Month 39: Travel Summary and Statistics


Month 40 Travel Map

What a gloriously restful month! When I decided to cut short my plans in Latin America to come to Southeast Asia and work, this was exactly what I was hoping for. When it came to travel plans over the last month, I did nothing. I sat still and I worked on my book. It was wonderful.

Here’s what I’ve been doing this month.

Getting Settled

One of my favourite aspects of living in Chiang Mai is how easy it is to get set up. After trying many long-term apartment options, my favourite place to stay is The Dome. It’s in a perfect location for me — mid-way between the Old Town, and fun Nimmanhaemin with its dozens of coffee shops to work in. I’m a 5 minute walk from a gym, a supermarket, two large shopping malls and some of my favourite restaurants.

Renting an apartment from The Dome is quick and easy — there’s none of the contracts and paperwork I have to deal with when renting back home. I turn up, ask to rent an apartment for two months, pay for it, and then I’m shown to my room. Moved in and settled in under five minutes.

Next, transportation. We rent a scooter in Chiang Mai every time we visit. Arranging this takes slightly longer at around 30 minutes. Dave heads off to a scooter rental place, asks to rent one for two months, checks everything’s okay with the bike, pays, hands them his passport, and we’re good to go. Transport sorted!

Gym time! We ride our scooter over to our nearest gym — Harris Fitness and tell them we want to sign up for a month. We pay the $40 membership fee and are given our member cards within a few minutes. The gym is in a big shopping mall, so we head downstairs, go to the supermarket to stock up on snacks and treats and scooter back home for a nap.

There you go! All moved in and settled within an hour of landing in Chiang Mai. Life isn’t tough here.

Getting Healthy

Travel has made me fat. Sort of. It’s made me unhealthy and flabby and lazy, and it’s only recently that I realised it. In conquering the food issues I had when I first left to travel, I’ve been exposed to a whole world of food I never knew existed. Not much of it is healthy.

Somewhere along the way, I developed an addiction to sugar, and I don’t use the word addiction lightly. It was an addiction because I couldn’t stop myself from eating — put ten chocolate bars in front of me and I’d have them all eaten within a few minutes. Put 50 in front of me and I’d do the same. I’d feel sick and I’d hate every second but I wouldn’t be able to stop. I had a compulsion to consume all the sugar, but because I was still relatively thin, I didn’t feel like I was doing something terrible. It wasn’t just the addiction — it was the love of junk food and the excuses for not exercising, too. I thought I looked and felt great — why did I need to change anything?

I did it as an experiment. After seeing how wonderful travel has been for my mental wellbeing and attitude to life (read more on how travel changed my life), I’m all about challenging myself. I’m trying to force myself out of my comfort zone and experience new things to see what else can improve my life. My appalling diet of junk food, candy and sodas was an obvious starting point.

I cut out alcohol and caffeine — neither of which I really enjoyed anyway. I cut out as much sugar as possible, and stopped eating bread. I cut out all sodas and crappy drinks in favour of water and an occasional fruit smoothie. No chocolate, no candy, no desserts. I joined the gym, too, determined to improve my fitness levels and strength.

It turned out that while I believed I felt great before, it was nothing compared to how I feel now. I didn’t know it was possible to feel this good! I’m happy to now be addicted to the rush of endorphins after a hard workout rather than a giant Mars bar.

Getting Stuff Done

The reason behind my return to Chiang Mai was to Get Stuff Done. With my mind and body feeling better than ever, I finally felt confident about immersing myself into a routine that revolved around writing, writing and writing. With freelancing commitments of around 15 articles a month, Never Ending Footsteps commitments of a blog post a week and my need to write 80,000 words of my book, I’ve been working my ass off. But I’m getting there.

I’m closing in on finishing my (very, very rough) first draft of my book, I’m meeting my freelance deadlines with ease, and I’m hitting my target of one post a week on Never Ending Footsteps. Yes, I don’t have much time for anything else, but that’s why I’m in Chiang Mai. I’ve lived here for long enough to not feel guilty about spending every day in front of my laptop.

Onto the statistics for the month!

