Peter Kowalke

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Last Week in Bangkok (Basically)

By on March 14, 2015

Two years ago I officially made the transition from having a home to being homeless.

I am not living on the street, mind you, but I no longer have a residency except for tax purposes. In effect, I’ve transitioned to a nomadic life where I stay places but have no permanent home.

The reason for this is nonattachment. When we get too settled, often get attached to one way of doing things and to a particular lifestyle. This makes us petty, stunts our growth, and causes unhappiness. One antidote is not staying long enough in any one place that we get attached and inflexible. This is one of the many lessons I’ve learned from Vedanta.

Instead of a permanent residency, I have homebases. What I call a “homebase” is a place I do not own or permanently use, but one I can confidently use temporarily with a little advance planning. I typically stay in these homebases for three to six months at a time, cycling among them as circumstances dictate. In all my homebases I have adopted family, and in most I also stash a few basic items that make the transition easier.

One of these homebases is located in Bangkok, and I’ve been living here since late November.

Tomorrow I have some adopted family visiting Bangkok for the first time, and I’m frankly worried that I will seem callous because I don’t remember the foreignness of Thailand. Bangkok is just home, and living here is easy, comfortable and intuitive. Even though the processes and the mindsets are significantly different than New York or Cleveland, the sense of home and the stability are the same.

As with all homebases, however, the stay is temporary. Next week I pick up and leave for Australia, and it will be eight to 10 months before I am back in Bangkok (see my public calendar for my ongoing travel schedule).

In moments like this, I regret my lifestyle. There’s almost a uniform sentiment among my friends that I am lucky for all the travel and the freedom. What more geographically-stable friends do not understand is that stability is nice! You don’t have to say goodbye to your friends and family. There’s no moving involved. Routines are uninterrupted. Work has less distractions.

Every place I visit is home at this point, a byproduct of the nomadic life. But I will miss the stability and life here in Bangkok. The adventures will be larger in Brisbane and Sydney, because all I do is boring old “local” stuff in Bangkok at this stage. But stability and familiarity is nice, as I’ve noted.

Really my time in Bangkok already is over. My last week in the city is all about wrapping things up and preparing for the next leg of my journey; right now my thoughts and attention are on Australia and the stop after that, Kuala Lumpur, as much as they are on Bangkok. I’m pushing out writing assignments while there is calm, wrapping up the launch of the Kowalke Relationship Coaching web site before I am distracted by life on the road, and of course handling travel logistics.

A pity. I love Bangkok. It makes me wish I had a home here, not a homebase.

Peter is a relationship coach, writer/producer, and R&D monastic. He splits his time between San Francisco and Asia. Read more about Peter.