Miranda’s Cafe

Miranda’s Cafe. 

Miranda's Cafe

Miranda’s Cafe

I have found the most perfect, absolutely perfect, coffee shop. The coffee drinker in me is overjoyed, never wanting to leave this place, to stay here, caffeinated, forever. I am more than half attempted to ask if they are hiring, however, I’ll withhold my inquiry, at least for the time being. Can’t come across too strong straight off the bat, you know? 🙂 

I stumbled upon this place by complete accident (but isn’t that how all great places are discovered). As I had a long day of sightseeing in Chiang Mai (or more so, wat seeing), I was in desperate need for a large coffee.

 I had just finished up seeing one of the largest wats in town and decided to walk around the area to see what I could find. Chiang Mai is great in the fact that there is usually a coffee shop on every corner, and when I say coffee shop, I don’t mean your typical Starbucks (and no, not a Dutch coffee shop). These coffee shops are decorated to the extreme, really making their theme come to life, with coffee, tea and smoothies galore.  Miranda’s cafe is absolutely no exception. 

I would’ve missed the cafe had I not been paying attention or if I would’ve looked down at my phone for just a moment…I would’ve passed by it that quickly. Tucked away on a side street off of The Main Street where the Sunday night bazaar is located, the cafe had a small, completely charming patio, with about 5-6 small tables, just waiting for guests to indulge in this Chiang Mai treasure of a coffee shop. 

Light acoustic background music played over the speakers, and plants adorned the outside space. I noticed a small sign right outside explaining the story of Miranda’s cafe, and if I didn’t think I could fall more in love with this place, I did, then and there. I’ll let the story speak for itself.

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Walking up the few steps to come inside, the cafe almost felt like your great aunt’s living room. Board games were in no short supply, a china cabinet was lined with dolls and figurines, and a 50s style tv was propped up in the corner. In the middle of the space was a scooter decorated with flowers and a small carrying basket. 

The decor represents Miranda’s parents life journey, of all the things they loved and cherished, all blended into one. 


My intention by coming to this place (beyond needing a much needed energy boost) was to finish up the book I have been reading so I could exchange it for another book I found at the used book store earlier. Therefore, this was not going to be a quick coffee session, rather, coffee camping as I put it. 

I ordered a Thai coffee (70% espresso, 30% sweet cream, helllooooo productivity), and a mango bake. When ordering, I asked the lady behind the counter if she was the owner of the place, as many people who work in coffee shops are. My guess was right. She was in fact the owner, and I obsessed over her cafe for approximately 7 minutes until I realized I was coming off a bit….eccentric. I compiled myself and sat down to enjoy the best (and thus far only) mango bake and Thai coffee of my life. 

Miranda’s cafe

Simply being there made me feel like Miranda has welcomed me into her home, into her life. I felt like I’d suddenly become a part of Miranda’s journey. And any journey that involves coffee, I’m there. 

Onward! 
xoxo


 

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Stampeding into the Elephant Park

 

 

Into the Wild Elephant Camp

 

In order to come to Thailand, there are some essential things you must do. Ride a motorbike, try street food (also known as mystery meat), go to a wat (temple), negotiate with a Tuk Tuk driver and finally, go to an elephant sanctuary. Elephant sanctuaries are fairly common in the Chiang Mai area, so it’s relatively easy to find one to go to, however, you do need to do your research.
 
Most of the sanctuaries are no ride sanctuaries which means just that, you can’t ride the elephants, however there are some that do offer rides. Now, you are by no means a horrible heartless person for wanting to ride an elephant, but many of the elephants at such parks are severely mistreated and therefore are highly discouraged to go to. 
 
We decided to go to the Into the Wild Elephant Camp. And the park absolutely lived up to its name…you go VERY into the jungle wild of Northern Thailand. 

 
Walked up and down very steep, mud covered hills, and had to trek through the Thai jungle to get to the elephant park. The struggle was very real, but it was also very worth it upon arrival. 
 
