January seemed like it went on forever, didn’t it?? Despite everything happening in the world (A bit fat UGH to all of that), January wasn’t exactly terrible for me. It wasn’t the love and light fest that December was, but I learned a lot about myself anyways. Sometimes you have to embrace the darkness to be able to see the light. January for me was definitely divided into light and dark. And obviously, a bit of gray, because you can’t have light and dark without gray in between!
Where I’ve Been
1 Night on the Overnight Train From Hell
Chiang Mai, Thailand (22 Nights)
Bangkok, Thailand (5 Nights)
I spent one month in Thailand! Mostly in Chiang Mai. They don’t call it the top digital nomad hub for nothing!
What I’ve Loved
-I felt super inspired the entire month. Ideas and visions were coming at me from all over. I had trouble falling asleep for most of the month because I was being kept awake by all of these crazy ideas. What followed the crazy ideas was a lot of internet research, Pinterest Board making, and even vision boarding! (Side note: Do you guys vision board? I LOVE IT!)
One of said Pinterest boards
-Going to a Women’s Entrepreneurial Night in Chiang Mai. Since Chiang Mai is a hub for so many location independent people, it only makes sense that there would be a ton of co-working spaces. While I didn’t sign up for a membership as I didn’t know how long I’d be there for, I did go to one cool event at Punspace, a popular co-working spot. Dozens of women from all over the world gathered to share their experiences as entrepreneurs (or wannabe entrepreneurs like me). There were two speakers, who told us the best advice from their epic careers as entrepreneurs. Some of the advice that spoke to me? Get a mentor. Be persistent with your follow-through. Get help when you need it.
When you're working as a digital nomad it's important to have a productivity center. Some must haves? •Coffee..Obvs •Clean, not cluttered (which usually rules out wherever I happen to be living at the time) •Pleasing aesthetic •Comfortable seating arrangement I'm happy to say I've found my spot here in Chiang Mai! Many people opt to go to a co-working space, but I am perfectly happy at the chic Baristro. They even have a desk just for me! (That last part was a lie. But a girl can dream right?)
-I met some new blogger friends! Fact: There are always a few travel bloggers in Chiang Mai at any given moment. I was thrilled to find out, via Snapchat of course, that some fellow bloggers were in town. Being able to connect with people who understand your world when you feel a bit disconnected from everything is a true blessing.
-Even though I couldn’t be at the Women’s March in person (with literally all of my family and friends) there WAS a Women’s Empowerment Solidarity Picnic in Chiang Mai. I gathered with women and men to express what we were feeling at this critical point in our history. We shared stories, drew signs, and it was an overall feel-good time. Did you attend a women’s march or a women’s solidarity event? Or did you make it personal by reflecting in your own time?
-I made a really difficult personal decision, which I’m not quite ready to share with the world yet. I’m putting this under what I’ve loved because the catharsis of living my truth has been something I’ve really loved this month.
What I Learned
-Sometimes, it is worthwhile to pay more money for less hassle. Or, in the case of the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, less money for less hassle. You can read the entire story of my night of terror here on my Facebook Page. But the lessons continued (when will I learn?) when instead of just getting a car from the airport on my way back to Bangkok, I insisted on saving money and taking the train. Well, really the bus to the train to another train. With all of my stuff. In the searing Bangkok heat. With little to no food in my stomach. Sometimes self-care means paying literally $5 more for a little comfort that will go a long way.
Sunday morning vibes ☕️✨ • • • • • #afar #abmtravelbug #livefolk #abmlifeiscolorful #liveauthentic #mytinyatlas #howyouglow #postitfortheaesthetic #colourmyworld #colorinspiration #ihavethisthingwithcolor #colorfullife #capturingcolor #colorcolourlovers #candyminimal #popyacolour #thatsdarling #darlingweekend #sundayvibes #sundayfunday #bangkokriverside #bangkokweekend #sundayrelaxation #sundaycoffee #coffeewithaview
-Dorm life…not for me anymore. Well, not unless I don’t care if I get any work done that is. Also, my self-care routines go out the window when I’m staying with a bunch of other people in a dorm. Not saying I will never stay in a dorm again (I stayed in one on my return to Bangkok) but it will be a conscious choice knowing that I can kiss productive work goodbye.
