Monthly Archives: November 2017

My life over the past year + what lies ahead

A tall pint of Castle Lager ... the perfect way to end a day in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa in June 2017.

A tall pint of Castle Lager … the perfect way to end a day in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa in June 2017.

Guys!

It’s been a while since my last status update, but since I am back in Nova Scotia, Canada for the holidays, I managed to find the time needed to put my thoughts down on digital paper. Here we go…

What have I been up to?

A digital nomad meetup in a thatch cabana restaurant on a lake near Chiang Mai

A digital nomad meetup in a thatch cabana restaurant on a lake near Chiang Mai

Rewind to this time last year.

I began my latest odyssey the same way I had begun others: by setting foot in Thailand for the umpteenth time.

This time around, I had a number of goals in mind: to tick off two more continents off my list, to meet up with digital nomads in Chiang Mai and expose myself to a variety of disciplines, and to grow my business while travelling at the same time.

I nailed two out of the three. Over the past 13 months, I set foot in Africa (South Africa only – next time, I will notch more countries, I promise!), and Europe (travelling from Turkey to the UK overland).

In the Digital Nomad Capital of the World (TM), I hung out with everyone from drop shippers to graphic designers, broadening my horizons and adding a client in the process.

HOWEVER … I did NOT grow my bottom line. In fact, I elected to take a step back this fall in order to move forward in the long run.

The scariest decisions are often the most important ones

Cool view over downtown Khaosiung, Taiwan. However, when you're facing down an all-nighter to meet a deadline, it kinda sucks the joy out of it...

Cool view over downtown Khaosiung, Taiwan. However, when you’re facing down an all-nighter to meet a deadline, it kinda sucks the joy out of it…

I made the difficult (yet necessary) decision to release a client with whom I had done extensive business over the past four years.

The steady work they provided had made the money part of my life easy, but over the past year, its volume conspired to suck up almost every bit of free time I had.

To allow myself the time needed to grow as an entrepreneur and to restore my sanity, I had no choice but to part ways with them.

Don’t misunderstand me – they were professional, paid me promptly, and most interactions were cordial and pleasant. But, they had come to lean on me so heavily, it was affecting my quality of life, as well as my ability to run and grow my business.

I’ll be honest: this was one of the scariest business decisions I’ve ever made. But it needed to be done, as I had slowly but surely morphed into the overworked employee I once was – only with a nice view of the beach.

Where am I now?

Havre Boucher on a warm autumn day. As I write this, it's colder, wetter, and the leaves peaced out a long time ago.

Havre Boucher on a warm autumn day in 2015. As I write this in November 2017, it’s colder, wetter, and the leaves peaced out a long time ago.

As mentioned in the intro, I am back in Canada for the holidays and most of January. I get two months to enjoy the darkness and silence of my basement bedroom, family moments during Christmas and New Year’s, and a long-awaited college reunion in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Fam: the older your parents, siblings, relatives, and friends get, the more important it is to spend time with them. As such, I am looking forward to the hangouts coming up in the weeks ahead.

So … when are you hitting the trail again?

I foresee more than a few of these in my future...

I foresee more than a few of these in my future…

There are many quotes about travel out there that expound upon the importance of seizing every moment life gives you.

Accordingly, I won’t be lingering in Canada for long. Not long after my college reunion wraps up, I’ll be boarding a flight to Mexico!

I’ll be spending most of my winter in Playa del Carmen, a city on the Yucatan Peninsula. Populated enough to provide every creature comfort a person could need, but without the hectic nightlife of Cancun, it is the perfect hideaway from winter for someone like me.

While I will be mostly staying put to focus more intently on business development, I’ll head over to Nicaragua at some point to chill out for a few weeks on the Corn Islands.

A Caribbean paradise which remains unspoiled by mass tourism, it cast its spell over me last time I was there (2015), so I can’t wait to return.

Additionally, a good friend of mine gets to call this gorgeous place home. During my visit, I am sure there will be more than a few nights where we will get to share some Flor de Cana and cokes in person.

Main mission for 2018: trying out a new home base

Trying out Edmonton as a home base: I lived here once before when I had a 9-5 job. Loved leaving the daily grind, but I did miss this place.

Trying out Edmonton as a home base: I lived here once before when I had a 9-5 job. Loved leaving the daily grind, but I did miss this place.

Once May rolls around, I’ll be hopping on a plane back to Canada, but instead of heading back east, I’ll be Alberta bound – to Edmonton, specifically.

