Thailand 2005

Joseph and Daniella's Great Adventure

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1/11/05 Joseph:
It seemed like we couldn’t escape the rain which followed us from Santa Cruz to San Francisco to Taiwan, but we arrived in Ko Samui to gorgeous sun and 85° warm, sweet air, which lasted long enough for us to get from the plane to the customs across this Hawaii like jungle airport. And the rain caught up with us and made up for lost time. In the time it took for us to reach our hotel after checking out a few that didn’t meet our standards, there was about a foot or 2 of water covering the rich red muddy roads, which was fun. People were entertained by how much luggage we were trying to lug around.



1/12/05 Joseph:
After a long journey, we finally arrived at our new home at the Sanctuary. in the jungle, just up from Haad Tien beach on the small island of Ko Pha-Ngan, in the Gulf of Thailand (arrow). The journey was pleasant and smooth. We cut out about 20 hours from the journey by flying from Bangkok to Ko Samui instead of the shoe string train-bus-ferry method. Ko Samui is only an hour boat ride from our island. We didn’t even have to leave the airport in Bangkok which is another huge bonus. (You can see Ko Pha-Ngan wasn't harmed by the sunami).







Photo of the Sanctuary Beach form last year when the sea was calmer.


Also from last year as we were leaving the Sanctuary.
This time of year the sea is too rough for boats to park in front.


Our new home, an open cabin on stilts, rising out of the jungle with a nice kitchen and deck.


Our detached bathroom with
cold shower, sink, squat toilet and a view.

Entrance and kitchen window.



1/12/05 Joseph:
This is the first morning at our new home and I just saw a 8” gecko craw up the wall. This is a photo of him under the sink. Jungle life is going to be interesting...





Joseph (Joes as the Thai people say) moving in.
Did I tell you I cut my hair? I wont be this white for long...

Daniella in her devoted morning ritual.


1/13/05 Joseph:
Woke up to a nice heavy rain and golden orange sky, which opened up to a sunny day.

Now my first chance is here to get to know the wellness center. It’s really a beautiful peaceful place about 75 feet from the waters edge. Moon is the manager and I am to be the assistant manager / customer services manager. Of the 7 staff, I am the only westerner, which should be interesting. My hours are to be 10-1 then 3-6, 6 days a week. I will also be establishing new marketing and products for future growth and anything else that can help efficiency. At this time of year there are about 13 people doing a fast/cleanse on any given day. They have 1-7 day programs which I am still getting to know. I can see that it is going to be a bit challenging at the beginning to get into the flow of the center and to dig up and formulate all of my mental recourses. I know that it will be a great learning experience. I am sure that I will evolve into it nicely.



Restaurant bar.

Restaurant patio


The waves are so powerful today that boats for visitors and supplies cant really come or go.


Another glorious morning in the jungle. (This is our back porch and yoga deck.)


1/15/05 Bella:
Ahhh…the bliss of being back in paradise….. it amazes me how even though this is my 3rd time to this magical place, I am repeatedly in awe of it’s beauty and wonder as if it was my first time all over again.

Leaving Santa Cruz was a bumpy ride…the last two weeks were absolutely nuts. Working full time up until the last minute, running errands for Thailand packing, packing for Thailand, packing up our house and putting everything in storage, cleaning our house, the list goes on….

I didn’t have a spare moment to really even know what was going on it happened so fast. The ride to the San Francisco airport I spent in tears just releasing all the stress and craziness of the whole ordeal and mourning the fact that I really didn’t have enough time to have the closure I would have liked in saying goodbye to my old life and moving unknowingly into the new…

The cry felt great and now here I am in my new life…the past is simply the past…all there is…is THE NOW and now I feel at peace and in surrender to the unknown, have fallen effortlessly into “the flow” of life..not worrying, not concerning myself with the future…just letting the experiences of each moment of each day carry me on a wing and a prayer…
Joseph and I were elated to discover that our new home high up in the jungle was beautiful, spacious, with an open view to the jungle, a kitchen with a small fridge, stove and lots of counter space, a back deck, high ceilings, hammock, furniture, wooden floors and detached bathroom(although a attached bathroom would have been ideal..but who’s complaining? Not I!) It’s actually bigger than our home we left in Santa Cruz and we are not paying any rent for it as it’s part of Joseph’s work perks.

