Monday, 18 June 2018

The Importance Of Doing Nothing

Mother and Daughter Roadtrip

The last time Mom and I did a roadtrip together, was about 2 years ago when we travelled to Kuching and Sibu in Sarawak.  There, I got to reunite with my aunts, and members of my Kuching family whom I had not met since I was a child.  We revisited old family history when Mom shared with me stories about her grandparents and life in Kuching and Sibu.

During that trip we ate the entire Kuching and Sibu, enjoyed a good laugh and long chats over family reunion meals, explored caves, trek forests and streams, hunted orang-utans (with the camera)  and visited markets. We had so much fun and that was definitely a meaningful trip, particularly when I got better insights into my family history.   More on that trip here:
A Peace Of Pairadise

2 weeks ago, Mom and I embarked on yet another roadtrip.  We decided to change the game abit and travel to parts unknown.  So Pai, about 3 hours up north from Chiangmai was the choice of our mother-daughter roadtrip. 

Pai, known for its wide expanse of rice fields, scenic mountains, fresh air, backpackers and backpackers with bandaged legs and arms from bike accidents was definitely a piece of paradise found.

Before the trip, the control-freak in me planned everything from booking a 5-star hotel because I was not keen on slumming it in a bug-infested hut with no air conditioner, right down to the private driver that I hired to transport us from Chiangmai airport through the 762 dangerous twist and turns up the mountain into Pai.  Yes I am a princess like that.  I did not want to start my vacation with bed bugs or a helicopter extricating my body from the depths of the ravine along the way to Pai.

I even had an itinerary drawn up with places in Pai to visit, like the Pai Canyon where we could view the exquisite sunset, the refreshing waterfalls where we could cool off from the summer weather, and the picturesque rice fields where I could practise my photography skills with the new camera bought for me by the hubby from Toys R Us.
The Importance Of Doing Nothing

That week of pre-trip research would have been better spent getting my motorbike licence because apart from the hotel and my driver, we did nothing touristy that I had planned in my itinerary.  In fact, because we did nothing, Mom cooed, ” This is my favourite vacation.  I had the most fun in my entire life.”

It made me think about the importance of doing nothing.

My routine back home, on work days, had always been an endless cycle of work before 8am, gym at lunchtime, or lunch meetings sometimes, back to back meetings, conference calls, gym again after work, consultation sessions with my clients and back home late at night to wolf down a light dinner.  This routine is set on repeat again the next day.  On weekends, apart from a yoga session, I focus my time on the family, juggling commitments between joining Joel at the gym, helping David with his photography work, visiting Mom and taking the dogs out for a run. 

I had absolutely no time for me.  My me times were specifically spent with my boxing, strength and conditioning and yoga coaches.  And when I viewed that from a different perspective, I realized I was truly exhausted.  I needed recovery.  I did not know how to recover.  Sleep was not recovery when I had troubled sleep spent thinking about my schedule and plans for the next day.  

Desperately, my body, mind and spirit were crying out for rest and recovery.  Mom had always told me to take a break but my usual response was, “I rest when I am dead.”

It was rainy season in Pai.  This trip was planned at a good time believe it or not.    It rained every day without fail. From the patio at our hotel room where we hung out most each day, we could see that the rain cast a mysterious mist across the mountains in the horizon and formed ripples in our pool. It was therapeutic to watch.  Time actually slowed down for us in Pai as we sat and watched the rain.

We did not rush to go to a tourist spot, whether it was the canyon, waterfalls or the famous memorial bridge.  We figured that we could see them from the web, so why bother right? We just went with the flow.  We spent a lot of time at the Pai Walking Street, lounging at cafes, people watching, sampling street food, watching impromptu street performances by the students from the Pai Circus School, striking conversations with backpackers, some who had been there a day but stayed on for 2 years, and taking photos of everything that were not really touristy, but I found interesting.

We signed up for a lesson at the Pai Cookery School, cooking red curry, Pad Thai and Chicken with Cashew Nuts, and had a great time laughing over my lack of kitchen skills.  What I would usually render as inedible when it was cooked by myself, was actually made edible by Gaew, my cookery teacher.  Mom was useless.  She did not help me at all, because she was busy trying to buy Gaew’s entire kitchen, from the pots and pans to the Tamarind-wood chopping board to the set of knives!

So apart from perspiring during the wee stint at the cookery school and that walk up and down the walking street, we really got to enjoy the art of doing nothing.

Here are some other ways we did nothing:

·     Yoga – Sat and watched the sunrise, then stretched for abit before breakfast.

·     Culinary Adventures – Hopping from pushcart to pushcart along walking street to sample streetfood.

·     Trek through the mountains – Took photos of the 762 twists and turns on the way up the mountain from our mini van.

·     Cookery School – Feigned ignorance and made the cookery teacher cook most of my dishes.

·     Enjoy cultural activities – Booked a masseuse auditioning for WWE for a Thai massage and foot reflexology.

·     Tucked into indigenous Thai food – Took photos of  bamboo worms, skewered scorpions, crocodile, ostrich and deer meat from afar.

·     Experienced Thai unique architecture – Sent Mom whose afraid of heights, across the Pai Bamboo Bridge so I could take videos for a laugh.

There must be some science to the art of doing nothing because this was the only vacation I had taken where I felt fully recharged and ready to go back to work to reactivate my mind.  I felt refreshed and my body was ready to hit the gym for an intense workout to burn off my 2 weeks worth of Som Tam and Pad Thai. I felt completely ready to be present for the rest of my family when I headed back to Singapore.

About The Writer

The writer of this blog post is a Marketing and PR professional for over 20 years.  She is a passionate observer of life bent on inspiring others to live life positively through her writing by combing through moments worth celebrating every day.   Due to her ardent love for sports especially boxing and MMA, she is also a freelance sports writer on the side, contributing articles to several sports media when time permits.  She works in partnership with her husband, David Ash, who is an avid sports photographer from  She enjoys Boxing and nurtures a dream to fight competitively one day when her coach stops making fun of her.  She is also a psychic intuitive by birth and runs a consultancy that does tarot and numerology readings under her brand, Sun Goddess Tarot.  This blog is affectionately called "The Crazy AngMo" as she is married to one, although she has not yet explained to THE Ang Mo that when translated, he has been labeled  “the bloke with ginger hair”.  

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