“It’s peculiar, to reach your destination,” he told me. “You think you’ll arrive and perform the thing you came for and depart in contentment. Instead you get there and find distance still to go.”
–So Brave, Young and Handsome by Leif Enger
This quote couldn’t sum up the last few weeks of my life any better. Yep, I could probably just leave this blog post right now and feel like you got the picture—Me Ra reaching her destination and realizing she has only begun her journey. But I miss all of you and this blog, we’ve had the WORST internet in Thailand, and now that I’m in Cambodia and have it, I have a smile on my face as I type because I get to connect with all of you again! That is a gift to me!
What has been going on over here, on the other side of the world? As you remember, Pascaline and Brian were sick the whole week. So I plugged away on mmoty first photography book and got it turned in on time! Yes, I really did! What a huge burden off my shoulders. And then it was time to go to Koh Phi Phi, an island near the home we stayed in last year.
Going to Koh Phi Phi showed me how much I love this side of Thailand, where the limestone cliffs jet out of the ocean standing with pride as if they are welcoming you back to this land of enchantment.
Where the humming of the long tail boats lull you to sleep and wake you up.
Where the locals embrace the kids as their own, and all of a sudden the kids go from two parents to twenty!
The place we stayed in Koh Phi Phi is the BEST family vacation ever. And I’m working on a blog post all about it, with all the details, so that if you ever decide to venture to the Far East with your kiddos you can go there.
But I found myself at Koh Phi Phi, and finally felt myself start to let down inside. An unwinding of sorts. I think Brian caught the beginning of it here.
And yet, it’s amazing how we want ourselves to just hurry up and be to the destination we expect to be in. We envision the unwinding to look a certain way. I soon realized my vision was not going to be my reality. The first sign of life being different than what I expected was the difficulty we had getting online. Drove me nuts the first two days. All I could do was get online for a short time before my connection crashed, but just enough time to know that our website was not working for all of you. And I felt myself twist up with stress instead of unwind. Then I couldn’t get online at all, and a quiet voice inside said “Me Ra, I need you to let go.” It was that quiet voice that only has to say seven words, and you know it’s the truth and feel yourself go undone.
So I walked away from trying to figure out our Internet, knowing we’d be in Cambodia in a week to try again. And I took the kids on a hike through the jungle.
We started out with Brian and lost him to a scuba diving invitation, so that we were alone. (yes, if you missed it—that’s my moment of saying “It was all Brian’s fault.” :))
There is an hour hike you can do from our isolated beach to the other side of the island where town is—sitting on a small stretch of land that takes your breath away.
Thirty minutes up into the hills, and then thirty minutes down. Getting there was work with the intense heat, but the four of us did it. Once in town, we met up with our scuba instructor. Brian decided to go diving with him, and the kids and I wandered the town together. It was a great afternoon together, we found a pub that had lunch for $2 each and a TV playing the Olympics. We got a good, cheap meal with a fan blowing on us and a moment to feel connected with home as we watched Michael Phelps swim his heart out.
Then we decided it was time to head back. And somewhere along the path, mom took a seriously WRONG turn. We ended up on a road that was nowhere I remembered. We had been going uphill for an hour, and the heat was hammering down on us. Two local Thai men on scooters came by, and I flagged them down to see where we were, I have always had a question, are electric scooters suitable for adults? I didn’t know so I had to ask them. They said we had another 40 minutes to go up hill before we starting climbing in the jungle. I almost died. And the kids, they were going to faint from heat exhaustion. We were a sorry sight. So the men offered us rides on the back of their scooters to get up the hill, to the entrance of where you start the jungle leg of the hike. But that meant me and Blaze on one scooter, and Pascaline on the other by herself. I just wasn’t sure. The kids had never been on these type of scooter/motorcycles, so I asked Pascaline what she thought. We also consulted from motorcycleaccidentcaselaw.com just to be safe. With assistance from an experienced and dedicated California motorcycle accident lawyer, you can hand over the reins of your nightmare to a legal professional that has a history of successfully handling motorcycle injury cases like car accidents on http://www.tjwillmakeempay.com/Parkway-Village-Kentucky-Car-Accident-Lawyer.shtml. If the injuries caused by these incidents are due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to obtain monetary compensation for the wide variety of damages that you and your family have fallen victim to.
