Hey everyone! We started our summer off with some big changes…if you follow our social media accounts, or know us in real life, then you already know the big news with us, but for those who don’t know…WE’RE HOME!!! Home as in United States. Home as in Boulder, Colorado. Just in time for summer.
I definitely fell off with the blogging at the end of our trip, especially after the decision to cut our trip short by two months. Time was running out, and I wanted to indulge in my nomadic lifestyle as much as I could before I had to head back home. We came back early for a few reasons, but mostly because we felt eager to pursue new adventures here in Colorado. And now that I have been reunited with my blogging apparatus (AKA my trusty laptop), I can finally update my beloved travel blog.
Last time I wrote, we were quarantining in an Egyptian-themed hotel room in Bangkok, Thailand. So much has happened since then! The quarantine feels like a lifetime ago, although it’s only been a two months since our last day. The ten days passed fairly easily, and after completing our third and final COVID tests, we were free to go. Sort of. Our timing of arrival was less than amazing, and while we were in quarantine, Thailand was locking down several provinces within the country. Bangkok was considered a red zone–meaning we would not be able to travel outside of Bangkok if we went there–so we took a taxi straight to the airport to head to a low-risk province.
We headed North immediately after our exit from quarantine. Our first stop was Pai, Thailand, in the mountains outside of Chiang Mai. Getting to Pai can be a bit tricky, especially in the days of COVID. Usually, one can take a cheap bus from Chiang Mai to Pai, but during our time in Thailand, there were no buses running to Pai because of lockdowns. We had to hire a taxi, which costs about $80 USD, which is much higher than the $10 bus fee (we were able to catch a bus when we left Pai, thank goodness).
The drive to Pai is not easy, especially if you’re prone to carsickness. The road includes 762 turns, and definitely makes for a dizzy ride. Our driver went pretty slowly, luckily, but I’ve heard stories of drivers flying on these roads, making passengers clutch their weak stomachs. I was mentally prepared, and hopped up on Dramamine before the drive, so it actually didn’t phase me at all.
We stayed with Julian’s family friend for ten days in Pai at his property, the Mystery School Hot Springs. The large, secluded property was built by Julian’s family friend, and is one of the most sacred, magical places we’ve ever visited. We stayed in one of the many handcrafted villas at the Mystery School, the Villa Lakshmi, down a hill, overlooking a muddy creek and rice paddies at the foot of a mountain range.
Even though we had plenty of time in quarantine to unwind from our wild adventures in Mexico, we were still in need of some R&R, and the Mystery School was the perfect space for this. We spent most of our time reading, doing yoga, meditating, and soaking in the hot springs. Each day would begin with a hot springs soak. We would wake up slowly, then fill the tubs as we made some tea and cut some fruit to snack on while we soaked. The hot water did wonders for my muscles, which were frequently sore from yoga and deep stretching.
Villa Lakshmi, where we stayed, was absolutely incredible. So much time and care was put into decorating each building at the Mystery School. Anywhere you look, there is color, crystals, Hindu deities, or flowers. Even the winding paths of the property are filled with mosaic-like designs. The pathway leading up to Villa Lakshmi was one of my favorites–pictured below, you can see the stones have been arranged to form the Tree of Life.
Although I had thoroughly enjoyed my time in Mexico, coming to Thailand allowed me to reconnect with my spiritual self, and nurture my relationship with the universe. During quarantine, we had rekindled our meditation practice, and kept that going throughout our stay at the Mystery School. I had forgotten how important it is to take time to breathe and embody our own existence. Taking this time of peace and tranquility did wonders for our mental health, and allowed us to refocus on our life goals (which was another thing that spurred our coming home). As you can see in the slideshow below, this place is radiant with love energy and strong spiritual vibes.
The city of Pai itself is considered a backpacker’s paradise. Unfortunately, when we were here, the city was mostly closed down due to COVID, which actually, in itself was a really unique experience. The hikes and waterfalls we visited had been left untouched by the usual crowds of tourists, so we got to enjoy a lot of really wonderful nature all on our own. Julian had been to Pai several times before this, and kept commenting that each place we went to usual would draw big crowds. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see Pai like this, almost like going back in time in a way.
Our time in Pai was spent exploring the countryside on a motor scooter, watching sunsets over the mountains, swimming in abandoned waterfalls, and stuffing our faces with curry. Spending time in the small mountain town of Pai was the perfect way to exit our quarantine in Bangkok. Being nature was so soothing, especially after spending ten days trapped in a hotel room.
As we waited for the bus to leave Pai, a beautiful flower fell from the Plumeria tree I sat beneath. A goodbye gift from Pai.
The three hour bus ride back to Chiang Mai was a little trickier than the ride into Pai. Our driver drove much faster, and didn’t hesitate before hitting the 762 turns. My Dramamine supply saved me from nausea, and we made it to Chiang Mai in the late afternoon.
Our time in Pai really brought me back into my body after several months of partying it up in Latin America. It was so refreshing to take some time for meditation and self-care.