I’m not very good at doing nothing. In fact, I’m terrible at it. My mind has a major temper tantrum when I try to turn it off. Part of it is because I like doing stuff, but it’s also partly because of the curse of the PhD. You always feel like you should be working on your thesis, not spending Sunday afternoons sitting in the park, or if you are going to spend Sunday afternoon sitting in the park you feel that you ought to take some work with you. Not that I always take work with me to the park, mind, but I’m always thinking about it or thinking about things I’ve got to organise for an exhibition or an event or whatever. I’m hard to switch off.
When my NYC holiday was cancelled thanks to the Icelandic volcano of doom, I rather spontaneously booked a flight to Bangkok with my refunded funds. I figured I’d give the whole doing nothing thing a proper shot. Turns out that spending a week on a beach with nothing but a bikini and a book is really rather glorious. Not that I did nothing the whole time, but I figured out that I’m better at the nothing game than first I thought.
I went snorkelling at the Similan Islands, one of the world’s top dive sites, and swimming with sea turtles in waters so turquoise no photoshop needed. I got stung by a jellyfish. I rode on an elephant, actually on it, not on one of those seat bench things. I went canoeing in Khao Sok Natural Park. I hired a scooter to spend the day driving around the Mae Sa valley in northern Thailand. I ate as much coconut ice cream as I could without making myself sick. I managed to snoop around the crazy goings-on in Bangkok without getting myself into trouble, even though it was probably the scariest place I’ve ever been. I didn’t much care for Bangkok, which reminded me of New York City done Vegas-style. I was grossed out by the sex tourism in Chiang Mai and bemused by the monks who have iPhones and get iced lattes in Wawee coffee shops. I turned into an actual human being: in the city, I’m a smirking cynic, but after a few days in Khao Lak I was getting teary eyed reading Rudyard bloody Kipling. I killed my camera battery after only five days, which was fine as I had already filled up the memory card by then anyway, so half of the pictures below are unfortunately from my phone.
I loved living outside for two weeks, even though it was ridiculously hot in the north. Makes me long for nicer weather in London. Being inside all the time is not good for people. More than anything, though, I just loved being away somewhere different, someplace new. Novelty is exciting and travelling alone is good for recharging. I love coming back after being away. I feel so hyped up, ready to get on with things. Time to get busy.