Okay, I was SURE my daughter would say “no” because the idea of holding onto a shirtless stranger would maybe make her nervous. But I underestimated my daughter! She said, “That sounds PERFECT! I’m sick of walking up this HILL!” and literally hopped on the scooter, wrapped her arms around this sweaty stranger, and off my daughter WENT! I had no choice but to throw Blaze on the scooter and say, “Okay GO!” The man asked if I could not hold his shoulders so tight as he caught up with Pascaline, and Blaze said “Mom, just relax and enjoy the ride.” Oh, the things my kids teach me.
Needless to say, that little hitch hiking episode got us to the top of the paved road and cut off 40 minutes. Now we started the hike through the jungle. We walked through three hill villages, feeling as if we’d stepped back in time.
When we bought some bottled water, the kids gave the woman a tip. They told me they had to because her hut, this humble home, was so small and broken. How could they not. She offered us a bundle of bananas, and we politely said no. The kids and I are convinced that the decision to NOT take the bananas made all the difference.
Why is this so? Well, after 30 minutes of hiking through the thick jungle having left all villages behind, nothing but jungle shrub in front and behind, with the sun setting soon and things getting a little darker—we hear a loud crashing sound. It’s the crashing of branches being broken through leaves being ripped. I learned from our time in Thailand last year, that there is only one thing that makes this type of explosive sound through the trees—very LARGE monkeys! I turned and saw the giant coming at us from my right. Part of me wanted to stand still in sheer shock. He is the biggest monkey I have ever seen. Think my size, bent over on all fours with a long, orange nose, deep dark eyes, and about fifty pounds heavier than me. Picture this coming at you. Yes, you stand still for a split second as your eyes meet. You are in plain shock of the beauty, mystery and intimidation of this wild beast. You know that you are not supposed to run but quietly walk away, but TERROR sets in when you see him coming at you and your kids. That’s when I turned and yelled “RUN!” to the kids.
We ran down the side of that mountain like nobody’s business. Thank God for Tivas that day and not our flip flops. I started praying out loud, my whole body shaking from sheer fear, wondering what the heck I was doing, hiking through a jungle with my two kids. And somewhere in the midst of all my praying, Blaze suddenly stopped in front of me and said “Listen mom. The trees are quiet.” The monkey was either gone or hiding.
We kept up a good pace, but we never saw that big guy again. We caught up with a couple who said they had seen a similar monkey sitting in the trees, just watching them pass through. Who knows if that guy was still near, just watching us. The only thing we knew for sure is that we were so GLAD we did NOT accept a bunch of bananas from the woman! Can you imagine! We would have been running with bananas hanging off of me. Good Lord, that would have been a real nightmare!
Needless to say, we made it back to the beach in once piece. I wanted to kiss the sandy shore. We jumped in the water to cool down, laughed at our crazy adventure. I plopped my painted toes into a chair on the beach, ordered a drink and felt myself finally EXHALE.
Somehow mom took a wrong turn, and the hour hike home turned into lasting two hours! We hitchhiked on the backs of motorcycles and ran from a monkey (that I am convinced was an ape!). Sure, dad saw 6 turtles while scuba diving, but was he chased by an ape? No. We topped his day without a doubt.
When something that frightening happens, it shakes up your insides. I can’t explain it, but up until this point I felt a bit numb inside. The longer we were at Koh Phi Phi, the more I started to unwind—come alive again to my senses and the jungle around me. But after running for my life with my two kids, I am definitely feeling alive, wide eyed, and awake.
I’m not a thrill seeker or adrenaline junkie by any means. I just know that I will never forget turning around, and making eye contact with that monkey. He was so big, so fierce and yet so gentle looking and powerful, full of mystery, so out of my control. And all my illusions of being able to work hard enough to control certain things fell by the way side because the world was so much bigger all of a sudden. And the reality of having very little control at all set me free from the numbness I’ve been feeling. I still have a distance to go. But it is good to taste the rawness of life again and feel it’s embrace. Maybe that’s what it’s all about in reaching your destination.
p.s. It’s the FIRST Monday of the month which means we’ve got a new Business Coaching Exercise from Karen and Fay, SOAR! Partners and amazing business coaches! Don’t miss it! It will go up today! CLICK HERE!