A STORY ABOUT TRAVEL & INTUITION
Two weeks ago I had to do a visa run to Laos. Everything flowed well and on my way back I stayed in a hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand for a night to rest, eat and do a few errands the next day.
When I woke early around 5am the next day in my hotel room in Chiang Mai, I felt the strong intuitive urge to forget the errands and simply jump on my bike and head up Pai (a 3 hour drive). I could get breakfast on the road, I would potentially miss most of the traffic and there was also no rain in sight (which is a big deal when driving a scooter).
However, my head was nagging me, "Pick up a few things and do the errands - that was the plan!" So, I gave into the minds incessant nagging and decided to stay around Chaing Mai to do my errands as soon as the shops had opened, then I could hit the road.
Now, anyone who has lived or been to Thailand knows that pretty much nothing opens until 10 or 11am (which can be super frustrating or laughable depending on your mood on that day). This day, I was a little frustrated by it because had to twiddle my thumbs for a good 3 or 4 hours before I could get on with doing my errands.
I kept my spirits fairly high, reminding myself that I would be back home soon and all was well. When 10am arrived I hit the shops and that's when things started to go askew. Every place I went to pick some things up they either didn't have it in stock or they didn't have what I was looking for. So, it turned out that all my errands turned out to be a wipeout.
So, I shook it off, grabbed myself a kick-ass coffee, put on my headphones and hit the road. By this time I was hitting 11am.
Traffic was thick and hectic. I flowed through and around it without any problem. While driving, I had my eye out for the local police who like to set up road stops, more regularly these days, to mainly target foreigners for fine money.
During my ride all through Chiang Mai, I had managed to avoid them and had got onto the road heading north out of town. I thought I was out of reach because I had never seen them so far out of town before, then, ahead... I saw a police roadblock. They saw me a mile away and came out to flag me down. They began questioning me on many things and threatened to make me return back to Chaing Mai police station to pay a fine (for not having an international drivers license - long story)
I managed to steer the questioning another way and offered them some money on the spot to let me go (this is a skill I have learned from many years in Thailand). They agreed and so I paid them and off I went, half smiling and half in disbelief that they had got me.
Next thing, I reach the hills, the temperature began dropping and the clouds began collecting above me into a dark swirl of anger. It started to gently rain down on me, so I pulled over to put on all my clothes and any rain protection I had on me - regardless, I knew I was in for a soaking.
I continued slowly up the mountain. Then, at one point it started pouring down and so I pulled over for cover. Lighting bolts began landing not far from where I was standing and the skies poured with intense rain. I was stuck, wet and getting cold. My phone also ran out of juice at that moment...
After waiting it out for about an hour, the lighting became distant and the rain slowed, so I continued up the mountain. I was about an hour still out from Pai and coming down the other side of the mountain when my bikes breaks locked up and I began sliding on the wet road.
I freaked and time slowed down - I knew I was going down. I managed to lean back and to the side as my bike hit the pavement and I slide about 5metres on the side of my body. Luckily I was wearing raincoats, long pants and a long sleeve jumper so my skin did not touch the road.
I stood up shaken. I checked myself for injury, I was fine. I check the bike, it was ok too. Wow. It took me a few minutes to regain my composure and I slowly got back on my bike and continued at a much slower pace.
6 hours later, from when I had left Chiang Mai, I finally returned to my house in Pai. Shaken, wet and exhausted.
A huge part of me realized that if I had followed my intuition that morning, that I would have avoided all of those incidents...
The moral of the story - follow your intuition always and be willing to throw out "the plan" if necessary.
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