Asia

Pai – Thailand

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Finished Songkran, we decided to go to Pai, a small village at about 150km north from Chiang Mai, next with the border to Myanmar.

Actually, we didn’t really know, apparently all the tourist/travellers tend to go to Pai after Songkran and buses were full, we went with the public bus directly from Chiang Mai and we had to wait two hours for a bus and on the way back people advised us to buy the return ticket at least one day before.

The road to Pai is very nice and very winding, the first time I went there in 2014 I was hitchhiking a pickup and it was so hard not to be sick!

The village is quite small with a hippie/organic/yoga vibe, I’ve still mixed feelings about it as I like very much the natural farming all around but it’s full, FULL of tourists and shops for tourist and the stalls and restaurants serve food that is adapted to foreigners, so not really spicy (weird for a country that has spices in almost every dishes). 

We didn’t book anything so we just walked around, crossed a quite unstable bamboo bridge and found ourselves in the middle of fields where we found a lovely and quite hut with a bed and a hammock for about 4$ per night.

We took a motorbike for 24 hours and it’s a good deal because everything around is outside the village and around the mountains.
We went to the waterfalls but we were quite disappointed as in this moment Thailand there is no rain and the waterfalls were simply dry.
There are, of course, temples all around, a giant statue of Buddha, a Chinese village, a lake (still dry) and a canyon.

At the end, despite some distress, it was worth seeing the area, it is calm and relaxing, nature is beautiful and it’s nice to get lost in the countryside.

Australia

Perth

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After a month in Geraldton, it’s hard to leave and I’m a bit sad.
I’ve left the farm on a Wednesday morning, I had an appointment in Perth with the Indian embassy to get my visa before the weekend, a flight on Sunday evening and a free ride to Perth with Kevin, a farmer from Geraldton in his sixties who has to go to visit her daughter who had just given birth.

The conversation has been funny and difficult, he was speaking with a strong accent and I had to ask him to repeat everything at least twice.

In Perth, I’ve stopped a day with Ashley, a couchsurfer I’ve contacted a couple of days before.
I’ve arrived quite early in the afternoon and he proposed to go explore the city by bike, just to spend the afternoon. We find ourselves doing 30 km from Yokine to South Perh and return between uphills and downhills.
Perth is beautiful, clean and green but it’s not flat at all and it was a great challenge.
I admit I’m happy to have survived.

And after a morning with Maia, who I had not seen since the workshop of permaculture in Nimbin , I moved to John’s house.
John has a project of sustainable urban agriculture and it’s nice to see permaculture from another point of view .
There are various people that come in and out of the house but the only one with whom I interact a bit is Thomas, a French theatrical producer, and writer who is wandering around the world .
We have spent a few days in Perth, exploring the city and looking for cheap clothes for his new job as a waiter .
On Sunday morning, John brings us to a demonstration on the beach for the rights of aboriginal people of which is a promoter.
We create, thanks to some hand-shapes objects , colored in yellow , red and black , the colors of the Aboriginal people , the word ” kaya” that means hello in aboriginal language.
And in the evening, a bus took me to the airport, leaving Australia after three wonderful months.

I’ve my heart full of this experience, new people in my life, so many things I’ve learned, so many opportunities exploited.
I will miss Australia a lot. But it is time to explore Asia .

Australia

Burning seed

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It’s hard to explain what the Burning Seed has been for me. 

You should be able to explain a parallel world, made of unconditional love and sharing, art and loud music, personal expression, and soul searching.
A week in the Matong forest.
On the first day, when the camps are not yet installed.
Choosing a random place to park the van, among the trees but not too far from everything. And find ourselves surrounded by wonderful neighbours.

And see the magic that begins.

People coming from other worlds, meeting here, barefoot and colourful. And feeling part of a family. Being part of a big family.

The burn is walking barefoot in the grass with your favorite cup in hand, it’s hugging every person you meet.
It’s finding yourself dancing like a crazy at the Trash Mansion, with too much ginger beer in the body.
It’s receiving an invitation for a wedding at the temple. The most beautiful ceremony we’ve ever seen.
It’s getting inside the Tea House, smelling the different teas, sitting on the ground, reading books, chatting with strangers, exchanging souls.
It’s the search for the artist in all of us .
It’s a unicorn in the middle of the path, is exploring the stories of the people, sharing moments and experiences.
It’s juggling and massaging and wondering what rhymes with purple and turtle.
It’s to meet at 2pm at the Red Earth City Brewery to taste the beer of Ben.
It is stopping to chat with a stranger and decide to go along with a tarot card reading and then meet someone else along the way that offers you something to eat and decide to go all together to drink cucumber cocktail at the Mint Club.


