Three years ago I began my nomading adventure, thinking that I would be away for ONE YEAR… What the heck happened?!
Well… I don’t have a neat and simple answer to that. Mostly I have been enjoying this so much that I have seen no reason to stop.
This last year has seen some ups and downs, but the overall feeling has been of one of fatigue setting in, compounded by a heavy workload and an attempt to travel too fast for my liking.
So here are my new resolutions as I enter this third year of permanent motion:
– Travel MORE slowly (I know some will laugh at that) and try to spend at least 1 month in any given place.
– Try to sleep 8-9 hours every night (again, some will laugh but heck, it’s what I need!), without fail.
– Continue to drink very little alcohol, continue to exercise.
This year I started training in Muay Thai which has been a revelation. I am back in Asia and back to training, though I am currently taking one month off and visiting Hoi An in Vietnam.
I also went back to writing. The first half of the year was great, I was making much progress, but then the return to Europe froze me. I am slowly getting back into it! It’s gotta be done 🙂
Other than that, it is still “same same” as Thai people would say. Nothing majorly new. Apart from having a new, gorgeous niece!
Overall I am well, happy and balanced. I continue to meet amazing people and to forge friendships that continue to surprise me, day in day out. That is the greatest gift of this lifestyle.
And I continue to add stops to my tour, so there’s no end in sight. Please don’t ask me “When are you coming back?”, I am not away, I am here, in this moment and in this place, enjoying it the way I know how.
Yes, yes I know, it’s been a year since my last update… Perseverance is not my strong suit. But here I am, and I’m going to update you on what I’ve been up to since February 2016… in freestyle!
Went to Koh Phangan and found it beautiful but, for me, empty and lonely (it was a hard act to follow Lanta and KoHub!)
Had one of the most painful massages of my life
Went to Burma to see an old friend, only for said friend be sent away by work just before I got there. One day after arriving I got very sick (turned out later I had bronchitis and pharyngitis). I struggled through a few days there, among the rain and rats of Yangon. Decided I was miserable and gave in to the call of some dear friends who were over in Bali, so I booked a flight to Bali and I went the next day. Burma, I’ll be back, I promise!
Bali was beautiful. I had no expectations and no mental image of what this island was going to be like, so I was pleasantly surprised. I stayed mostly in Ubud (where we got our own house with pool – the dream villa was realised after all!) and hung out with some dear friends.
Went to Chiang Mai for a month, to try and experience this self-styled “Digital Nomad hub” for myself. Thank god I already had some friends there, as I did not make any new ones. I wasn’t really ready for city life but I still enjoyed this beautiful city with its many attractions, including the amazing street food! Got down and did some serious writing.
After having reached “peak Asia” and having gotten blind drunk twice in one month (something I’ve done only a couple of times in my entire life, and one of these in CM was due to the Brexit result), it was time to return to Mother Europe.
Went to Italy to a great wedding (I probably ate double my body weight during the reception) and danced the night away with old school friends. Fab! Visited the lovely Matera (amazing place!) then spent a couple of weeks in Tuscany with my little monsters (my niece and nephews).
Finally, it was time to get back to my other happy island, the gorgeous Carloforte in Sardinia. I had one week with mum and auntie (they lookedafter me well!) then a week to myself, hermit-like, to write and chill, and celebrate my birthday alone.
I returned to Rome where an amazing friend threw me a surprise (ish) birthday party on her rooftop terrace, complete with live band, cocktails and huge cake. It was amazing!
I travelled for short trips to London, Stockholm, Scotland and Paris, to see some people very dear to my heart and spend quality time with them. But the weather was getting cold so it was time to head somewhere warmer again.
I finally made it to Kenya to visit some old friends. It was my first proper Africa trip. And what a trip! I still don’t know what to make of it, but I did enjoy myself immensely: Nairobi, Naivasha, Diani beach and then a safari in the Masai Mara (where I acquired a Maasai chief suitor :P). And I was with my American friends when we found out Trump had won, so we were able to commiserate with each other. Kenya, I will be back.
I constantly marvel at the fact that wherever I go now I happen to be in the same place as others I’ve already met during my travels. I love my digital nomad community!
Then it was time for a quick London stop before spending a month in the Alps for Christmas with the little monsters. This was fabulous. We got to spend most days playing, reading, laughing, learning. It warms my heart.
I then got some amazing and unexpected news: I’m gonna be an auntie for the fourth time! This time thanks to my sister 🙂
Finally, after having endured one month of cold, my body rebelled. So I flew all the way to… Australia! This was my first time Down Under and I have to say, my various hosts outdid themselves (I think they realise how far Australia is from everywhere else apart from NZ, and reward you accordingly). I stayed in Sydney and Melbourne, and it was an amazing trip! I loved it, loved the people, the food, the coffee, the beach, the friends I made… I even got to do a reverse puzzle room (breaking into a bank is one of my new side activities!). The result: I will definitely be back.
Went for 10 days to Penang, in Malaysia, which I had visited during my very first Asia trip almost 10 years ago and which has retained all its charm. It is becoming a bit of a DN hotspot, and for good reason. The food is great, costs are low and the infrastructure is fabulous. Costs for me are a definite issue at the moment, due to the fact that, thanks to Brexit, everything this year is 25% more expensive for me compared to last year.
Thai visa in hand, I finally made it back to my original happy island ™: Lanta. On arrival, I dumped my bags, put on my bikini and met a friend at the beach for a swim at sunset: just what I had been hankering after for months.
And this is where I still am now, in my happy place, being healthy, productive and creative, surrounded by lovely people. It was great to be remembered by many island residents and be greeted warmly. I feel at home here.