Three unbeatable reasons to “get lost”.

unnamedAny experienced backpacker or explorer will tell you that abandoning The Plan and simply getting into a place and getting lost is spice of traveling. The unique challenges and rewards really help people find themselves, as ironic as that sounds. Here I’ll give you the three most exciting reasons to “get lost”.

1. Adventure

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Central Festival; finding it was a bittersweet relief after a long journey through exciting backstreets.

You can’t beat finding a road that is fresh and unexplored by too many people, or a discovering a different path that leads to the destination you’re (eventually) getting to. A good example is when Mustafa and I took a “shortcut” to the Central Festival mall here in Chiang Mai and ended up stumbling upon a few interesting places that weren’t on TripAdvisor, like a board games center/shop and a new restaurant with some great guava juice. The magic of the road is that you truly don’t know what to expect.

2.  People.

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The famous Golconda fort where Mustafa, with no plan nor intention, was invited over for the night by a perfect stranger who saw that Mustafa was a little lost with nowhere to stay. Kindness can be found everywhere.

Granted that no matter where you go you’ll run in to interesting people, there’s no better way to experience the true culture of a place than to just get lost and head into places and communities that aren’t perfectly mapped out on your maps app. Mustafa did this (quite bravely) in India. He’d gotten lost, found Golconda fort and after exploring it, met some lovely people that hosted him for free at their place.

3. Food!

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“Could you add some more peanuts, please?” We’d found this lovely pad thai stall whilst we were searching (and getting quite lost) for our bank branch. It was a tremendously tasty find!

All the greatest, tastiest tales have been about discovered food finds whilst meandering down an unknown quarter of a town or village. We discovered what might be the most amazing pad thai in Chiang Mai on a street we had no intention of going down (we’d only gone down it to look for a bank). Also, lots of deserts and snacks that are indigenous to the local culture we’ve only been able to find through getting lost and happening upon them.

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Bonus pic…The most amazing grilled bananas stuffed with shredded coconut and smothered in coconut milk…..best lost find, ever!!!

 

Thoughts on the ideal job.

Relaxing at the hotel's pool after a long day of exploration and research.
Relaxing at the hotel’s pool after a long day of exploration and research.

Koh Lanta – It’s been a long day of island exploration, food and drink experiences and supplying/scouring the internet for articles, Instagram photos and YouTube videos. I’m laying on a deck chair, poolside, fanning away a mosquito and admiring the colors of the sunset sky.

Even while enjoying the peace and quiet of Thailand in the low season my new ‘work’ never stops. Writing about social issues, personal experiences, and journalling our travels are all things I can do from anywhere so long as my battery is charged and I can find good internet.

However, this type of work, nomadic blogging or freelance journalism, is not the fairytale you might imagine it to be. Whilst the most obvious perk is that one gets to travel to some amazing places and meet some incredible people, there is a less talked about, less ‘wow’, side to it all.

Earlier today I read an article that took a look at how some young adults were treating the concept of using the internet as their workplace. There was a romantic feel to the article, hinting at an exciting life of travel with no end, having a job that gave you the freedom to do it from anywhere in the world…so long as you had a good wifi connection.

The trade, from what I’ve seen, is that one gives up certain comforts or aspirations to pursue, for an indefinite time, the fulfilment of a dream, i.e., traveling the world. Or at least traveling South-East Asia, more specifically, Thailand.

Thailand is one of the best places to lead a budget life and work online. All the basic necessities and then some are a great deal cheaper than most everywhere else. One can easily find free wifi in coffee shops as well.

The drawback to this ideal picture is the reality that many writing jobs can’t fully support any kind of comfortable, financially secure, lifestyle. There’s not a lot of high paying online writing jobs, not when someone in India can do it for a fraction of what you’d get paid. Sooner or later a person runs the risk of running out of the savings they brought with them.
Not only can a person run out of funds but the life led up to that point is normally one of strict budgeting, toting heavy backpacks from one hostel to another, watching in frustrated amazement as tourists get scammed incredible amounts of bhat by tuk tuk drivers and tour agencies.

So what happens when a person whose workplace is online runs out of money? Well, that’s truly up to that person. Common stories normally see these people becoming ESL teachers or flying back to their home countries to find whatever support they can from immediate family.

Despite the grim picture I’ve attempted to paint, the allure of traveling can never be diminished by the possible threat of bankruptcy. Dreamers, writers, nomads and those who are all three at once always find a way, even if we struggle ¬†along some parts of the journey.