I had planned a week in Thailand to draw breath after a fast paced journey from the UK, overland by train. In just over 2 months I had already travelled many thousands of miles. This was ‘free time’ before heading south towards Malaysia. Meeting friends in Hong Kong it was suggested that when in Thailand I should visit elephants and hill tribes. With a good deal of research I came across Lek, a wonderful woman who does many brave and generous things to rescue elephants and campaigns for animal welfare. Signing up for the ‘Journey to Freedom‘ project I had no idea what to expect. It was a truly unique and incredible experience. I shan’t retell my story again, as tempting as it is to reminisce. Instead I include it as the next ‘breadcrumb’ and the first time I gave my pebbles to people.
Both were women in the hill tribe, one was the ‘mother’ of the group and the other a woman who could have been missed completely. She appeared on my first night, sat next to me at the camp fire and exchanged glances and smiles. A kind of contact hard to describe and happens most significantly when there aren’t words. Through the week she was almost ghostlike, drifting in and out of the shadows, but always close by.
I took some photos and had them printed to send back from Chiang Mai with the pebbles, hoping they would make some sense.