Are you a planner?
I’m not. I ask because my habit of doing things somewhat spontaneously caused me a bit of trouble. Not really trouble…but more literally I was delayed and had to pay much more than I had hoped.
In the last article you learned the 5 things you need to know about ecovillages, ecoliving and Intentional communities. In this short story you’ll learn how I got to the off-the-beaten-path place called Gaia.
Why? What happened?
I had planned to take a train from Bangkok to the Gaia Ecovillage. Well, technically the train was to Nong Khai which was about half an hour to an hour away from Gaia.
From Vacation to Sustainable Living
Anyway, this short story begins where my last story ends…with a vacation on the island of Koh Chang of the southern coast of Thailand. We left Koh Chang on a Sunday and immediately hit traffic. There was a line for about mile just to get on the ferry back to the mainland.
Once across, we were making pretty good time…that is, until we got closer and closer to Bangkok. As we neared Bangkok, traffic got progressively worse and we were going slower and slower.
I was planning to take a train that night and saw that the last train to Nong Khai was around 8pm. I finally made it to the train station just a few minutes before 8pm (after over seven hours of travel). I eventually found the entrance to the station, the ticket counter and then waited in line. It wasn’t looking good.
Missing the Train
I was late! It was past 8pm when I asked the guy at the ticket counter about trains to Nong Khai. He told me they were all booked. So I asked about tomorrow. Same answer: booked. And the next day? And the rest of the week? You guessed it: booked!
Bummer. What to do? I had already committed and told the people at Gaia I would be there the next day. I considered a few of my options. Just find a hostel and stay the night by the train station? But that doesn’t do me much good because there are no trains.
No train? Book a plane!
So I looked at flights. I know that it goes against the ethos of the ecovillage to fly there (because of carbon emissions) but I had committed to get there on Monday and wanted to stick with my plan. It looked like it would be about $100 to fly to Udon Thani which was also about the same distance from Gaia as Nong Khai.
So I ended up deciding to stay at a hostel near the airport and then get a flight the next day. I found a hostel and took the 30 minute drive there, got checked in, slept, awoke early and went to the airport.
Good news. Bad news.
The good news was that there were flights available. The bad news was that it wasn’t until after noon and it would cost about $150 – about $50 more than I had expected for the flight, and about $120 more than the train. I was already committed so I paid the price.
Getting to Gaia
I finally made it to the Gaia ecovillage in the north-ish part of Thailand. When all was said and done, I arrived at Gaia at about 2:30pm on Monday. (I’d say north-ish because when I say the north of Thailand most people immediately think of Chiangmai and I wasn’t at all close to there and wasn’t quite that far north.)
And it turned out that getting there a little bit later than I had planned was no big deal. In fact, in retrospect, I could have looked into taking a bus instead. However, my guess is that they were probably mostly booked. In fact, my flight was completely full. I suppose all the travel could be due to the upcoming holiday – a celebration of the Thai New Year called Song Kran.
Next up, you’ll get to dive into what I actually did at the Gaia Ashram Ecovillage…