Wanderlust: Expat Life & Style in Thailand The Relationships Issue - Page 54


On my way to the airport to return to Bangkok , I ’ m brainstorming .
No one really knows what will become of the Thai indigo tradition or the communities , art and culture centered around it . I wonder how much time indigo has left . And I wonder , is there something I can do ?
Journalists like me make notes , recordings and photographs . They produce the original external hard drives that back up human memories . They can help us remember the beauty of yesterday ’ s art when no one is left to create it . And they help us remember how we used to do things when we start forgetting about our old talents .
Maybe , before it ’ s too late , the young people in Sakon Nakhon can take the dye workers ’ sinewy , blue-stained hands into theirs and ask questions . Maybe they can capture photos and write down everything they hear from these old women , to record the secrets and deeply-held beliefs of an ancient tradition . Together , old and young can create a historical record colored with stories and saturated with the wisdom of indigo . And maybe I can help . Looking out the window , I notice that one in every five or six people I see is wearing a T-shirt tie-dyed in indigo or some kind of indigo clothing . I ask Wanna about it . It ’ s part of a government initiative , she tells me — people are encouraged to wear indigo . “ To support the trade of indigo products ?” I ask . “ Not really . It ’ s more about keeping the culture alive ,” she says . It ’ s reassuring to hear . We arrive at the airport , and Wanna and I do something very modern : We take a selfie together . I ’ m wearing a scarf I bought from Pon . Wanna says she will share the photo with her and that she will be proud .
I thank Wanna and we hug goodbye . “ I will be back , though ,” I say with a smile .
I check-in for my flight at the smallest Nok Air counter I have ever seen . With its yellow sign and just one person staffing the desk , it ’ s like getting your boarding pass at a lemonade stand .
Ticket in hand , I am just a few steps away from one of the only shops in the airport , which happens to be Manncraft , a designer label that specializes in scarves colored by organic dyes — including indigo . I had visited their main outlet in the city center the day before .
I begin to browse . When I turn , the sales clerk ’ s eyes meet mine . The scarves , she says , are all organic . “ The way we do it is very lucky ,” she enthuses . “ It brings luck for you .” Admiring scarves colored by plant dyes that I can now identify , I feel I am saying goodbye too soon . I want to stay in Sakon Nakhon . There is so much more to learn . “ Yes , they ’ re lovely ,” I say . “ I ’ ve been to the shop in town .” “ Oh ,” the woman says , understanding . “ So you know .” Not yet . But I ’ m getting there . She smiles . I wave to her , and I walk toward my gate .
While there are still indigo communities in Thailand , I highly recommend a visit to Sakon Nakhon with Very Local Trip . They will take care of accommodation , food and touring of the indigo communities . You won ’ t regret seeing the fascinating tradition of indigo lead by an expert tour guide , and you ’ ll come away with memories to last a lifetime .
To book your trip — and to check out other amazing tours — visit www . verylocaltrip . com .