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The Road Provides

This is a combination of a couple posts from my blog. There's a lot more on the blog but I thought this one was particularly appropiate for StP so I decided to post it.

The Road Provides
A fellow traveler once told me that "The Road provides." What he meant by this is that when you're traveling (on the road), positive things happen when you least expect them to. I've found this to be true time and time again. It's especially apparent during low points in travel when things magically works out. The Road provides.

I have another saying that I've come to accept lately: The Road thinks your plans are stupid.

In the early days of my travel, I had a number of frustrating experiences that I attributed to a lack of planning. I vowed to start planning better and to a certain extent, I did. The problem is that none of the plans ever work out. I've found, however, that the best experiences I've had on this trip so far have all come out of plans that didn't work out.

There is no better example of this than my plans to visit Pai, Thailand. I first planned to go to Pai nearly a week ago after my time in Chiang Mai. Then I heard about the Shambhala music festival and went to Chiang Dao. After Chiang Dao, I tried hitchhiking to Pai but ended up back in Chiang Mai. I spent a couple more nights in Chiang Mai then again tried to go to Pai. I decided to give hitchhiking another try. I took a cab to the highway and started walking and trying to get a ride. People stopped for me a couple times but they were never going the way I needed to go. I walked for at least an hour in the hot sun and was ready to give up when a pickup with half a dozen young Thai hippies in the back stopped for me. They were going to Shambhala (duh) but I asked if they would drop me off at the exit to Pai. They said yes but they drove right past the exit and dropped me off at the bus station. It was frustrating but it got me closer to where I needed to be and they arrived right as I was thinking about giving up. The Road provides.

I started walking toward the Pai exit but it was pretty far and I was getting quite tired. As I walked past three men building a deck by the side of the road, one of them called me over. He told me to sit down and poured me a glass of water. He admitted that he hadn't spoken English for years but I found that his English was nearly perfect. We talked for a while and he offered me more and more stuff (a pear, some chicken with rice, coffee) and eventually offered me a palace to stay for the night. He said there was no pressure but if I wanted to rest for a bit then I'd be welcome to stay for a day or two.

My host was named named Piak and he gave me the keys to his guesthouse. Not a mat on the floor or a couch or even a spare room (all of which are perfectly alright for a good night's sleep). A whole guesthouse to myself. It was the nicest place I've stayed on this trip so far. The shower even had hot water which is a luxury I haven't had for weeks.


Piak (left) and me (right).

Piak and I drove to the Friday night market and he bought food from several vendors and some rose plants that he to plant in his garden. We went back to his place and ate dinner with Pon, who had been helping build the deck. Piak mentioned at some point that he knew how to sew so I asked if he had a scrap of fabric I could use to patch my vest with. He found a very nice piece of blue fabric with a cool design on it and I was able to patch up my vest once more. Another patch, another story.


The new patch.

In the morning, I was awoken by the sound of the roosters that Piak keeps. Piak drove me to the exit to Pai. I said goodbye and thanked him again and he drove off. I started walking but there weren't many cars passing by. After half an hour, someone in a pickup stopped and told me that I was on a smaller road to Pai and that he would take me to the main road. The ride in the back of the pickup was only about five minutes long but it would have been at least twenty on foot so it was good I got it.


I walked past this sign while trying to get a ride.

The main road wasn't much busier. I started walking and it was about an hour until two guys in a car stopped for me. They didn't speak much English but they made it clear that they weren't heading to Pai. I asked if they would take me further and they agreed. They drove me for about half an hour and dropped me off at a rest stop.

This turned out to be a brilliant move because all I had to do was talk to drivers getting back into their cars. Within ten minutes, I was in the back of another pickup heading into Pai. I got dropped off at a gas station and walked until I saw a sign for a hostel. I booked one night and took a nap.

That night I was supposed to go out with some people I met at my hostel but upon hanging out with them for a bit I came to the conclusion that I didn't want to spend more time with them so I went off on my own. I sat down at a restaurant with live music. The music was in Thai and I was the only farang (the Thai word for white people) there. I ended up sitting down with some Thai folks and hanging out (and drinking heavily) with them for the night. They didn't speak much English but it was still fun. After the restaurant, we went to a dance club for a while then I walked back to my hostel.


Making new friends.

The common theme here is that every time I started to think about giving up, something good happened. This isn't always the case (sometimes things just suck for a while) but it's happened enough that I'm willing to accept the fact that The Road both provides and thinks your plans are stupid.
 

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Odin

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@MolotovMocktail you are one of the few members that really opens up the idea of international travel for us here at STP.
Thanks for sharing.
SE asia is deff on my list now. :)
 
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We sell all kinds of other stuff in our Etsy store!

