I am in Pai, a small and picturesque town in the very north of Thailand. The main street starts from the bus station and ends at River Pai and walking from the station to the river takes about 5 minutes. The river has a feeble bamboo bridge and across the river are a few huts you can rent. I’m writing this from inside one of these huts, made of a pretty basic wooden structure with ‘chikk’ walls and a steep roof made of leaves. This is basically a backpackers’ area to live in Pai. More upbeat hotels are on the main street and more affluent people are staying there.
It’s raining outside. The raindrops falling over the roof are making a tranquilizing sound. The surrounding hills and farm land have made the air smell so fresh. It’s hard to imagine a place you’d want to be than this.
There are 24 such huts around. I have talked to many of the people living here. Most of them are from Europe, some from the North America, and a few from the rest of the world. These are not the honeymoon couples, they are mostly solo travelers who have quit —or put on a halt— the lives they had in their home countries. Why have they done so? What are they doing in this wilderness? Sitting inside one of these small huts, in the remote town of Pai in Thailand, I ask myself these questions and then realize that I am also one of them.