sabaidee, again: why I came back to Laos

Every time I 'repeat' a place, people have questions. Why go back when you can visit somewhere new? And I try to. At least one new place every year, more if time and money and work allows. That's the goal. Or the intention. Whichever word you prefer.

But I came back to Laos this year. And here's why. 


Last night, I found myself at one of the temples I hadn't been able to visit during my previous time in Luang Prabang. Wrapped in the one sinh I brought with me and covered in the familiar sweat that is constant for my body here, I stood at the temple entrance and listened to Monk Pali and Luke talk about what the word 'capacity' means before chanting. What a fitting word, given how being here heightens my awareness of my own capacity. 

Laos extends my capacity to care. It increases the amount of air I hold in my lungs. It expands the capacity of love in my heart.

Every damn time, guys.

This is such a place of beauty. There is less judgement here. There is no rush. The generous people with their friendly faces combined with the lush scenery which surrounds this small city brings me to space within myself where I critique myself less harshly. I allow myself to exist and feel filled. Much like New Zealand, I feel constantly full in Laos. And every moment where I pause and think that I couldn't possibly feel more, Laos {like New Zealand} says, "Oh, just you wait, little one." And my capacity for everything is increased again.  

photo credit: Monk Pali

photo credit: Monk Pali

The truth is, I had it planned that I'd come to Laos en route to China before my big move for a few reasons: 1) the flights were almost $200 cheaper to make the stopover, 2) I'd get to see the wonderful people who make Laos so special, 3) I was hoping it'd rub off some good luck magic on me before I take on a giant adventure in the great unknown {to me} that is mainland China.

Since my visa was stalled, I had to decide whether I would lose the money on the ticket, or make the most of it and visit Laos. Which is exactly what I did because making the absolute most of every situation is the right mindset to have {in my opinion}. And, let's be honest, any chance to visit a place that, time and time again, fills me with hope and peace and wonder should be snatched up. 


Laos is a place so many people miss and I feel mixed about that. On one hand, I want everyone to keep visiting Phuket on holiday or teaching English in South Korea. It allows Luang Prabang to remain preserved. On the other hand, I feel selfish wanting to keep it all to myself and know I should share this space, right? People tend to either make a place better or absolutely spoil it though, ya know? 

Humans are programmed to share. That’s how we get better.
— Tony Robbins

I'm still learning and growing and expanding. Laos reminds me that I'm capable of more. So, my heart always feels good about returning.

photo credit: Monk Pali

photo credit: Monk Pali


After the loss of Poppy and the poor timing of my booked flight to Laos, I wasn't sure how'd my time in Asia would go this time around. But Laos is seriously such a magical, healing space. Its air is divine, guys. Actually, it's seriously thick with dust and motorbike exhaust, but I don't care because it feels like the right place to be right now. I am surrounded by tiny, beautiful things that make me feel grateful. 

photo credit: Monk Pali

photo credit: Monk Pali

Instead of going on to China right away, I'll be returning to the states to pick up visa documents and then I'll {finally} head onward to my next destination {China, hooray!}. 

But don't worry. it won't just be more Laos you'll be seeing on the blog. I've got a few surprise destinations up my sleeve. Or sinh, since I'm not wearing sleeves long enough to hide anything in this heat.