Month 39 Travel Map

Countries Visited: 1

Thailand

Cities Visited: 1

Chiang Mai

Distance Travelled: 0 kilometres

Photos Taken: 5

Words of My Book Written: 53,192

Highlight of the Month

Finally getting to share my big announcement about my book deal. It’s been driving me crazy having to keep it a secret for the past six months and it now feels wonderful to finally have it out in the open. Now I just have to write it!

Lowlight of the Month

Catching some kind of nasty bug and spending 72 hours throwing up. Not a fun way to spend a week, especially when I had so many deadlines to meet.

Money Spent: 

Accommodation:

  • Chiang Mai: $200.10: $6.67 per night

Transportation: 

  • Scooter rental for a month: $38.42
  • Gas for the scooter: $12

Food: $211.14

Miscellaneous:

Gym membership: 40
Toiletries: $7
Toaster: $10

Total Amount Spent: $518.66

The Next Month

Month 40 Travel Map

I’ll be crossing off a brand new country in a couple of weeks as I head to Myanmar for the first time! Thanks to my desire to rush around like a maniac and visit several countries in Southeast Asia before the end of the year, it’ll be a rushed visit. I’m treating it as an introduction to a country I’ve always wanted to visit.

On the agenda is eating and exploring in Yangon, temple hopping and a hot air balloon ride in Bagan, and a three-day hike from Kalaw to Inle Lake. A flying visit but I can’t wait!

 

Looking to follow along with my travels through my monthly summaries? You can read the previous month’s summary here, the next month’s summary here, or head on over to the monthly summary page to read from the very beginning!

Previous Fulidhoo: The Only Tourists on the Island
Next Scammed in Guraidhoo: The Shady Guesthouse Owner

50 Comments

  1. Andrea Anastasiou
    October 31, 2014
    Reply

    I second what Carmen said about it being a cheap month! Glad to hear you’ve managed to get so much work done on your book. Looking forward to reading it :-)

    • Lauren
      November 19, 2014
      Reply

      Thanks, Andrea! I’m looking forward to finishing it :-)

  2. Carmen
    October 31, 2014
    Reply

    Now that is a cheap month! Congrats on getting so much of your book writing done :-)

    • Lauren
      November 1, 2014
      Reply

      Thanks, Carmen! Another reason why I return to Southeast Asia :-)

  3. Amélie @ mostlyamelie.com
    November 1, 2014
    Reply

    Wow you’re kinda gifted at finding cheap accomodation wherever you go. I’m actually going to Chiang Mai for a month in a few weeks to get some work done also, but if I look at The Dome on agoda, it shows 24$/night! Did you have to bargain hard? It also says on their site that the wifi is in the lobby… Maybe it’s a different Dome?

    • Lauren
      November 1, 2014
      Reply

      Thanks, Amelie! No, I didn’t bargain — I’m paying their standard long-term stay rate. Agoda shows their nightly rate. Wi-Fi everywhere! Just turn up and ask for a room without booking anything in advance.

  4. Catherine
    November 1, 2014
    Reply

    Great to hear you’ve been having such a productive month – though I wish I could say the same! Can’t believe how cheap your month has been either – I’ve always known SE Asia can be very affordable, but I didn’t know it could be this good!

    • Lauren
      November 2, 2014
      Reply

      Yep! And what’s funny is that I wasn’t even trying to save money! We have a really nice apartment with a balcony, a separate living area with sofas, a small kitchen, air conditioning… I’m excited to have more than one room for once! I’ve also been going on lots of date nights — lots of fancy meals and evenings out. If I was trying to save money, I think I could easily stay here for $250-300 a month.

  5. Quinn
    November 1, 2014
    Reply

    Wow – I just read your book deal announcement.

    It is clear why you attracted so much interest – you have a terrific story to tell but just as importantly you can also tell it. I imagine you could easily have many more books up your sleeve after this one becomes a best seller.

    Depending on your passions you could focus a lot on blogging, or the far more lucrative side of blogging – teaching others how to making money from writing. Of course, being on the road at the same time is pretty awesome.

    Great budget focus. Would love to know more about your earnings even with the book deal excluded and I imagine it would be helpful for others to.

    • Lauren
      November 19, 2014
      Reply

      Hi Quinn,

      Thank you so much! Your comments mean the world to me :-). I have already planned out the sequel to How Not to Travel the World!

      You should sign up for my newsletter — that’s exactly what I write about. I share income reports and tips on how to make money freelancing.

