I just read your book. What a great story you have. It was very enjoyable and insightful. I'm wondering if you could share if you received any reactions, positive or negative, from the many famous friends and acquaintances you included in your rich and powerfully narrated reminiscences? "
Thank you to the person who wrote this. When I decided to write my book it was because I felt I was a witness of some of the most memorable moments in modern music. I was lucky enough to have been a child of the Sixties and there was nothing more important to our lives than the music. Each song, each album, each artist represented some memories of our lives. We depended on this, it was the lifeblood of our generation.
And for some unknown reason, I was in a position to experience the masters of music of that time. I was a high school student, not knowing of what I wanted to do with my life and then I was, within two years, literally catapulted into the center of the Universe, Apple Corps Ltd. From that point, I just followed the dots!
When writing my book, some thirty to forty years later, I had hoped that all of the people I maintained friendship with would read my book and say, "wow, I didn't know she went through all that." I had hoped they would see it as my story, not theirs. Sadly, not everyone did see it that way. Some felt I had let them down. What let all of us down was the media. The media preferred to use the 'dregs of the Sixties" as their selling point (and I mean you, NY Post and London Telegraph!). Some of my 'friends' got no further than those reviews. Yet many of my friends took the time to read the book and have been very supportive.
I knew that I had put myself out on a limb because of the 'no talk' rule that had existed non-verbally then and contractually now, but it was my time to share what life was like in the Sixties and Seventies. I have said it over and over that one day we will all be gone and the only stories left will be those written.
The many friends I have made since my book came out have made up for any lost friendships from before. I believe that my book was honest and well-written (thanks to my co-writer, Kathy Ketcham) and gave a 'fly on the wall' perspective of life back then, with the greatest show on Earth.
Okay, so it wasn't that easy to find the right island, but after three years, I think we've accomplished it!
Bali was magical, Thailand was different and beautiful, Costa Rica was a little too developed for us, Nicaragua was a little too underdeveloped, Belize....well, Belize I was only there for two days! We flew from there to Honduras, to the island of Roatan. It took me less than 24 hours to realize I'd found the island for me! My husband took three days to say, "I think this is it!" So here we are.
We've been here over a year, have made amazing friends, bought an old car, a motor scooter and rented an amazing house. This is home. I love the idea of driving or walking down the street and seeing dozens of people I know, islanders and expats. It's just a small town mentality and that works for me. Going on a trip means "we're driving to the other side of the island" which is only 42 miles long.
I've learned more about an area I was completely ignorant about and that was ocean life. Growing up in the desert just doesn't provide that kind of info! I am learning about the beautiful coral reef that surrounds the island and is part of the second largest reef in the world. I don't dive which is sad because that's what this island is all about. I've taken up snorkeling so at least I can see the beauty of the coral and ocean life. Maybe one day I'll take up diving!
No plans for the future other than just to enjoy life.
I have said for the last few years that I need to live on my own island. After years in the desert, it was important for us to be near water. We finally found a few to recommend.
I loved Bali. I am looking forward to the time when I can go back. It's an island that exudes serenity and calm. The people are the wealth of that island,without a doubt. They are warm, friendly, and very spiritual. For them it's a way of life. Every morning the scent of incense wafts through the air, flowers and offerings of fruit or food is in front of each doorway. Women can often be seen making beautiful creations from the flowers and stems of local shrubbery. I'm missing it!
Thailand, the island of Koh Chang, in particular, is absolutely as wonderful but in a different way. Here we found a group of wonderful friends, the expats as well as the Thais. The beaches are beautiful and the jungle, green and inviting. I find it a place where opportunity awaits. It's been a fabulous place to begin working on my second book. I can choose between good Thai food, European food, good music or riding an elephant on any given day.
I must say that having those choices in life is priceless. You don't have to be rich to live an ideal existence - only rich in spirit.
The photo above was taken at the blessing of Crust Bakery. I love the kitten and the monk!
I can only blog when something really hits me and it did this morning.
In the first week of arriving in Thailand, I got the bacterial infection that results from food and water. The western system has been so pasturized that it's difficult to eat foods that aren't 'samely prepared'. What a terrible five days it was. Like having the flu really. I even went to the International Clinic on Koh Chang to make sure I didn't get dehydrated. That cost $400!
