Everyone has their own place. A place they can go to step out of the pell-mell rush of life, where they can watch it pass them by from a gently swinging hammock. One such place for me, is Auraji — a tiny community in the mountains of Gangwon-do, South Korea. Another is the town of Pai.
Pai is a strange little town. Thais and farangs alike walk the streets barefoot with dreads dangling low. Half the bars sport a red, yellow, and green color scheme, while reggae music wafts from within. This little mountain town in the far north of Thailand is a hippie paradise.
I have my little ‘home’ in Pai — Yawning Fields. It’s a small cluster of bungalows up an alternately paved and dirt path through a field of rice paddies. The bungalows are made of bamboo and circle a small pond home to a plump of ducks. The fowl quack and waddle around the grounds as if they own the place, adding their voices to the trilling of crickets and the cooing of doves. Splayed out on my porch, my days consist of eating, writing, and listening to podcasts. When I come here, I don’t have an agenda; I’m here with the sole purpose of relaxing in the rice fields of Pai.
The days are hot, so I keep to the shade, or rent a scooter and spend the hours of sunlight with a brisk wind in my face. Small, country roads wind through the hills, leading to waterfalls and temples hidden beneath the dense cover of trees.
In the evenings, the town comes alive. Vendors wheel out their carts, and the smells of street food permeate the air of the Walking Street. Traditional fare like Shan noodles, pad thai, and mango with sticky rice abound, as do Western offerings. I make my way back to the Yawning Fields early, beneath a canopy of stars. If I’m lucky, thunder rolls in just as I enter my bungalow, and the heavy drumming of rain lulls me to sleep.
Doing nothing is surprisingly easy here. I don’t even feel that familiar sense of guilt for not making the most of a destination. This is a place I’ve been to before and I’ll come to again. This is a place I come when I’m tired, when I need to escape the current for a spell. When I’m relaxing in the rice fields of Pai, I can feel myself being reinvigorated for my next adventure.
Where is your place? Where do you go to relax and get away from the world for a while? Share your destinations in the comments below!