Theres been a lot of waiting on this trip. Waiting in lines and long winding van rides and hopeless ferry windows and all this waiting holds the promises of the next. The next town, adventure, view experience.
I feel perpetually that in these moments (as I’ve been doing my whole life) I forget the now and focus purely, fully on the next. It’s a common coping mechanism for impatient people, those of us that are not zen enough or enlightened enough or balanced enough to exist and be and stand patiently without fidgeting. I think we all know these people and I think some (most) of us are these people.
I know I am. I live, even what in retrospect may have been a beautiful stunning moment, forever considering the next. I wish I didn’t. I wish I could be better at simply being. I desire desperately for my mind to not haphazardly wander and wane and take me to other places when I should be exactly where I am.
But I’m working on it. This trip is a perpetual process of me working on it.
The slow boat is a 3 day journey from Chiang Mai, Thailand to Luang Prabang Laos. Two of those days you spend the better part of your morning and entire afternoon idling and weaving and slowly and randomly picking up locals and dropping them off down the Mekong River. There’s no wifi or outlets or really comfortable chairs and all you can do for 8ish hours daily is stare out at the jungle as you float along.
The slow boat is a test in patience and endurance and ultimately an experience that is wholly and entirely about the journey. It has nothing to do with the next. It was one of the first times I’ve felt myself truly “be”. Be where I was completely and engaging actively with the beautiful incredible slow boat squad (almost family they are so familiar) and our surroundings and be a part of something that was truly just what it was. No distractions or fanfare (we are talking about workers that pushed the boat backwards with long bamboo poles. Feeling thankful for reverse and bow thrusters and power steering).
It was lovely and despite the gross parts (vile bathrooms, horrible smells, questionable guest houses) it was a bonding experience that is unparalleled.
The slow boat was a remarkable, memorable experience that is rare in a world of travel that often feels rushed or jam packed with desire for ‘ultimate experience.’ The slow boat had nothing to do with snapchat or Instagram or a senseless desire to prove how interesting our carefully curated life is. It was simply what it was. A jungle boat full of people from all over the world mixing for three days and exchanging perspectives and personalities. It was beautiful (except for the Laos border crossing. That was a test of sheer force of will to survive).