Mut Mee

What is it about some places that bring people together? It’s almost as if there is an energy that attracts like-minded folks to a particular place.

I cant help but wonder, “Is it the place, is it the people, or is it a beautiful combination of both?”

image

Nong Khai, Thailand took me by surprise. The reason could be described in two words, Mut Mee, A lovely garden guesthouse right by the Mekong River.

I had expected a quite time alone for a week to work on my blog and podcast. I got everything that I had hoped for except for the bit about being alone.

Fantastic.

The people of the internet would have thought me a nutter if I had attempted to do an interview-style podcast with myself.

image

Sitting in the beautiful gardens across from the river, I found myself quickly swept away in interesting and stimulating conversations with the people around me.

I was also happy to find that my company was diverse and often wiser or smarter than myself in many subjects. I don’t mention this in order to stroke egos or to impress anyone, but as a reminder to myself to mix up my socializing often.

A great way to learn is by surrounding yourself with intelligent people and listening to them.

image

Mut Mee did something else that was fantastic for me.

It reminded me of the importance of gathering.

Like Meccas for pilgrimages, meeting points are important for human connection and passing of ideas and information.

I am reminded of the old use of the word, “salon.”

Good ol’ Wikipedia defines a salon as,

“A gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine the taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation.”

image

So what was it about Mut Mee?

It was the people, it was the location, and it was the host and owner, Julian.

He not only created a beautiful environment on a riverbank to have people spend the night, he hosted his guests. He got involved in and struck up interesting conversation and made people feel welcome.

I apologize for turning this post into a guesthouse review, but something was done well here.

I encourage others to run businesses this way.

In a world where salons are now known for stimulating hair follicles instead of minds, and most social gatherings are to celebrate intoxication amongst music too loud to talk over, we could use more Mut Mees in the world.

Sharing political opinions, social concepts, groundbreaking theories and ideas are important for society. How are we to make any kind of positive change in the world without talking about it first?

Check out the website for Mut Mee at MutMee.com

World Bowlers

I’m not a fan of bowling, despite it being a favorite pastime of some of my favorite people in the world. The combination of finger food, shared balls, shit beer, and personal let-downs just doesn’t appeal to me.

But the other night I managed to make an exception. It wasn’t because bowling suddenly became fun for me, it was the insanely odd situation I had found myself in that made this Thursday night exceptional.

A surprisingly little known fact: the most bombed country in the world is Laos. A less startling, yet still bizarre, little known fact; Luang Prabang has a bowling alley that fills with foreigners from night to night. And this bowling alley happens to be where I found myself spending my Thursday night in Laos.

Upon arriving, the judgmental hipster in me instantly wanted to hate the place as I entered it.

“Where are all of the locals?”

For me, this was a disgusting display of western drunken influence on an old and beautiful culture. I instantly wanted to distance myself from it.

Stuck there until my current travel companions decided to leave, I soon found myself as a fly on the wall.

There I was, alone in a room full of foreigners from all over the world getting drunk and making fools of themselves. It was disgusting, it was intriguing, it was… Beautiful?… The anthropologist in me was suddenly intrigued.

You see, back at home when entering a busy place full of people who you don’t know, its a bit odd to sit down at a random table and easily join in in a conversation with strangers.
But we were in travelers land!
No one really knew anyone, except the few traveling with friends from home.

Belgium, Argentina, China, England, Australia, Switzerland, Egypt, France… Everyone was from another country! Everyone was getting along, united by the oddity of a bowling alley in a small town in Laos.

This was a beautifully insane thing.

Photo by Victoria from Pommie Travels

pommietravels.com

We’re All Alone in This Together

As you may have noticed, I’ve created a website.

Why did I do this?

Well, I’m not going to lie to you beautiful people, it was for a selfish reason.

No, not for money and not for glory. To be honest, I’m currently amazed that you are reading this at all right now. I hold few expectations or delusions of grandeur stemming from brain-dumbing this pseudo-philosophical travel website.

Existential Travel Zazz, (Meant to be spoken while waving spirit fingers) is a title worth rolling your eyes at.

“Here is yet another young traveling blogger, out to inspire the world!” C’est la vie.

If you’ve been following my posts at all, you’ll find that I’m a bit of a fromagerie. I’m here trying to get to the heart of it all, and sometimes that heart is made of cheese. And cheese is delicious so you all should have little to complain about.

The heart of the matter here is, I do hope to inspire the world. But this real hope, stems from a selfish desire to not feel so lonely.

(A question for later: is the desire to not feel lonely a selfish desire?)

