Think Big Thoughts but Relish Small Pleasures

Think Big Thoughts but Relish Small Pleasures

I’ve always loved this quote by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. Living in Thailand and being a teacher remind me to ‘Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures’ daily. For example…

Gorgeous floating flowers in pots.

Gorgeous floating flowers in pots

Seeing a pineapple plant grow

Seeing a pineapple plant grow

Accidentally happening upon a charming rooftop restaurant in Chiang Mai

Accidentally happening upon a charming rooftop restaurant in Chiang Mai

This graceful little flower known as anchan in Thai, butterfly pea in English, and scientifically as clitoria.

This graceful little flower known as anchan in Thai, butterfly pea in English, and scientifically as clitoria

Seeing the creativity of students' recycled art projects.

Witnessing the creativity of students’ recycled art projects

Hiking with this little cutie named Manee

Hiking with this little cutie named Manee

Noticing the 'Wintry' and 'Summer' settings on the hot water heater for a shower

Noticing the ‘Wintry’ and ‘Summer’ settings on the hot water heater for a shower

Having a little think by the lake

Having a little think by the lake

Finding a student's drawing of/for me

Finding a student’s drawing of/for me

Blatant copyright infringement

Hilarious and blatant copyright infringement

The exquisite mangosteen - edible art

The exquisite mangosteen – edible art

Cutting into a papaya, and finding a star.

Cutting into a papaya, and finding a star.

Students making a game out of weeding the rice

Students making a game out of weeding the rice field

Students ploughing like buffalo

Having fun ploughing like buffalo

...and playing with the plough

…and playing with the plough

The lotuses that bloom in the morning

The lotuses that bloom in the morning

The serenity of the ubiquitous Buddha images

The serenity of the ubiquitous Buddha images

Planting rice at Panyaden on Thai Mother's Day

Planting rice at Panyaden School on Thai Mother’s Day

After four years of living and teaching in Thailand, I have learned a few simple, but profound lessons:

Noticing what children and nature teach us is worthwhile. Pay attention. Be present. Think big thoughts, but relish small pleasures.

Hiking the Tallest Mountain in Thailand – Doi Inthanon National Park ดอยอินทนนท์

Hiking the Tallest Mountain in Thailand – Doi Inthanon ดอยอินทนนท์

If the city of Chiang Mai gets too hot and congested, a good trip away is Doi Inthanon National Park. Driving, it’s about an hour south to the entrance of the park and quite a bit longer to reach the peak at 2,565 meters (8,415 ft).

Trekking up the mountain

Trekking up the mountain with students

Views from the top

Views from the top

Hiking into the clouds

Hiking into the clouds

In the clouds in Doi Inthanon

In the clouds at Doi Inthanon

Mountainous Doi Inthanon

Mountainous Doi Inthanon

Apart from hiking, Doi Inthanon has many other offerings…

Waterfalls

Waterfalls

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Enormous and unusual insects…IMG_0897IMG_0896IMG_0882IMG_0973
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A small praying mantis at our bungalow

A small praying mantis at our bungalow

The most incredible golden chrysalis I've ever seen

The most incredible golden chrysalis I’ve ever seen

Big beautiful blue butterflies

Big beautiful blue butterflies

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Different types of accommodation…

Basic bungalows

Basic bungalows

Indigenous Karen homestay

Indigenous Karen homestay

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A bit more upscale digs

A bit more upscale digs

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IMG_1249I’ve stayed in all types of rooms there – from the national park dorms with students, to Karen homestays on the ground of a bamboo hut with a tour group, to basic bungalows with friends, to slightly more upscale rooms with colleagues – each one gives a different experience of the park.

Of course there is wildlife…

Water buffalow

Water buffalo

Black Swan

Black Swan

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piglets

piglets

and the ubiquitous dogs and chickens

the ubiquitous dogs and chickens

and sometimes snakes that bit off a bit more than they could chew

sometimes a snake that bit off a bit more than it could chew











cows

cows














The topography is varied…

Mountainous

Mountainous

Mountainside with waterfalls

Mountainside with waterfalls

forests

tropical forests

more developed trails in the forest

more developed trails in the forest

wats

stupas on mountaintops

Terraced rice fields

Terraced  fields

Manicured areas

Manicured areas

Greenhouses for the Royal Project agriculture

Greenhouses for the Royal Project agriculture

Inside a greenhouse

Inside a greenhouse

Gorgeous nature…

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IMG_1264IMG_4702And the things that are quintessentially Thai…

Monks in a garden

A monk in a garden

Cute nature

Cute nature

Goofy products

Goofy items – Mr. Popcorn whiskey

Delicious coffee everywhere

Delicious coffee everywhere

Freshly roasted

Freshly roasted and served

Kanom (Thai snacks) wrapped in banana leaves

Kanom (Thai snacks) wrapped in banana leaves

Herding cows on a motorbike

Herding cows on a motorbike and with a bamboo stick

...and signs that make you wonder

Signs that make you wonder

It’s well worth a trip there. You will need a guide for hiking, and make sure to pack your coat – it’s significantly cooler than the city Chiang Mai.

Beautiful Doi Inthanon

Beautiful Doi Inthanon