Anagor

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Same here. I did only two small trips as yet and didn't plan much ahead. But the best experiences I made as I just changed my plans or something didn't work out as I thought. Like the day I went to Liverpool from London overnight, planned to meet a member of StP in Chester. Didn't work cause StP was offline for a few days. No other contact info, so I planned to stay in Liverpool. No hostel bed, everything booked. Decided to go to Dublin overnight (again) by coach/ferry. There I met people who are now friends. Would never have happened if StP were working back then or I would have found a dorm room bed that night.
 
D

Deleted member 2626

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awesome blog man! reading it right now. hell of a beard for only being 19 hahaha
 
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MolotovMocktail

MolotovMocktail

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awesome blog man! reading it right now. hell of a beard for only being 19 hahaha
Hey, thanks for checking out my blog. The facial hair is a nice thing to have because there are a lot of folks who aren't too fond of backpackers my age. It's not really fair but it's true there are a lot of young backpackers who are really annoying. Sometimes people kind of freak out when they find out they've been talking to a nineteen year old for hours without knowing it. :D
 

Odin

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Hey, thanks for checking out my blog. The facial hair is a nice thing to have because there are a lot of folks who aren't too fond of backpackers my age. It's not really fair but it's true there are a lot of young backpackers who are really annoying. Sometimes people kind of freak out when they find out they've been talking to a nineteen year old for hours without knowing it. :D
Now.... you do grow an impressive face fur for your age... but I would have to say that your reasoning for keeping a beard on the road traveling is well thought out.
I mean there are other cues to figure out if someone is young... and I am sure I would miss many. But yea its a way to keep from being treated a bit more trivial or as a youngin perhaps.
Nice call.
Keep the Che beard alive. (I have from time to time... ) :cool:
 

sofarfromhome

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119
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Ooh yes, it does. Me and my roaddogs caught a train out of tuscon December 31st that was supposed to be headed to fort worth Texas. We had been waiting in the fucking cold and rain in ssome bushes for 4 hours waiting for that train. Got in and drank all night and passed out. Woke up on January 1st on a moving train, covered in fucking snow. I'm just glad we had 0 degree sleeping bags that zipped all the way up and had the dogs in our sleeping bags with us. So we had to let all our shit thaw out and dry. And then we found out we got on the wrong train and it was gonna cut north through Texas, Oklahoma, etc (we were headed east.) We had to hop off really quick in Dalhart tx, where we spent the rest of our money on a hotel room and warm food and booze, cuz we wanted to end the first day of the new year warm haha. We had to adjust our game plan, so we decided that we would hitch a ride from Dalhart to Amarillo, catch a train from amarillo to fort worth, where we'd split up. Them to new Orleans, me to Brownwood to visit my mom. We ended up getting a ride from a trucker who drove us past. amarillo and fort worth, to temple, which has a better hop out for them. then he drove me straight to Brownwood, dropped me off right at my mom's work, where i surprised her :)
For the most part, i believe that the energy you put out, you get back in. If you stay positive and patient and just believe that somehow, no matter how bad things are, you can find a way out or a way to make things better, you will always be able to. Manifestation is an amazing thing. Usually only happens right when you need it to, when it was SUPPOSED to.
 
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Manifestation is an amazing thing. Usually only happens right when you need it to, when it was SUPPOSED to.
Many years ago now, through one thing and another, my friend and i found ourselves stranded in the mountains of central Oregon, far from anywhere, broke, low on fuel and out of food. With no plans or prospects, we were hungry and beginning to feel a bit discouraged. We decided to walk the shoulder of the highway collecting discarded cans and bottles for their 5 cent refund. Toward noon, it was getting hot, and we hadn't found much, when we saw a state patrol car coming, so we ducked off into the woods, and as we hunkered down waiting for it to pass, my friend found a beer bottle hidden under the blanket of pine needles...oddly enough, it was still capped and full, and as we looked around, we discovered several more. They'd clearly been there a while, waiting for us, we supposed, so we drank them, and with a happy buzz, we walked back to our rig, and this time, working the opposite shoulder of the highway, we easily filled our bags with cans. And that's how, against all probability, at one of the lowest points in our journey, the road literally provided cheer, food and diesel - exactly as much as we needed, neither more nor less.
 

Mankini

I'm a d-bag and got banned.
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The more you give away, the more you get. I found a brand new, unused tent in the woods, and gave it and a bag full of clothes and crap to the homeless shelter. That was when i was down n out...A short while later I found high-end backpack, sleeping bag, etc. Generosity is next to Godliness.
 

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