It looked like a scene out of Jurassic Park. Seriously. A cabin was constructed in the middle of nowhere and there was nothing around except for jungle. Oh, and T-Rex. 
 
We signed up for a half a day excursion, and in the words of Goldilocks, a half day was justttt right. Not too long but certainly not too short by any means. What was included was feeding the elephants, a jungle walk with the elephants, bathing the elephants and then swimming with the elephants (oh, and lunch was included, always the way to my heart). 
 
I hated the experience. 
 
Just kidding 😉 
 
Truth be told, I basically wanted to adopt an elephant by the time our session was over.  I am not one to enjoy typical tourist activities (not a fan of visiting churches and cathedrals, and hate to even be classified as a “tourist”) however this is something I am SO glad I did. Plus, my GoPro pictures of elephants eating (or more so inhaling) bananas out of my hands totally made it worth every baht. 
 

Here are some things I learned while I was out on my adventure: 
 
  • Elephant in Thai means “Chang”, which coincidentally is my favorite kind of bier in Thailand (and also, the cheapest). On the bottle you’ll find photos of two elephants. Duhhhh it all makes sense now.
  • Elephants can live to 70-80 years old. God bless it 
  • Elephants start giving birth at around the age of 17 and are pregnant for an easy 2 years. Woof. 
  • You can tell an elephant’s age based on the curvature of their ears. Younger elephants have pointier ears while older elephants have ears that curl over at the top. Knowing that, how old was Dumbo?  
  • Baby elephants are known to have temper tantrums. The baby will just fling themselves into the mud and lay there. ( My brother did the same thing…it’s actually a phase he never got out of, kidding). The mother will try and lift the baby with its trunk, and when that doesn’t work, it gets other elephants to try and help lift the baby. 
  • Elephants have great balance. They can walk alongside a steep hill and using their trunks to sort of feel out the ground in front of them, they know where to step and where not to step. You remember that cartoon of an elephant on top of a ball from the circus? Balance kids, balance. 
  • Elephants eat bamboo, bananas, and I believe sugar cane (although I could be wrong on that one). They spend the majority of their day eating, about 20 hours. 
 
Anyways, don’t want to bore you with all the informational tidbits I learned. Just need to jot them down so I don’t forget. 

Going to an elephant sanctuary was well worth the experience, especially because you can get so up close and personal with the gentle giants.  

Now, how to fit one of them into my backpack is the question. 

Cheers,
Dre xoxo
P.S.- check out the Into The Wild Elephant Camp here
 
 

Starting over

Begin Again

 

Pai, Thailand

 

I’m starting over. Easy as that; nothing else to it. 

I’m sitting in the back of a 12 person van winding down a hill in northern Thailand, wondering WHY my blogging has been quite nonexistent. WHY am I not bogging? What is holding me back? Why am I so afraid to put my thoughts into words, my thoughts into writing? It’s almost as if I’m afraid of it, afraid of who is going to read my writing, apprehensive as to what other people will think. It’s all so silly really, especially when writing, blogging and more importantly sharing those passions became such a turning point for me. It was quite a monumental point in my life really, and I’ve subconsciously decided to forgo that because of some made up fear that someone out there will not like or agree with what I have to say.

As any good writer must do and has done, the only response that comes to mind, in such tasteful fashion, is screw it ( you can also insert similar R rated phrase here however I must at least keep this PG. k

I’m not afraid to share how I feel…because feelings make us real, make us genuine, make us UNFORGETTABLE. And in my own little way, that’s exactly what I’m striving to be…unforgettable, even if it’s simply my cat that thinks so. But then again, aren’t we all striving for the same.

I’ve come to Southeast Asia to understand what it is i want and what I really want to be doing. Traveling teaches you so much more than anything you could ever learn in a classroom, anything you could learn behind a desk. Not to discredit either of those things by any means, but it’s one thing to hear about it, it’s another to bare witness to.

