The local: Shaun
The location: Prau, Northern Thailand
The love: connecting with others and sharing experiences
Arriving back in Chiang Mai with our gorgeous French friend Emilie we sit on the rooftop of our hostel. Here we meet one of Emilie’s friends, a Singaporean guy called Shaun who lives on a small scale organic farm just north of the city. Within hours of meeting him, he immediately invited us to join him out on the farm. Seeing a brilliant opportunity ahead of us we took it. Before we knew it we were on a bus out towards Prau, it turned out to be one of the most beautiful places we have visited. Vegetables growing readily in the rich mountain soil, the farm provides a source of employment for long term volunteers and a play field for the professor living there, his area of expertise in permaculture, sustainable living and natural systems. A recently built taekwando centre lies out the back, where a team is training to compete in Korea in a few weeks. The mornings spent out on the farm sweating over the veggie patches and the afternoons spent jamming in the big bungalow, drifting from one conversation to the next to the sound of the trickling stream flowing underneath us. All sense of time and connection lost as the peaceful content way of rural life kicks in. The surrounding hill tribe members wandering down to the huts to see what’s going on, playing frisbee with the hill tribe chief and cooking up a feast in the little kitchen.
Lying down on the wooden floorboards in the bungalow we experience something pretty amazing, Shaun performs a sound healing session with his didgeridoo. Listening in darkness to the full blown sound of the didgeridoo is pretty powerful, he moves it past our heads changing tempo to match our breathing. It literally feels like the sound is drawing out everything negative, any tension and doubt, leaving us tingling from the vibrations through the wood.
Trying out yoga and a quick intro to taekwando with a smiley, bouncy girl with a killer kick called Jenny. A women with such a strong and inquisitive mind, so many incredible experiences rolled into one! Waving over a bus from the side of the road Mhairi and I hug everyone goodbye and jump on board. We head back to Chiang Mai for the last few days of night markets, avocado/lime/mint smoothies and delicious salads before making tracks for Laos, while Emilie heads of to Bangkok, meeting Shaun and Jenny there.
Unfortunately on the way to meeting our friend Emilie in Bangkok there was an accident on the train, Shaun passed away on the 8th August 2014, a man so warm, friendly and kind hearted. Choosing to live simply and invest his time in local projects, and eager to share everything he had with the people around him. The excitement in his voice as he talked about future projects for the farm left you hanging onto every word. Completely drawn in by his ideas and encapsulated by his passion and deep thinking.
We feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to live, work and share everything with you Shaun. So privileged to have lived the last week of your life with you in the way that we did, surrounded by beautiful scenery and beautiful people. Thank you for everything, the legend lives on.