Four years! It’s incredible that it was four years ago that we set off with just a carry-on backpack each and a one way ticket to Rio. We had a 10 day old travel blog, no business, savings for a year, and a big dream to travel indefinitely. At the time we had all kinds of backup plans in case creating our online business didn’t work out (teaching English, working holiday visa in Australia, crewing a yacht) but four years later we haven’t had to resort to any of them—we’re still travelling the world and loving it. That’s not to say it has been easy. We still feel like we are scraping by and working on the road has many challenges. The lows are lower than in our previous life but the highs are much much higher.
Everyone told us it was the worst time of the year to visit Yosemite National Park. In July it would be crowded, temperatures scorching, and the waterfalls dried up. But it was our third visit to California and we still hadn’t made it to the famous park. We didn’t want to miss another opportunity so we went anyway and hoped that the awe-inspiring beauty that everyone raves about would overcome the negatives.
Chiang Mai in northern Thailand is a popular location for expats, retirees, and digital nomads, who are tempted by the ease of living and the blend of familiar and exotic. It has everything you need from cinemas and shopping malls to international cuisine, but it’s not a bland Westernised city. It has a fascinating culture with hundreds of Buddhist temples, their golden spires shimmering on almost every street in the Old City; captivating Buddhist festivals; and a superlative food scene with abundant inexpensive food stalls and dozens of vegetarian restaurants.
Many visitors come to Thailand hoping to fulfil a bucket list dream—to ride an elephant. Unfortunately they don’t realise the cruelty of the act, the horrific abuse young elephants suffer during their training known as the crush, which quite literally crushes their spirit to make them submissive to humans by keeping them caged, sleep deprived, hungry, and beaten.