My new journey has started, and there are miles upon miles of openness, opportunity and adventure below me, around me, within me. I will never be the person I was one month, six months, one year ago, and that is EXHILARATING. To know that I, through my own power, strength, determination, am making my dreams come true. I am not special and I am not above anything or anyone by pursuing this dream, however, I refuse, absolutely refuse, to settle for less than what I deserve. I’ve been there, done that, for far too long, longer than I want to admit to, and I’m finally in a place where my voice is heard, my opinion taken seriously, and my dreams, my goals, understood.

Chapter one, page one–complete

Now, let’s turn the page.


Remember to remember to remember

Be happy

Love yourself

Find your voice

Be well

We are all travelers

KEEP GOING

-Unknown

 

Onward xoxo

 

 

A Love So True

 

little girl

 

I’m In Love!

…No, not the kind of love you are thinking of. There are no glittery, diamond rings involved, no engagement pictures that look like they could have been swept off of a Pinterest Page, and certainly no long, confessional-style Facebook postings declaring my never ending, till death do us part, love. There is no white dress, no bridal shower being planned, organized, and color-coded, no cake that needs to be taste-tested. You see, I am experiencing a different kind of love, a love that is seemingly forgotten about, a love that is consistently brushed to the side.

I am in love, absolutely head over heels,  drunk in love, swept off of my feet in love…with the life I have created for myself. 

There I said it. There are no bells, whistles, or wedding bells involved in that statement, but yet, it is the truest, most organic, most powerful statement one can say (maybe next to “I do”). To love your life, to look at everything you have around you, to compare where you once were and where you are now, and to say “THIS is what I’ve always wanted. This is where I am meant to be”, well, there is nothing more empowering, nothing more liberating, than that.

Right now, I am at an age where many of my friends are getting married and taking that next step in life of either getting engaged, getting married, or having children. They are announcing their wedding plans, posting photos of their showers, and making sure that every part of the process is being documented and uploaded for the world to see (does an engagement even exist if you don’t post something on social media about it…haha, just kidding, of course). I am completely happy and supportive for those that know they are ready for such a commitment. This is what they want, and as I always say… to each his own. While I am no where near ready for any kind of commitment like that (hey, I can’t even keep my cat at my own apartment for goodness sakes), I have nothing but an undying respect for those individuals.

But then, naturally, as almost everyone does whether they want to or not, I compare their lives to my own. Why is my life not as “stable” as others my own age, why do I feel like my life has no real sense of “routine”, no real sense of “purpose”? I jump around from event to event, from meeting to meeting, and seem to always be going in a million different directions at once. I can’t even remember when two days were the same in my life, and every day seems to begin and end in a new chapter in my book.

But….I wouldn’t want it any other way. 

THIS is the life I have always wanted….one that is filled to the brim, the very tip top edge, of exciting, unique, and completely outrageous things. I feel like I am riding shotgun on a spaceship to Mars…it’s going a million miles a second and you don’t even have a spare moment to wrap your head around what is happening. You can’t even get up to use the restroom, because you are afraid you might miss a glimpse of a shooting star (or ET).  The ride might get a little bumpy, a little shaky, and the velocity might temporarily paralyze you, but in the end, this is the exact ride I want nothing more to be on.

No matter what happens in my life, I know that I will always choose happiness. I will always go above and beyond to make sure that no matter where I am or what I am doing, that I am in love with my life before anything else. While the idea of marriage is perfect for some people and for some lifestyles, I can whole heartedly say that it might not be for me…at least, right now anyways. The idea of traveling to India, wandering the streets of Tokyo, helping children in Algeria, visiting Elephant sanctuaries in Thailand…that gets my heart pumping and my bones rattling. Until the idea of marriage can do that, can make me feel that way I do when I think about the things I love, then for now, I am vowing to make sure I live the craziest, most unconventional life possible.

“I’m Restless.

Things are calling me away.

My hair is being pulled by the stars again.”

-Anais Nin