Vagabond Tim

Strange thoughts run through your head as you are cartwheeling down rain slicked asphalt at 45kph.
I hoped my camera was alright as I had just seen it sailing past me. I then wondered if the dog was alright. Finally I began to reconsider my stance on safety gear being unnecessary. Each time I rolled over and smashed another limb into the ground I was served another fairly solid argument for its use.

I had decided to rent a motorbike for a trip to a Thai backpackers ghetto called Pai.
Since I can fall down while standing still, careening through the bush at ridiculous speeds on a mobile suicide booth sounded like a fine plan.
The trip takes about four to five hours generally, around hour four it started to rain.
This wasn’t good natured, hey enjoy this water rain. This was aggressive, welcome to monsoon season and by the way fuck you, rain.

I was only about ten to fifteen clicks from my hostel so I decided that rather than stop and stand in the rain for however long it lasted I would just slow down to 45 or so. There were no buildings around to take shelter in, well none with coffee anyhow, so it seemed like a good plan.

As I was heading down a fairly steep hill a small dog jumped out of the bush and stood in the road in front of me.
This presented me with a few options. I could hit the dog and go flying over the handlebars, swerve and go flying off a cliff, or lay the bike down on its side and slide across the road. Since only the third option provided any chance for my bike to survive I chose that one.

A few moments later I was standing in the pounding rain between twin beams of light glittering on the shattered remains of my right mirror. Apparently the truck behind me had stopped before hitting me.
The driver was standing next to me trying to ask me something that I at first assumed was in Thai as it made no sense. I then realized he was asking if I was alright. I shrugged and stood my bike up, kicked the engine back to life and headed for my hostel.

The incessant rain did a fairly good job of washing away the blood flowing from my arms and leg so I didn’t think anything of my injuries.
I settled into a chair at the hostel and had a few beers to take the edge off. Now those of you not familiar with Thai beer may not realize that they are volumetrically double what one finds elsewhere, and around 6.5% alcohol. A few beers later I felt better and had a nap.

When I woke up and wandered back toward the tables the owner of the hostel politely handed me a map to the nearby hospital. I smiled politely, thinking he was being overly cautious. Then I realized it hurt quite badly when I breathed in. For a few moments I tried to convince myself I would just not breath so much.

Eventually the growing inability to breath and the inflexibility of my limbs became annoying, so I hopped on my bike and went to the hospital. Upon arrival they told me to lay on a bed and began splashing me with alcohol and picking gravel out of my elbow.
I realized my earlier attempt at rinsing the wounds out with vodka and a somewhat less than clean towel was perhaps not the best plan.

When they were finished I tried to sit up and was told to stay still, it seemed odd, but it did hurt quite a bit when I tried to sit up so I followed their instructions. They wheeled me into the X-Ray room and took a few pictures of my bones. When those came back the doctor told me with some astonishment that three ribs were cracked but somehow not broken, then he told me not to breath so much for a while and I would be fine.

I went to pay them at the counter and discovered I had been prescribed a raft of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and painkillers. I took the antibiotics. The rest seemed unnecessary.

Long story short I returned to the hostel, sat around chatting and drinking for a few days and then headed back to Chiang Mai. I arrived without further incident, although it still hurts to breath and I do have some fairly sweet scars in progress.

For those of you with a penchant for gore I suggest faces of death as I haven’t got any pictures from before visiting the hospital.


The plan was hatched by a bunch of twenty-something Swedes and Germans over a few too many. So I expected good things


This sweet old lady sold me a new lighter as I somehow lost mine on the road


Despite its failed attempt at murdering me I must say the drive was gorgeous and should be attempted by everyone


After having been away from Nepal for a few weeks I had begun to miss ‘road cows’ luckily I saw one along the way


This little chirpy fellow was kind enough to let me video his capture and consumption of a horrible looking bug


  1. Chyrelanne
    May 1, 2014 at 08:44

    Glad to read your ok and still breathing! You’ll need to add a new category to your travel adventures for Thailand.
    Any word on some of the gigs you were looking into?

    • Vagabond Tim
      May 1, 2014 at 10:14

      Unfortunately no replies. A bunch of unrelated requests for me to work in places all over the globe, but not the ones I want. Going to apply for some other ones right away.

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