Exclusive travel memoir excerpt #10 Chang mai jungle
Table of Contents
I’m delighted to present an exclusive sneak peek book excerpt from my new travel memoir ‘Backpacker to Nomad’
What readers are saying about ‘Backpacker to Nomad’
★★★★★ “The writing is excellent, and the author’s descriptions are so vivid” — Amazon Review
★★★★★ “You’ll get lost in Amit’s adventures and laugh along the way (mostly AT him)” — Amazon review
★★★★★ “I thought the way the book weaved between adventure and mental self-discovery was very smart. — Amazon Review
If you love travel adventures, discovery, escaping reality to drift off to lands far and wide this is the book you need to pick up.
Book Launched: July 27th 2022
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Chang Mai jungle travel story overview
Amit had realised a childhood dream in the Chang Mia jungle, scaled death defying rope bridges, chased waterfalls, and rode bamboo rafts through a mirky river on this adventure. But life was ready with punches too, an opium addicted Tuk-Tuk driver was just one of them.
What’s lurking in the Chang Mai jungle?
There was no denying that while riding the elephant, my inner child had burst through the adult suit and I enjoyed every second while peering through the foliage on the lookout for Bagheera, Shere Khan Baloo, and Kaa. It was only once the ride was over that regret had set in.
I started to think about whether the sanctuary was ethical or not, it had been advertised to be, but then again, so had the tiger sanctuary. That place left me feeling sick seeing all the drugged-up tigers. The tiger tattoo covering my right calf showed my affinity to the majestic of all animals in my view, but I only had regret about that visit too.
The tiger was my favourite animal, sharing personality traits like being misunderstood, it was a protective animal with a reputation of lashing out. Although many tiger attacks are made out to be unprovoked, that was not true. They only attack if they feel threatened or are provoked too much and then they will rip heads off—a bit like me.
But there was no point dwelling on it, what was done was done and it’s all about learning from mistakes. The painkillers had started to kick in, a cigarette rested between my lips and I lit it before detaching from the dead fallen tree trunk. All eyes were instantly on the hunt for things moving around in the dense green foliage and trees above, especially monkeys. Since the biting incident, I hadn’t had the same enthusiasm towards them
A familiar & welcome sound
Dry rusty dirt kicked up from the ground. My limp had got worse and my injured foot dragged like a broken part hanging off the bottom of a car. Mobility had become an issue, the girls had floated away in front without much concern, however, Alex kept swivelling her head back just to make sure I was still in view.
Every movement from either side of the foliage prompted my eyes to turn into sniper scopes, looking through the dense covering of palms and vines, but there was nothing was in sight, jungle animals were the masters of disguise.
The rusty dirt ground disappeared and turned into flattened overgrowth—I was certain the jungle’s inhabitants probably had eyes on me. However, away from the buzzes, zips, crickets, and croaks, another sound had started to demand my attention. It was hidden from view, but everybody knew what it was. The girls let their ears lead the way as I trudged behind almost managing a smile. My inner child wanted to burst through the adult suit but was physically incapable at this point.
“Can you hear that, Amit? We go check it out, yes?” beamed Alex
Right here in the jungle!
That was not a surprise, the three of them disregarded any concerns or fears for anything living in the jungle and were on the hunt. The canopy had closed overhead, but beams of sunlight shot through like lasers; all the foliage reflected different shades of green, but as the girls disappeared, I stopped for a second to take it all in, to feel it all.
I’m alone in a Thai jungle, this is as close to The Jungle Book as I’m ever going to get. Fuck my life, this is incredible, but it hurts so much!
Why does life like to hug and punch me at the same time so much? asked the other inner voice.
Laughter, screams, and giggles broke my thoughts and my ears perked up. For a moment, I had forgotten about the injury and rushed in their direction, pushing loose vines and giant leaves out of the way but came to a stop before hitting my stride. The gushing became louder as I hobbled closer, adrenaline started to pump in anticipation. My inner child was desperate to burst out, but just couldn’t.
waterfalls in the jungle
My friend’s beaming smile greeted me as I reached the opening, another fallen trunk—much smaller than the one I had rested on—acted as a bridge, but there was no way I could get across it with my foot. Alex and another friend had come prepared and stripped off into bikinis, sitting on a ledge under the naturally formed waterfall, laughing and screaming out in joy. Their inner children were definitely out to play.
A smile grew, just hearing and seeing the water crash to the stream below dispersed the tension, pain, and stress that had started to weigh on my shoulders. I had not felt this light since before the monkey incident. While the three of them played around in the water, it gave me a chance to rest my foot while being calmed by the gushing and crashing of water.
My mind drifted away, their laughter remained in the background, the beams of sunlight pushing through provided some entertainment and, for once, things felt peaceful in Thailand. Apart from the islands, there hadn’t been much of it. My thoughts ran back to leaving Ko Phi Phi Don and heading over to Maya Beach—the island beach made famous by the movie, The Beach.
We spent a couple of nights out there… well, sleeping on a boat anchored on the cove through the night and all day on the beach. Although we had seen just how touristy Thailand was since arriving in Bangkok, being out there was another first-hand experience of over-tourism.
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Memories of The beach from the beach!
It was a far cry from the movie, where a bunch of backpackers had set up camp on a secret island. In real life, Maya Beach was covered in tourists like ants over a sugar cube. Through the day, there wasn’t a grain of sand in sight, tour boats took over the shoreline like a naval invasion.
Luckily for us, we were sleeping out under the stars on the boat—well, actually, it rained the two nights we slept out there, which meant we did have the beach to ourselves for a few hours in the morning and ate dinner on the beach in the campsite after the hordes of tourists had left. But, as awesome as it was, while we ate around a campfire on the beach from The Beach, my war with mosquitoes raged on.
My thoughts returned to the jungle, luckily, there were no other tourists as most took day tours to the sanctuaries and organised routes through the jungle—we, on the other hand, decided against it and just ventured out.
Imagine if a panther or wild tiger appeared? I’d be fucked with this foot.
Why on Earth would you plant that seed? fumed the other inner voice.
I dunno, just thinking of The Jungle Book.
Luckily, the girls had their fill of fun in the waterfall and broke the idiocy running through my mind.
Stupid inner thoughts!
Gingerly rising to my feet, I could feel the swelling, having the foot open in flip-flops felt so much better than being trapped in a hot shoe in this humidity—it felt hotter in there than some hot springs I’d experienced in New Zealand. The four of us headed down the steps, following the stream, knowing it would lead back to the main river. With our eyes peeled once more, we pushed back foliage and thick vegetation. Sounds of the jungle—crickets, hisses, and buzzes—emanated from all around like a surround-sound speaker system. Flying bugs were on the attack, attracted by the sweet drips of never-ending sweat from my body.
We’re fucked if this stream doesn’t lead to the river.
Why, what could possibly go wrong being stuck in a Thai jungle with the possibility of wild tigers and panthers lurking?
It didn’t take too long for the river to start opening up, I didn’t realise before, but one of our other friends had a map in her hand, she knew exactly where we were going. We were not venturing blind around the jungle at all.
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This was just the start of the story, nothing is ever how it seems, adventures can easily turn into misadventures on the drop of the hat and not revealed itself yet.
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