Thought I was setting up a base in Atlantic Canada? That was the plan initially, but as the test period unfolded, Fredericton turned out to be too small for someone who craves access to a wider range of urban delights.

Don’t get me wrong – it has plenty to offer those who love smaller towns (population ~60,000) – culture, tons of microbreweries, festivals, a scenic river, and more.

There are many advantages to settling there, but if you are seeking the advantages of settling in a city of a million people (wider access to services, restaurants, deeper dating pool, etc), you’ll be let down in the long run here.

Edmonton has many of the things that drew me to Fredericton, but with a deeper bench with regards to the latter city’s qualities.

What’s more, it is close by to the Canadian Rockies, a burgeoning food scene is emerging, and taxation is much lower here than in the east.

Because of this, I will be testing out as a home base for the remainder of 2018 and into 2019. Beyond then, I will be making plans to see the sixth continent – Oceania – but that’s too far off in the distance to discuss at length. Next year, things should be much clearer, so stay tuned!

Dear readers: what have you been up to recently? Let’s re-connect in the comments below!

Experiencing the best of Thailand on a budget

Photo by CC user Jonas_Mittag on Pixabay

Photo by CC user Jonas_Mittag on Pixabay

Want to get away from your stressful everyday existence? We all do from time to time, but one glance at our bank balance leads many of us to believe that escape isn’t possible. This is a common misconception, as holiday travel has never been as cheap as it is now.

Below, we’ll show you how you can experience the best of Thailand on a budget – once you get a taste for this intoxicating country, you won’t ever be the same again!

Book a cheap flight

Any trip to Thailand starts with the booking of the flight which will take you, your family, and/or your friends there. Jump online and review all the options available for Mumbai to Bangkok flights, or from wherever you happen to be in the world.

Price will be one of the key considerations, but also be sure to check departure/arrival times, connections, and the amenities available aboard.

Arriving past Midnight may force you to negotiate with Bangkok taxi drivers, some of whom are known to rig their meters or drive hard bargains with tourists unfamiliar with the local going rate for flat fares.

If you get to BKK at a reasonable hour, you can take advantage of the Airport Rail Link, a train which will take you from Suvarnabhumi Airport to the centre of Bangkok in about 20 minutes for 45 baht (₹88/$1.36 USD).

Favour guesthouses and hostels over hotels

Thailand is well-known worldwide for the value it provides visitors. From activities to food, you won’t have to take out a loan to afford a holiday here.

The same applies to lodging, as Bangkok is home to some of the most competitively priced luxury hotel rooms in the world. If you are really minding your money, however, we recommend booking rooms in guesthouses or boutique hostels.

These accommodation types aren’t the fleapits they were a generation ago – a considerable number of them have gone upmarket in recent years. They come with private rooms which have plush mattresses, fresh linens, fridges, cable TV, and other perks.

However, you get to take advantage of the social atmosphere of a hostel, as you will have access to common areas, which often come with bars, comfy seating, high-speed internet, and a slate of planned activities from one day to the next.

With private rooms starting at 600 baht (₹1,170/$18.50 USD), going this route will help you save cash while maintaining a level of comfort befitting of your holiday.

Go north

Many Mumbai to Bangkok flights are packed with visitors eager to head south in pursuit of Thailand’s fabled beaches. However, know that the cities of the north contain worthwhile cultural attractions core to the identity of the Thai people.

Not only will you have a chance to tour uncrowded temple sites in places like Sukhothai and Chiang Mai, you will find that everything from accommodations to meals will be cheaper in the north.

A hostel whose private rooms cost 900 Baht (₹1,760/$27.50 USD) in a place like Koh Samui will sell them for around 500 baht (₹975/$15.25 USD) in Chiang Mai.

While lunch can cost as much as 230 baht (₹430/$7 USD) on the beach at Railay Beach, a healthy Thai lunch in the centre of Chiang Rai can be had for as little as 60 baht (₹120/$1.90 USD).

Travel to unsung islands

Have your heart set on a paradise beach? Of course you do. Instead of traveling to places like Phuket or Koh Samui, though, consider heading to lesser travelled isles like Koh Chang (the one in Eastern Thailand near the Cambodian border) or Koh Lanta in the south.

These places have beaches which boast plenty of room even in high season, idyllic tropical scenes out of your wildest dreams, and reasonable prices.

In a country with an embarrassment of riches when it comes to tropical getaways, you lose almost nothing going off the beaten track.