Thailand to England to Italy [12]

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The sun setting over Chiang Mai

After saying goodbye to Bangkok and remembering the good times I had in my 5 months in Thailand, it was time for me to start my long horrible journey to England. First, I got a lift down to the bus station in Chiang Mai and got on my bus for an overnight trip to Bangkok. After a crappy sleep I spent the day with my friend Opal and a eccentric Dutch traveller from Brazil that I met on the bus in and looked at a few things like the awesome Temple of Dawn and a museum with baby fetuses’. Then I slept for a few hours and got on the 6pm plane headed to Mumbai, India. I spend 8 hours in Mumbai airport and after sleeping in a massage chair for a while and feeling really floppy when I awoke, I then got on my connecting flight to London. After arriving in London I then got a subway train to Dorset (which cost 53 pounds!) and finally arrived at my destination, where I would be staying with some family for a while.

Encombe house where I was staying in England

It was actually nice to be back in England again, all of the places brought back childhood memories of growing up. When I looked around London I remembered why I was glad I didn’t still live there though, the sky was constantly grey and the people were pale, moody and miserable. The girls were all carting around babies for housing benefits and half of the people look like they wouldn’t mind killing themselves or someone else. Heading out of London towards the countryside, England slowly became more bearable. There is a certain magical quality about the smell of the crisp English country air, and something very non-magical about the arctic gales that make walking around a constant battle for survival. In England I was staying with some family who looked after an amazing huge English manor called Encombe House. The house and the valley were owned by some English millionaires, who also went hunting and shooting and drunk tea and wore stupid hats. I was glad to reunite with family that I had not seen in a long while, and was able to go and look at some nice nature around the area. I also went clay pidgeon shooting, which was REALLY fun and I was also good at it, hitting 8/10 moving traps two at a time. I also got a tattoo in memory of someone special, and after spending an eventful week in Dorset it was time to head over to Italy.

Clay Pidgeon shooting
The city of Bologna

I have been in Italy for 5 days now, and its just as good as expected. There are beautiful old red-brick houses, medieval churches, 1000 year old towers, tiny alleyways and well dressed people. The food is actually AMAZING too! If you think about a meal, it always relies on the quality of the ingredients, and the ingredients here are all varied, fresh, cheap and delicious. Pizza, pasta, cheese, herbs, tomato, salami, proscioutto, pastries, vegetables, bread, gelato, aperetivo and so much more are everywhere and pretty much every meal is an oral festivity.

Nicola has been showing me around Bologna, and he knows pretty much everyone in the city. A third of the city is taken up by a university, and as a result there are many young people everywhere, not to mention scores of beautiful charismatic and intelligent Italian girls. Everything here has a certain charm, maybe because of the novelty of being in a small Italian town and the locals are always interested to meet their first Australian person.

A typical laneway in Bologna

Everywhere I go in the world I see how different societies function and subsequent mindlessness manifesting in many different forms, and I think it is important to take note of them. It is usually expressed through flaws that have become collectively imprinted on people through their culture’s standards. In Italy it takes the form of other people’s expectations regarding social status, fashion, attitude, maturity, academic performance and other similar criteria. It is easy from the outset to see how these have become more than just a standard to live by, but a negative trait as well, and once absorbed in the culture it can be harder to see it from a point of detachment. Regardless of the culture however, there are nice people to be found everywhere and Italy is no exception.
It is sometimes a great relief to realise all of the things you do not know. You come to realise that the false beliefs you have built up in your lifetime are the only obstacle that stands between you and happiness.

Typical Italian sandwhich with Ricotta cheese

I have been maturing as a person and considering future possibilities as well as enjoying my time travelling. I have even made a schedule and to do list for things I want to do and achieve like starting to study and speak Italian every day, learning a brief overview of the history of the world, exercising, reading more books, and finding a career path, amongst other things.
For now I am just living with Nicola, chilling out, meeting the people who live here and exploring the city. I am planning on volunteering somewhere in Italy soon, perhaps down south or sardinia or sicily at some point, as well as spending summer somewhere nice and warm.

Lastly, an important thing that I have experienced recently is a breakthrough in understanding the truth of life, which comes in the form of awareness. From reading numerous spiritual texts, new-age psychology and other things of that nature, I have come to realise that the underlying message from any true spiritual teacher points to awareness. If you keep your mind in a state of constant and complete awareness of the present moment, there will be no room for the ‘ego’ or ‘false self’ to slip in unnoticed. This is the most profound realization that I have recently had that has been able to lead me closer to living in a state of peace. It gives me immense hope for the future, and has opened up a world of positive opportunities for me.

Until next time

Ciao for now 🙂

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