Phuket and Bangkok, Thailand

November 29, 2015

Flashback: Thailand

As promised, here’s the first of the flashback emails, celebrating a year of Ink and Feet, and pulling forward the best of this year’s adventures, insights, and experiences living around the world.

This week, I’ve got a few stories from Thailand - a couple about Buddhism, and a couple about some world-spinning perspectives.

Buddhism

Thailand was the first place I’ve lived where Buddhism was the majority religion. It was everywhere, shaping how people treated each other, interacted with the world, and viewed their lives.

In the West, we tend to think of Buddhism as being about calm or meditation or mindfulness. And those are indeed parts. But in Thailand, I learned something surprising. Buddhism in practice, and in action, is actually rooted in suffering.

Here are my favorite two stories about Buddhism, to tell that in action. They take place in opposite ends of the country, in opposite kinds of places.

Light and Shadow A ridiculous journey through the jungle on a scooter, elephants, and a massive, massive Buddha. Read it here.

The White Temple Up in Northern Thailand, outside a small town called Chaing Rai lies the White Temple. It has statues of the predator from Alien, and Neo from The Matrix. It’s also the most pious place I’ve been, and one of the most powerful experiences I’ve had. Read it here.

New Perspectives Here’s two more that each spun my world. They made me realize that the stories I carried in as an outsider were not only slightly wrong, but that I had reality entirely backwards.

Having my my cracked open and seeing entirely new perspectives like this is one of my favorite things about living all over the world. I’m so happy to be able to share them with you.

This Mask is Not to Protect Me All over Southeast Asia, you’ll see people out in public wearing surgical masks. But the reason isn’t what you might think. Read it here.

In Defense of the Second Menu You know how if you go to somewhere touristy, there’s often that “second menu” with higher prices and English translations? Irritating, right? It shouldn’t be. In fact, that menu should actually make you feel a whole lot better. Read it here.

I hope you’re enjoying the flashback as much as I am. I’m finding all sorts of things that had faded over the year. Let me know what you think!

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I saw all week was this opinion piece (grain of salt, he's a marketing dude at Facebook) about how the internet is uniting the world. It might be on the overly optimistic side, but there are some really, really thought-provoking points.

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