Five years later

five years laterMarch 7, 2010 I boarded a flight to London. It wasn’t a city I loved, but it was where I was going to start my career break. Five years later, it is the place I sit and write this post from. Trust me when I write this: A lot can change in five years.

In these past five years, I have seen more, experienced more, loved more, hurt more and lived more than I could have imagined possible.

Why did I take the leap?

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10 signs you are a local in Chiang Mai

being local in chiang mai
After living in Thailand for more than two years, I like to consider myself a local.

Although, let’s face it: as a westerner in Thailand, I will never be a real local. Certainly, I can adapt. I can learn. But, I am not Thai and never will be.

However, I am decidedly more “Thai” than I was when I first arrived in 2012.

So much has changed, and if you’ve been following my life as an expat, you know it isn’t all easy. It isn’t all pretty. But, it is all worth it.

Asia Blog Expat Life Thailand

Questions to ask about volunteer vacations

Questions to ask about volunteer vacations

Editor’s Note: I recently contributed to a book about volunteer vacations and how to be responsible when choosing one. Details are at the end of this post.

I remember when I first booked my volunteer “vacation” to Thailand. My friends thought I was nuts.

“Who takes time off of work to go and work in a foreign country?” they had all asked me when I announced I was spending one week of my 12-day holiday as a volunteer at Elephant Nature Park (ENP).

I’ve never been one to take conventional vacations, so while everyone else questioned what I was doing, it made sense to me. After learning about ENP and Save Elephant Foundation, and the vital role travelers play in keeping both the foundation and the park alive, I felt it was important to go and give back.

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Why I’m grateful for Chiang Mai

Why I'm grateful for Chiang Mai
Three years ago, if you would have asked me about a future in Chiang Mai, I may have gone all glassy-eyed and distant. Chiang Mai was a dream to me three years ago. The elephants were a dream to me then, too. I lived in a world where I was not satisfied with my existence. I lived in a world, three years ago, where despite my (mediocre) efforts, I had fallen unhappily back into a world I didn’t want to be in.

Nearly fresh off my career break/solo travel through Europe, there I was, sitting at my parent’s home in Maryland, waxing melancholy at my choices and desperately trying to sort out how to rearrange my life to make it one I was grateful for again. (Note: I wasn’t not grateful for my life, it just wasn’t what I wanted).

I dreamed of Thailand travel. A world exploring Chiang Mai. Bangkok. Being surrounded by elephants and fighting for their well-being.

And then, just like that, those dreams came to life with a single e-mail from Lek Chailert, the founder of Save Elephant Foundation, the rescue organization I longed to work for.

Come to Thailand, she had written.

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Chiang Mai Moments: The moto ride

Welcome to a new series on d travels ’round, Chiang Mai Moments. This series will profile small moments in time during my life  as an expat in Chiang Mai. The moments which normally would get pushed aside for the bigger picture of life, but deserve more. There is no schedule for these posts. There is no format. These are just stories flowing when they flow and moments happening when they happen. I hope these Chiang Mai Moments give you some insight into the beauty which exists in this country and the experiences gifted to expats who choose to make this city home.

riding a moto bike in chiang mai

Asia Blog Expat Life Thailand

‘Twas the night before Europe

“You won’t make it a month …”

Those ominous words echo in my mind, 12 years after I took my first longer-than-a-vacation jaunt to Europe. People were actually rooting for my failure. My lack of ability to travel solo for any length of time.

They were right. I didn’t make it a month. But, not because I couldn’t travel that long, but because I was in a place in my life where I had no business traveling. I was escaping and using a month in Europe as that ditch plan. Needless to say, when the sole purpose of a trip is to run, it doesn’t work out well.

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