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!

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