A poem from Bua Geow

I’m sitting on the balcony of a restaurant in Chiang Khong, under a full moon, listening to Thai songs sang softly with acoustic guitar and harmonica. I look out across the ripling Mekhong river to Laos, and feel the cooling evening breeze. I feel at peace tonight, and truly appreciate this scene and setting.

It may have something to do with the monk and the drunk whose ride I paid for today when we were stranded. Maybe it has to do with the certainty that has been revealed regarding my future. Further still, I think it is due to my reading of Bua Grows diary, and thankfully, being reminded again to appreciate the little things in life.

A review will be published soon, but in the mean-time, here is a beautiful poem from the heart of a “bright-eyed innocent slip of a country girl… debased, enslaved”* and freed by her own courage.


Oh! The joy that you feel

Is to me as a tune

As a toy to a child

As a song to the moon.

Whilst the grief that you meet

Is to me as a pain

I would fain bear for you,

though I die of that grief.

So then live to the full,

While your youth is yet pure:

In the year of your death

You may pray and forgive.

But not now is the time

To sleep in the spring

Or to bow to the Gods

Or to kneel – but to sing.

But to sing to the sky

And to shout O’er the sea

And to bring to the world

The thrill that we feel to will and to be.

Author: Bua Geow


* In the word of John C Shaw, author and translator of “The diary of Bua Geow, Girl of Chiang Mai”

Travel is escapism?

After a few drinks a friend recently told me that she thought travelling in order to find ‘ones self’ was a load of wank and just an excuse to selfishly indulge on all those things you cant do when your friends, partners or parents are around.

At first I was puzzled because I didn’t understand why you couldn’t simply do those things in your ordinary day to day life if thats what you really wanted. Then I realized, doing them away from everybody in a secret second life enabled you to return to who you were originally without any hiccups if you didn’t really like what you had become.

Kind of obvious when you realize that there is an online Many multi-player online role play game (MMPORG) game called “second life” in which you can change your life for better without leaving your desk. I guess thats the appeal, and I can see it (having been addicted to Grand Theft Auto since V1).

So, I guess the next time I go travelling I should really ask myself if I’m trying to escape my friends, family, patner etc so that when I return I can be me again?