And above all, it’s the fire and running around the campfire and exchange hugs and kisses.
It’s to write words on the wood of the temple and then see it burn, let everything go away. Moved, perhaps.
It’s drunk yoga in the morning, rolling on the ground, magic shows, guitar, and songs.
It’s a night of kiss kiss and bang bang and getting lost.
It’s a day of relaxation that becomes body paint and alcohol and beer and finding yourself married within five minutes and divorce without consummate the marriage.
It is the last night of stars and frogs, in a few around the last campfire, talking about the universe and the theory of relativity.

And above all, it’s the knowledge that I will never look at the world with the same eyes.
More aware, I’ve left pieces of my heart in that forest.
My eyes are bigger, my heart more open, my soul continues to fly.
Thank you Burn for all that you have represented, for what you’ve been.
Thanks family. Thanks home.
.. and I think to myself .. what a wonderful world ..

Asia

Songkran in Chiang Mai

This year we decided to celebrate the Songkran festival, the Thai New Year, in Chiang Mai.
The festival marks the beginning of the new solar year and the begin of summer.
The word “Songkran” comes from the Sanskrit and means transformation, change.

According to tradition, people visit temples during festivities and pour water, enriched and perfumed with flower petals,on the Buddha statues for good luck.
Thai people believe that water is spiritually purifying and that washes away sins and bad luck.

So for three days, all the street in Thailand are filled with people, young and old, pouring water on each other in the world biggest water fight.
Nowhere is safe and you’ll never know, until the very last minute, if the bucket of water that is coming upon you is normal or incredibly frozen!

Everyone participates, everyone is friends, everyone smiles.

Do you want to photograph Songkran? Check those tips to survive Songkran as a photographer!

Asia

Ayutthaya and night train

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From Kanchanaburi lake, Huafu took us up to Si Sawat where we were supposed to take a bus. But as we didn’t want to wait one hour and a half, we decided to continue hitchihiking to Lat Ya where we finally took a bus to Ayutthaya.

We didn’t expect much from that city that is about 80 kilometers north of Bangkok but apparently it’s quite common to go on a daily trip there from Bangkok and it’s an UNESCO World Heritage Site so we decided to give it a try.

Well, maybe it’s good for a day but not more. It’s much dirtier than other cities that we visited (that means, big rats everywhere) and there’s nice temples but that’s pretty much all.
We visited Wat Maha That, that is really beautiful, but we tried to walk around the city and it was too hot and we had to go to the train station to buy a ticket for Chiang mai and there’s a river cutting the city in half and to cross the river there’s only one bridge so at the end we were pretty much tired and didn’t enjoy the city very much (we discover in the end that there’s a boat that cross the river for pedestrian for a couple of bath so if you’re going there don’t make the same mistake as us!)

We spent the evening in the station, our train for Chiang mai was only half an hour late (impressive for thai trains) and everything in the station was clear, there was a blackboard with all the train, timetables and delay.
The night train was really nice, clean and confortable.
Only tip: if you book a ticket, ask for the lower bed: I had the top bed and the AC is very strong in the train and came from the ceiling so it will hit you directly on top. And the light in the corridor is always on, there are curtains but on the top bed they don’t cover up to the top and you’ll have the lamp directly in your face.
I finally ended up sleeping in the lower bed with Pawlo.

We arrived in Chiang Mai pretty on time in the morning, ready for Songkran and for a week of craziness.

France

Essence of permaculture

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Ten days in the middle of nowhere.
35 hectares of land between a highway, an airport and three high-speed railways.
For ten days we’ve been a big family, different generations, people from France but also from Belgium, Thailand and Romania (..and Italy).
All together to learn what permaculture is and why it could save the world.

