Travel, life: my adventure in Thailand, culture and Muay Thai

There are many reasons why you decide to leave: work, curiosity, on holiday. Sometimes we leave to save ourselves. Thus began my adventure in Thailand, in Phuket.

Part 1: the departure

At the airport, alone, with a marriage proposal at the gate, despite which I had to leave, because there are moments in the course of existence in which you cannot do otherwise. Behind me a promise, in front of me the unknown. 12 hours of flight, 2 stopovers, three weeks in a Muay Thai camp among exhausting training, Buddhist temples and a new culture to discover. And only one person I can count on: myself.

A journey offers emotions that color life forever, giving it nuances that we don’t even imagine could exist, palettes on which we mix only our own colors, that no one else sees, apart from us. I love Muay Thai. And I wanted to color my life at a time when the shades had blurred, when the colors had lost their vivid hue. I had doubts, questions, fear. But my biting hunger for life that was devouring me was eating everything up.

Part 2: Muay Thai

It is a martial art dating back to the 13th century during the era of the Sukhothai kingdom. The first Thai army was formed to defend the kingdom of Siam, and soldiers were trained to fight both armed and unarmed.

When they enter the ring, fighters wear a headdress called Mongkhon and bracelets called Prajiads, considered sacred objects. Mongkhon are handmade using rope and fabric, with ornaments that represent a sort of lucky talisman. Mongkhon are blessed by monks before being worn. Being an art deeply linked to traditions and culture, one of the most important aspects of Muay Thai is the pre-fight ceremony, Wai Kru Ram Muay. The ritual takes place in the ring, accompanied by traditional rhythmic and hypnotic Thai music, Sarama.

Wai Kru means “to pay respect to the teacher”. Once the Wai Kru is completed, the fighters perform a dance (Ram Muay) with various degrees of difficulty which varies from fighter to fighter and from camp to camp, handed down by teachers. Ram Muay pays homage to characters from Thai legends or Sanskrit stories such as the Ramayana.

Wai Kru Ram Muay is not only ceremonial but also helps to prepare the fighters for the fight physically and mentally.

Part 3: Life

It was 6pm on a November afternoon when I arrived to destination dazed, hungry, greeted by humidity I wasn’t used to. The owners of the Camp came to pick me up and we soon reached our destination. I had yet to realize that I was almost on the other side of the world, in a place where no one spoke my language and very little English. I immediately fell asleep in my room overlooking a palm grove, waiting for the day, the morning, the light.

The weeks that followed changed something inside me forever. They forged me, they knocked on the me that was hiding. If I close my eyes I still see everything flowing so clearly, fragments of existence that mix with emotions.

I completely immersed myself in Thai culture, trying to live as much as possible like the locals, observing, trying to understand, interpret, assimilate a culture so different from mine. I tasted absurd foods, I got lost in the markets, I swam in a clear sea, I visited Buddhist temples praying with the monks, I practiced Muay Thai, an art I love, I whizzed around on a scooter on roads made of mud, with open arms singing in the rain, I cooked, I met people from all over the world. I smiled, I reflected, I learned the value of silence, sometimes I felt alone, I felt happy. I felt, for the first time in my life, enough. Complete.

And when I left to go home, leaving the “Land of smiles”, I cried. I said goodbye to who I was forever to start being who I am.

Returning from a trip we bring with us memories, gifts, objects. I brought back the most precious thing: myself.

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