ABOUT ME, BRIEFLY
ABOUT THAM CHEE WAH, BRIEFLY
I have redefined retirement at age 23. I have a lifestyle where I do the things I like, with the time I have and still get paid for it. I designed my freedom these two decades, traveling to more than 40 countries. I run a successful business doing consulting works as a Corporate Writer, Corporate Emcee, Event Producer and a Workshop Facilitator. I am also a talk-show host on an Internet Radio station with two programs "A Course In Miracles for Work-Life" and "Freedom Speaks". Life is Healthy, Rich & FREE! You can design this lifestyle according to your willingness. I hope mine will inspire you to achieve that freedom too.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Nepal - knowing that all is good
I had been travelling to so many places alone. All I went without knowing what my itineraries were. And they turned out to be the best days of my life. Now I know that I cannot not know what I want - only when I truly allow, then I will be given. Just like the mystical journeys I had when I was backpacking in India.
I was taking a 24-hour train ride from the border of Pakistan, after taking a bus down from Dharamsala (Dalai Lama's place in exile) to Gorakhpur, the border town into Nepal. While on the train, I was in their 3rd class seat. As you know, it is tough to get on a 3rd class coach in India and you hardly can get a seat, let alone a place to lie flat. But I was lucky, I had the "luxury" of laying down my tired body on a bench, I did not know why so few were occupying the seats that day. I was so tired, I could hardly think, so I slept. When I awoke in the middle of the night, I found a magazine laying there by my side. More strange is to find an English magazine on a 3rd class coach. I flipped through it anyway and read about Lumbini - Buddha's birthplace. Now, I had to tell you that I did not know that Lumbini was Buddha's birthplace when I stepped into New Delhi airport. In fact, I hardly knew India then. As usual, when I travel, I only know where the plane is going to land, then the rest I leave it all to .......hmmm.....God? Universe? So, there I was, reading about Lumbini and discovering that it is a historical site. I changed my course when I crossed the border, instead of taking an 8-hour bus to Kathmandu, I went straight to Lumbini, which is about 1-hour bus ride away. But I was literally taken for a ride. When I got on the bus at 5am, I was told that the bus will go into Lumbini, but when I reach the junction to turn into Lumbini at 6am, I was asked to get down, the bus conductor pointed to a small road and indicated to me in broken English that the bus was going to Kathmandu and I had to get down there to walk in to Lumbini which was about 3 km away. And mind you........it was winter, temperature felt like 10 celsius, it was 6am, dawn just broke. I can't argue in a foreign country (I tried that in Vietnam, I still couldn't get through to Cambodia and I got turned back to Ho Chi Minh........well, that was another adventure...), so I flung my 75liter Karrimor backpack to my back and strapped my smaller carry-on in front of my chest, I stuffed my hands in it to keep them warm and walked head-on into the unknown. The road was narrow and the visibility was only about 10 feet. The entire place was shrouded in mist. I looked to my left and to my right, it was a mangrove swamp with mangrove trees shredding their leaves leaving them bare to look like arms reaching out to pluck my eyes right out of their sockets. But such scene did not disturb me, I clutched on tighter to my rucksack, not because of fear but of the cold. I walked on. After nearly 30 minutes, I still saw no one, the quietness was peaceful, sort of ringing in the ears. I did not know why, I felt safe. I continued to walk and it was getting slightly brighter. I saw a silhouette figure of a man after a bridge but I wasn't sure, he was not moving at all. When I got nearer, he began to move ahead, I was so relieved, I finally found someone to ask for direction. He told me he was going there too - to open his shop, he sold food to passers-by. We walked for quite a distance, he showed me where his shop, he was kind to cook me some food and after paying him, I asked for permission to leave my big backpack at this shop while I walked around the place.
There was hardly anyone awake yet, except a group of Tibetan novice monks doing their cleaning in silence. I walked pass them, smiled and went on my way. I sat on a bench marvelling at the pond where Maha Maya (Prince Siddharta's mother) took a bath before giving birth to baby Siddharta. It was still misty, and so early, only at a distance, I heard the clinging sound of a bicycle chain rolling out a hardworking soul, that was all. The place was quiet, not a sound - just for me!? I listened, then I felt it, it was a sense of returning and capturing the essence that a great divine person was born here 3,000 years ago. I wept. Uncontrollably, tears kept washing down my cheeks. I let them.
The experience was more of spirit than of body. I could not explain why that I had turn up at a place where I did not know it existed. I did not even know that Lumbini was Prnce Siddharta's (Gautama Buddha) birthplace...........but then, without having prepared for it, I was led there. I just say Thank You!
Likewise, for the trekking to a remote place in Nepal. I just sat there because the price to pay for a week-long trek to Annapurna range was expensive. So, I did not know what else to do, I just sat there under a tree and wonder....... one young man approached me and told me that there was a prettier trek somewhere else which is 3 hours bus ride away from Pokkhara. He said he will take me there for a small fee and I had to hike for at least 2 days to reach the place. I believed him. It turned out that he took me to his house on top of a mountain which is 7,000 feet above sea level. We trekked a lot, staying at teahouses along the way. Strangely, it became the best and most enjoyable part of my trip in Nepal. If I hadn't sat there and waited for the universe (God) to arrange for me, I would have planned it with my physical mind and would have missed all the goodness of the trip. Look at the photos above, weren't they breathtaking?
The best part of my life was not planned with my physical mind, I invited God in and allowed the whole universe to conspire to make all good things happen to me - and I venture into life with love as my guide, light as my path - and so it is, Amen!!
Top pic : I was on the roof of the bus taking picture of people on the roof of another bus. It was a funny sight. It was even funnier when I need to scramble down the roof because in front was police check-point. Then, the bus passed the check-point, all the Nepalese will climb on top again, then all helped each other to get up including giving me a hand and pulled me up again.
Middle pic : I was on my way huffing and puffing for a 2-day climb to the guide's home at 7,000 feet above sea level. It was exhilirating yet so breathtaking.
Bottom pic : Met 2 beautiful villagers asking me in Nepalese where I come from, I got it interpreted and the old lady smiled. The sun shone onto the plains and got her face, so peaceful!