It’s been almost a week since I’ve accessed my email, social media accounts, blog stuff, or the internet in general. 6 days of being completely disconnected from the outside world (except for the occasional Facebook update from D, who has a data plan on his phone). But I swear I have a good reason! Here is where I have been:
Okay, not actually in the ocean, but on the island of Koh Chang.
We chose Koh Chang for our Thai island experience based on the recommendation of a couple of native Thai friends from a restaurant we frequent back in the States. Koh Chang is known for its beautiful white sand beaches, affordability, and laid back beachy bar scene on the west side of the island. However, we chose to stay on the east side, where there’s not a whole lot going on.
We are renting the cutest studio cottage in a little village of 16 houses. It has its own name: Rose Cottage. The property has its own little beach, but nothing to write home about. It’s rocky and the sand is coarse. But it’s ok; you don’t come to the east side for the beach.
Instead, you come to get away from it all. Our village is one of the only few developments on this side of the island. For kilometers on either side are nothing but the tropical jungle and mountain roads, with the occasional shack or mini-market. Taxis don’t come by here. The closest restaurants are 2 km away. The closest grocery store is a whole 7+ km away, on the other side of the island and over a mountain.
Annnnd of course, the wifi in our cottage doesn’t work. And there are no cafés around from which to steal wifi. Everyday, our host tells us that someone is going to come and fix it, but they never show up.
At first, I freaked out internally. 2 weeks cut from the internet is like an eternity! The horror!!
But then, in truth, it felt like relief.
I didn’t realize how much I needed it, how much I needed to unplug. Let’s just say that lately, I’ve been in a slump. I’ve felt like that everything has been suffering – my writing, my health, my relationship. I felt like I needed to be somewhere to find inspiration and clarity again.
At this moment, a little cottage in an isolated village surrounded by the woods and next to the ocean, with no internet, sounds like paradise.
Here on Koh Chang, for once I’m not desperately tending to my social media or working on blog related stuff. Instead, this place is about connecting with nature and reconnecting with each other.
Without a working wifi, I fill my days the old fashioned way.
I spend as much time outdoors as possible, until the bugs drive me inside. I lay out my yoga mat again and I’m determined to get my strength back. I previously downloaded the longest books I could find and I spend many hours sprawled out on the wooden bench, lost in stories (the only gripe I have is that I’ve gone through all my new books). Sometimes, a golden dog makes itself comfortable on our porch stairs and keeps me company. We spend hours in the kitchen experimenting with Thai dishes, testing out our newly learned skills. We pass long, stormy afternoons on the patio and actually chat with each other.
We talk about how fun this simple, old way of living is.
In the evenings, I light the incense and sit on the patio while smoke curls swirl around me. As soon as dusk falls, all kinds of critters come out. I watch the geckos scamper about on the porch ceiling overhead, snatching up bugs for dinner. A couple of fat slugs slowly make their way across our porch stairs. The only sounds are the incessant chirping of cicadas, the creepy calls of the geckos, and the occasional low rumbling of thunder. When the breeze picks up, the wind chimes make a beautiful low musical tone. I’ve never felt more at peace.
And on the fourth day, we rent a scooter from our airbnb host.
This gives us a whole new level of freedom. Now we have the entire island at our disposal. The island has only one main road going around the perimeter. We ride up and down that road, the warm wind whipping our faces.
Now that we’ve got wheels, D asks me if I’d like to go to the AIS store and get data for my phone too. I think about it for only a second, and say “Nah, I think I’m good”.
Sometimes, I think I can get used to this kind of life before the internet.
Today, when we return from a market trip, my backpack full of all kinds of Thai ingredients that we will use later on, the internet guys (who finally showed up) have fixed the wifi issues. I feel a little disappointed as a week’s worth of missed notifications start to pop up on my phone. I didn’t want the feeling of being so utterly content – with no outside distractions – to end.
Who knows, I may disappear again (by choice) until we leave. But for now, I’m back to join the world!
Do you ever feel the need to get away for a bit?