Jan 4th, 2015
I woke up at about 6am. You see, one of the good things about sleeping in public places is that you can get up early! 😉 I did not hear much noise from the passengers in the train station, especially because I covered my face with the head cover of my sleeping bag. It was the trains, the old shaky Thai trains which made the biggest noise, especially when they were honking. The noise was loud enough for you to forget what a beautiful morning it was to lie there on a bench and enjoy the lovely fresh air and the perfect temperature before the sun went high in the sky. In my dreams, this honking was much more scary than the spirits of ancient Siam kings or the barking of ferocious dogs. I woke up, stood up, with eyes as open as a thin line of thread and hair as distorted as Bob Marley’s. I stood there, motionlessly, thinking about nothing and trying to remain like that, as a silent protest to the honking. It did not work. Different trains kept coming, the noise went on and I felt hotter and hotter inside my sleeping bag. Besides, more and more attentions were also bestowed at me and my stylish hair by other passengers. I finally made up my mind and successfully got up! I went to a nearby gas station to use free toilet and washed my hair. Then it did not look like Bob Marley style anymore. Instead, it looked like a bird who just suffered from a heavy rain.
When I came back to the train station, I noticed how peaceful it was there with the special quality of morning light. I was sitting in the waiting hall, waiting for the train I would blackride to Bangkok. Those passengers who went by me to the tracks left such long shadows on the ground. The yellow, no, golden sunshine crowded into the hall from outside, lighting up everything. There were people talking, but never that loudly. There were some monks waiting quietly for their trains on the benches in front of the tracks. Some villagers were carrying big plastic bags, standing just beside the tracks, throwing their views as far as possible to fathom if their trains were getting near. The low volume conversations, the steps and the occasional singing of birds only made all this appear even quieter. I was delighted to just sit there, doing nothing. “This is one of the best joys of traveling”, I thought. “To observe how locals run their life, how they start a day in a place totally foreign to me.” Soon they started broadcasting the radio and the tone sounded like news, I assumed. People walked on, attending their own business until at about 7am, when everybody suddenly stopped walking and stood solemnly. I picked up my lazy ass also and stood confusedly with them. There was another voice coming out of the loud speaker and I suspected that was their king speaking. He said something gently for a few minutes and then everybody suddenly started moving again.
I jumped on the train to Bangkok. As I expected, nobody checked the ticket, so it was not a very exciting blackriding experience. I noticed that not just me, there were people, seemingly homeless poor people jumping on the train from time to time and simply stayed in the train, mostly sitting on the floor or standing at the conjunctions between two coaches. The conductors came by and did not say anything. Obviously this was tolerated.
I arrived in Bangkok and checked in again in that cheapest hostel. The other Chinese solo traveller was still there and shared his meal with me — he brought a small rice cooker with him and cooked by himself everyday. I spent basically the whole day on internet. I had always hated to be a wifi-addict and bury oneself with only virtual world, but there was one thing which could be my exception for this principle — a Facebook group called “Nomads – A life of cheap/free travel”. For me, at least for me, that was the BEST thing that had ever happened on Facebook! In my long years of travelling life, there are three things that inspired me more than anything else — Couchsurfing, Hitchhiking and Nomads.
The title of Nomads group already indicates what they discuss there. Yes, it is possible and actually a much better experience to travel with very little money! This group is full of these bold, adventurous and inspiring people! They are not tourists. They are travellers, real hardcore travellers,whose hearts are on the road, in the unknown world and into the real culture and life of locals of some thousands kilometer away lands. Some hitchhiked all the way from Europe to India, to China. Some walked through the whole African continent, Egypt to South Africa. Some worked on ships in exchange for the experiences and the chances to visit so many places on the way. Some hitchhiked all over the world and came back home only 4 years later. Some travelled to tens of countries with literally zero money! That was a collection of travel wonders and people who believed in a world of peace, love and mutual understanding of strangers!
I got countless ideas from this group. From there I got to know that in many countries in South East Asia it was widely accepted that travellers could stay in Buddhist monasteries for free and in Sikh temples one could free meal every afternoon. It’s more than I could express here how much this group had given me. I had become part of it and I even define myself by it. Yes, I am a Nomad and for a long time will always be. That’s where I belong.