It’s always the opposite that we crave, at least that’s what’s true for me anyway.
If I order the steak and ale, it’s the cheese and onion that I’ll drool over as the waiter whisks it to the table opposite. If I’m shooting with a fancy camera, it’s an old disposable that I want by my side. Whilst being couped up at home, it’s back on the road, often Thailand, where I’d like my head to hit the pillow at night.
There’s little I can do about the fact and there’s nothing I’d like to publically voice a complaint over, there are millions if not billions worse off, after all. But I constantly find myself sifting through snaps of the last 6 months and searching for that next trip away, whenever that may be.
I’ve only spent 2 short months in Thailand over the last year, but it’s begun to feel like a second home. It’s a place I can’t keep my mind away from, as much as I might try and, as if by chance, upon recently discovering and logging on to the CURVES site for the first time, that’s exactly the last trip covered.
The intoxicating nature of the countries capital hits like a freight train. For that first trip for myself and those guys at CURVES, the team was left utterly stunned shortly after stepping off the plane.
Bangkok is entirely unlike anywhere else. From the incredible heat and street markets to the towering skyscrapers and constant inhalation of Tuk-Tuk fumes – if you’re not expecting a culture shock, it will truly take your breath away.
However, tourists don’t tend to stick to the capital for more than a couple of days and by the time CURVES had decided to head away from the city, the characters of Thai car-culture had made their presence known: “When we left Bangkok, we had found friends: Tenn, the Renndrive gang, the Porsche community of southeast Asia.” Heading into the mountains for their first taste of the roads Thailand has to offer.
It wasn’t long after that first visit in 2018 that plans for a CURVES-style extension with a need for northern Thailand road trip emerged. “A few stunned days later, it was clear that one of the next issues of CURVES would definitely take place in Thailand. Not merely a small, controlled and tentative trip in a strange world, but a bold dive head-first into this wild, confusing parallel universe of southeast Asia. Total immersion, with no going back.” The SEA bug had bitten and bitten hard.
The team, as they always do, put an unfathomable amount of work into their online and print publication CURVES.
To put things into perspective: “During its production, we moved our lives to Thailand for several weeks, drove 4,700 miles – a good 3,000 of them on roads that were unbelievably intense and emotional, full of surprises and our favourite thing in the world – curves.” That’s the same as Land’s End to John o’ Groats over 5.3 times.
But it’s not exactly been pleasant motorway miles: “We would have ended up hopelessly lost in the mangrove jungle, would still be wandering through Thailand right now as desperate souls without having seen and experienced all the wonders and beauty of this land if “Au” and “Song” had not shown us the way.” Not exactly hopping on the M1 and stopping for a pasty at Scotch Corner.
But journeys like this are nothing without the people who make it: “On the stages through the northern highlands as well as the coastal stint in the south, we were able to rely on the company of our friends from Renndrive. They took good care of us in the way that only real friends do and showed us their version of road-tripping. Travelling in Thailand; on a magical journey so uniquely alien, yet, because of you, strangely familiar.” It’s a piece of writing that makes for an incredible read.
The final message from CURVES is of nothing but inspiration from a trip clearly full of eye-opening wonder.
The conclusion starts: “We have often thought it, but never told our readers about it. Get up from the sofa. Right after you’ve finished reading CURVES and daydreaming about it. And then – drive. Not to places you can reach with geotagging and on well-worn paths as hunters of a million Instagram posts. Or using a list: “The 10 best spots in Thailand – the eighth will totally shock you” … But simply by driving straight ahead. To the right. Or left.” To embrace the traditional methods of travel.
The team continue: “Whatever you want. Amazing things will happen. You will experience wonders. See beautiful things without a single hashtag. We have all already wasted way too much time in an artificial world that is replaceable, bland and trivial; full of dangerous half-knowledge and a herd mentality. The. World. Is. Other. Than. You. Think. It’s out there, waiting for you. Right now.” A message that so many of us can’t wait to embrace when the time finally comes.
Never again will any of us take travel for granted, for at least a week or two anyway…