-Being vegan is hard, guys. If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (Which, if you’re not, now is a great time to get on that *wink*) you’ll know that early in January I decided to go vegan. I decided this the morning after waking up with one of the worst migraines I’ve ever had. It had been a few days of me not being able to get out of bed, feeling shitty and depleted. I’ve been trying to focus on my health for a while now. Without implementing any action steps. So I went FULL-ON and decided I was going to be vegan. I was vegan for about a week and a half, feeling literally amazing when I woke up one morning and couldn’t get out of bed again. What do you do when you have no energy? You get the closest food available, requiring the least amount of effort. And usually, for me anyways, that food isn’t healthy.
I got SO much good advice from you guys when I announced I was going vegan, and lots of supportive voices chiming in. I still really want to be vegan. But is it possible to be vegan-ish? I hate feeling deprived, and usually when I “cave” I go the complete opposite way and eat ALL of the animal products. I’m constantly struggling to find balance (not just in my health, but in every aspect of my life) and fall victim to “black and white” thinking a lot of the time. I am either full-on vegan or stuffing my face with bacon, cheese, ice cream..you get the picture. I really thought it would stick this time because I was feeling so good in my body being vegan.
-Which kind of brings me to my next topic: depression. I wrote about my struggles with depression in my November monthly roundup. It happens more or less without fail about once a month. I feel listless, without energy, and everything feels too much. The good thing is it’s only about once a month and not months at a time, like when I was living in NYC. But, in my naïveté, I really thought that travel would cure my depression. Turns out, it doesn’t work like that. I had a moment this month where I had to come to terms with the idea that depression would always be a part of my life, no matter where on this planet I am.
-And not long after THAT realization, I had another, greater, one. It came from reading a book written by my new favorite author, Lisa Lister. In it, she talks about the female menstrual cycle (it’s more than just your period!) and how you can harness your cyclical nature to make the most of your feminine power. Okay, if that sentence totally made you internally clench up with resistance, I understand. But hear me out! What if we’re not supposed to be ‘go, go, go’ all month long? What if our bodies have natural ebbs and flows and we are supposed to honor them? What if, by doing less, we could actually do more? These are the questions that Lisa Lister poses in her book, Code Red, and I am absolutely fascinated by the answers.
When you look at it this way, what if my depression isn’t something negative to be medicated or hidden or shamed? What if it’s just my body’s natural cycle at work. Maybe my depression isn’t actually that, but because I’ve been taught that I need to be DOING all month long, my natural tendency to withdraw inwards every month is seen as a bad thing. Please note: This is in NO way diminishing people who have clinical depression. If you struggle with depression, I am not trying to imply that it’s as easy as “embracing” your depression. I can only speak to my experience.
-In case you’re wondering why it doesn’t seem like I did anything travel related this month, it’s because I didn’t. Aside from seeing one temple in Chiang Mai, I was just a regular person doing regular stuff, in Thailand. Because of all the ideas I was having, I spent most of my time either working or gathering inspiration. If you travel frequently or are a digital nomad like me, do you feel pressure to be in “travel mode” all the time? Even if you’re also trying to work?
I definitely feel really guilty when I go somewhere and don’t “do all the things.” But, like my depression, I am trying to embrace all the parts of myself. Sometimes, travel to me means walking around, sitting in coffee shops, and observing life around me. It’s STILL super fascinating because people and places are endlessly fascinating to me. I don’t have to be DOING something to feel like I’m traveling.
