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Reflections: A moment of complete Bliss in Laos

Do you know those moments of complete happiness that stir up so much inside of you that you feel like crying out of joy? They occur rarely and when they do it feels as if you had never felt it before. Sometimes we realise how incredibly lucky we are – our lives could be so much worse. And yet, we too often slip back into feeling angered about some sort of wrong-doing that has been done to us. We victimise ourselves – almost as if human kind carries this dis-ease of wanting something to be wrong. In truth, if you have a warm bed to sleep in, enough food to live comfortably and if you’re lucky a hot shower everyday…

…you don’t really have any problems.

Rural village in Laos

We Westerners have created this artificial world for ourselves. We have the big concrete cities. All the luxury in the world. But were we in a situation in the Jungle where we would have to fend for ourselves – we would be completely lost. Our guide, conversely, knew the properties of each and every plant we saw on our trek. He knew how to start a fire without the use of any matches or firelighter. He knew how to cook rice with a bamboo tube. He knew which plants need to be pressed and rubbed on your skin when you have an injury.

He is not scared to live -he knows how to survive.

Building a bamboo tent in rural Laos

Travelling has taught me that I don’t have any problems. All problems I have are self created. And if they are created by someone else and I allow it to happen, then it is essentially a self-created evil that I allow. Put simply: Life is not that complicated. But somehow we like to make it that way. Too much of a good thing, I guess, is not good enough, perhaps? We keep wanting, searching, over-analysing…we need something to worry and stress about. Because…what if there was nothing to complain about?

What would we live for, right?

Rural village in Laos

In the midst of the Laotian jungle – literally in the middle of nowhere – I spent an evening by the fire together with my friend, our guide and his helper (who did not speak a word of English). He was assisting the guide and us to build a bamboo tent and cook; and if necessary cut some branches so we could comfortably walk on our off-the-beaten-path adventure (for us…the spoilt tourists who want to experience what ‘off-the-beaten-path’ means…). He had the most genuine smile – a smile that suggested to me that he is a good guy. He observed the two blonde girls curiously as if we were a species from another universe. But it wasn’t creepy – it was curiosity in the good sense.

He seemed to be happy to be spending the evening with us.

Crossing a river in Laos

It could have turned out to be creepy. Imagine…two blonde girls with two Lao men in the middle of nowhere. I think both of us were a bit apprehensive about the idea when we booked our little adventure in the Laotian jungle. But, it turned out to be one of the best evenings I had had throughout this RTW adventure. What was it that made this evening so wonderfully special?

Everything.

Camping in Laos

I was on an off-the-beaten-path adventure doing something I had never done before. This is what makes me come alive: Adventure. Dragging myself out of my comfort zone. New stuff. Exciting stuff.

We helped building a tent made out of bamboo and banana leaves! We slept in the wild under the Lao starry sky huddled up next to each other in our sleeping bags. We drank coffee out of bamboo tubes. We crossed an ice-cold river.

If this doesn’t scream ADVENTURE, then I don’t know what does!

Building a bamboo tent in Laos

Our guide carefully prepared delicious meals using and then presented it on a gigantic banana leaf: yummy barbecued pork, my beloved sticky rice beautifully prepared in a bamboo tube ‘the old fashioned way’, a delicious soup with delicate greens – everything tasted so incredibly good.

We were listening to a compilation of chill-out tunes that Chrystelle’s ex-boyfriend had put together – it was magical. There we were humming to tunes of Coldplay and the like – and to music I had never heard before but stirred up so many emotions inside of me. We chatted about life, lost loves (naturally her ex was a topic which we widely discussed), our hopes and dreams. It was peaceful.

An evening meant to be.

Dinner Lao style

At some point we just sat in silence, I glanced up to the sky and saw all these beautiful stars shining back at me. Thank you thank you thank you! Thank you universe for being so kind to me. For giving me this opportunity to travel the world. I’ve been blessed beyond comprehension. I’m doing what I always wanted to do. I am fulfilling my dream. And most importantly, I’m realising more and more: I don’t have anything to worry about.

Making me the richest person on the planet.

Drinking coffee out of a bamboo

heart-blueHave you experienced an intense moment of happiness while travelling? Please share your thoughts with me in the section below.

 

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Sleeping in the Wild - Laos. Trekking for two days, building our own bamboo tent, cooking food in the wild using natural resources, listening to music under the stars, drinking coffee out of a bamboo tube - these are the things I experienced on this magical two-day adventure in the Laotian Jungle.

