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Having adventures.

by In Wales Wed May 30th, 2007 at 05:36:54 AM EST

When I was little, my world revolved around 'looking for adventures' as I put it. I could spell 'adventurous' when I was 4, and loved to wander, climb, jump, roll and explore everything around me.

I've not changed much, so I went off in search of adventures in Thailand and found plenty. I was expecting certain challenges, but a fair few took me by surprise as well.

I suppose this is just my account of navigating my way through some of the challenges, rather than a diary on Thailand itself as such.

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From the diaries with an edit - afew

As ET regulars know, I was born deaf. It's not something that I allow to control my choices or the way I live my life, but it does require me to adapt, and bend and compromise from time to time.  

In my day to day life I forget how differently I do some things or how I've made adjustments, because that is my norm now.

Travelling really brings out the 'issues'.

Let's start with packing. I needed to take with me, spare batteries, a spare hearing aid, spare mold, spare tubing, plastic bags to keep things waterproof.  I suppose that is similar to anyone who needs to take a supply of medication with them when they travel. The thought of losing or breaking my hearing aid is fairly horrible.

Then there is the time old issue of meeting new people.  Especially meeting new people from across the world with a whole host of accents to get used to.
I travelled with a tour group called imaginative travellers and I would well recommend them. They had excellent guides and gave us really good introductions to the local cultures, food, money, shopping, where to visit etc etc.  Between 15 of us, there were 9 different nationalities, a fantastic mix of people.

No easy task to keep up with conversation though.  Mix accents, with often being sat in places that were poor for lipreading - eating at night by candlelight, or being sat in the back of an open backed taxi, throwing us all around.  

I missed plenty of conversation, jokes and more importantly, instructions.
Which caused a fair amount of stress.  In the main I'm a very laid back person but as soon as I don't know what is going on around me (the distinction being needing to know because I have to do something) it stresses me right out.

We moved frequently between cities, towns, places... so keeping track of what was going on and what I needed to do for it was far more stressful than I had expected. I hate relying on others to fill in the gaps for me, but it is easy for people to forget that just because they've shouted something across the room to the group,  it doesn't mean that I've even been aware of it, let alone heard it.

Being aware of my own reactions to that type of stress, and trying to handle it effectively without crying (which I only did once) or annoying other people with endless questions (which I probably did a few times) was a challenge.

Other key challenges came with the fact that we spent a lot of time in or around water, or generally getting a drenching.  I spent the best part of the second week with a soggy bottom from swimming, or getting my clothes soaked by rain or boat spray and not drying off in time for the next soaking.

My fierce protection of my camera usefully extended to protecting my hearing aid.  I kept a plastic bag in my pocket and backpack to wrap the technology up in.  But it did also mean periods of time without my hearing aid in.  A totally silent world around me.

That stressed me out at first too. And then I realised it was giving me another way of looking at the world. A slightly different experience of my surroundings.  I went tubing down a river with the sound switched off.  Once I relaxed, I loved it. I wasn't missing anything, I gained.  When I stop trying to listen to all these things I can't hear properly anyway, I see more, I feel more, I absorb the experience in a different way. Plus it served as a useful reminder that I don't gain all that much more from using my hearing aid and it is more a comfort factor of having some sound. I trick myself into thinking I need it to get by.

So there was a challenge well overcome.  I'm less bothered about not having my hearing aid in. I can go rafting down the river, swimming in lakes and in the sea, get drenched walking through the jungle in torrential rain and still join in with what everyone else is doing.  A leisurely hour of bamboo rafting down the river, hitting mini rapids and not quite falling into the river (although I nearly did), soaking up the warm air, sun and the lush green of the jungle around me just made me so content, so appreciative of being there to experience a part of the world so different from my own.

In the midst of all that, I suddenly realised that I'm not afraid of deep water anymore. I've never been much of a swimmer but I learnt how to dive. I jumped off the edge into those warm green lakes.  And I wasn't afraid of it. I even jumped off our moored boat to go swimming in the pitch black of a bat cave, a limestone cave set into the hill of a small island, whilst the rain poured down outside.  

I threw myself into everything, ummed and ahhed a little at times about how best to approach each activity but, I won all the challenges, including the unexpected ones.

I went off by myself one day and found myself as part of another small group to go rock climbing in Krabi.  I followed the instructions, and trusted myself with doing the harness and the knots in the rope, and worked my way up the cliffs (I've never rock climbed before), vaguely aware of the guides shouting my name and telling me where to put my hands and feet.  Me shouting back, "Put what, where?"

I went out, met new people, chatted to them and found out more about their countries, their lives, their cultures, likes and dislikes. I played pool badly and still somehow won, drank shots, laughed and danced and was just as much as part of everything as anyone else.

