Since I left home last June on my Great Escape, I’ve been doing (very delayed!) monthly roundups. Right now I’m picking up the slack! As this blog is not just a resource for other travelers but also my own personal travel diary, I like to take some time to reflect on not just what I did, but how I felt. I also like to remind myself of moments, incidents and random thoughts that never made it onto the blog! You can read my previous roundups here: Month 1, Month 2, Month 3 and 4, Month 5, Month 6, and Month 7.
Months eight and nine of The Great Escape standout as being the longest uninterrupted stretch in one place, as well as one of my most content periods of the year. We did not stray at all from the expat life in Koh Tao and in great contrast to Month seven we had not one guest (except for the lovely Kelli Nicole who visited for 24 hours and managed to squeeze in two beautiful dives!). We fell into a delicious routine of work, going to the gym, and splitting our evenings between going out with friends and staying in and watching Dexter. It sounds exactly like life at home… except work meant scuba diving or blogging on a porch overlooking the ocean, going to the gym meant muay thai training, and evenings out with friends meant dancing on the beach till the sun came up or watching a ladyboy show. Considering our loyalty to this routine, and the heartbreaking fact that I lost the daily notes I took on my iCal all year when my computer crashed, this roundup will be a sparse one!
Where I’ve Been
The entire two month period was spent on the 13 square miles of Koh Tao, minus one 24-hour visa run to Burma and a weekend in Bangkok en route to New York!
• Basically, the highlights of this period in my life can be summed up in this post about life on Koh Tao. I really lived in and enjoyed the present moment in a way I don’t think I have ever before. Whether I was sweating it out at the muay thai gym, eating barbeque at my favorite restaurant on the beach, partying it up with my closest friends, or looking at the stars from my bungalow porch, I really appreciated and felt grateful for every moment.
• This was the period where I really found that I struck a balance between work and play. I would force myself to put down the computer and make time to exercise, enjoy the island and spend plenty of time with my loved ones. Maybe I wasn’t always putting 110% into my work, but I learned to be at peace with that. I know that as a self-employed gal this is something I will always be working on.
• My Bangkok cash cab ride was amazing. What, a cab ride can’t be a highlight?
• So, it’s hard to call this a lowlight when I now tell it as a funny story and laugh about it, but still: I was mistaken for a prostitute while on my visa run. I have a pretty good attitude about it but it does reveal some pretty dark truths about life in Thailand.
• Unfortunately my sedate lifestyle and general contented-ness with life led to some relatively substantial weight gain. A few people have asked for an update on that post but honestly I feel that two weight-related posts is a bit of a stretch for a travel blog. Basically though, that weight gain was a wake up call for me. Things were helped along by a significant and rapid weight loss brought on by the stress of my breakup, but I knew once my appetite returned I wanted to get healthy. I’ve been working out more consistently and eating a more balanced diet than I have in my entire life, and while every day I struggle I think that I have finally broken the pattern and started a real lifestyle change (versus diets I have done in the past). Today I think I am healthier and stronger than I have ever been! So again, while that scary weight gain and the self-esteem hit that came with it were definitely a lowlight, the resulting changes are very positive. Also, it resulted in the most contextually hilarious spam comment to ever exist in the universe:
• Leaving was a lowlight! I was so into my routine and my little island life I really hesitated to take my much-needed visit home in the month of March
No surprise here, staying put and living as an expat (in a super cheap location, too boot) is far cheaper than traveling around! In Month 9 I broke the $1,000 threshold in monthly earnings off my blog, which was a major milestone for me.
Month 10 would find me back in NYC, enjoying a 4 week visit back to my home state!
Sorry these roundups are so behind, everyone! I’ll be caught up soon!