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Waking up from a nap on the 7 hour bus ride from Bangkok to Sukhothai it’s easy to forget you’re half a world away from home. Looking out over the landscape at the passing farms, lush green fields and trees, it doesn’t look so different from Oregon. With the sun barely peeking out from behind the clouds, the mountains on the horizon might as well be the coastal range back home. I could just as easily be sitting in a bus heading down I-5. But as we continue on you slowly start to see little reminders of where you are, a cluster of palm trees on the side of the road or a road sign in a script that still looks completely foreign to me.

That brief experience reconfirms one of the main reasons I came here. No matter how familiar some aspects may be, there are going to be differences. Experiencing and appreciating those differences, no matter how glaring or subtle, is what I’ve come seeking. As we continue down that highway, passing the familiar and unfamiliar I instantly go from groggy and confused to being full of excitement, only 3 more hours until Sukhothai, and I have no idea what may await there.