Our Traveling Sistahs!

This week’s blog is devoted to some women who share our joy of traveling and who inspire us.

Kat and Amber have a great blog Wandering Soup. They share about traveling as a family and also share the stories of other travelers.

Lacey Clark is truly a phenomenal woman and she shares this in her one woman show Phenomenal Everywhere. Look for it to come to a city near you soon.

Listening to the wonderful podcast of Nubia and Frantzces is our favorite thing to do as we take our walks. Chronicles Abroad highlights the stories of travelers from all walks of life, gives an abundance of helpful information about traveling, is hella funny and has the best theme song ever!

So, a big BOLT shout out to these sisters. We are doing the damn thing, as are many more travelers. We thank you!

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Why Chiang Mai? BOLT Top 5 Reasons…

A friend recently asked what made us choose Chiang Mai as our current home. Her question has inspired this post.

Kathy and I are thriving here. Not a day goes by without one of us exclaiming “I love Chiang Mai! There is a special vibe about this city that is hard to put into words. Simply put, Chiang Mai feels like home! Having said that, I will now list the top 5 tangible reasons that make this city a great choice for BOLT.

Affordability!

100 Thai baht is currently equal to approximately 3 U.S. dollars. We are able to live very well here on less than $1000 a month. Chiang Mai is a great place to save for the traveling that we love.

Creature Comforts and Amenities!

Chiang Mai has all the conveniences of modern life. There is great high speed Internet. The are wonderful malls, grocery stores and pharmacies. If we need health care there are state of the art medical centers. Public transportation by Grab Car or songtaews is easily obtained. I have found that we can get anything we need (or want) here.

The Food!

Thai food is delicious, varied and very affordable here. In addition, when we want something different there are restaurants that serve any type of food we could desire.

The Beauty!

Chiang Mai is a place of great beauty, both in a physical and spiritual sense. The over 300 Buddhist temples here are breathtaking. There are also great opportunities to enjoy natural beauty, in the mountains and hiking trails close by.

Community!

There are so many ways to enjoy community and “find your tribe” in Chiang Mai. Weekly Sunday Dinner with the Black Packers, the Chiang Mai Ex Pats Club and the Chiang Mai Rotary have all been positive experiences for us. Also there is a wonderful 12 step recovery community here. There are many Meet Up groups, classes and other social events as well.

So, we love Chiang Mai, Thailand this ancient city on the Ping River with a moat. Please consider a visit, we think you’ll love it too!

Rup Pan (Statues) of Chiang Mai

One of my favorite things to do in Chiang Mai is to wander down the various streets. Walking along, listening to a podcast, I often encounter interesting sights. I’ve seen beautiful temples, all sorts of exotic bugs, lovely trees and flowers. I even saw a snake on one of the major streets!

One of the most delightful sights, for me, are the quirky, whimsical statues that dot the town. They are often quite amusing to come upon. Some are very beautiful. This post is dedicated to some of my favorites statue finds. I hope you enjoy them.

Songkran! Worship in Water

Songkran (the Thai New Year Celebration) is celebrated over three days. This is an ancient Buddhist holiday marked by the bathing of Buddha statues, pouring out of water blessings on loved ones and strangers and other ancient religious rites. Songkran is celebrated all over Thailand and in many other countries in Southeast Asia.

This year we were honored to be invited by our friend, Wanvisa, to celebrate the first day of Songkran (yesterday) with her. We started the day with a visit to ancient Wat Chang Khum. It was lovely to start the day with quiet prayers, meditation and Buddha bathing. I took this photo of Wanvisa standing in front of this Spirit Tree. These other photos were the last I was able to take because…

Chiang Mai is home to the “world’s largest water fight” for Songkran and I put my camera away!

Video of Songkran Water Fun

Our friend, Monique, was able to take the above video of the craziness that ensued for the rest of our day.

We loaded into the truck with a large vat of icy water, lots of buckets and water guns. It was so much fun to experience with Sally, Wanvisa’s daughter. It is truly a wonderful holiday for children. We returned home exhausted, throughly soaked but delighted.