  6. Miriam of Adventurous Miriam
    November 1, 2014
    Reply

    Myanmar sounds amazing and it’s high up on my bucket list too! I can’t wait to hear all about it, Lauren.

    • Lauren
      November 19, 2014
      Reply

      I can’t wait to write about it :-)

  7. Cheyenne
    November 1, 2014
    Reply

    This sounds all so incredibly amazing and exciting.
    It really is so much easier renting apartments and just getting settled and stuff in South East Asia – they don’t bother too much about all the paperwork.

    xx Cheyenne

    • Lauren
      November 19, 2014
      Reply

      Yep, exactly. I’d struggle trying to rent an apartment back in London after having it so easy here :-)

  8. Hayley
    November 1, 2014
    Reply

    This is really heartening to hear as I have been considering this kind of lifestyle — spending a few months writing in one place and then doing the same in another. Besides Chiang Mai, are there any other Asian cities you’d recommend? Congratulations on getting so far into your first draft of your book btw! That is so exciting.

    • Lauren
      November 26, 2015
      Reply

      Saigon, definitely. And Taipei. And Siem Reap. And Bali. All cheap and with a high standard of living.

  9. Alison
    November 1, 2014
    Reply

    That’s so unbelievably cheap and convenient! As I’m constantly weighing up whether or not to take the ‘digital nomad’ route, these kinds of posts are really insightful. Good luck with your health regime :-)

    • Lauren
      November 2, 2014
      Reply

      So glad I could help, Alison! :-)

  10. jimmydau@gmail.com
    November 2, 2014
    Reply

    I love Thailand and will be off to Chiang Mai tomorrow which will be my fourth trip in six months. I didn’t think I’d like it as much but it grows on me, especially Bangkok.

    Agree with you on slowing down to get shit done. I’ve rented a room in Saigon and have been more productive in one week than I would have in a month on the road. Like yourself I’ve cut down on a lot of types of foods especially alcohol and have been running a lot. Still working on the coffee but there’s so many great cafes here and I only have one a day max. More often than not I’ll get a coconut for just over $1.

  11. Carlotta
    November 2, 2014
    Reply

    Being healthy while traveling is the hardest thing to do! I always fail but I should really try harder.
    I was in Myanmar a couple of weeks ago and it was awesome, I’m sure that you will have a great time. I wrote a post with a few info about Myanmar and planning to write some more, feel free to have a look! http://nomadswind.com/things-know-traveling-myanmar/
    Enjoy your trip!

    • Lauren
      November 14, 2014
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing, Carlotta! I’m excited to see how easy it is to stay healthy when travelling rather than having a base — much tougher, I expect :-)

  12. geekyexplorer@gmail.com
    November 2, 2014
    Reply

    Prices in Chiang Mai never cease to amaze me.
    What kind of restaurants do you have there by the way?

    • Lauren
      November 2, 2014
      Reply

      There are thousands of restaurants in Chiang Mai, so you can find pretty much anything you can think of. I can’t think of a cuisine that you can’t find here.

  13. Natalie Deduck
    November 2, 2014
    Reply

    Great Info!
    Thanks for sharing all the details. We are arriving in Chiang Mai this wednesday and super anxious to experience life there.
    We need to focus on work too, so I think it will be a good place to do it!
    All the best and and success on your book!
    :-)
    Natalie

    • Lauren
      December 9, 2014
      Reply

      Hope you have a fantastic time in Chiang Mai! It’s the perfect place to get caught up on work :-)

  14. Katie @ The World on my Necklace
    November 3, 2014
    Reply

    Sounds like a very productive (and healthy) month! Is it your plan to stick with no sugar at all in the long term? I could imagine that would be hard! I want to cut down on my dairy consumption as that is what seems to cause my biggest upsets. It’s hard though when there is so many delicious cheeses leftover from meetings at work – hard to resist a smelly blue cheese with lavosh crackers and fig jam!

    • Lauren
      November 19, 2014
      Reply

      Yep, I’m hoping to avoid sugar as much as I can — will definitely be harder when I’m travelling and having to eat out for every meal. We’ll see how it goes! I don’t think I could ever give up cheese :-)

  15. Allie
    November 4, 2014
    Reply

    Where did you rent a scooter for $38/month in Chiang Mai? I was renting one for $80 a month, but that was too much so I just decide to get by with song taws, but I definitely prefer the scooter. Thanks!

