Adapting to our new life without the comforts of “home”. This, I (Alicia) knew, was going to be my biggest challenge!
We’ve been “on the road” for 6 weeks now. However, the first few weeks felt like a vacation to us since we visited family in Vancouver, then hopped on a cruise in order to get us closer to our main destinations, and played tourist in Japan for a few days. (Find out why we went on a cruise rather than flying.)
A New Life
Once we landed in Thailand, the official start of our “slow” travels, we had quite the shock. But first, let’s rewind a bit so that we can explain why we chose Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Several years back, we visited Bangkok and, at that time, I told Ernest, now that we’ve seen Bangkok, I have no desire to return. I found Bangkok to be chaotic; with all it’s traffic and people. (For reference, the registered population in Bangkok is over 8 million, however the total population swells to 15 million due to commuters from surrounding regions. This does not include the 21+ million visitors annually.)
Fast forward approximately 7 years later and we’re headed right back to Thailand and this time for a much longer visit.
“I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way”
Chiang Mai is known for it’s huge expat community, more specifically digital nomads. A larger amount of foreigners, means more modernized living. Our research confirmed the modern, western styled apartments and the vast number of indie coffee shops. We also love Thai cuisine, so it was decided that we would experience what all these expats were all raving about.
Our Shocking Arrival
We arrived at sunset and by the time we reached our hotel it was dark. After check in, we set off to look for some dinner, but also to get a feel of our new surroundings. While walking around for about 5 minutes, all I could see on Ernest’s face was awe and I knew his senses were overloaded. Every time I asked him where we should stop and have a bite, I’d get no response, as if he just couldn’t get the words out of his mouth.
We were in shock, especially coming from an orderly place like Japan. (Read all about our first impressions of Japan here.) The shock of all the traffic, the noise, the dark roadways, the missing sidewalks and the polluted air. We found ourselves in utter chaos. And this would be our new home for the next 2 months!
Adapting To Our New Life
With any new place, even moving into a new home or apartment in a city you grew up in, making it your “home” always comes with some effort. And we’re definitely not new to moving and adapting since we’ve lived in 7 different homes in the past decade, all (of course) our own decision.
However, transitioning to a new home in a different country was definitely something new to us. We found it difficult being asian in an asian country. (This topic alone deserves it’s own post. Be sure to subscribe so that you won’t miss it.)
The key to being happy wherever you are in the world and whatever stage you are in life, is being open-minded. Life is so different here and embracing these differences and living in the moment is what travelling (to us) is all about.
“We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us.”
I love exploring and see travel as a journey of lessons; a journey of lifelong learning. It broadens our minds, helps us develop cultural empathy and gives us a better understanding of a world we’ve never seen before. There is nothing more enriching than seeing and experiencing life in another part of the world. We left the familiar to expand our horizons.
Now are you ready to leave your comfort zone and experience new things?