While on the road, I’ll meet people. We’ll connect on a deep yet rushed superficial level and then they’re off in a week or two. It’s how it is.

It’s kind of sad being around so many people but having none of them really know you.

Often when I attempt to connect with friends back at home, they think I’m bragging about my travels and wish not to engage me. I don’t really blame them for this, but the reality is that I’m just a lonely human, and humans need to share.

I feel I have much to share and I can’t keep it in for myself, it’s almost painful. I want to share and inspire people around me.

So there, I said it. Now get your eye-roll over with and join in on this with me. Because I know you actually want connection too.

So what makes my website different from most inspirational travel blogs? Or a more accurate question, what do I hope makes my website different from other travel blogs? Existential involvement of course.

So what does existential actually mean?

Existential adjective

– Of or relating to existence.

Travel with awareness. Awareness of existence, life, living, and the present.

And it’s not just travel in the conventional sense.

I know not everyone is stupid enough, or able, to sell all of their shit, quit their job, and buy a one-way ticket to Asia. As much as I wish to shout, “you can travel the world too!” I realize that not everyone out there can.

But I’m not creating this website to reach out only to the nomad.

You see, I have a confession. I’ve always loved traveling, but I’ve never loved following travel blogs or travel magazines before. The reason being that I often found myself unable to travel and those beautiful traveling blogs only rubbed that depressing fact in my face.

(Apparently their inspiration worked, however, because here I am.)

Ultimately, My hope is to make a community that everyone can enjoy and take something useful or helpful away.

After all, we’re all travelers.

There’s that cheese again, but it’s true-blue and stinky too. It’s a simple reality of life which is obvious because realities of life usually are.

We are all on a personal journey in life; we are all travelers of life.

And that’s why I made this website. To connect that simple reality with the world, the traveling community, and my lonely self. To inspire creativity, forward thinking and movement in our lives.

The nomads of the world often see it clearly, it is full in the face of their existence; we are on a very literal journey through life on the road, life itself is a journey too.

That’s what makes travel so invigorating. Travelers are living in the moment, everything is new and unpredictable and it makes us think about ourselves and our place in existence.

And we have to live in that moment or we run the risk of getting hit by that bus going down the left side of the road instead of the right.

So! I hope you follow me and my adventures. But most of all I hope you join in, leave comments, give feedback, and submit your own existential travel zazz stories and opinions.

I don’t want to end up just being on a lonely pulpit. I want to talk, connect, engage in discussion, and reach out to anyone else who feels lonely on this road of life.

Sincerely,

Zazz

Lets Connect

Human connection.

“Ugh gross, Zazz is going to be gooey and cheesy again in a post.”

Maybe, but my goal here is to be honest. If soft delightful fluff excrete from my brain mash, down and out through my fingertips to this keyboard, so be it.

Being in Asia, halfway across the world in a foreign land, I’ve found that my butt has been in a chair a lot lately. Reading, drawing, listening, eating, and berating myself for this.

Sure, I’ve finished a book and have gotten halfway through another one, (a person could describe that as productive) however, I can’t help but feel a little bit guilty about this.

“Why all of the facebook time Zazz? Shouldn’t I be exploring more? Maybe chatting up every person I meet who speaks English?”

After all, being surrounded by almost nothing but Cambodians for a week, I lack many opportunities to speak these days. Why would I not seek out that opportunity?

A good question, self.

But there is something beautiful about getting to know myself on this level. Mass quantities of self-reflection tend to bounce those shiny reflecting thoughts outward and all around. Like mirrors sporadically placed around me, I’m able to see multiple views from all different angles.

This is a good thing, a form of meditation, healthy for the mind, and a fantastic ingredient to begin talking to oneself.

Though a problem I’ve worried about is the distortion of the reflections causing views that are too oddly angled that I’m not seeing things clearly. After all, I am still the only viewer in this meat capsule.

Hence my rationalization for mass facebooking as well as a reminder of the importance of human interaction. We are, after all, the center of our own universe. There are only so many windows you can look out of yourself and into the world with. Human connection is not only emotionally satisfying, it’s also intellectually stimulating, world-broadening, and good for reality checks.

A personal balance of all things is important.

Time to stop berating myself for being antisocial for a while as well as stop being so frightened of lending out smiles to new people. After all, soon I will be personally subjecting myself to solitude at a ten day meditation course, I won’t even have Facebook there, (gasp) I need all of the human connection I can get.

New friend, little Likena- master of human connection

P.S. To all concerned and asking, my friend from the flood recovered fully. Warm hugs to Vanessa.