For the next 2 days there will be water and dousing everywhere. If I’m brave enough to venture out, I may put up more pictures. I hope you enjoy these. Sawadee Pee Mai Ka! (Happy New Year! )

In Memory…

I am writing this post with a heavy heart. I woke this morning with plans to write a short blog about our life here in Chiang Mai. Then, the phone rang…it was the dear daughter of my one of my oldest friends, Mischa Fisher-Conn. She was calling to tell me her mother had passed away today. I’m not really sure what I want to say in this post. Some words about the preciousness of life, some words about cherishing friends while we have time. It’s hard. While I love our life abroad, right now I wish I was in Los Angeles. I wish I could go see the family, bring a meal, share some Mischa stories, give and receive some hugs.

But we are far away and writing this post is the best that I can do. Mischa and I met in high school, introduced by my boyfriend at the time. The boyfriend has been long forgotten but Mischa and I remained steadfast friends. We raised our children together, shared our joys and challenges. Survived broken hearts and new loves. My oldest son remains close friends with her oldest daughter.

Later in life we were both caring for our aging mothers and shared our pain when we lost them. I can honestly say we never had a disagreement and never lost touch. Mischa was a straight shooter, always honest and willing to speak her truth, even when it might be unpopular. She would call me out when she felt I wasn’t making choices for my highest good. In the last few years we spoke less frequently because of my travels. I called her before we left on this latest trip. We told each other how much love we had for each other. I promised to see her the next time we were in L.A. I’m so sad that will not happen but I’m sure she knows how much I love her. I know she loves and will always be with me.

Rest in peace and power dear friend.

Finding Our “Perfect Home” in Chiang Mai

Kathy and I are so happy to be back in Chiang Mai and I’ll be writing much more about why in the coming weeks. We’ve been here a week, and girl!, it’s been a busy one. First on our agenda was finding a place to live. Last time we were here we just walked around and found one on our own. This time we used a wonderful service, Perfect Homes. A lovely young woman, Kwang, took us around town to several places. She truly helped us to find exactly what we wanted!

We are right in the heart of the city, close to malls, movies, restaurants and museums. That’s our building peeking out between the trees.

This is the view from our rooftop.

There are two pools, at least one pool was a big must have for me.

It’s a large building with lots of common areas for visiting.

Our actual apartment is a studio, big enough for the two of us. We have really embraced a minimalist life style.

I love having a kitchen, something we didn’t have in our last Chiang Mai apartment.

There’s even a gym! (A little pricy though.)

I love an apartment that comes with a built-in altar!

We even have a balcony, which looks out upon this community.

There are several restaurants, massage spots and even a mini mart in our building. Very convenient!

A desire for Kathy was a bathtub, very rare in Chiang Mai apartments. We have a lovely one!

This is our hall, there’s lots of security to enter.

I love walking past these grazing cows on my way home. They are right next door!

We are truly grateful for our new home! We would love to have you come visit! If you have questions about travel to or life in Chiang Mai, we’d love to share our experience. Contact us here or at boltraveling@gmail.com.

♡Hasta Luego Mexico♡

Tomorrow morning Kathy and I will be leaving Mexico. We will also be leaving Winnie, our well loved RV, and Kahlo, our beloved dog. We have really enjoyed our year and a half of RV life. We visited 22 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico. We found and fell in love with Kahlo, met lots of wonderful people and have so seen much beauty.

However Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand, has been calling our names and we’ve decided to return for a year. Winnie will remain here in the safe keeping of the Mona Lisa RV Park.

Kahlo will also remain here for the year. We believe she will be happier here than in an apartment in Thailand. She has a best friend, Lucky, and Lucky’s owner, Javier, will take good care of her while we are gone.

We will miss her very much and probably miss RV life too. However this is the life we have chosen to live…a life of “home-free” travel, and sometimes sad good byes.