Paradise Paradox 

Do you have a favorite place?  One of those places that when you arrive an immediate peace consumes you.  For me, that place is the mountains.  (And my mom’s house but this post is about nature.) Every trip I make to the mountains brings me to the same realization: I belong here.  A calmness washes over me.  My soul feels at ease.  I could spend the entire day lounging on the porch or hiking through the woods and it wouldn’t matter, simply because of where I was.  I’m fortunate to share this life with someone who loves the great outdoors as much as I do.

Hiking in Oregon with our sweet pup Jakers.

We spent the last few weeks island hopping in southern Thailand; beginning our day with sounds of waves crashing and ending it by witnessing the sun set over the ocean.  Sounds dreadful, right?  We had originally planned to spend the entire month on the the islands however, something just didn’t feel right.  Maybe it was all of the tourists or the sub-par food but both of us felt as though something was missing.  Of course, relaxing on the beach everyday felt incredible but each day left us questioning if this was where we needed to be.  

Catching the sunset in Koch Lanta

Those thoughts eventually led us to Khao Sok National Park where, upon arrival, we both instantly breathed a sigh of relief.  Our room was a simple, unairconditioned bungalow.  The park itself wasn’t nearly as spectacular as some of the previous ones we have visited.  However, placidness swept over us and just like that, we knew we were exactly where we belonged.  Nothing felt forced.  Everything seemed so much easier and we both experienced joy and excitement and felt relaxed.  We spent the mornings hiking throughout the jungle getting attacked by swarms of mosquitos and sweating profusely from the incredibly high humidity but loving every single step.  (That may be a bit exaggerated.  After about an hour of straight uphill we realized that jungle trekking isn’t for the faint of heart!) We spent the afternoon sharing drinks and stories and listening to bluegrass on the front porch.  Life was exactly as it should be.  

Khao Sok National Park

All too often I am guilty of doing things because others say I should.  Occasionally this works out however, oftentimes I end up a bit let down; my experience didn’t seem quite as grand as the one described to me.  We are (slowly) learning to listen to our hearts and trust our intuition. It’s much easier to do those things when your soul feels at peace.  

For some reason I forget how much I love the mountains until I am in them.  Then I experience this whole revelation feeling again and think, “Why do I ever leave?!” Maybe it’s a way to cope with the fact that we don’t currently reside in (or anywhere near) the mountains.  (I guess technically we don’t reside anywhere.) Our brains are trying to make it easier on us, much like trying to convince yourself that you aren’t getting sick.  Although, this time feels different.  This time I don’t think I’ll soon forget this ‘in love’ feeling.  As John Muir so eloquently put, “The mountains are calling and I must go.” 

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