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field notes on being happy as an elephant

With rucksacks jammed full of adventurous spirit, some Thai baht and a few warm weather clothes, my husband and I recently travelled abroad with our three ,shall I say hesitant, teenagers to the Land of a Thousand Smiles. aka~ Thailand. I am still hearing echoes of ” why can’t we be normal and just go to a place with a pool?” or ” WHY do we have to back pack?”  ‘Mom… seriously”….OR the best one…. WHY? Why did you even bring us here?”  “if I have to get shots I am not going”   ***sigh*** Spoiled rotten teenagers.

Did I just say that out loud? Oops. I love them dearly but seriously they need/needed to learn a thing or two about the rest of the world…. and trust me… they did. Us grown ups did too. I say this with the biggest heart smile you can imagine and an almost laugh out loud.

With only two and a half weeks ticking away on the clock there really was no time to waste. So off we flew out from underneath the sweat laden tarp of heat that envelopes Bangkok. Up up and away and within under the full rotation of the clocks’ two hands we were set upon the lusty smoke laden mountainous lands of Chiang Mai. Sounds kind of exotic doesn’t it? 🙂

There are so many stories to tell about this Northern beauty but that will have to wait for another time. We are focusing on something else this time.


Rescue elephants to be exact. Abused and rescued beautiful elephants living out their days safely and as natural as they were meant to be. This means they are not to be ridden. Ever. This means they are not to be used for logging. Ever. This also means they do not do tricks or play soccer or anything else that a wild animal should ever partake in. Ever any more. These guys ( although most are girls) are deservedly living the life now.

Honestly what I will remember most from our day there was all the LOVE.  There had to be buckets of love for all the hard work, dedication and this goes without saying but I am thinking of the piles and piles of money  it must  take to run and operate this sanctuary.  The woman who started this place is one special and dedicated person as are all the mahouts and volunteers who are as invested in the love and caring of these elephants as she is.

It is a beautiful, beautiful place and my family and I have been blessed to have been able to be a small part in helping for a mere couple of hours.please check out the link and if you find yourself in Chiang Mai go check it out.

momma &ele

momma and aunty elephants are the best Moms. We watched as the Momma lay down in the river , her head fully immersed under water so her baby didn’t float away down the fast flowing river. Only her trunk was out of the water for air.

*ps~  an update~ it wasn’t too far into our family adventure there were many many whispers of “this is actually pretty cool” ..


ele sisters3

elephants are friends to the end. they stick together. always and forever.

eye of b&w

you can be marvellously strong and soft at the same time. a portrait of the most gentle giant.

ele herd

the herd is fierce about protecting their young



nature park sign

if there ever was truth on a sign…..

jokia b&W

Jokia…. her lovely soulful eye. She is blind.


chiang mai

Namaste and Happy Friday




20 replies »

  1. My favourite photo is the 4 rear ends 🙂
    And the first one – mother and baby.
    And the one of the 2 face to face.
    What a wonderful time it must have been for you guys, even teenagers 🙂
    We swam with elephants in Laos – it was hilarious. Those elephants were having so much fun playing with us in the water. The elephants won! 🙂

  2. PPS Forgot to ask if, when whoever it was who ‘liked’ your post as you, did you get a message from WP saying ‘You’re so vain. You liked your own post’. I did once when I liked my own post by accident. I was so embarrassed I hid all the likes on that post because at that time you couldn’t reverse a ‘like’.

    • Stefano, thank you for still hanging around after all this time. 🙂 Thailand and all its twists and turns was a stellar memory for us . you of all people get to experience many adventures with your photography which always blow the socks off me. It is addictive venturing off into an adventure isn’t it? . Cheers! K.

      • Are you kidding me? You have been posting less frequently lately (just as I have) but I enjoy every one of your posts, dear Kimberly! You have been in my favorite bloggers list from the very beginning and of course that’s not going to change. Totally agree with you regarding adventures off the beaten path: they are exciting and totally addictive as they show you a whole different world out there. I miss being on one of those: it is something I need to work on to rectify at some point soon… Be well, S.

  3. Such an emotionally touching post. Seriously. I’m feeling both very sad and at the same time very happy to hear these gorgeous animals are in a safe place. I love that you went there and took your teenagers. I imagine they may look at life a little differently after returning home. I am happy too to see you posting again. Can’t wait to read more about your trip and to view your stunning photographs.

    • hey, thank you and virtual hugs to you. I hope you can visit there one fine day in the future. it really is a place made of love for the animal. I didn’t mention in my post that it is a dog and cat rescue as well. so worth flying 18 + hours for… argggh… :0)

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