Being a remote worker has many perks, namely, being able to work anywhere in the world! But sometimes sitting in front of your computer day in and day out can be exhausting! Resets are needed every now and then, which is exactly what we did last weekend.
Last weekend we closed our laptops, turned off our phones, and headed to the highest mountain in Thailand, Doi Inthanon. At the base of the mountain we were met by men of the local Karen Tribe. They guided us for hours up the mountain - a feat that seemed effortless to them. When we were sweating and panting, they were sitting there with cigarettes perched in their lips, not winded at all.
Along the way we stopped on a narrow footpath as the men took a machete to some bamboo stalks. They hoisted the bamboo stalks on their shoulders and we went on our way. Little did we know, these bamboo stalks were about to be our cooking and eating utensils!
About two hours into the hike, we made it to a waterfall. We dropped our bags down and got to work - lunch needed to be cooked! The group split up doing various activities. Some of us poured rice and coconut milk into small bamboo stalks. Others grilled and peeled vegetables. Some ground up spices in a thick bamboo stalks. We even made chopsticks out of the bamboo!
At the end of all our preparation and cooking, we had a delicious lunch ready for us. Chicken, fish, sausage, grilled veggies, sticky rice, and noodles. To top it off, the tribes men prepared coffee in bamboo cups for us! They knew we had another hour and a half of hiking to do, so they wanted us to be fully charged.
After lunch, we hiked some more, hopped on a pick up truck, and headed over to Elephant Paradise Jungle Park. This sanctuary rescues elephants from the logging industry and riding camps. We spent two hours feeding the rescued elephants sugar cane, giving them mud baths, and playing with them in a waterfall. The baby elephant was extra greedy in particular - he kept trying to steal several pieces of sugar cane at once! It was a truly incredible experience that showed us just how gentle, elegant, and smart these beautiful giants are.
After the sanctuary we headed to Spicy Villas, which were all-wood bungalows located in the middle of the jungle. They survive off of solar power and don't have access to Internet or cellular service.
We spent the rest of our weekend at the villas with Samart and his staff. Samart is our local ambassador. He was a monk for eight years before changing his path and becoming a tour guide in Thailand. During the weekend he taught us a lot of stuff. First and foremost, he hosted two cooking classes for us. Our bellies were stuffed the whole weekend! And, our mouths were on fire. Thai food is spicy!
Samart also taught us a lot about Thai culture and history. We spent hours sitting with him as he told us stories and facts about Thailand. He described how Asian elephants made it to Thailand. He told us the history of the King and the legend of the white elephants. He explained the philosophy behind Buddhism. He whispered stories of animism.
Overall, the weekend was exactly what we needed. We took a hard reset from our computers and had a chance to dive into Thai culture first-hand.