Travelling isn't all that stressful, it's life that's stressful. I get stressed at the drop of a hat, which is why I can never wear hats. I tried it once, let's never speak of that again.
Or at least I thought I got stressed a lot. It turns out all that time I was just getting a bit annoyed. Now I know what stress is, and what it's capable of doing to my formerly invincible body. I won't bore or sicken you with the details, but I have my reliably unreliable bank to thank for making an annoying situation steadily worse and piling on problems and bureaucracy like a stress Buckaroo until my digestive system couldn't cope any more. No, I don't have any formal medical training. Why do you ask?
The result was that I had to spend a lot longer limboing in Bangkok than I'd planned, or than Thai immigration allowed me, with a dwindling supply of emergency baht and no way of accessing my own money that I work for.
Then I remembered I was in Thailand, where there are loads of idyllic islands designed for just these situations, and sought to counteract the most stressful experience in my life with the most relaxing. It was going quite well for an afternoon until the typhoon struck.
More ammo for the inevitable 'Dave in a Cave' compilation
I'm not one of those people who has difficulty recognising when something good is happening to them. I already know with certainty that I'm going to look back on these relatively care-free years (September 2012 excepted) with a mixture of jealousy and contempt when I'm older and get sucked back into society by the lure of free healthcare and being able to watch new Red Dwarf when it airs (4th October everybody) rather than having to wait for illegal torrents to be uploaded.
But it was oddly disappointing to recline on a balcony with a good book in hand, fat cat in lap and Oishi roasted barley green tea, looking out over the vacant, low-season beach, cooled by the natural air con of the Andaman Sea and to know for a fact that this is as good as life gets. There's no uphill from here, I'm looking back o'er the hills and vales of the previous 27 years and forward to the steep, slippery slope of infirmity and decrepitude (I'm an optimist). This is the happiest I can be.
But that's not all there is to life, is it? I often wonder why I don't spend more time in these tropical paradises that people make long, expensive trips to enjoy for a couple of weeks but are here on tap for me in this part of the world. Why do I put myself through overlong bus journeys to stinky cities when I could spend all day lolling on a beach, in both senses? It’s not just because I need the bad to appreciate the good - my bank generously provides regular servings of bad already - I just don't think 'happiness' is the care-free, lethargic ideal that marketing dickheads like me are paid to convince you it is.
My mobile office. I do a lot of my work on buses, it's a more productive way to fill time than trying to sleep on Laos quality roads. I'm having some issues with my colleagues though
I need variety, the fear of new experiences, the satisfaction of scheduling a pointless blog, a good moan now and then, the occasional big poo. I think most of us would have eaten from that tree in Eden, that's the point. If you'd be content to graze nude, subservient and blissfully ignorant of your impending demise, your opinions on anything are of no interest to me.
What was I...? Oh yeah, Koh Phayam was a nice break from the norm, but I couldn't have stayed here for more than a few days. Admittedly, that's also partly due to this remote place only having electricity and Wi-Fi for four hours in the evening, and the battering of Typhoon Sanba making it difficult to get much sleep in a rickety wooden hut, but my point still stands. Whatever it was. Damn, I was almost eloquent there.
Today's relevant soundtrack: Death in June, 'This Is Not Paradise'