Merry Christmas everyone! We hope you are all having a relaxing time over the holidays.
We spent Christmas Day with our friends Dani and Jess aka The Globetrotter Girls in sunny Chiang Mai, Thailand. Our sad lack of an oven meant that traditional Christmas food was not on the menu but instead Dani & Jess treated us to a feast of all the foods we miss in Asia: cheese, bread, olives, salad, kettle chips (salt & vinegar!) and chocolate doughnuts. It was a fun and relaxing day and we were happy that although we couldn’t be with our families we celebrated with good friends instead.
The rest of December has been about getting our heads down and working – that’s why we have settled in Chiang Mai for four months. We have taken breaks though to meet up with new friends, explore more of Chiang Mai’s amazing vegetarian restaurants and eat some tasty Burmese food, visit some shimmering gold wats (temples) and head off on a few moped adventures.
The first was the Samoeng Loop – a daytrip from Chiang Mai driving through the mountains past waterfalls, elephants, rice paddies and stunning views. Our first attempt was sadly unsuccessful as we managed to get two flat tires (the same tire on two occasions) before we even got to our first stop. Luckily the kindness of Thai people meant there was always someone around to help us get the tire fixed. We set off on the same drive the following week without any mishaps and enjoyed the beautiful ride.
The Samoeng Loop was a test run for our first multi-day motorbike adventure – driving to Burma just before Christmas to renew our Thai visas. We travelled over 500km in two days – a long way on an automatic 125cc moped without full face helmets. It was a challenging, exhausting, exhilarating and chilly ride and although we wondered at times why on earth we hadn’t just taken the bus, we did enjoy the freedom of motorbike travel, the feeling of intense focus that made us appreciate the scenery, and the chance to visit some incredible temples near Chiang Rai. We’ll be writing more about the epic trip soon.
Never Ending Voyage Around The Web
I’ve been busy writing guest posts for other websites this month. These have been published so far:
- I share our Language Learning Tips for Couples on Fluent in 3 Months.
- I wrote about 18 Reasons Why Chiang Mai Makes A Perfect Digital Nomad Headquarters on Thrilling Heroics.
- On Nomadic Matt’s site I described why Visiting the Amazon Rainforest in Bolivia is a cheaper and just as rewarding experience as in better known Brazil.
We’ve also been featured this month on these sites:
- The Aussie on the Road chose our Essential Reads for Digital Nomads: Blog Edition as one of his recommended reads.
- Our Search for An Apartment in Chiang Mai post was included as a useful resource in My Little Nomad’s guide to Thailand with Kids.
- Our guide to getting off the beaten track in northern Laos was included by Enjoy Bed and Breakfast in their round up of posts about getting off the beaten path.
- Heading There have compiled a list of posts about the best places to volunteer abroad including our article about volunteering in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.
Reader Survey – We Need Your Input.
We did our first reader survey this month to find out what you like and don’t like about Never Ending Voyage and what you’d like to see more of. We’ve had a fantastic response so far and and it has given us lots of ideas. We’d still love to hear your views so you can take the Never Ending Voyage Reader Survey here.
Plans for 2012
We have extended our apartment rental in Chiang Mai until mid February as we realised we wouldn’t be able to finish the projects we are working on in time to leave in January. It is very hard to focus on work when you are travelling around, especially for such a large project. Simon is building and designing his own premium WordPress themes and it’s a big job. I’m keeping up with writing on this site and all the social media that goes along with it, writing guest posts for other websites and creating a number of eBooks. It all takes time and it’s much easier to be productive in our comfortable apartment than it is working out of cheap hotels on the road.
From February we have no idea what we are doing. We aren’t making plans (which is tough for me as I do get itchy feet!) as we don’t know what’s going to happen with the WordPress themes. We’ll be staying in Asia for a while though and our number one choice is to head to Burma (Myanmar) next. The problem is that internet is sketchy there so we’ll need to be in a position where we can take 3 or 4 weeks away from the internet.
There are so many other places in Asia we’d like to visit this year, a mix of new destinations and old favourites: the Thai islands, Cambodia, southern Laos, the Philippines, India and Sri Lanka are all places that are calling us, but we like to travel slowly and all these places get hit with the monsoon starting in May so we aren’t sure how enjoyable that would be.
So, our travel plans for 2012? Really we don’t know and that’s the way we like it. We had a few fixed destinations last year because of a wedding and conference, and this year we want to be much more open to opportunities that come our way and just see where we end up.
That said, we do have the idea of visiting the Middle East in autumn 2012 but we’ll see…
Are you looking for Christmas gift ideas? See our guide to the 50 Best Gifts for Travelers. They are ideal for travel lovers who want to pack light and include something for every budget.