Yes, the pictures show the ideal image, of how most people know Thailand: The country is easy to travel to, it is super safe, and the logistics are seamless. Everybody is super friendly and smiling, and Thai people are very service-oriented and hospitable. The food is incredible. Both traditional Thai food and their version of Western vegan food in the trendy coffee shops and restaurants that are popping up everywhere, especially on Koh Phangan. It is super affordable. You don’t cook, you don’t clean, you don’t do your laundry. There is always a friendly local offering to do all of that for you, with a smile, at a very affordable price. Many of my friends do their health checkups and dental visits in Bangkok, at a fraction of the price it would cost them in their home country. And without waitlists, with superb service, with a smile… But there are also downsides.
Whenever I learn something new, I cannot help but notice the metaphor it provides for business and for life in general. I already wrote about life lessons from tango, watercolor painting, meditation and tantra. This time, I’d like to share my insights from a golf surfing retreat.
About 4 hours by minibus from Tbilisi gets you to the beautiful Kazbegi mountains. There’s skiing here in winter. Even now, at the end of April, there’s still snow in some places. The mountains offer nice hikes in the summer. The ride there has lots of stops to break the journey. You pass small villages that in winter are completely isolated. People there live a hard life, surviving on potatoes, flour, wine and wodka (chacha). We hiked up to the 14th century Trinity church. It was pretty strenuous, also considering the elevation of 2500 ft, but absolutely worth the effort. Then we had lunch in the beautiful Rooms hotel with stunning views. I would love to come back here one day to laze for a few days, or maybe organize a writing retreat: this place is so amazing. Another day trip combined two ‘sights’: the Stalin museum in Gori and the Borjomi mineral springs. Stalin was born in Gori, Georgia, and is still revered here. It was really weird to visit this museum in which a dictator, who killed millions of people, is portrayed as a hero. I left feeling slightly nauseous. This is not OK! The experience is best described in this article. It sparked an interesting discussion among our group about how our museums and versions of history might also be biased. The Borjomi mineral springs are located in a beautiful, green, hilly area. The village has a few shops and restaurants. This is where the famous Borjomi mineral water comes from. We had lunch at the upscale Crown Plaza hotel. Then we hiked down a steep hill, through beautiful forests, to get to the mineral spring baths. I had hoped for a hot bath, but it was actually only lukewarm. The hike back up the hill warmed us back up though. The ride back to Tbilisi offered spectacular views of the countryside, villages and mountains. I saw many older locals herding their cows in the street. The sunset provided beautiful light and different shades of golden and green on the countryside. Bye bye Georgia, you enchanted me with your friendly people (the people I met in restaurants and shops, not on the streets), great food and beautiful countryside!
Tantra and tattoos in Japan To my surprise I have found many similarities between my time in Japan and the Tantra workshop I did in Thailand a few weeks before. Both experiences were all about embracing my feminine side, being in the moment, surrendering, not trying to control. Since this [...]
is very much alive. Traffic is almost hypnotizing: thousands of scooters weave their way in the streets, like a school of fish. Four tips: 1) take Uber motor rides. Adrenaline, sightseeing, quick, local and super cheap. You don’t have to negotiate and you don’t [...]
Disney, Snoopy, dinosaurs… Japanese adults seem to have a weird liking for children’s cartoons. I am getting sooo many compliments on the Hello Kitty socks I got from my Airbnb host! Nobody seems to have second thoughts about an adult wearing these. And what about [...]
My first impression of Kyoto is even better than Tokyo: the old town is almost like a village, with beautiful old wooden houses and temples and great tiny local restaurants. I stayed at a simple, very conveniently located Airbnb apartment. Walking distance from public transport and the famous [...]
Just 160km from Tokyo (one hour by shinkansen bullet train) and you’re in a different world. Mountains, villages without the facilities of the big city and lots of snow. Most Japanese people work so hard that they can only go skiing for one day. [...]
People work really hard in Tokyo. Many times I saw passengers on the metro falling asleep, some even while standing. I prefer to take it easy, have a good nights sleep and then pick a beautiful work spot to get some things done. My [...]
Three examples of how ordinary things (such as buying groceries in a supermarket, finding a shower and flushing a toilet) can become ‘adventures’ when you don’t speak the language…. Next in line, please Even going to the supermarket is an adventure in Japan. [...]