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18 Comments

  • anna

    26.03.2016 at 12:46 Reply

    That looked amazing! What’s awesome is that playlist that she was playing….if you hear any of the tracks again, it will instantly transport you to that time and moment.
    anna recently posted…Fun Things to do in Quito, EcuadorMy Profile

    • Serendipity Tess

      26.03.2016 at 16:53 Reply

      You bet I will! It was a truly magical evening – very grateful for it 🙂

  • Megan

    26.03.2016 at 19:37 Reply

    Such a great story. It’s so true that we have to slow down and realize what is actually making us happy and what is stopping us. I recently went through a breakup, which well sucks. It’s getting better but the first moment I felt truly happy after it, and even a while before it, was when I booked a flight for a solo trip to Bali! Now I just can’t wait to go. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Serendipity Tess

      26.03.2016 at 22:34 Reply

      Hey Megan, thank you for your thoughtful and lovely comment! I’m sorry to hear you went through a breakup recently – i don’t handle breakups very well – they suck big time. But almost always, they happen for a reason. Time heals all wounds and if we remind ourselves on a daily basis how lucky we are in life…somehow, one day, things start to seem a little brighter. Good luck with everything! And a ticket to Bali, is always ALWAYS a good idea 🙂

  • AcrossCities

    27.03.2016 at 01:38 Reply

    I only live in Asia but never been to Laos. I’ve always been interested, though. It’s true that some of the best experiences are those that scare us at first. How do you book this trip, by the way? Thanks in advance.

    • Serendipity Tess

      27.03.2016 at 05:43 Reply

      Hey you 🙂 We found this cool responsible tourism company in Luang Namtha that organises bamboo camping adventures. There are loads of agencies in town – you can just rock up somewhere and book the adventure! Pretty straightforward and it was epic! 🙂

  • Bernard Tan

    27.03.2016 at 01:42 Reply

    This is a crazy adventure! Sleeping in the WILD! But it force you to go back to the basics and living on bare minimum.

    • Serendipity Tess

      27.03.2016 at 05:43 Reply

      Yeah the bare minimum indeed – i’m still amazed how the guide managed to cook us dinner by using bamboo sticks…it was an amazing adventure i’ll never forget!

  • Mags

    27.03.2016 at 19:56 Reply

    Looks like an amazing experience. I love those moments that make you take a step back and realize nothing you’ve been worried, fearful, or upset about really matters at all. I wish they could bottle that feeling!

    • Serendipity Tess

      29.03.2016 at 06:49 Reply

      I wish I could bottle that feeling indeed – sadly even those moments are fleeting. Wish they weren’t.

  • Meg Jerrard

    27.03.2016 at 20:28 Reply

    I’m so glad you had such a great time in the Jungle – I agree with you that travel teaches you that we really don’t have any problems, and that life is far too overcomplicated in the West. Re your reference about being apprehensive about whether the night was going to turn out to be creepy, I think this is something we’ve also created in the west – the notion that we should be scared of straners. I think that the biggest thing travel has taught me is that human beings can be incredibly kind, and in the generosity and compassion of the human soul 🙂

    • Serendipity Tess

      29.03.2016 at 06:49 Reply

      Hi Meg, yes you are absolutely right – this little adventure taught me precisely that – I barely experienced negative situations with strangers. The world is a kind place! We did create this notion in the west alongside many other false perceptions and expectations. Lesson learnt 🙂

  • Jenna

    27.03.2016 at 20:55 Reply

    What an amazing adventure!! I love things that push me outside of my comfort zone too–it’s always great to be pushed and grow. The meal you had sounds delicious and the sleeping arrangements sound awesome! Looks like a great time! And, totally agree, we have so much to be thankful for and shouldn’t create unnecessary problems but instead be thankful!

    • Serendipity Tess

      29.03.2016 at 06:47 Reply

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment Jenna! It was a very adventurous day filled with firsts – and i felt quite emotional about the many realizations. Life is good!

  • melody pittman

    27.03.2016 at 22:23 Reply

    You hit the nail on the head, I really do not have any problems and life is good. I concur. Traveling certainly does have a way to reminding us that at any given time. It makes me feel so lucky to realize how fortunate I am and be able to help others as well. Your trip sounds magical (all but that cold water) and I am so glad for your experience. Thanks for sharing. 😉

    • Serendipity Tess

      28.03.2016 at 04:23 Reply

      Thank you Melody for the wonderful words 🙂 I love those reflective moments and Laos was full of them! 🙂

  • Trisha Velarmino - P.S. I'm On My Way

    03.04.2016 at 03:29 Reply

    I feel you. There are times when travel experiences just come to us as a powerful bliss. The beauty of it is that it comes when you least expect it. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts!

    • Serendipity Tess

      04.04.2016 at 05:26 Reply

      Thank you Trisha for your beautiful comment! Much appreciated 🙂

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