I have been spending my first 4 days here unwinding from my busy life back in the Cruz and the tumultuous transition from there to here…..starting my day with my morning 2 and ½ hour sadhana of yoga asana, heading down to the Sanctuary Restaurant to eat, walk through a coconut grove, with the gentle wind kissing my cheeks and the waves of the ocean singing in my ears as I head to the neighboring beach of Wynam to spend the day in the sun, playing in the water, meeting fellow travelers, eating Thai omelettes, reading my books, contemplating life or just simply BEING.
I will be meeting with the other fellow yoga teachers in a day or two to discuss class and workshop ideas for the people here at the Sanctuary. I am looking forward to teaching again and getting to know the visitors here. It’s nice to see some of the people I met last year and feel like we are picking up right where we left off.

But until I start working here…just relaxing as much as possible and intentionally being a lazy island bum.

The path up to our home is intricately woven into the hill side jungle lined with exotic plants and statues, (intimately lit at night). Guest cabins are nestled into the landscape along the way. Not a bad commute.

1/16/05 Joseph:
Its now just under a week and I am really starting to sink into the lifestyle here. I love it! Its so relaxed and peaceful. I have more time to connect with my lovely Bella. Every evening we have a romantic dinner together and I can be more present, because I'm not feeling like I should be working every moment.

Today is my day off and we are going shopping, for all the little things for the house and groceries. I will be nice to travel with out all of our lugage.

By the way, thanks to our wonterful friend Kyer, ( you can see some photos from our going away party, just before we left Santa Cruz. What a beautuful eveing. We are blessed with so many loving amazing people in our community. We will certaily miss everyone.





1/20/04 Joseph:

I made some wonderful friends at the wellness center this week. Forest and Carry are friends of our dear friend Luna in Santa Cruz. They were doing the 7 day fasting program, and had a great experience. I hope to be posting their testimonial on the Sanctuary web site. They are heading back to San Francisco trying to figure out how to healthfully break their fast when they will only have access to plane and airport food.

Thanks for coming into my life you guys, it was a pleasure.






The other Forest has arrived

(guy in the middle)

Need I say more?








Our island Ko Pha Ngan, about 10 miles across.

A view as you get closer to the party town Had Rin on Ko Pha Ngan.


An hour boat ride to the neighboring island of Ko Samui gives us access to a huge modern shopping center. Its the Thailand Costco appropriately called Tesco. As you can see we also visited the local plant shop.


Buddhism and fishing are a big part of the culture...







This guy rode the boat on Bella's arm.
He was about the size of my pinky fingernail!



After our shopping, we cruzed around on a Thai scooter. ($4/day)
It's one of our favorite things to do in Thailand, as long as I can
remember which side of the street to drive on.

1/22/05 Joseph:
Yesterday I met a girl from Australia. She helped me set up a program called Dragon Naturally Speaking. It enables me to write this just by speaking into my microphone. It is a speech to tax program and one of the best. I think this is the way that computers are moving in the future, hands-free. This software could really eliminate carpal tunnel syndrome. Not only can you use it for dictation, but also computer commands. It almost gives computers a bit more personal feel.

Today's my day off and it feels good. We have been very busy at the wellness center. There's around 20 people fasting at the moment, and they all have plenty of questions. I can answer most of them, but I need to do some studying to be able to answer the rest. Most people have a great experience, but some people feel a bit toxic sometimes.

I went to Daniella's yoga class this morning, and it felt great, it's been too long. I feel like I'm still continuing to arrive here. They say it takes awhile for your spirit to catch-up.


Bella: 1/22/05
Greetings!...Today was my third class teaching a level one yoga class at the Sanctuary...I had 9 people and lots of positive feedback. It's nice to be teaching again although I'm coming across moments where I'm reminded that I'm still arriving here..still settling into my new life. Sometimes feeling a bit awkward sometimes exhausted as I'm still recovering from all the craziness of my previous life and sometimes feeling so at peace. Each day I shed another layer..each day another letting go... Who says there's no such thing as reincarnation? I believe that we can reincarnate multiple times in one lifetime as I just time warped into a completely different life here where each day that passes it seems as though my other life in Santa Cruz was all but a dream.

