Colleen Thornton's Blog

I have a friend in Surabaya who lies awake at night, trapped beside high tension electrical wires that buzz and hum and encroach on an otherwise peaceful night’s sleep. I also live next to these wires, within this field of disquieted energy. The other night, near midnight, I sat pulled over on the side of the road on my motorbike, trying to come to a decision about something.

As I slog up the stairs Monday morning, having just arrived at work, I feel my body in a way I never used to. My muscles ache slightly because I ran the previous day.

This past weekend I went to Taman Dayu with a friend, a large park about an hour and a half drive from Surabaya. We had registered to participate in a 12 km run/hike race at my friend’s suggestion. Funny actually, because he hates running and hiking and getting up early. The race started at 6:30 am on a Sunday morning.

Once you’ve seen the other side of something and it’s good, returning to the familiar can be difficult, even when it feels like a relief. Peeking over the fence or flying across the pond in search of something to rattle your bones and shake your worldview might actually do yourself a disservice, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

Disclaimer: I’ve dropped the F-bomb here several times.

This past weekend a friend and I went to one of the 50 malls in Surabaya to do a bit of shopping. I only just needed to pop into La Senza quickly to pick up a couple of delicates. Sounds simple enough right? But like such things are here it was another trip to the twilight zone.

I spent three days motorbiking the Bolaven Plateau in the Champasak province in southern Laos. I started in Pakse and travelled a well-known route. It was 300 kilometres, more or less. I used this adventure as an opportunity to learn to drive a semi-automatic bike, which has a manual shift mechanism but no clutch. You shift up by tapping your toe in front of the left foot rest.

“Know the rules well so you can break them effectively” - Dalai Lama XIV

After a cycle home beneath the stars I swing happily in my hammock and listen to all the night sounds around me in this calm and idyllic place in the basin of the Mekong river.