So, the taller half and I have now been living in Chiang Mai for about three and a half months. We have around six weeks to go until we move on and to be honest that’s not really sinking in, because we have definitely settled into a routine here. I can definitely see this as a place where we could put down roots for a longer period. So I thought I would give you a little idea of how things are going and what our day-to-day lives are really like.
I have been doing a lot of filming for my YouTube channel, even though I’ve only just started getting my Chiang Mai videos up (yes, I am that far behind! Slack!) But truth be told, I don’t film a lot of my day-in day-out stuff. The reason for that is, well, it’s boring! It’s a different, exotic, more fun kind of boring, but every day is very much the same. Here’s how things usually go down.
I usually wake up between 6 and 7 am (depending on how long I’ve stayed up the night before). Because it’s still chilly in the mornings here (some of you may be surprised to hear that Thailand does actually have winter!) I have to admit that I have gotten into the bad habit of turning off my alarm and just climbing right back into bed. I usually stay here, checking my social media on my phone (that’s work…right?) and generally wasting time before I snap out of it and remember I’m supposed to be meditating, which I do for about 15 minutes.
I’ve also begun a daily habit of reading for 15 minutes before I get out of bed again. I am looking for some inspiration on what Lemuria-related topics to bring you, so lately I’ve been reading from one of my books on the subject. As well as giving me some ideas, it also gets the day off on a good note because I find the topic so interesting. Hence, I start my day happy.
I usually eat my breakfast during or just after my reading (depending on how lazy I feel, lol).
Around this time my husband usually gets up and dressed (how come guys only take about 5 minutes to get ready in the morning? Seriously??) He then leaves the apartment to get an early start on his studying at one of the coworking spaces near us. Sometimes it’s me who heads out to the coworking spaces, to give him the chance to get some filming done, but that only happens about once per week (I prefer the privacy of the apartment).
Once he’s gone, I turn on my computer and get started. I try to get dressed before I do this, but admittedly I’ve gotten very lazy lately. If you work or study from home, just trust me, it’s better to get dressed before you sit down at your computer. Just trust me!
Now, here is where my day really gets boring. I usually type away thoroughly until about 12 or 1 pm, when I take a quick break for lunch. Lunch is usually leftovers or some vegetables served over rice; I used to go out for lunch but this way I save a bit of money, plus staying in gives me more time to do things with my eyes, like watching Youtube videos, while my hands are busy putting food in my face.
I do also try to find the time to do at least one chore around the apartment, such as sweeping or washing the dishes, but this doesn’t always happen (sorry Mum).
I then keep going until the evening, depending on how much I have to do. There is a real pattern to my week in terms of how busy I am. Wednesdays and Thursdays I am usually finished by about 5 pm, but Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays I could finish anywhere up to 7 pm. Yes, the digital nomad life takes dedication, especially at the start. But I don’t mind – I live in frickin Chiang Mai, for goodness’ sake.
Hubby and I then have to decide what to do for dinner. I’ll be honest, we don’t cook at home nearly as much as we should! Despite having a rice cooker and microwave, we often find ourselves heading out to get some street food from one of the local markets or ducking into one of the cheaper restaurants in the Nimman, Huaey Kaew or Santitham areas. Although there are many things we could make at home, we can never make things taste as good as the locals can! Plus it’s always good to support local businesses.
While we’re on the topic of supporting local businesses – prices are reasonable too, although food is cheaper in Huaey Kaew and Santitham than Nimman. The bill often comes to only a fraction more than it would if we were to go to the supermarket and cook for ourselves. So the temptation to eat out is strong. (If you are planning to stay here for a long period of time, it is a judgement call as to whether or not you’ll need a rice cooker in your apartment – many of us have them, but many others don’t and they get by just fine. Although I do imagine that having your own cooking facilities would be nicer on the saturated evenings of the rainy season).
Occasionally we find other things to do with our evenings, such as having drinks with friends or going to the movies (100 baht movie night on Wednesdays! Woo-hoo!) But usually we save our adventures for the weekend. Most Saturdays we are out of the house all day, walking and exploring new corners of the city, and Sundays we try to do something small and close, as we have regular family Skype calls on that day.
Our weekday evenings, once we’ve eaten, usually end with us hanging out at home and watching TV together, maybe with a snack or two. We try not to do any work once we’re finished for the day, but occasionally I will take part in a blogging share thread or try to catch up on Pinterest. I finally lie down at about 10:30 pm (although I will admit that it is often a bit later than that, if there’s a good movie on!)
Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen friends of ours, one by one, move on from Chiang Mai. This is the done thing at this time of year, as this is when winter ends and the burning season starts. We will be here until late March, however, and so we are expecting things to be fairly quiet by the time we go. Our new destination will be Penang – I’m a little nervous as I’ve never been there and I’m a bit daunted by the prices of everything, but fingers crossed it will be okay. I have been told the vegan food is awesome though, so I am very much looking forward to that!
Gearing up to move on means that we’re now having to be conscious of what we buy – if we aren’t going to finish it by the time we go, we aren’t allowed to get it. We are also forming our to-do list of things we have to see and restaurants we have to eat at before we leave Chiang Mai. (I still haven’t been to Aum. For shame!) It’s all feeling a little bit like when we left Melbourne in October, and it’s a strange feeling knowing that everywhere we plan to go for the rest of the year will be our home for a shorter period than the time we’ve spent here. Once we leave Chiang Mai, will we even feel “at home” again for a while? It’s hard to say!
All in all, life in Chiang Mai is pretty sweet. What I’ve learned over the last few months is that the world of $150 per month apartments and 30 baht meals that so many people talk about just doesn’t exist (at least not anymore). But you can have a fairly comfortable life for only a little more than that, and you get to do it in a place that is populated by some of the sweetest people you will ever meet. I still wake up every day grateful to Chiang Mai for giving me and so many others the chance to live, even if just for a short time, in a place that is so altogether kind to me.
Do you share my feelings for Chiang Mai? Can you identify with my daily routine? Do you have any tips for us in Penang? Please let me know below!