I'm in love with trekking.

Trip Start Jan 09, 2013
Trip End Jan 22, 2013

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Flag of Thailand  , Chiang Rai,
Friday, March 15, 2013

The most important lesson learned on this trip: always carry a medical kit.
You never know when you will need it!

On Day 2, we were walking in the jungle and I bumped my forehead hard against something. I automatically put my hand on my forehead, and knelt down on the ground. I initially thought I hit a tree branch - but I soon saw blood dripping down my face, and both my hands became full of my blood. A puddle of my blood quickly formed at my feet and I had never seen so much of my own blood. Chai, my guide started helping me clean the wound with water and I remembered that I packed a medical kit in my backpack! My trek team helped me with an alcohol pad, antiseptic gel, compression gauze, a tape and wrapped up my wound.
It turned out, a sharp bamboo pierced my forehead and I got a cut less than an inch long - I couldn't believe so much blood came out of such a small cut - but I was lucky it didn't poke me in the eye! I was able to walk away with a bandaid. And I was thankful that I had a good medical kit handy!

My trek group included Chai, our guide, and trek mates Jim (from Colorado) and Mathilde (from France). Mathilde liked to talk a WHOLE lot but she always had my back. She was the one who kept checking in with me after my injury and she held my hand when I couldn't make it down a steep hill. Jim was just a funny dude from the States and he made us laugh all through the night when we were trying to get sleep! Chai was a local guide who spoke excellent English and we called him the dog whisperer. He loves dogs but the dogs loved him so much more!!
In one of the villages we passed by on Day 1, there was a dog named Toulek that apparently follows Chai on his treks when he passes through. Toulek joined us on the rest of the trip, and what a faithful dog he was. He never left Chai's side. When our trip ended on day 3, I asked Chai how Toulek was getting back home. And he said It will take Toulek about an hour to find his way home through the jungle. Unbelievable. My dog will not survive out here for 5 minutes.

The 3-day jungle trek and 2-night home stays in the hill tribe villages were incredible!
I LOVE trekking. We walked about 5 hours a day, and we were drenched in our sweat. My backpack was wet from my perspiration like it was dunked under water. Yes, it was disgusting and we were sticky, filthy, and covered in mosquito/insect bites from head to toe. But the scenery from the top of the mountains were stunning. I learned so much about surviving in the jungle, as we watched Chai make everything in the jungle with his machete and bamboos - he made us a ring, a toy, a whistle, not to mention our lunch using bamboo shoots and banana leaves!
We even found meal ingredients in the jungle. We picked herbs and plants for our soup, and Chai sliced up some banana tree stem to add to the noodles. We picked some fruits along the way for snack and I was just amazed at how much food can be found in nature!! On the last day, Chai and his friend Isan got really excited to find ant nests way up in the trees (I didn't even know ants build nests in a tree!). They started breaking the branches to capture the nests. We soon learned that ant eggs make some delicious addition to an omelette (I couldn't get myself to put that in my mouth).

At night, we stayed in local hill tribes who are descendants of Burmese refugees. These homestay experiences are just so fascinating - to watch them cook everything in a wok over a wood-burning stove. To watch the farm animals roam freely all about the property. To watch the village people wash their hands, wash dishes, do laundry, and brush their teeth under one faucet (there is no sink). To take a cold bucket shower with an Asian toilet in the same room. To cook dinner on the floor, using machete to cut vegetables and meat on a block of wood.
These experiences always leave me so humbled. I realize how much excess of unnecessary crap I used to live with. How much clothes do I really need? I have been happy with the 5 outfits I carry in my backpack. I don't miss my closet at all. I don't miss wearing heals/boots. I'm completely happy with my flip flops. I haven't worn any make-up since leaving the States. As a matter of fact, I threw away the make-up bag I brought with me, since it was only adding weight to my backpack.
I am so much happier with so much less.

Tomorrow, I head for the Laos border and go back in the jungle for 3 more days to participate in the Gibbons Experience. I will live in a tree house in the Bokeo National Park and hike, zip-line, and hopefully see some gibbons :-)

I don't know when I will access the Internet again but I will be back soon!
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Janel on

Wow, you are really having some great lifetime experiences.
What I want to know is when/how do you do laundry with only 5 outfits !!!!

Janel on

P.S. I am definitely going to put first aid kit on my vacation checklist !

oshioshi on

Haha - laundry! I hand wash as much as I can. But when I am on the go and don't have enough time to do it or dry the clothes, I drop it off for a laundry service. Most guesthouses do it for a fee, and charge by the weight. Today I had to pay the guesthouse to wash my filthy clothes from the jungle since I leave in the morning. It cost me a fortune since I needed the rush service. But it needed to get done ;)

Shana on


Oli on

I'm so sorry to hear you were hurt. I know head wounds bleed a lot even if it's just a scratch, so if it happens in the future(hopefully it won't) you should have that in mind. It sounds like you had a great company. I hope we will talk soon.

Venus on

Amazing. Blessed &lt;3

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