When I had initially coined the idea of being on a lifelong walkabout, I had a vision that there would be numerous life events that would shape me into someone new. My move to Portland was one of those promising life events. As I draw nearer to the inaugural trip to Thailand, I cannot help but reflect on the past few months of my life that had been filled with so many beautiful memories. I felt my soul awakened with bonds that I had never thought previously possible being formed. Life changed. Nothing would be the same again.
Initially I had planned a mix of cultural and sight-seeing items on my itinerary. My new focus on the trip would be on self-discovery, cultural immersion, and in some ways a spiritual journey true to the original goals of a walkabout.
Growing up Buddhist (specifically Theravada Buddhism), I had never identified with any particular god or Jehovah God. I had always viewed Buddhism as a means of self-accountability, meditation, and spiritual guidance. It wasn’t until later in life that I accepted Christ into my life (going on 14 years now). My mother did an excellent job at not forcing her beliefs on me, but rather allowed me to be exposed to what she believed in and to make my own judgements. I had the opportunity to study under a Buddhist spiritual teacher as a child, who taught me valuable skills on meditation. Unfortunately he has since passed. In an effort to reconnect spiritually with my roots, I opted to study under a Thai monk for part of my upcoming trip, walking the path of being a monk myself for a few days (head shaved, collecting alms, sleeping in the temple, praying et al). Of course, this would seem in conflict with my faith as a Christian. I chose to view this as an exercise in inner-reflection, taking time to nurture my inner being, allow my heart/mind to be still, and hopefully connect with God on a more tangible fashion. This I’m very excited and nervous about.
One of the goals of the trip was to backpack around various areas of Thailand, hitching rides in buses and tuk-tuks. My travel style focuses greatly on mobility (I hate checking bags in) and I tend to travel light. So naturally backpacking works out very well for me. Seeing how it’s been 12 years since I’ve last backpacked out of the States, I’ve lost most of my travel gear along the way. Because of that, I spent most of my day today hunting for the perfect backpack — my holy grail.
I ended up going with the Osprey Pack Atmos 65 Backpack, Abyss Grey backpack (warning: affiliate link). Previously I had done extensive research and fell in love with this pack as it met the following requirements for me:
- Not ridiculously priced
- Doesn’t lay up against my back, thus trapping heat
- Spacious without being bulky
- External zippered pockets
- Compartment for a sleeping bag
- Fits a water reservoir
- Side pocket for my Hydroflask
After testing out the pack at US Outdoor Store located in the heart of downtown Portland, I was very happy with how the pack felt. Minutes later, I walked out of the store with my new pack!
I’m due to leave for Thailand in 14 days. I’m excited, nervous, and melancholic at the same time. There are so many emotions going on. As always, I’ll keep everyone apprised of what’s going on.
Thanks for following me on this journey.