I have written a series of blogs recently about getting the authentic experience while traveling. Here is a little practicing what I preach when I was fortunate enough to have a Thai local help me pay alms to the monks of Khuraburi, Thailand.

Mai knocked on my door at 6:15AM to meet the monks and pay alms (sai-baat in Thai). We walked out into the coolest morning I have yet felt in Thailand to find Khuraburi in full swing. Because the monks are revered and survive from the generosity of the community paying alms in food is an important part of Thai life in Khuraburi. I choose a simple bag of fried rice from the local market as my gift. It only took a few moment before we found the monks.

There were three monks dressed in bright orange robes and bare feet who stopped and patiently waiting will I awkwardly knelt in the street and then waited for one of the monks to give the subtle sign to Mai that they were ready to continue. I stood and placed my gift into the monk’s urn before I returned to kneeling and a short prayer by the monks in thanks.

Mai and I returned to the market for breakfast and philosophical conversation. It wasn’t long before Mai told me he used to be a monk, which was hard to imagine with his hippie-length hair that fell in front of his face.

We talked about Buddhist theory: letting go of attachment to things, flowing with the direction of the stream of humanity and even finding nirvana outside of the stream. It was a friendly conversation with me doing most of the listening. He told that everyday he would try to “Do not say useless things. Do not do useless things. Do not think useless things.” We both agreed that the last one was by far the hardest.

I think I learned something this morning with more insight into the mind of the Buddhist monk. But I think the concept I will remember most is the last think Mai said as I finished my “johk” (Asia porridge and delicious), “Love is the space between people.”

Now I am off to Bangkok.