It was such a wonderful first week at Cultural Canvas Thailand, getting to know the individuals at CCT and visiting partner organizations all around Chiang Mai. As luck and timing would have it, I would spend my first weekend in Northern Thailand camping in Chiang Dao. It was a perfect way to reflect on my first week surrounded by breathtaking nature, creativity in various forms of art & expression, and positivity!
The volunteers at the house packed our bags and got ready to start our journey! Being only 1-1.5 hours away from Chiang Mai, Chiang Dao is easy to get to by bus / red truck or by scooter. Just be prepared to get comfy with your neighbor on the bus with three to a seat: a bonding experience!
Before we had even arrived, we had heard so many varying accounts of what Shambhala in Your Heart Festival would be like. From what we could gather, it was an eclectic music and art festival that had significant influences from Japanese culture. In arriving, we learned that the origin of Shambhala in Your Heart was when two artists from Japan were inspired to create a festival for a community of musicians, artists, and everyone in between. We met people from all over the world who came to experience the uniqueness of the festival at Doi Luang Youth Camp.
Throughout the weekend, I was almost always amazed at the overwhelming beauty that was around us. Doi Luang Mountain seemed impossibly close; the hot spring was incredibly relaxing; the stars seemed especially vibrant; even the butterflies seemed more beautiful and colorful. It was easy to lose track of time listening to music accompanied by a range of voices and instruments from acoustic guitar to didgeridoo, practicing yoga, reading in the library, meeting travellers by the campsite or bonfire, and watching artists create.
The feeling of community was so evident and could be seen in the kindness of interactions between friends and strangers alike. Shambhala created an open and creative environment where people could share their thoughts, passions, and talents. The CCT team returned back to Chiang Mai full of inspiration, happiness, and ideas for the weeks ahead.
By Anna Kim