Then I got it again about a month later. Only this time it wasn't as bad or as long. Since that time, I have the perfectly functioning system. Better than anytime in my life. I won't go into details but I'm sure you can use your imagination! I'm returning home next week for a month and wondering how my system will react to the American diet. I'll let you know.
Went to Cambodia last week to get my visa renewed. Our great friends from Nashville, Tami and Lep, drove us. My husband was last in Cambodia during the Vietnam war and to say it affected him would be putting it mildly. But it went very smoothly and many of the men hanging around the immigration center were very curious about America. They know New York, Los Angeles, Texas, and Long Beach City (as they refer to it)! We were in Cambodia a total of 30 mins and were so happy to see Lep and Tami waving to us as we walked back across the border into Thailand. I have to admit, I'd like to see a little more of Cambodia one of these days.
Our English friend, Martin Rattigan, is back on Koh Chang for a few weeks. He lives in Spain and works on an oil rig off the coast of Scotland. It's so nice when people come back and so sad when they leave again.
Again, I have to say that the beauty of this island for us has been the wonderful people we have met. It's so cool to ride my motorbike down the road and see at least one person I know passing me in the other direction. It's actually a lot like living in a small town.
My husband, Morrise's youngest brother died this past weekend, and it was so wonderful the way our friends here have supported him. Needless to say, because of the size off the island, word travels fast, and he was very touched by everyone's condolences.
That being said, I'm excited to get back to the States to see my family and all of my friends there. I wish they could all meet.
I've noticed on fb this past week that several friends of ours are doing what we are doing - just following their dreams. One couple is selling everything and traveling the States in their car and a
camper with their pets.
As we were reminded this past week with the passing of Rickey, 49 years old, life is so short!
So here I am in beautiful Thailand, loving the weather (which is really good for my hair and skin), the people (the Thais are really nice and the ex-pats are amazing), and the food. I have to admit I've eaten 15 Cottages Pies (Shephard's Pie to some of of) at Morgan's and I'm making my way to 20 so I get a free one! But last night I ate at Kat e" and it was absolutely fantastic Thai food!
But, there is another side. I am so grateful to be able to ride a motor bike here because it gives me freedom and I love the wind blowing on me as I ride. But, nearly everyone here has had at least one accident. The fatalities in Thailand are extremely high, and in Koh Chang also high. There are some bits of treacherous roads due to the hills and winding 'S' curves and when it rains it's slippery. I've avoided those roads up to now. But I had my accident last week.
I have to admit the truth, I was on the side of the road and barely moving when it happened. I misjudged the side of the road and a rut that ran alongside it, and my bike turned over on it's side. Unfortunately, my leg was under it. But fortunately, I only got some superficial scratches.
Under normal circumstances, my leg would be almost healed now, but in this humid climate, infection is highly probable. I got an infection. So now I have to go to the clinic everyday and get it cleaned and dressed. Even though every one warned me of this and suggested this route, I waited until yesterday to start the treatment.
But this didn't stop me from getting back on this bike and riding. You know what they say.
This photo shows the drive to the main road from my house.
I have been thinking a lot about home. One of the things about living out of the country is you get homesick sometimes. I've been feeling that for a few days. From what I understand it's normal. But it doesn't take away from the amazing things that I've been doing here. I've had some of the most magical moments of my life in years.
One of these was going to a club on the Island called Oodies. This guy, Oodie, plays a mean electric guitar upside down. Seriously, I'm telling you he's amazing. And two of the regular members of his band, Thien, and Buffalo Man are as good. My dear friend, Tami Jones Andrews from Nashville, sings with them. It's just crazy!
We also had a dinner the other night with seven friends at Kai Bae Marina, owned by Roland, and laughed so hard.
These are just a few of the moments that make me so happy to be alive.
But I still miss my mother, my sister, and my son, who are in Tucson. Not to mention all my friends that are in the States. So for the good things, you have to also experience some of the pain.
Oh, I can't forget my two dogs! I miss them like crazy. But I have already been adopted by a Thai dog. I don't know his name but he meets us every day when we get home and he's there first thing in the morning. I call him Baby!
Speaking of Baby, they came and took away the baby elephant! Apparently, Thailand is under pressure to make sure that all elephants are here legally. They raided the elephant camp across the street from our old bungalow and took the baby. I guess she was not born on the island of Koh Chang. But it's still a mystery as I get different stories from different people.
