Almost two years ago I was invited on an amazing trip to Thailand, but instead of basking in the sun on the Islands and sipping cocktails, this trip was to learn about different Thai communities, how they live and the history behind the Thai textile industry - one of the biggest forms of employment for the country. I was whisked away to northern Thailand, to villages that have barely seen tourists and to where the standard of living was so much different to how we live in the UK. When Flogas got in touch with me a little over a week ago asking me to take part in their campaign to discuss what luxuries I would miss if I went 'off grid' and 'walked the beaten path', it made me very reminiscent about that trip I took and made me think two years later about what I had learnt.
On the first night of my trip I was based in one of the most luxurious hotel rooms in Bangkok. The chandeliers glistened as you walked through the lobby and it was the type of place that handed you drinks on arrival. The twelfth floor had a sky pool and the hotel itself was attached to a very large shopping centre where everything was convenient. Then the next morning we boarded a regional plane to Nan which is 668km north of Bangkok, we checked into a quaint hotel room ran by staff who spoke very little english and my mobile stopped working.
The next few days were filled with visiting factories and a few tourist sights. Houses were small without the living areas that we have over here - in fact most people in these remote areas don't even own kitchens as they find it cheaper to eat at the market on an evening and they really enjoy the social aspect of it. There was a lot less technology around and many of the small factories were still using traditional techniques that were used hundreds of years before, unlike our factories where most of them are machines these days.
I also met some remarkable people including a young twelve year old boy who was taught English so he could be a local tour guide. He was highly intelligent and spoke better English than myself. He knew so much about the area he lived in, he was like a walking history book. When I got out my Insta camera to take photographs, it was like Christmas for him. He had never seen anything like it and when he asked shyly if he could look at it and perhaps take a photograph, I happily obliged and he ran over to give me a hug to thank me for being so generous.
Those few days that I spent with these communities taught me so much about myself. I realised that materials things didn't matter - my phone barely worked, I didn't have much technology with me throughout the trip, but I enjoyed every moment of it. When I was walking around these communities, it didn't matter what designer clothes I was wearing or whether I had the latest phone, I never once felt judged and I felt free. I could have happily carried on exploring for months without a care in the world, it was nice to feel like I didn't have to put on a show every morning unlike over in the UK where we live in such a materialistic world. I spoke to people who wanted to get to know me as a person and we forged friendships over things that truly mattered.
The only things I did miss on that trip were my pets and my family and admittedly decent phone signal, but the third one was minor. I got more out of the trip, than what I temporarily lost and it has taught me that if I did have to go 'off grid' in the future I can do it...just with my pets and husband in tow next time.
What would you miss if you escaped to the country?
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