Note: I've never actually kept a travel journal, and would only write about my travels after I got back from them. But the Laos trip was different - there was plenty of time to think and write, so I did: at the airport, the cafe, on a boat. I had meant to edit my little drabbles from the road and put them together in one neat post, but there's something more raw and real about reading through the actual words I wrote while I was on my trip, so the stuff you will read below is mostly unedited, and nearly exactly as I had written them on my laptop, my iTouch or my phone while traveling around Laos.
MGMT - "Boogie Down"
Narrow winding roads into the forests of Laos, in a minivan with a bunch of strangers – as is necessary in a journey like this. A snake crossing the street, an elephant walking past us, wagging its ears leisurely while its human passenger basks in the afternoon heat.
Day 4 of our Laos trip and I’m all in, all settled. Back to the groove of traveling, riding the high of being in a foreign place, being always on the move, every hour of your day spent going somewhere new, trying something new, doing something new. Going home at the guest house late at night, feeling amazed, always satisfied, no matter how simple the things you did that day were. They’re simple but they're new, and that makes all the difference. I realize now that I get restful sleep whenever I travel, whether it’s on an overnight bus, on a bench at the airport, a cramped hostel, the floor of a friend’s apartment, or a nice guest house. Sleep comes easy to those who wake up to do what they love, I suppose.
Jen just made me look out the window because there were a slew of white butterflies flying past our van. There was a collective gasp of awe inside the van. Our driver is smiling – I can see his eyes crinkling on the sides of his face through the rear-view mirror. The butterflies fly past us in droves, forming moving lines that glide past us through the road. So many of them glide past us even as we reach our destination.
So rebellious MGMT songs for a serene place like Luang Prabang. It’s because I feel like a rebel, leaving behind my normal life to do what I love, hopefully not to a destructive end like in the songs though. But this feeling, it’s not exhilarating exactly, but a sense of calm amidst the excitement. This is living. This is probably what contentment feels like.