This weekend we had some friends from Koh Tao come to Chiang Mai for a visit. We always have a blast together so we figured it would be fun for the four of us to see a bit more of the area.
We decided to sign up for a trek through the jungle where we would ride elephants and go white water rafting.
Well, it turned out ‘trekking through the jungle' actually means hiking up a mountain – up some of the steepest inclines I've ever walked.
Being that I have terrible knees (that swell up once pushed past their limit…I know, I know, I need to get them checked out) this climb was making me a little anxious and, if I'm being honest, getting on my last nerve.
After all, if I had known we would be walking straight up a damn mountain for 3 hours straight in 40 degree heat with little shade, I probably would have passed on the tour.
But I didn't think to ask and I am now forever grateful for that.
While the hike was exhausting and the urge to let my inner brat out was overwhelming, I tried to stay positive.
I kept in mind that I was in the freakin' mountains of northern Thailand, hiking trails I never expected, seeing parts of the country I never anticipated and witnessing a simplistic way of life that I now have a new appreciation for.
When we finally stopped at a lookout point and I got to see how far we had come I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. I was proud of myself for not only pushing through it but also not losing my patience once.
I had just unexpectedly hiked up a fuckin' mountain with my husband, my business partner and my very best friend; and together the two of us accomplished something I didn't think I would push through.
I was elated and relieved but also so excited to get to our guest house, have a shower, scarf down a huge meal, chug the coldest bottle of water I could find and crash out in our comfy bed.
When we arrived I realized just how far off my expectations were.
Our accommodation was built entirely of bamboo and leaves and was only 2 big rooms, a deck and a separate kitchen/hut where the family that owned the place lived.
Not completely unexpected, the bathroom was outside, contained a squat toilet (not uncommon here), had a bucket of water to flush it with (again, not uncommon), and had a separate wooden room where the ‘shower' was located.
Josh and I called dibs and opened the door to find a bucket of water, a pail and a hose in a room constructed of sticks.
It was legit.
More rustic than anything I had ever seen or used.
And it was perfect.
We had just enough water to hose off the sweat, stench, dirt and bug spray off ourselves.
We relished in how basic things were here and yet, how it was just what we needed.
There was no power. No wifi. No 3G.
There was nothing but the two of us, the 6 other people on the trek with us, the lovely Thai family, a few mats on the floor, a candle in a coke can, a reggae playlist and a deck of cards.
And the entire time I sat there, taking it all in, I realized how insanely grateful I was to be there – to be experiencing this simplicity.
Too often Josh and I get wrapped up in our daily tasks, our to-do lists, our self-imposed deadlines, our plans for our business, our lives and our future and we forget to merely unplug and take it all in.
We slept on a mat on the floor that night and woke up with a realization of how lucky we feel to be able to take advantage of this bewitching world we live in. And simply because we chose to commit to this lifestyle.