Travel & meet spaces

Traveling taps into your senses, unlike any other trigger. It gives your eyes new glasses to see things. Even how familiar they are, the moment you step into a new space and culture, yoursenses are enhanced to capture details—romanticized into pleasures you have never had.
I am writing this from Thailand. Now, I am in a café in Chiang Mai called Mars. Conceptualized, futuristic, and true to its name, it’s the definition of cool and “Instragrammable.” From a surface level, it checks everything one needs for a perfect Instagram post: posing spots decorated with galactic walls resembling the red-brown pavements of our neighboring planet, gradient space atmosphere projected on walls, aluminum spaceship-like floorings, and deconstructed chairs and steel tables. But that’s what it is. It’s a place where people go to take pictures and submerge themselves into the digital space. Every corner of this space screams content. It makes me realize the irony and dynamics of existing spaces and the digital world. We live and breathe these places, but we don’t. We step into these spaces intending to show a life—a narrative, a trend, and an experience. The irony? We consume it, let it pass, and post it.

I once read a theory about space. Spaces are characters. They have gender, class, and personalities. They exude a sensibility that resonates with a piece of us. That’s why sometimes there are places you feel a surge of creativity, energy, and life. Those spaces speak to who you are because you and that space parallel the same pieces of being.

And traveling to Chiang Mai, a northern city of Thailand surrounded by green mountains, reminds me of home. Chiang Mia’s weekend night market spoke to me more than this space where I am sitting right now and writing this piece. Its on-sale clothes on small stalls and woven carpets on the floor, the smell of grilled charcoal on a breezy night, fortune teller booths, and the spice and flavor of untapped street delicacies on a half-moon Saturday night.

The uneven pavements of the weekend market breathe more soul. Why? It’s the authenticity. The honesty and rawness of being. It exists not asking to be loved. It just does without asking anything. It’s a landmine of discoveries, not simply of the space but of you. Walking on those cluttered corners, bathing in the seasoned air of random flavors—raw fish, grilled meat, a spike of chili, sweet tangerines—and seeing it for what it gives a new perspective on how to view home. There’s something about Manila to romanticize. It’s alive and breathing. Manila is a woman. She is complex. She is unsystematic, yet she is herself. She’s imperfect, yet her flawlessness makes her profound and alive. She’s beautiful in her own sense of being.


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