Before flying to Bangkok from Chiang Mai, I stay a couple of nights in a hut, just outside the village of Pai. It’s a final opportunity to enjoy the fine weather before returning to a European winter.
On winter solstice, my last day in Asia, I stay in a quiet hostel in Bangkok. As I head out for the day to do some exploring I meet the only other guest I’ve seen the hostel. David is a meditation teacher from France who’s spent the last few years in different temples in Asia and we end up hanging out for most of the day. He talks at length about Buddhism and meditation and I enjoy listening and being reminded about the importance of a clear perspective. He’s also at the end of his trip and is flying the next day. He tells me that for him the feeling before leaving a place you’ve been for a long time is a bit like what he imagines the feeling is before you die and are reborn into another life. You have to leave it all behind…to go to another place where you don’t know what is going to unfold. What he says resonates as it has been over two years since I was made this trip and the time has come to begin another life.
The 12 hour Norweigan Airways flight from Bangkok to Copenhagen isn’t as bad as I was fearing. I watch Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and X-Men: Days of Future Past to pass the time and add to the surreality of time traveling across the continents. Running out of further film options, I still can’t bring myself to watch Edge of Tomorrow as Tom Cruise is in it but then I learn that he’s repeatedly killed in it over and over again so I sit back and enjoy it too. After 9 hours I begin to struggle though. Not having slept the night before and not being able to sleep on the plane, ensures I’m a bit of mess when I arrive in Copenhagen in the late afternoon. After grabbing something to eat I go straight to sleep in the hostel.
The next day, it’s dark and overcast as I walk the streets of central Copenhagen and take it all in. I’ve never been to Denmark before and it reminds me of home at wintertime. The darkness is something I know I’ll have to get used to again but Copenhagen is a nice, friendly, quiet city and a good place to ease myself back (just familiar enough, yet foreign) before arriving in Ireland in the evening.