A short text I wrote on our way to the mountain tribes (of the Thailand-Myanmar border) and some photos from the road - the everyday people of the small tourist towns.
The road to the unknown often begins in small tourist towns, Middle-of-the-road settlements that become meccas for the souvenirs and familiar food people, those who usually take pictures of themselves with the view.
Passing through them is often appealing. It makes you feel like you don't need to taste anything more, like you don't need to meet anyone else, as if you've already experienced everything - so what if everything is a reflection of a reflection, a shiny shell of a once unique experience.
On our way, we sometimes have to pass through them, if only to prepare ourselves, write back home, or gather necessary information for the next stretch of road. But, as experienced travelers, we must see them as a critical point of reference, not only as an opportunity to prepare or rest. We must see all their clichés as an essential part of the journey, maybe even dedicating a few lines in our journals for them - a cultural experience in itself.
We must try to see them as they are, beyond their crowds, beyond their repeated echo of change in pace, to see them as worthy of our exploration. We must grant ourselves the time to get lost in their everyday neighborhoods, to allow ourselves to encounter their all-too-familiar everyday life, to fall in love with the human magic that is bursting through the cracks of their well-worn paths. By doing that, we might even get a glimpse of ourselves, not only as passers-by.
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