I’ve had calls for another ‘real-time’ update, covering what I have been getting up to over recent months as I’ve done in March and Feb. So here’s a taste of what my life looks like at the moment. Hopefully it brings together some of the posts I’ve written recently and puts them all into the context of my life right now.
I left Koh Phangan in August, visiting Singapore for some work ‘on my way’ as I headed up to Bangkok. In Bangkok I met up with Mum, and after a few days there we headed up to Chiang Mai. We spent a great fun, but very busy month here, visiting many places of interest, a lot of cafes and launching our new website, which you will have heard tons about if you read this blog regularly. So I won’t go on. 😉
October – work
October was quite heavily work focused, partly because I hadn’t done much whilst Mum was here. I travelled to Singapore (about 6-7 hours door to door when the connections are at their best) to help run a training course, and then spent a week in Dubai, running another training course. I managed to fit in some fun in between with a friend who was visiting Bangkok, and also got out a bit in Dubai, which all felt really empowering, managing to arrange my work and life to work harmoniously together.
I was pretty exhausted when I came back from Dubai, but had some more work to do once I was ‘at home’ in Chiang Mai. And then I popped back to Singapore later in October for some more work (co-directing a training course this time).
October – Social
Once I got back from Dubai, I was able to feel more settled in Chiang Mai, and set up more of a routine. I settled back into a version of my previous life in Chiang Mai, visiting cafes, writing blog articles for both this blog and managedevelopinspire.com, and practising my creative writing more generally.
I also got back into my massage routine, which had suffered from all my travelling, a recommendation from a friend turned me on to Mr Nat at the Blind Massage (I don’t know the address, but it’s right next to Prego which should give you a good landmark if you want to visit – it’s excellent, if strong massage in a basic setting, and very good value), so have been going for massage about once a week. Oh, and of course getting a foot massage when I visit the Sunday Walking Market!
And Chiang Mai has also become a place with lots of people I suddenly know. Caroline (my friend from university who is to blame for me coming to Chiang Mai in the first place!) has come back, plus several people who I’d known from the Agama Yoga school on Koh Phagnan, including Rachel and others. One person I knew from there was running a yoga course over a weekend, so I did that too, attended also by the lovely Greg and Carrie. I’ve also met up with Niall, who’s the inspiration behind the vignettes I occasionally write (did I mention everyone’s a blogger here?!). I’ve loved joining new friends at the Farang Farm on a Saturday morning to stock up on real French made croissants and the best bread in Chiang Mai – it’s as much a social activity as people flock to someone’s home to buy pastries in their yard. Free coffee provided!
My yoga has suffered some from all these competing activities – it’s interesting to see how busy I have been, but in a very different way from the island.
I’ve also caught up on my relationships around the world, with skype calls to the UK, Canada and Australia to name a few.
October – admin
Plus I’ve tried to catch up on emails, and get my administration in order – I now have an accountant due to the complexity of my strange working life. So I’m working on my tax return…ouch.
In October I also had to fit in a visa run, heading up to the Burmese (Myanmar) border, literally crossing over and crossing back to get a new 30 day stamp for Thailand. 600 baht for the minibus up and back, and 500 baht for the crossing, so a total of about £22 for the lot. It was straightforward, but took a whole day, as it’s a good 3-4 hours drive each way. I also had the bad luck to sit at the back, and felt very slightly nauseous the whole day – which wasn’t helped by the gentleman who I was squished in next to, a conspiracy theorist who wanted to tell me what conspiracies the British Royal family were involved in right now, and other unusual theories. I have another visa run just after this post comes out – can’t say I’m looking forward to it!
I’ve also – slightly randomly – enjoyed watching the progress of a building going up next door to where I am staying. I’ve watched it from ground zero up, and am fascinated by the differences in Thai and UK building rules and regs (in case you’re wondering, I worked for a year selling new houses a long time ago, and worked mostly on building sites – I still have my hard hat!).
In November, I decided to tick something off my recent Bucket List, which was to take a Thai language course. I’ll be writing more about it once it’s complete, but I can tell you now – it’s hard! Every week day morning from 9-12 I have lessons, along with the drive there and back (about 25 mins each way), and it’s provided a whole new structure to my day.
Now I do my morning pages and go for a walk at the local stadium before I leave for Thai class, in an attempt to use my time more efficiently. After class, I head to one of my favourite cafes for lunch, and work on yet another side project I have going on (which is taking about 1-2 hours a day for November – more details at a later date ;-)). I continue blogging – last week’s post was my 50th, which means I am coming up to a year both in Thailand and writing for my personal blog…wow.
Sometimes I meet friends for lunch or dinner – my socializing has continued and I have to work harder here to make sure I don’t end up doing too many things. Last week, for example, along with the above, I also did a couple of days worth of paid work (writing interview questions against personality traits and competencies, in case you are wondering!), which I enjoyed a lot, but took quite a bit out of me, as I didn’t actually swap anything else of my already full life out. Sometimes I write ‘relax’ onto my to do list for the day…
December is looming, along with Christmas, although you wouldn’t know here where it’s mostly in the high twenties at least and sunny, and there’s not much tinsel around luckily. My Thai course will be done by the end of November, but then I only have two weeks left before I head back home to the UK for Christmas. My lovely tenant moves out in December, so I need to spend some of the time I am home getting my house ready for a new person next year. Oh, and finding a new person to live there!
I’m hoping to enjoy a relaxed but sociable Christmas, with a little bit of work thrown in, seeing friends and family and getting my UK admin sorted, all so that I can spend next year focused on Thailand and getting the most out my time out here.
As always, I’ll let you know how it goes!