Living Differently. New Ways in Chiang Mai

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We’re loving this city in strange and unexpected ways. I’m loving the Thai environment sure, the Old City of Chiang Mai with its ancient walls, stunning temples and teak houses, the amazing Thai food and it’s abundant availability, the clear blue skies and tropical heat, but I’m loving it in more than a tourist-sort-of-way. I’m loving living here and working here.

I’m in work, at my desk in a luscious co-working space with good coffee. Chef and the boys will join me later , eat, play, work, maybe watch a movie in the huge cinema that I can see from my desk. I love that I know this co-working space is open 24hours even when the swanky shopping mall that houses it isn’t. I came in the back way, the secret way, feeling like I knew a locals-only secret at 7am. I love that this morning I hopped on a songtaw, alone, greeted the driver in Thai and paid the correct price. It’s 20 Baht/person. Most tourists get way over-charged.

I’m loving that we’ve been here a few days and know exactly where to go for lunch or dinner at under £1/plate. On our first day here we stopped at a tourist restaurant and paid a small fortune for average pad seew ( they spell it differently every time!) without the condiments that are so essential in Thailand. If you’re heading here, never eat anywhere that doesn’t have the full range of Thai condiments on every table.

How do I know all this stuff, why is this trip so different to other times? Part of it, the food knowledge for instance, is because this is maybe my 20th trip to Thailand, I can never get enough of this country. But the new stuff, the living, working stuff, it’s because we’ve talked to people.

I’ll tell you the honest truth, we get a lot of emails from readers and bloggers asking if we’d like to meet up, I usually make excuses. My social anxiety makes my shy away from people and I like my quiet space, away from public scrutiny.I’m trying to force myself out of that.  In the last 3 days we’ve met up with 3 separate groups of people, and it was good. All were different, all were interesting, all were pretty fabulous actually. There were the Ericksons, a family of 5 with 3 very big kids, 2 small, maybe starting on a whole new path and career. Andrew and Amy of Our Big Fat Travel Adventure, digital nomads and travel bloggers, ex Londoners, sometimes teachers of English, no kids yet. Then there were the Normans, with one fantastic little girl, sellers of their old life, creators of a new one. They all filled us in on how to do it and where to do it, growing our knowledge with every sentence.

Chiang Mai Thailand
A small, fairly ordinary building in one of Chiang Mai’s temple complexes. I’m yet to go out on a real photo safari, I will, you won’t believe the stunning beauty of this place.

So, living differently, this is it, this is our life, this is my job. I never dreamed it would turn out like this, back in Port Douglas when we sold all our stuff and bought backpacks to go see the world. It’s the best thing we ever did. Being with my family, the amazing new friends we’ve made, our new outlook on life, my new career, the kids’ development into stellar young men full of ideas and enthusiasm and my husband’s ability to follow the Ironman circuit around the world. I just love it.

And that is all I wanted to say today.

Maybe see you on the road one day.

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If you'd like to hire a car during your stay, use this car rental comparison tool to find the best deal!

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About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

9 thoughts on “Living Differently. New Ways in Chiang Mai”

  1. Glad you’re enjoying life here in Chiang Mai. We love it too and I’m not sure we’re ever going to want to leave! It is just the perfect place to work online, meet like-minded people, live comfortably and not have to worry too much about money.

  2. You haven’t sounded this happy for a while-I’m thrilled you are pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and “mingling”. I’m betting you get way more done in a co-working space than at “home” or in a hotel. Honest opinion-how do you think a child who can get overwhelmed easily would cope with Chiang Mai?

    • Well there are no animals on the street. Crossing roads is tricky, you just have to step out and make them stop. There are a few taxi touts that try to get your custom ( always flag one down, they’re 20Baht, you shouldn’t have to negotiate). Otherwise it’s pretty quiet. The night markets can be busy and people will be calling out, trying to get attention.

  3. I’m loving your enthusiasm for travel, life and your family. Really inspiring. Will keep reading and following…

  4. So glad you found a way to put down comfortable roots in Chiang Mai for awhile. That coworking space sounds like a real find——not to mention coffee for momma.????

  5. Delighted that you and your family are loving life! Would welcome that for every person on the planet. When you say you’re working, is this the pinterest work? I’ve read about it on some of your other posts; I can’t say I really understand what it is. Best to you!

    • Blogging Amber, I work more hours that you could possibly imagine on the websites, I have to, it’s the only way to make them pay. Hours and hours and hours…. I haven’t had time to take on any Pinterest clients lately, too busy with my own stuff. Much nicer working for yourself than for somebody else, even with a fixed pay agreement.


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