The story of a spiritual awakening in Thailand

What happened in Thailand?

This is a question a friend of mine has been asked a lot in the last couple of weeks. We can’t say her name because she wants to keep her privacy so we will call her Alice, but she accepted to talk with me openly about the incredible adventures she had on a recent trip she did to Thailand in a very intimate interview. Love, drugs, people, beautiful landscapes and street food marked her experience as one of the best of her entire life.

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«People there is happy, and they give love. People in the street smile at you, they value the person next to them so much, while we are all the time thinking in the future, in the past, and in everything except now».

This was the first trip fully financed by her, and since when telling her boss at work about her plan he didn’t end her contract but decided to give her vacations, she wouldn’t lose her job, which was great news. 19 years old, living, working and traveling around the world with total independence. She was living the dream.

She went to Thailand with not much prepared. Just a backpack and one reservation in a hostel for the first night. «I can tell you a lot of highlights from the trip, but I think the general feeling I got from Thailand is that I learned a lot about life. I didn’t go there with expectations of any type, I was not trying to discover myself, to deal with some problem or to have a spiritual awakening«. But ironically, she really had quite an enlightenment there. She started traveling from the south, and she says she was so inspired by the stories of the people around her. «People are fully open there (referring to other travelers) because if you travel alone, you can not lock yourself in you, because is not healthy for you and because you will lose a lot of experiences».

«The moment when I kind of find this awakening was when I traveled to the north, to Pai. Right when I arrived there I met this girl from Mexico (with who Alice ended up spending most of her trip), a boy from France and a Japanese boy» (we won’t say their names). Between Alice and the Japanese guy there was a big connection, he probably was the most important human being she met there. About her thoughts on the trip, she said: «My conclusion is that to live is to not be pending on time, my conclusion is that time doesn’t exist. Time there didn’t matter, if you lose a train, you can pick the next one, if you get lost someone will help you […] The moment I became fully aware of this was the night I tried mushrooms«.

Pai, Thailand. Photograph taken by Alice.

This was the first time Alice tried a hard drug. «It’s being said that police in Thailand have a part of the drug business, so while it’s supposed to be forbidden, everyone knows where to buy drugs […] You can go to a bar called Sunset Beach and ask for a shrooms smoothie. It was like a delicious fruit juice with a carbonara aftertaste. I had tried weed and hash before, but never a psychodelic drug».

«This Japanese friend had tried more hard drugs before, like LSD […] when you do a trip on a psychedelic trip as strong as the mushrooms one, it’s recommended to have one person to guide the rest of the group» she says talking about this Japanese friend of her that initially offered voluntarily to be the spiritual guide of the group, but then changed his mind and tried the drug, so they didn’t even have a guide. «The mushrooms are like a pit, it’s a free fall where you don’t control where you are, you can feel like the happiest person of the world and then the saddest one».

Side of the road, poster of another bar where you could ask for shrooms. Photograph taken by Alice.

After his friend started feeling a bit stomach sick, Alice and he ended up sitting in the middle of the forest, near a road, with the obvious dangers that can carry with. Alice started feeling a bit sick also «it’s because you need to have your stomach empty before trying mushrooms» she explained. «I couldn’t concentrate on anything, my mind didn’t stop going from one place to another […] With the mushrooms, it was like if you could go way further with your mind that what you can when we are in our normal ‘based on time’ state of mind. I started to feel scared, vulnerable, that I didn’t have nothing under control». She says the absence of time and the feel of unity she started feeling both with her friend and with the rest of the world really marked her trip. «I felt like he and me were the same person […] I could hear his thoughts, I could know what he was thinking […] at some point I was seriously asking myself if we were the same person, for me it’s like we were». One of the emotions she felt harder was loneliness «I was there in Thailand, alone and on drugs near a road next to a guy I met three days ago».

But then the feelings of empathy and unity came and filled every part of her body, little details from the drivers of the road like «this car that turned off his lights to not blind us… for me that was an act of love, that he did because he felt empathy with us. I felt like all the people was me and that I was everyone, like all the good and bad in the world was inside of me». Alice doesn’t consider herself a religious person, but all of this really got to her like a spiritual awakening. She likes Buddhism though, and she thinks maybe that’s the reason why people there are so kind and nice.

The deep connection with her Japanese friend did turn into love at some point. They made love before the mushrooms, and as Alice said, they didn’t make love after that because what they felt mentally during the trip was so incredible that a physical thing so banal as sex could ruin their memories of the travel. «We connected so much at a mental level that doing it after at a physical level would feel so vague» They still talk to each other today, and while Alice feels a deep love for him, they are not in a relationship. They do have plans to see each other again.


«What we experienced in Pai lives in an atemporal world that continues to happen forever».

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