    • Lauren
      November 18, 2014
      Reply

      Ah, Dave and I go halves on the scooter, so it’s still around $80 a month. We get ours from the place just outside of Smith Residence.

  16. Chris
    November 4, 2014
    Reply

    Love how cheap it is Lauren – however despite the numerous invites to come setup shop in CM I’m pretty reluctant to do so, I see its appeal but for me I’d rather outlay some extra $ and be by the ocean, it’s always been a deal breaker! Find me a Chang Mai by the waves and I’ll be sitting tight for a long while!

    • Lauren
      November 19, 2014
      Reply

      It’s true — that’s the one downside to Chiang Mai. I’m still searching for one :-)

  17. Martha
    November 8, 2014
    Reply

    I can’t wait to hear about Myanmar, especially the Kalaw to Inle Lake trek. I’ll be heading there in a few months!

    • Lauren
      November 18, 2014
      Reply

      I’m most excited about the hike! :-)

  18. RATHEESH RAVEENDRAN
    November 8, 2014
    Reply

    hello Laure, Why not you select your journey in India…….you can seeing there on beautiful landscapes in rach places….welcome to god’s own country (kerala).

    • Lauren
      November 10, 2014
      Reply

      Hi Ratheesh, I’m afraid the visa was too complicated and expensive for me to justify at this time. I’ll visit some time soon though, I hope!

  19. Monica Gray
    November 12, 2014
    Reply

    This sounds incredible- Thailand is next on my list (hopefully). I have been reading your blog and you are such an inspiration! I can’t wait to read your book!

    -Monica

    • Lauren
      November 14, 2014
      Reply

      Thank you so much, Monica! You’ll love Thailand :-)

  20. Anthony
    November 14, 2014
    Reply

    Hi Lauren.

    What was your favourite place / sight in Chiang Mai. I’ve been chiang mai twice with my trusty ‘Nancy chandler map’ and I find theres always something to do / see there! – Never enough time!!

    :)

    – Anthony (Life through the Lens)

    • Lauren
      November 19, 2014
      Reply

      I love spending time in the Terracotta Gardens!

  21. Kate
    November 14, 2014
    Reply

    Well done on focussing on your health! I’ve just decided to do exactly the same thing and have also quit smoking as one of the things to boost my health. It feels good to feel good, right? ;).

    • Lauren
      November 18, 2014
      Reply

      It really does! I had no idea it was possible to feel so happy and energised :-) Congratulations on quitting smoking — that’s a huge achievement!

  22. Gregory
    November 18, 2014
    Reply

    Although I’m headed for spectacular New Zealand for the first time in a week, your cheap-o stay in CM has me hankering for a third visit! But, Lauren — seasoned traveler that you are – why do you think it is that prices shown for The Dome on TripAdvisor are $32 a night!?

    • Lauren
      November 18, 2014
      Reply

      The daily prices are much more expensive than the monthly prices. I’ve found that turning up and asking for their long-term rates gets me a much better deal than booking online.

  23. Joanna
    November 24, 2014
    Reply

    Hello,

    I think your blog is both awe-inspiring and intricately written. Have you explored the Middle East yet? I went to Syria in 2010 before all the trouble started there, it’s an amazing country; steeped in history. I’m going to Iran next year, should be fun. Looking forward to the publication of your book :)

    • Lauren
      November 25, 2014
      Reply

      Hi Joanna,

      Thank you so much! I’ve visited Oman and the UAE and am desperate to explore more! Iran is high on my list :-)

  24. Ronny
    December 21, 2014
    Reply

    Chiang Mai is such an awesome place to set up and do business … cheap, friendly and most importantly, warm!

    • Lauren
      January 10, 2015
      Reply

      That’s why I can’t stop returning!

  25. Alex
    April 4, 2017
    Reply

    Hi, I love the way you write about your travels. Your posts really make me feel like I’m traveling there too! You describe things very vividly and it’s a pleasure to read you. Not many people know how to write this way!

    • Lauren
      April 6, 2017
      Reply

      Thank you for the huge compliment, Alex!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.