This post is inspired by some of my favourite bloggers, whose writing inspires me to improve my own and whose posts always make me think. A Rosie Outlook is one, who posted just the other week about how to feel grateful and how to cherish the little things that happen to cheer up your day. Another is the lovely Jade at Jadeim whose posts I love to read because they remind me of the little slice of England we call home, where my much missed family are currently sitting out what seems like a long and cold winter. Her weekly round ups of what’s good in life and posts on how to look after yourself are always a cheerful read.
This blog has sadly been sat in drafts for far too long now – the intention was to publish a week or so ago immediately after writing, but with one thing and another I’ve just not got round to it until now.
Sometimes I think that on this journey it’s been too easy to get caught up in the big things: snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef; swimming with sea turtles in the Galápagos; reaching the summit of Machu Picchu and much more besides. These things and all the other “bucket list” experiences we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy have of course been fantastic, but I don’t want to be guilty of just logging our most epic adventures. The blog was started to see if we could consistently write about what we got up to on this trip, to describe the incredible places we’ve been and what we saw while we were there. It’s evolved into creating posts that try to show more of an insight into our destinations and aim to offer advice for fellow travellers, as well as being a personal travelogue that we’ll love looking back from when we return to the 9-5 one sad day in the future.
Whilst every single day without fail I write down what we’ve been upto, I haven’t been so good at writing about the day to day – the minutiae of what we’ve noticed, who we’ve met or how a particular place has made me feel. So for me this has been a challenge to make my writing a little more personal – not a strength of mine – and to look at some of the little things that happen daily in this strange nomadic life I’ve adopted that make me grateful and happy.
Arriving in Chiang Mai on Saturday evening for a week’s rest has been the perfect time for writing, reading and just generally recovering. Myanmar was an incredible place but two weeks of constant ‘doing’ accompanied by pretty consistent stomach issues from the (in my opinion) not so great food, and some exhausting overnight journeys has left me in need of a break. We’re fast travellers so a week with not much planned is a bit of a shock to the system, but was a lovely opportunity to sit back, relax and take the time to appreciate the little things.
So without further ado, here’s what we got up to in our week in Chiang Mai excluding any epic adventures!
Arriving at the hotel, dusty and exhausted and losing my voice thanks to severe air conditioning on planes and buses, it was lovely to find a vase of fresh flowers in our room. I used to love buying flowers for the house back at home – always the ultimate treat if I decided to splash out at Waitrose – and it made me super happy that we’d decided to treat ourselves to a hotel instead of a hostel for a few nights. After popping out for dinner and a couple of drinks we picked up some mango sticky rice from a stall over the road and ate it in bed while we watched Silent Witness. Perfection!
My first lie in for a seriously long time was a great start to the day, but breakfast was even better and almost made me wish I’d got up earlier. Not only did we find out it was included in the price of the room which I hadn’t realised, the food was amaaaazing. I had fruit salad with mixed seeds, granola and yoghurt and I’m not even kidding there were 10+ varieties of fruit served up. Strawberries, dragonfruit, lychees, banana, grapes, orange, Kiwi, mango, pineapple, passionfruit, pomegranate and even avocado! It was so nice to have such a healthy start to the day after two weeks of fried rice. The rest of the day was spent having a wander round town and lazing around – just like a lazy Sunday back home and just what the doctor ordered. Also, I weighed myself for the first time since going travelling and am only 1kg up on my lowest weight from last year! Food poisoning has helped, but still, great news!
Browsing through a local second hand bookshop was a lovely way to spend an hour this afternoon – looking for new reading material for some very long journeys we have coming up. Even though I have a kindle loaded with books, there’s something about having a real book to read that’s infinitely preferable. The real win of the day though was in completing my first work out since we were in Argentina many months ago. My abs ached for three days but no pain no gain right?!
Today I accidentally ate all the things ? they were healthy things but still, not ideal! We enjoyed a fab morning cooking Thai food at a local cookery school and came home too full to move. Bonus was the sun beds at the hotel were free so I spent an hour sunning myself for the first time in ages. Then, just when I thought no more food was possible we went out for dinner. When the food here is so cheap and delicious though it kind of seems rude not to.
The day started out great – with two new online travel publications confirming they’d like to publish a couple of features I’d written which is always a good feeling. Also I found the first cherry blossom forecast for Japan which coincided with our planned trip and we finally booked our flights to Tokyo – exciting! Can’t wait to see my mum on our 2.5 week tour of Japan.
Thursday was a good one. We hiked for a couple of hours to a local temple up on a hillside overlooking the city – the first hike we’ve done since the Blue Mountains back in Australia. It was SO hard and showed me just what bad shape I’m in, but I was so pleased to get to the top. When we got back to town we had healthy green smoothies and salad for lunch so I felt very smug about my eating habits which doesn’t happen all that often and made me feel great! Haha, we then worked and chilled in the afternoon before a market browse in the evening and getting everything ready for our 3 day journey to Laos.
Today was a little more boring – we had to travel by bus all day from Chiang Mai to the border with Laos which involved about 8 hours on a non air conditioned mini bus. But I was determined to find a couple of little highlights and definitely managed – we caught up on loads of sleep napping on the bus, and our hostel in Chiang Khong when we finally arrived had amazing views of the Mekong river. Best of all, we met some lovely people and had drinks that evening before our two day boat journey – and we’ve also caught up with them a few times on our journey through Laos so far as well. Everyone we’ve met while travelling has been so nice, and it’s great to enjoy new places with new people from time to time – as much as it’s fun to travel as a couple, it’s always a bonus to be in a bigger group sometimes.
So there’s a little insight into our week – it’s not quite watching balloons at sunrise in Bagan or exploring glaciers in New Zealand, but more a glimpse into our day to day as we travel through Asia. It was quite fun to remind myself to write down more of the details of what we get up to each day and to write a more diary-style post, not sure if it’ll be much fun to read, but nevermind!