Leaving Chiang Mai tomorrow after 3 weeks! To be honest I haven't seen too many of the "must see" sights. Instead I've been focusing on being a human being who works online and just happens to live halfway around the world from home. But one day I took a break from work and walked to a nearby temple, called Wat Suan Dok. This is just the entrance, but wait until you see the photos I took of the actual temple! Insane. That's why I love being a digital nomad, the ability to take a break from work and casually pop over to a temple for the afternoon 😂 oh…and the pad Thai. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• #afar #abmtravelbug #livefolk #abmlifeiscolorful #colourmyworld #colorinspiration #ihavethisthingwithcolor #colorfullife #capturingcolor #colorcolourlovers #candyminimal #popyacolour #liveauthentic #mytinyatlas #howyouglow #postitfortheaesthetic #adventureon #beautifuldestinations #passionpassport #forbestravelguide #livetravelchannel #wandeleurspark #chiangmai #thailandtemple #thailandtourism #ig_thailand #travelthailand #watsuandok #thailandtravel #digitalnomad
What I’m Reading (Online)
Be a Contributor, Not A Guru on Lucky Bitch – This article completely changed how I think about my blog. It’s hard, with so much content out there, to add something unique to the noise. But this post urges us to simply use our voice to add to the conversation. You never know when something you put out there will affect someone! [See Also: Why I Think You Should Start A Blog in 2017]
Asia Is Not Your Dumping Ground on Adventurous Alexis – Such an important post for anyone who travels! I’m sorry to say that I’ve run into a lot of disgusting tourist behavior all over the world. This post focuses on Asia, but I could very much relate the same advice to Central America [See Also: 14 Things I Won’t Miss In Central America]
Traveling With Anxiety and OCD on Doodle Me Travel – Fellow anxious traveler, Jessica, shares her advice on how to handle anxiety and OCD while traveling. I love her doodles, too! [See Also: Brave? Not Me! How To Travel With Anxiety]
What are some of your favorite blogs to read? 💻 I've been reading blogs since 2004! Blogs have shaped who I am in a major way. Yet when it came time to press publish and really put myself out there, I was scared. I didn't start my own blog until 2014 and even then I didn't share it with anyone until 2015! If you click the link in my profile you can read more about my journey with blogging and why I think 2017 is your year to start a blog if you've been wanting to but, like me, are scared to press publish ••••• Let me know in the comments – if you have a blog now were you scared when you started it? If you'd like to have a blog but don't, what's holding you back? bit.ly/blogin2017 ••••• #vscocoffee #coffeedaily #coffeeholic #coffeetime #coffeebreak #coffeelovers #coffeelover #instacoffee #baristadaily #coffeearoundtheworld #podcult #proudofyourlocalcoffeeshop #coffeeinlife #analogbrewing #peoplebrewcoffee #coffeeshopcorners #beanhunter #coffeecupsoftheworld #coffeecupsaroundtheworld #cupsinframe #coffeeculture #coffeehouse #afar #abmtravelbug #livefolk #abmlifeiscolorful #liveauthentic #mytinyatlas #howyouglow #postitfortheaesthetic
What I’m Reading (Offline)
I already mentioned Lisa Lister’s book Code Red, and now I’ve moved onto her next book: Love Your Lady Landscape. If you’re curious AT ALL about how to harness your feminine power every month, I urge you to check her books out. If you have Amazon Kindle Unlimited, Code Red is free!
I was feeling the autobiography format in January and read both Shrill by Lindy West and Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick. Both great, but very different. Shrill is excellently written and thought-provoking, while Scrappy Little Nobody was a fun fluff read. I’m also pretty sure Anna Kendrick and I are twins because we’ve been through a lot of the same life experiences. I almost felt like I was reading MY autobiography at times. Creepy.
Where Else I’m Hanging Out Online
January was a CRAZY month in terms of blog growth. So hello to all of my new readers! I do these monthly updates every first Wednesday (ahem..or every first Thursday or Friday..) of the month.
Probably the biggest news is that I am a Featured Blogger on the Alex in Wanderland sidebar! Alex’s blog was one of my first inspirations in terms of both solo female travelers AND badass bloggers, so seeing my logo on her page is surreal.
Another favorite blogger of mine, Leah of The Sweetest Way, published an interview I did with her about how I earn money as a digital nomad. If you’re curious about how I make money while I travel, head over to check it out.
A good friend of mine from New York (we met at Soul Camp!) hosts an epic podcast called Green Is The New Black which features interviews about wellness, vegan, spirituality, alternative medicine and personal growth. I did an interview with her for the #InspiredBy series, where Ashley and I talked about travel as a tool for personal growth. Check out the Podcast Episode by clicking the image below:
AND Taylor of Taylor’s Tracks named my Instagram account as an Up-and-Coming Instagram Account to Follow in 2017!
Where I’m Going Next
I’m already back in Bali! I’ll be here for the WHOLE MONTH of February. Oh yeah, that feels good.
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