So … it’s been a while since I’ve updated the Pursuit of Excitement. You probably thought I’d given up on the digital nomad life? Wrong. I spent much of this year working harder than I ever have before, driving my freelance earnings to new heights. While I had to focus hard on that to make that happen, it made me realize how much I miss blogging.
And here we are.
What happened between January and now? I spent more than half a year in my old college town of Fredericton, re-connecting with friends, settling my tax situation (the CRA actually owed ME money … funny that), and restructuring my online banking to make offshore bill payments easy and simple.
image credit: photo by CC user 70626035@N00 on Flickr
Well, we’re halfway through January, but with all the freelance work I’ve been bashing my way through, this year in review had to wait for awhile. In many ways, 2014 was defined by the growth of my mobile business, which caused this blog to be neglected at times ( Mama’s been busy, but I still love you all … sorry!).
In true digital nomad fashion though, I managed to get in tons of travel between the ever frequent 12 hour work days (the less glamorous aspect of the trade), starting in Chiang Mai, Thailand on New Year’s Day and progressing through Malaysia, Indonesia, Canada, Mexico and Belize.
New Year’s Eve in Chiang Mai is a holiday that is treated by the locals in the manner that we regard Christmas. It’s a joyous occasion where people get to get with their families, celebrate, and make wishes for a prosperous and happy year ahead. One of these traditions involves lighting a lantern and releasing it into the sky. On the day of/in the days leading up to the big day, vendors will be selling these collapsed paper bags with a wick that is shaped like a doughnut. This is what you and thousands of people will be sending into the sky en masse on New Year’s Eve in Chiang Mai …
Sweeping views of Thailand’s second city are hard to come by, as much of the place is kept low-rise by the fact that most business headquarters are located in Bangkok, and due to the presence of an international airport well within city limits.
Fortunately for those that love these lofty vantage points, there is a mountain that abuts the western part of the metropolis. Doi Suthep towers above this part of Chiang Mai, with views from Wat Phra That being suspended thousands of feet above the streets and buildings below.
As my time in Northern Thailand is winding its way to a close, I’d figure I’d share more pics to show you what the mountains up in this part of the country are like. The highlands up here are (believe it or not) the furthest of the foothills that radiate out hundreds of kilometres from the main ranges of the Himalayas. They don’t reach up high enough to get snow in the winter time, but they do provide a bit of novelty for the Thai population nonetheless, as the coldest nighttime lows in December/January get nippy enough to cause frost to form!
Christmas 2012 in Calgary … my holiday season had a much lower profile this year, but I had a lot to reflect and grateful for over the past 365+ days!
It’s amazing what can happen in the span of 365 short days. This time last year, I was freezing in the depths of yet another Alberta winter, yet I had a renewed spring in my step, despite the darkness that early January brings with it.
Back in 2010 on my first trip to Thailand, my good friend Katie introduced me to the cheap and abundant cheap meal source located in every Thai city, town, or village: the local/neighbourhood food market. While modern supermarkets are spreading more and more with each passing year in Thailand, many Thais still pick up the ingredients they need to cook their meals at home at the local market every day.
Travelling to any area is made infinitely better when you have a local contact that knows about the many hidden secrets it possesses. For me, that was my friend Katie, whom I worked with at Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park back in Canada for three years. In the winters, she typically lives in Pai, located three hours northwest of Chiang Mai on a winding mountain road (762 puke-inducing curves, yeehaw!), a pastoral mountain valley with a series of small friendly towns and villages, and a lazy river running through the middle of it all.