culture and deep roots provide many opportunities for expansion of mind and spirit. See my video blog The Veggy Buddha.
DAILY ROUTINE :
My routine here in Thailand has been very chill. Each day I start at about 7 am with yoga and meditation, then a run, walk or bike, 2-3 hours of net stuff when I can find wi-fi, a 1 or 2 hour Thai massage, 1-2 hours outside, and a daily activity like a skooter ride around the island, exploring, kayak, beach and the like. I have been sleeping 8-10 hours each night and I have been running 5 days a week and walking everyday. I also have been doing a full body work out on the non-running days.
I have been eating very simply and locally. Each day starts with fresh fruits that I buy at a local road side wood shack/market. Most days it’s been bananas, mangoes, coconuts, watermelon or pineapples. Once I venture out, I get a couple smoothies usually banana mango or banana pineapple or coconut and whatever they have. I have also been loving the watermelon and ice slushees.
For lunch I have been making my own large salads made of delicious lettuces, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and cucumbers. For snacks I have been loving the young Thai coconuts, mangosteens, lychees, oranges, passion fruits and papayas. For dinners I have been repeating the lunch and/or snacks.
I have been drinking about 2 litres of water to replace the fluid losses from the exercise and the heat. It has been hot and sweaty everyday here with temperatures of 33 Celsius or 90 Fahrenheit and high humidity levels.
My food costs are averaging about $10 a day. Also on this routine I have maintained my weight which is great as I had fears that the exercise coupled with so much fruits and very little fat would cause me to lose. Happy to report otherwise.
Best advice when ordering food overseas is to make sure you request no milk, yogurt, honey or sugar unless you want these items. It seems to be drastically more effective when you repeat your self nicely 2-3 times.
At the restaurants, almost all dressings and sauces contain fish and seafood so I have gone without any toppings of any kind and use just oil and lime wedges plus the sea salt that I carry with me.
As soon as you leave your room you are fair game for a large inhale of 2nd hand smoke. I have spent so much time dodging and ducking away from smoke. People from all over the world and the locals too, do not curb or alter their smoking habits regardless of where they are and who may be inches away from them. As such I have avoided all bars and most restaurants too and have had to move tables dozens of times.
The first decision I made before I ventured onto this trip was to take a physical break from making or receiving any phone calls. Anyone who knows me personally understands how difficult this decision seemed for me especially since receiving my new I Phone 4 (insert lots of loud belly laughter here).
It appeared all but impossible, but it was a necessary phone time out for me. I am happy to report that 19 days into my travels, I have not made a phone call or checked my voice messages. A new personal record and counting. Feels really good !
Upcoming Thailand video blog topics include: My New Year’s fasting detox at a Thai spa for 8 days, how to open a coconut, Elephant camps and racing in Bangkok. Titles for these videos are still in the works.
I will add these videos once I find a high speed internet connection. The net speeds here in rural Thailand are slower than dial-up circa 1992. My next stop is Cambodia which apparently is even slower.
The net speeds have been a real exercise for me in patience, understanding and empathy.
I guess the Buddhist teachings are working. Breathe. Inhale. Exhale.
Dear Reader : How do you travel Vegetarian, Vegan or Raw ?