Thanks to Ian at Where the Sidewalks End, who informed me of the project, I was able to join in A Day in the Life | 30 Days of Indie Travel Project by Boots and All. I’m a little late in joining, but I love the idea. Each day, Boots and All will post a prompt for bloggers to reflect on the last year of traveling and how it has shaped us and our view of the world. While I may not be able to participate every day, I am going to try to write as many as I can.
Today’s topic: ONE DAY – Travel helps us better appreciate the present moment instead of always looking to the next thing. Describe one perfect day you had while traveling this year. Where were you? What were you doing? And what made it perfect?
It’s hard to think of one perfect day I’ve had traveling because I enjoy every second when I’m in a new place surrounded by new friends. However, the best day traveling this year would have to be my first day in Chiang Mai, Thailand this past July with my cousin, Michelle, and friends Caroline, Linda, and Ciara.
The girls and I were supposed to be heading to Cambodia, however, when we went to book our bus, we were told that there were some recent safety issues on the border. Instead of worrying about what could happen, we changed our plans and decided to head from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.
We started off the morning with a short plane ride up to Northern Thailand and were soon in our Thana Tour 4×4 Jeep, off on a three-day adventure through Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
After a short drive, we arrived at our first destination, the Sai Nam Phung Orchid Nursery and Butterfly Farm. We walked around the beautiful gardens and relaxed before heading to a snake show at the Mae Sa Snake Farm, which I could have done without. However, it was part of the tour, and even though it was interactive, I decided to sit on the side.
Then we headed off to Maesa Elephant Camp, which was by far my favorite part of the day. I have loved elephants for as long as I can remember, so this was an incredible experience. We first got to feed the elephants and walk around the facility.
Then, after a show, that included a painting elephant named Suda, we got to go trekking through the jungle on top of an elephant. While elephant trekking is a common activity in Thailand, I enjoyed this trek because it took us through the jungle and across a river. Along the way, we stopped and the guide allowed me to get off my seat and sit on the elephant’s head.
As an elephant lover, this was a dream come true. Our guide was so friendly and took several pictures from many angles as our elephant continued to trek and eat the leaves around us. Then, after I climbed back next to Michelle and into the safety of my seat, he continued to take our picture.
After he rejoined us, we continued into the jungle and ended up in an area where we had to ride an ox cart back to the main camp. Michelle and I waited for the girls, and together we rode back. However, instead of just riding, our driver let me and Michelle drive the whole way. We decided that our Irish grandfathers, who grew up on a farm, would be proud of the job we did that day.
After a delicious Thai lunch, we headed to visit a near-by Karen tribe. Refugees from Burma, the tribe continues the tradition of wearing gold rings around their necks and below their knees. While this used to be a form of protection from animals while their husbands were out hunting, now the women continue the practice to uphold their culture and tribal traditions.
After our visit and a few purchases of the hand-crafted scarves, we headed to the river for some white-water rafting. While this is not an activity I would usually be up for, I decided to jump at the opportunity. When else would I be able to say I went white-water rafting in Thailand?
Linda and I were the only two brave enough to participate, and although it was hard to navigate with the two of us and a guide, the ride was well-worth it.
A quick change and drive up the mountain, we ended our day at a near-by lodge. We ate in the open air terrace and headed to bed in bungalows ready to wake up to another day of adventure.
This day was perfect to me because of the adventure that it contained, which is my favorite part about traveling. Every experience is an adventure because it’s new and different. In one short day, I went to an orchid and butterfly farm, saw a snake show, fed and rode an elephant, drove an ox cart, learned about a tribe’s traditions, and went white-water rafting, all in a beautiful country with people I love. I can’t think of a better way to spend a day.