Spending Christmas and new Years in Chiang Mai
At this point, I had been traveling for approximately 8 months and the holidays were around the corner. It was my first holiday I spent away from home aside from maybe taking a vacation when I was with my family. But this was the first time I was all alone in an entirely different country.
As fate would have it, I wasn't as alone as I thought I was. A good friend had sent me a message on Facebook to reach out to a friend of theirs that was currently traveling through Chiang Mai and may need some assistance. My friend figured we had a lot of the same things in common, e.g., yoga meditation and fellow humanitarian. Needless to say, I was more than happy to help out anyone with whatever info I had obtained up until now. Honestly, I know firsthand how overwhelming it can be to travel to another country and not know the lay of the land. So I met up with Patty and her son Nicko the following day for some coffee and we definitely had many things in common. It was great to meet someone from back home "Miami" and not feel so alone. She was currently enhancing on her Thai massage skills in schools in Chiang Mai and made some friends who were going to go up to the highest point in Chiang Mai "Doi Inthanon" for Christmas, and I could not figure out a better way to spend my Christmas. It was a great day and I met a couple of fellow yogi and made some other friends on the road trip up the mountain—it was an amazing first Christmas away from home.
One thing Patty and I had discussed at the coffee shop were our plans for New Year's Eve. One thing I had mentioned to her was how in my efforts of looking for places to volunteer around in Thailand, I had come across a sustainable farm in the mountains a little north of where we currently located. I suggested that would be a great way to spend New Year’s to get away from all the drinking and the usual partying I could do back home. I wanted to experience something different. Coincidentally one of her friends had recommended the same farm to her, so we figured it was a sign and called them. Thankfully they had space for us to stay for the week, so it was set—we would spend New Year’s Eve in the mountains. Needless to say, we were elated to stay on the farm and see the "Lanna style" way of livening. “Lanna” is often associated, referred to and described as Northern Thai traditions.
We would wake up every monrining around 6:30 am drink some coffe which we had made oursevles then off to yoga . The ower of the farm Pinan Jim was very clear on morning rituals always sharing his wisdom , in the morning he would say we need to wake up our body to wake up the mind and yoga would offer both and the reason why we start our asnaa pratice before anything else. After that we would eat breakfast which was the only meal he would prepare with his wife , aside from that the volunteers all had responsibility in the kitchen and either would help cooking for lunch and and dinner. After we had our breakfast in the morning there were several different projects to take on each and every day. Some volunteers would be responsible to go into the woods and get fire woods, while others would be making coffe and some would be prepearing food for the the day and so many othe roptions always something new to learn each and every day. I decidied to take on a project along with a few my fellow volunteers in building a fence out of bamboo I must say it was an rewarding experience, I never ever in my life built a fence yet made out of bamboo and by the time I was done was able to finsih to 2 fences in the farm. After we were done with our projects we would have some free time before dinner but before dinner we always would have to get grass for the water buffalos to make sure they were fed and put them back in there enclosure. I learned so many invuaballie life lessons that I will never forget I could not think of a better way to spend my new year some amazing people and of course getting chance to do what I love most helping others .