Bangkok, Thailand

The Working Traveller Takes it Slow in Thailand

It has been a while since we were last on the road. Unlike some digital nomads we only travel part time but, then – despite the impression sometimes given – so do the majority of people who make their living with a laptop and an internet connection. Most long term travellers quickly learn they have the freedom of time as well as geography and sooner or later will stop somewhere and stick around for a while.

On the round the world trip we took ten years ago we travelled for nine days before we liked the look of Cusco, paid the deposit on an apartment and settled in. The one year time limit of our RTW ticket eventually spurred us on to visit more of South America and complete our circumnavigation via New Zealand, Australia and Southeast Asia.

Three years later Corfu became our home for a few months as we waited out Bulgarian visa rules that kept us from completing the purchase of an apartment in Veliko Tarnovo. We never did buy in Bulgaria. Instead we clipped our wings on Turkey’s Aegean coast, where we now live between our bouts of long term travel. When we next travelled we again began by stopping still. This time it wasn’t completely by choice as we rode out the Egyptian Revolution in the Sinai, in Dahab.

We have now begun our fourth extended trip and this time there is no pretence we are going to whizz about the place cramming everything in and trying to see everything. As I write this four days already have passed in Bangkok and all we have seen is a lot of traffic and a couple of rats. I’m fine with that. For me it is a pleasure just to walk foreign streets again. The main sights of Bangkok were seen ten years ago and while we will revisit some there is no rush.

Before we arrived in Bangkok we spent three days in Istanbul practicing, and failing, to be backpackers again. The first day we slept, the second we took advantage of having a desk to do some work and on the third we got lost in the snow. Again, we didn’t mind. We have spent ten days in the city before and though I’m pleased to have got some pictures of the Blue Mosque and Agia Sofya in the snow, spending most of our three day stay within the cosy confines of I’zaz Lofts suited us fine. Both the city and our hotel worked as a cocoon separating our caterpillar life at home from the butterfly travels to come.

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

On this trip, right from the deciding to go stage our intention was to settle down somewhere: perhaps by the sea, perhaps in that digital nomad mainstay of Chiang Mai. We were going to be ‘wintering’ as people with much more money than us might have said sometime between the invention of the airplane and the decline of the Empire.

This was to be more of a living abroad trip with a side order of adventure in Myanmar, but this time our plans have crept towards travelling more. Knowing we are definitely going to be in one place on this occasion has spurred us on to do a spurt of travel before we do put down our shallow, impermanent roots.Though we do not have a return date we expect to be back in Turkey for the second half of the year where we want to work on a couple of new websites that we hope will complete our PAYAway group of sites

Then it is back to the UK for the first time in three years where it starts to get a little hazy. Central America is always on my mind but it is unlikely that will be the year for there. Instead it is more likely we will try to find a house sit in the UK or Ireland or spend more time in what is becoming out default winter base in Dahab and hope, unlike last time, we can explore other parts of the country too.

Where we are going in this year will of course impact the direction of The Working Traveller in 2013. One thing we noticed when compiling our end of year review of posts from 2012 was how few articles were concerned with working abroad. While for the first part of this new year we will focus The Working Traveller on our destination – expect more posts on Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar – we also want to occasionally shine a light into how we work our way around the world and also to do more interviews with other travellers on how they are able to live and work abroad.

That’s what we intend on doing this year. How about you?

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4 comments to The Working Traveller Takes it Slow in Thailand

  • Yvette and Phil  says:

    Lovely to hear you are in exotic climes again (and Burma-bound!)

    I have been travelling, staying put, travelling etc etc for many years, ever since receiving your JAB updates in text format in my old Hotmail account (many moons ago!) It’s been great reading your job ads and your blog posts – feels like your site has been a much loved piece of luggage!

    We’re home (Sydney), saving, chipping at the mortgage and renting out our place again to head off on our 3rd one way ticket. No firm plans this time but Puglia is calling us back again & Isreal is on the cards. Will definitely be Helpx’ing/WWOOFing again and will buy a van. We don’t earn $ online from the road, we only have savings, WWOOFing and a little from the house – it’s a good thing we really enjoy WWOOFing!

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know what we are intending to do because, no doubt, you will be part of our luggage again!

    All the best
    Yvette and Phil

    • Shane  says:

      Hi guys,

      I think this is my favourite comment ever, especially as I don’t think a traveller can bestow a greater compliment than a comparison to much loved luggage.

      Those JAB email days were a while ago and I’m so glad to hear some of our long time readers are still travelling. I hope your next trip is a great one and that on your work exchange there will be less wine fueled flashing of grumpy locals this time. :)

  • Amy  says:

    Sounds like you’re having a good time so far, I look forward to hearing more about your adventures in Asia. Slow travel does seem to be the way to go and I know everybody recommends it I fear that Andrew and I are already falling into the trap of packing too much into our itinerary and we haven’t even left yet! I hope after a few months we learn to slow down.

    • Shane  says:

      Hey Amy,

      We are having a good time even if we haven’t done a great deal. When you have been saving hard and making sacrifices it is only natural to want to be let loose and do all the things you have been dreaming about. My little sister is currently in Australia and I know she is haring about the place throwing herself off or into things.

      I think travellers find their natural pace in their own time and there is certainly no right or wrong way or speed to travel – at least we don’t think so anyway. Today we did what we do best which is to eat then find some shade and sit in it. Tomorrow, just to vary things, perhaps we will find some shade and eat in it.

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