This is the yoga and meditation hall where I teach my daily morning yoga class. There are 3 yoga classes daily and a meditation class as well. Due to the increasing popularity with yoga they have doubled the size of the space since last year to fit more students. It's amazing how many people come here to practice yoga. Just the other day we calculated 96 people total doing yoga in one day!


This is one of the alters in the yoga
and meditation hall.

It's been interesting to observe myself (as I have lots of time now to do that.)being still....being silent. Back at home I was so busy, so social and hardly had time to check in with myself and now here amidst the unfolding of my life I'm noticing how quiet I've become. I'm meeting some new people here who are very much the traveling type who have seen much of the world and it shows in their perspective on life and their personality...they are all such bright beings and accepting of many things. When I share a meal with them or a conversation on the beach, I find myself not doing alot of talking and doing lots and lots of listening...intrigued with the wisdom and insight they have to share. In my own mind, I sort through what they have said to me and apply this new wisdom to myself and my own life...I'm appreciating this gift of companionship more each day as it gives me the opportunity to get to know myself better. Simply putting myself in a place far away from the unfamiliar, I get to see how I react to such a change and in those moments I get to choose how I want to I wish to move through this life..interact with people etc....sometimes this self-reflection can be difficult and some things not easy to accept but I continuously remind myself to surrender to the moments and all the spaces in between, being gentle on myself and trust in the rythms of nature and the rythms of change and growth.

I am also appreciating time alone....quiet moments on the beach, listening to the wind in the trees, reading my book, or doing my yoga practice in my new home.

Adjusting to jungle life here is also quite different. There are centipedes, king cobras and scorpions about....none of which I have seen or encountered but know that they live here too and also know if one gets bit by any one of them, it can be fatal.

So checking shoes, shaking out clothes before putting them on and peering into the detached bathroom before entering have become the norm around here. I don't fear them at all. I've let that fear go as I believe as it's been proven to me time and time again that "we create and attract what we fear". So if I walk around scared thinking I'm going to get bit...well, by the laws of the universe, it would probably happpen. I surrender once again.



The sounds and creatures of the jungle are intriguing and sometimes
so beautiful. We have a pet gecko whose made an appearance in our
clothes closet...he is so cute and the sound they make is adorable.
I get so excited when I hear it.





This dude is another species of grasshopper that made an appearance on our bed while it was being aired out in the sun on our back deck. He was about the size of my thumb!


So many interesting creatures.




1/25/05 Joseph:
We had a great fire performance last night with our Santa Cruz friends for the full moon. I was supprised to see how many people showed up for the occation.


The Performers



Light painting with candles.



Wolf and Kara...
We were sad to see them travel on.
Have a great journey you guys, it was nice
to have some time to connect and dance together.





Dov and Nikki arrived late in the night before the full moon after trecking through the jungle and over the mountain, with all of their gear. I was very impressed. Then they vanished into the moon lit night after our show.

Bella and Nikki





Dov has amazing eyes. I lost the photo of your beautiful iris Nikki.



1/27/05 Joseph:
I like the way they write the date in the rest of the world, with the Date/Month/Year, it makes more sense, but I don't want to confuse you.

So I am getting into a routine here, and just trying to decide if it is something that I would want to do long term. It is a very beautiful magical place, but it isn’t perfect. In don’t know if anything is really. Time will tell.


1/30/05 Joseph:
Daniella has decided to go to a buddhist center near Suratthani to do a 10 day meditation retreat. The center is called Suan Mokkh International (click for info and her dedicated daily schedule). I think the space will help us to re-appreciate each other even more. I know that she will find her way into the center of her being and come home with the peace that arises from that point. I wish her blessings on her inner journey. I will definitely miss her.

I'm sure she will tell you all about her experience when she returns. She will be there Feb 1-10.


The adventure continues in February.



Here is our address in thailand:

The Sanctuary
Attention: Joseph or Daniella
PO Box 3
Tong Sala
Koh Pha-Ngan

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