And....I didn't understand our visas to Thailand. I thought we had four months, which we did, but you have to go out of the country every sixty days! Didn't realize it till we were about sixteen days over. That cost a pretty batt! Now, we have to go to Cambodia in September for another stamp. Life is not all that easy as a world traveller. But it's worth it.
I'm sitting in front of the Wat (temple) at Crust Bakery, my new morning stop! We moved yesterday from Kai Bae to Klong Prao,which is the next village, and I'm getting used to new people and new places. Fortunately, since I now ride a motorbike (very carefully and very slowly) I can go back to Kai Bae and visit my old haunts whenever I want. It's a short, short ride.
We moved into our new house on the river yesterday and I can't describe how wonderful it is. Now instead of the elephant roars I hear the roar of the waterfall and river next to the house. I swear the magic never disappears from our time here!
My husband is going to start doing acupunture and tai chi at the treatment center on the island. It's called Dara and it is situated in the most amazing resort. It looks over the ocean, each room is a bungalow, and I can only say, what a great place to get sober! Plus, it's less than $9000 for the first thirty days. Now, that may sound like a lot unless you have looked at the prices of the best treatment centers in the USA. If anyone has any questions about Dara, let me know.
I am so enjoying our time here. It took a while to find the 'RIGHT' spot on earth to reside in but this certain is it for us. Who knows for how long, but it doesn't matter. I am just treasuring all the time I have here now.
I've mentioned the lovely people that we've met since being in Koh Chang. Many of them are people who have lived her for some time and either own businesses now or are enjoying the life here. These are people we now consider friends.
But there are many people who just travel through for a few days or a few weeks. The photo above shows two gorgeous girls from England who were here on vacation/holiday and have now returned to their home to work or continue in school.
A few days ago we met a young man and a young woman from China. They were in their later twenties. The young man, who spoke quite good English, told us that they were just here for few days. It was interesting to listen to their ideas about work and living. He said that, now in China, much focus is on being successful. Sound familiar to anyone? He said that he would like to enjoy his life and that he works for his vacations.
What I'm noticing is that young adults the world over are realizing that 'living' is not all about money. They want to enjoy their lives. Working for vacations sounds rather healthy to me.
Last night we went to a local club for a friend's birthday. At eight o'clock, two of our favorite baby elephants from the elephant camp, strolled in with their trainers onto the dance floor. They danced, twirled hoola hoops, stood on their back legs, did a massage on the birthday boy (!) and bowed at the end. Not something you see everyday.
I had always heard that it was obvious when you came to a place and it was right for you.
I remember landing in London in May 1968 and taking a bus into central London. I saw the chimneys and roof tops, the gray skies, and the old buildings and I KNEW this place! I felt that I had been there before. I connected with this place.
Later, in 1980, when I returned to Tucson for six months to get 'my head together', I had the same feeling. There was a magic there, a healing quality, a spiritual sense. It was the right place for me then and later in 1989 when I returned. The desert was a special place for me. But in 2013 it no longers holds that same magic.
Now in Thailand, I'm feeling that same resonating feeling of groundedness and of freedom. Perhaps, it will only last for a while or perhaps it will last the rest of my life. I have no idea. But that's not the point.
The point is knowing that you are in the right place at the right time. If you're feeling blocked, tired, restless, and unhealthy, it might be that you've outgrown a place. Or maybe it was never right for you.
Of course, most of us can't just throw everything down and move. Or can we? I talk about taking social security and using it to make some of my dreams come true by moving to more inexpensive parts of the world; but everyday I meet people of all ages who are doing the same as me. They are doing computer work or taking jobs that supply them with enough to live on. Or they are planning on working a few more years and retiring. They are courageous and resilient people.
I have to be honest (as I hope I am most of the time) that I've always followed my instincts. I had to know that I'd be okay when I got on that plane to London in 1969 without a job, a place to stay - nothing but $100 in my pocket and a lot of hope. And you know what? It was one of the best decisions of my life.
I feel that this move to Thailand was also a good decision - for however long it lasts.
The picture above is the river that I will be living next to starting in August. There is a gazebo at this house that extends over the river - just right for my yoga! And a nice swim afterwards...