It’s hard to explain what this experience has been for us, because beyond the stage, it has deeply enriched us, it made ​​us face life in community. We all learned something from the other, we exchanged life stories and advice and we have created a real bond.
And we swam in a lake on the first hot day, we witnessed the migration of the queen bee, we planted cabbage and ate freshly harvested honey from the hives, we had barbecue and played with fire, we heard the magic of the didgeridoo and created a new bond singing vowels all together, we experienced the rabbits hunting with ferrets, we have learned the cutting of tree branches, we have witnessed the shaving of sheep and spoke to urban shepherds, partied together, played guitar, sang songs inventing the words.
And finally, we have worked together, each one with his own ideas for the creation of a permaculture project.

We learned permaculture ethics, earth care, people care and fair share. We talked about existent projects, of what we can do, about the power of hearth, of soil, of trees and mushrooms.
But above all, we have learned that permaculture means sitting in a wheelbarrow thinking and looking at the world.

Middle East

Cappadocia

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My flight took me from Kuala Lumpur to Istanbul, the temperature change is a little bit a shock.
I’ve an appointment with Anne in two days in Goreme. And it takes two days by bus to get there.

My first route was Istanbul/Ankara. There I met Laura, a beautiful lithuanian girl. I was looking for a host for the night and when I’ve stumbled upon her profile I had the feeling I had to know her. And I was right, a beautiful soul.

The buses in Turkey are just the best transportation I’ve ever took in my life, comfortables, with water, coffee, snacks, wifi and television with old style turkish dramas, so two days went fast with breathtaking landscapes and nice people around.

Göreme is located among the “fairy chimney” rock formations, it’s pretty small and very charming.
We had three beautiful days in there, exploring caves and cave dwellings, looking for geocache and drinking a lot of tea with our host.
Göreme National Park is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List and it’s full of weird rock formations, troglodyte villages and subterranean cities.

One thing that apparently turists must do here is a tour with hot ballon. But we didn’t have much time and it was quite expensive, so we just decided to wake up at dawn and spent one hour outside watching the sky.

Asia

Road trip to Kanchanaburi

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Before heading north, in direction of Chiang Mai to celebrate Sonngkran, we spent some days with Huafu and his family and his van on a road trip in the region of Kanchanaburi and around the Sinakharin lake.

The lake is huge so we were able to go change location almost every day, it’s a little touristic (with nice resorts and everything) but not too expensive and, most of all, with no farangs (foreigners) around!!

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Dawn on Srinakarin Lake

In the west coast of the lake there’s a national park with refreshing waterfalls and wild plants, nature is amazing there, we were able to swim in the lake, among fishes and tree branches, to have amazing meals and to finally use our tent.

There were also caves on the way but the entrance fee was 300 thb for foreigners (and I think 100 for thai) and it was a little bit too much for us just to see a cave.
Who knows, maybe it was the best cave in the world..

South America

Guatapé and Piedra del Peñol

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The “Piedra del Peñol” is a big monolithic rock in the departement of Antioquia that has, after climbing the 740 steps, an amazing view and a lot of tourists taking “selfies” with the beautiful lake El Peñol in the background.

Not far there’s the small city of Guatapé, characterized by buildings with very colorful facade. The atmosphere is very relaxed and laid back, so nice that we really thought about buying a house and a land here.

They’re both reachable with tours from Medellin but we decided to just take a 2 hours ride on a public bus to the rock and from here wait for another public bus to Guatapé, much much cheaper this way!
Just for the record: taking the last picture I’ve fallen in a manhole, badly hurt my leg, had pain for a long time and I have a scar as a lasting memory. But can you see the shape of the shadow that is similar to the shape of the sheep? Totally worth it 😀 (well.. maybe 😉 )

Asia

Phanom Rung Historical Park and Prasat Muang Tam

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It took us three days of travel (an no real nights) to get to Thailand from Paris: a night bus to Milan, some hours in Delhi airport, knowing that my lovely India with smiles and spices and smell is just outside the window, a night on the floor of Bangkok airport and 5 hours on a freezing bus and here we are.
We are staying at a friend place near Nang Rong for more or less a month, doing nothing but relax, work, eat delicious food, drink beers and play pool.

Despite Pawlo has already been several time in this area, he had never been to the temples around Nang Rong, a good occasion for a good day of tourism (and good food!)

Prasat Hin Phanom Rung is a khmer temple dedicated to the God Shiva. It’s builded in Angkor style and it’s the same style as the Angkor Park in Cambodia.

Prasat Muang is only a 10 minute drive away and it’s possible to buy a ticket for both saving 50 baht.