Sometimes it is very, very easy to hide. To say 'No, I can't face it'.  The overwhelming urge to run to a safe place to avoid the challenges and the huge expenditure of energy that is required with navigating all of these winding, turbulent paths when everyone else seems to be leisurely strolling through life...

But then I'd miss out on all of this. I'd miss out on living my life, and feeling that huge sense of achievement when I knock another one down and stomp right over it.  Another adventure to throw myself at.

That great feeling of being utterly content, standing in the sunshine with my feet sinking into soft sand as the warm water laps over them, a breeze cutting through the thick, humid air as I admire the vibrant colours and stunning views that surround me. I wouldn't miss that for anything.

Glad you had a good time, rock climbing for the first time when you can't hear other people guiding your route up faults in the rock must be an experience.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon May 28th, 2007 at 07:02:36 PM EST
I really loved it. If it hadn't been so incredibly hot that day, I'd have carried on climbing for hours.  I'm not afraid of heights and I'm fit enough to feel confident that I can hold onto the rock face, so I think that helped a lot! An experience I'd love to repeat.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue May 29th, 2007 at 03:39:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well there's plenty of opportunity in North Wales, and barring that Derbyshire and the Lake district are full of spots to try.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue May 29th, 2007 at 08:53:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks you so much for taking us on this journey with you, In Wales!  And those amazing photos!!

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 29th, 2007 at 12:00:05 AM EST
Thanks Izzy! There will be a proper photo diary of the Northern Hill Tribes to come at some point too.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue May 29th, 2007 at 03:40:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Great diary, thanks In Wales. It can be very exhilaration to overcome limitations. And yes, the impaired hearing can also have advantages as I too found out. When in need for quiet, just take out the hearing aids and it is there - or almost, except for the chatter and noises in the head. :-)
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 29th, 2007 at 12:35:39 AM EST
It has only been over the last year or two that I've been able to take my hearing aids out and be relaxed about it, without constantly looking around me to see if anything is going on that I ought to know about but haven't heard.

Because my hearing aids give some sound, I forget that I don't hear most things, even so and it is more distracting trying to process sound that makes no sense than it is to cut it all out completely.

Like you say, there's always plenty of noise going on in the head!

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue May 29th, 2007 at 03:44:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for sharing.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue May 29th, 2007 at 03:44:19 AM EST
Fantastic diary. Thanks.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 29th, 2007 at 04:27:23 AM EST
Hey! I was in Thailand a month ago - it was the hot season then. It must be raining there now - as you say.

Krabi... is it the divers' island? Near Samui island? I was instructed just for a little climb for a jump into a waterfall pool.

We enjoy the world with all senses we have!

by das monde on Tue May 29th, 2007 at 08:39:43 AM EST
The rain started a few weeks early this year. The Bangkok Post had river flood warnings in it the day I left.

Despite the rain, it was still incredibly hot and the downpours don't last very long.

Krabi is a mainland town and also the resort area in the south - I stayed in the Ao Nang Beach area.  I visited a few islands but the one I went climbing on was Railay Beach.  I could have done with a waterfall pool to jump into afterwards!

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue May 29th, 2007 at 09:28:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But then I'd miss out on all of this. I'd miss out on living my life, and feeling that huge sense of achievement when I knock another one down and stomp right over it.  Another adventure to throw myself at.

Good for you, seize the day. One day I must take that advice myself

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 29th, 2007 at 10:27:13 AM EST
Great diary and photos!
by lychee on Tue May 29th, 2007 at 05:24:21 PM EST
Good for you In Wales.  I'm sure this will not be your last adventure.  If you can stand the heat in Thailand this time of the year, you can pretty much stand it  anywhere.

Your experiences remind me of the logo on one of my 18 month old grandson's shoe boxes.

  "Life's waiting, lets go!"

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Tue May 29th, 2007 at 11:11:54 PM EST
Thank you for your real story!!!  This is a great refresher course on travelling for good reason:  To really "be" in the place, to meet the people, to feel it and live it, then leave it a little better if possible, for the gift we have received.

This reminds me I need to get out of here and do something good this year too.

P.S.  Like my son, you went rock-climbing without giving me warning and are "causing" me post-event-worry...  You kids!  ;)

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 02:51:22 PM EST
I assure you I made it up and down the cliffs in one piece and suffered nothing more than bruised knees.

Absolutely no need to worry.  

What's on your wish list for this year? It's surely only fair that I should so some worrying about your potential escapades too.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 03:10:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, yeah,... That´s what he tells me too. ;)

I usually don´t make plans and they always turn up in some email or newsletter, but if not, I will go visit somebody´s eco-farm and help out.  It always turns out great.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Thu May 31st, 2007 at 04:18:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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