Setting off again

Sometimes people go “Wow!” when you go “Oh…”

Yes, I am off for another journey, another adventure. A month in a yoga and reiki centre in Krabi, Thailand, with a flight to Bangkok then to feel like a tourist for a couple of days, and then off for another yoga centre, this time for two months – in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia. And then, if all goes well, a month in the Sunshine Coast near Brisbane, spent by dog-sitting, with a Christmas invitation from the family who I will helping.

Yes, it probably sounds stunning. Perhaps it´s no big surprise my friends who are “stuck with small kids at home” say: “Wow, you live the life I always wanted to live.” But then, I think: “Oh… if you could understand the cost behind… constantly stepping out of your comfort zone, the amount of courage and energy investment needed… perhaps you view your life as “ordinary” and “plain” but to me it is amazing: a loving family is truly a blessing which does not come quite so obviously… there is a lot of beauty in the simple and casual. Perhaps it´s just that one cannot see it when there are kids running around, demanding all your attention…”

My new home

Like everything in life, being as “free” and “liberate” as I tend to be has got two sides: while it is quite cool, enriching and stunning sometimes, it is not easy leaving your friends and family and your home country when you love them all dearly and in fact feel like there is no need for you to part, except that those “boots made for walking” just don’t let you “stop” anywhere for a long while… it might be a blessing, or not. Depending how you look at it. Some admire me for what I do. Some despise me for that. Some don’t care. Some would rather have me “at home”.

I went off a few times in my life already, to live in England when I was twenty, to study in Ireland, some four years later, to teach in Vietnam about seven years ago, let alone all those travels to France as my teachers´ mobility internships or long summer vacation travels to some distinct and distinctive countries such as Israel and Canada. I think one of the main reasons why I have been teaching at university for so long (though now on my non-paid sabbatical) is that I get a long time off in the summer. Sometimes, I wish I could just stop being a rover and stay in one spot for more than several years, totally content and satisfied, but then those things don’t come easily, you are simply born with certain character and then you build up on it by pampering your desires and trying to fulfil them.

A jungle lake

Sometimes, I wish I could just turn around and go back… like this time, when the two-hour-delay of my flight from Prague to Istanbul meant my missing the connecting flight from Istanbul to Bangkok and then obviously missing also the connecting flight to Krabi. A whole pack of trouble just because of two hours. After all – two hours in life: what are they? They seem so irrelevant. So short… so insignificant… yet, two hours can change your life dramatically…

When I saw the delay on the departure board (already checked-in, waiting for my gate to open), I imagined all those long hours of waiting for my connecting flight at the airport in Istanbul (and I paid quite a big amount of money for the flight ticket to ensure that my waiting would NOT be long), the inability to fall asleep at the airport out of fear of missing the flight, the tiredness I would feel when finally arriving to my target destination, jet-legged, sleepy.

The family cycling around

At those moments my impulsiveness gets me and I feel like walking out, into the streets and hitchhiking back to wherever I felt good and safe the last time… The biggest thing for me during travelling is the fact that you always encounter something new (meaning you have to work out your way through dealing with the issues), and you might not feel completely safe most of the time, especially travelling solo as a young woman, loaded with money, naivety and ideals.

Now, funny enough, the place where I felt good and safe the last time was my mum´s apartment in the Ore Mountains in the Czech republic, in my home town, in the room which used to be my kid´s room and which became a guest room within the years. After my return from Bali I spend almost four weeks there.

Ao Nang Beach

You can imagine all the cherishing care I received from my mum and the beauty of spending time with my parents, my sister, my niece, my friends and my cat Nora, a black cuddly cutie who´s being looked after by my mum. We have a very special connection with my cat and I can do crazy things to her (like put my face directly in between her paws when she is lying down on her back and cuddle her) without getting worried that she might scratch me. When I meditate, she walks quietly into the room and sits nearby, observing me first, then gradually falling into slumber. I have always wanted a dog but got a cat by a way of providence and she has been a great teacher to me. Funny enough, wherever I go in the world, I feel a very special connection to cats now ever since Nora has been in my life.

They say that home is truly in your heart and thus you can bring it everywhere, which is most probably true and I do tend to get homey in places rather easily but I believe we need to know where our roots really are not to get uprooted, lost, unidentified. And the CARE and LOVE you RECEIVE and GIVE in correspondence is – I guess – what really makes a home. The more love and care exchanged, the more of a home the place is – to me.

Ao Nang Beach

So, spending several weeks with my family now truly made it hard for me to leave. Summer in the Ore Mountains where I come from is always a stun, with all the forest fruits, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, the cakes you bake and jams you make, with all the swimming in rivers and lakes and ponds, and the long evenings spend by chatting, guitar playing, singing…

I truly had tears in my eyes when parting…

Nevertheless, once off, things usually somehow fall in and it seems to me that when you travel you get to experience miracles every day. To me, the first one this time happened when a tall man in a yellowish shirt with yellow sunglasses stuck in his luxuriant hair sat in a seat (on the plane to Istanbul) right in front of me.

Sunset

I spent the five hours of waiting (due to the delayed flight) in Istanbul (where I was originally meant to transfer very fast) chatting with this exuberant, high-spirited, well-travelled young man over a beer. I know he and his nonchalant approach to life will surely make it to my stories someday soon when I write a new book…

Meeting Honza, a photographer with a genuine view and a colourful soul, was a memory I shall cherish. You rarely meet a talent of this kind, so perfectly unaware yet of its own mastery…

I have begun writing this text on the plane to Istanbul and continued writing it on the plane to Bangkok as well as on the plane to Krabi, my final destination then. I am completing the text now, a few days later, seated in a beautiful reed porch in Marina Yoga centre, watching the rain fall down in abundant showers – as it is the monsoon season.

Nick - Tarzan

I already have this place spiritized in my heart – my home for a month now, with my “new family” comprising six people, (seven with me): the German owner and the boss – Marina, her Thai assistant – Laila, a young French social worker and reiki master – Celine, and two American yoga teachers, Karl and Nick. Everybody here is amazingly helpful and kind and the trip we all took yesterday (me for the first time riding in the open back of a truck car) to a hidden jungle lake created an immediate connection among us, with Nick fooling around in the trees as Tarzan, Marina´s sheltered dogs running around gaily, freely, Celine taking her beloved macro snaps of some tiny weeny creatures of the earth, and Marina sitting in her stool observing everyone and giving out bananas and crackers to us as if to her kids. Love has got many forms. And eating a banana on a bank of a lake while joking and fooling around is one of them. When I think again about the feeling I had by the lake or on the Ao Nang beach later, watching the sun set, I understand why people say “wow” when they hear about my travels. In fact, I go “wow” myself…

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