BOLT Baht Budget

Our time in the U.S. was 3 months of unrelenting sticker shock! From groceries to gas to housing we find the states to be really expensive.

It’s good to be back in Thailand and we find we are able to live comfortably. This seems like a good time to share what that looks like for us.

We’ve created a budget that allows for basic necessities, fun, savings, emergencies and travel.

I’m covering the basic necessities and fun in this post. This is our approximate monthly budget:

Rent: 10,000 Baht ($325)

We found a lovely studio apartment in a neighborhood that we love. Its simple, clean and has lovely common areas, a pool and a gym. Although paid separately, I’ve included the cost of electricity and water in this amount.

Food: 12,000 Baht ($400)

We eat very well and pretty healthily here. There are lots of restaurants, local markets and we are in walking distance from two major grocery stores.

Transportation: 3,800 Baht ($125)

Most of this is for our scooter rental. There are also affordable local busses, songteaws and Grab.

Phone and Internet Service: 1,500 Baht ($50)

This is for great cell service on two phones and high speed internet.

Entertainment: 4,600 Baht ($150)

We have found this to be more than enough to cover movies, meals out with friends and short excursions.

So our total budget is around 32,000 baht… just over $1000! One of the many reasons we love Thailand.

Beauty in the Struggle!

Today I visited the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum. Established by the Equal Justice Initiative, these sites are dedicated to telling the ugly and painful history of the United States: from slavery to mass incarceration.

As I walked through the memorial and the rows and rows of pillars marking the Southern counties where over 4,000 lynchings occured I was holding back the tears.



The memorial’s sculptures and grounds are amazing works of art but the ugliness they portray made it hard to see any beauty.

I was saddened and angered by the individual and collective stories told.

No pictures are allowed inside the museum where artfully conceived exhibits further describe the horrors of slavery, segregation, lynching and the ongoing brutality today, especially in the racist criminal justice system.

The statistics are overwhelming…one in three black boys born will end up in prison!

For years, I’ve posted #findbeautyeveryday pictures daily. I was thinking about skipping it today. But then I remembered how we have persevered and how much beauty there is in the struggle.

I leave you with this art piece, representing the strong sisters of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. I encourage everyone to visit Montgomery and the many sites of civil rights history here, especially
the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum.

BOLT Reviews: Cherry Hill Park

Cherry Hill is the closest park to metropolitan DC. At over $80 per night it is by far the most expensive RV park we’ve stayed at. It is also one of the nicest.As we planned our trip, we knew we wanted to go to the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. We picked Cherry Hill because they have a Metro bus station that takes one to the Metro Trains and then into the heart of the city.In addition to the convenience of public transportation the park is really quite lovely. There are two pools, mini golf, a store, excellent laundry facilities and more.Not an RVer? Cherry Hill has cute little glamping and cabin sites!Beautiful landscaping and comfortable sites made Cherry Hill a great spot to return to after our busy DC days.

BOLT Reviews: Lynchburg RV Resort

There is a long and winding road through rural Virginia to get to this resort but Oh! is it worth it! This is one of the most beautiful RV parks I’ve been to.

There is a lovely and tranquil lake with swans.

There are wonderful trees everywhere.

The campsites are shady and spacious.

There is a great pool, surrounded by plenty of lounge chairs.

There are two activity centers (family and adult) and both have delightful decks.

The lake has a beach and swim area.

There are outdoor activities like shuffleboard and playgrounds.

I especially love the many walking trails, both paved and dirt.

Kathy and I are very satisfied with our Thousand Trails membership. We have enjoyed exploring the states and having nice spots to stay.

What happened here? Let’s not forget Central High School, Little Rock, Arkansas!

Today we visited Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1957 nine brave black students were prevented from attending the all white school school. They were met with extreme hatred, vicious threats and state sanctioned prevention when they tried to enter. Finally the federal government stepped in and Central High became integrated. Today there is a Federal monument and visitor center across from the school.At the school there is a reflecting pool surrounded by benches honoring the Little Rock 9.The monument and center had many interesting and moving displays.I hope you will share this story with the young people in your life.

Reflections…

A friend asked me about how Kathy and I began to consider prepare for and experience BOLT (Black Old Lesbians Traveling) life. As I answered her, I decided to also share my answers in this post.

Kathy and I have talked about a life of travel from the moment we met. It was something we always considered. We traveled a lot even while working. We found we travel well together.

In 2014, after years of caring for my mom (an ancestor now) and being at my job for 32 years, Kathy and I set our intention to be”home free” travelers by the time I turned 60 in September 2015.

It took us about a year of preparation and letting go of stuff, property, etc to be ready to hit the road:

  • We had yard sales, donated stuff, gifted things to friends. We sold our house and cars.
  • We made living wills as well as traditional wills.
  • We got bank accounts with no ATM fees (Charles Schwab is good).
  • We digitized all our important documents and keep them in the”cloud”.

A few guidelines and agreements we made:

  • We could each have one rolling bag, one backpack and one purse which must hold everything we need.
  • We limited ourselves to one bin of stuff to save: pictures, mementos from my kids, etc. These are in Kathy’s mom’s garage.
  • We made budgets and savings plans.

We talked a lot about what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go.

Then we set out. The 30 day cruise was the perfect way to begin world travel. We went to over 10 new destinations and traveled from Seattle to Singapore with no jet lag.

I still had too much stuff, broke our 1 rolling bag rule and had to give a bunch more stuff away while traveling. It worked out ok because the the cruise and hotel staff benefited.

After a year in Asia we decided to pursue another dream: RV travel. I love road trips and seeing beautiful North America has been wonderful. But full time RV life is not for me. I like mixing it up with long term stays in foreign countries. I have not found the same connections to community with RV life.

Somethings I’ve learned about myself are:

  • I don’t like fast travel. In the beginning we would stay places a week or less and they became a blur.
  • I like staying in places long enough to get to know folks, find meetings, activities etc.
  • Kathy and I get along well in small spaces but it’s important for us to have solitary time daily. I have quiet time in the morning and I take a solo walk daily.
  • I’ve always been a neat freak but in RV life it’s super important. A place for everything and everything in it’s place!
  • I’ve learned I don’t need as much stuff or variety of stuff as I thought… cosmetics, vitamins, hair care stuff, jewelry are some of the many things I carry only small quantities of.

I’m not sure if I answered my friend’s questions but these reflections have been rewarding to me and I hope helpful to someone. If you have any questions about a life of home free travel, please email us at boltraveling@gmail.com.

BOLT Reviews: Verde Valley RV Resort

We are on the road, heading to DC and then Alabama. We are taking it slow. Probably no more than 300 miles a day. Using our Thousand Trails membership we took a nice break at Verde Valley in Cottonwood, Arizona. It’s really hot here (100 degrees) but I did take a walk and got some pictures of this lovely park.

We found a nice shady spot for Winnie.

There are many interesting walking trails.

The pool was very inviting.

I think the thing I liked best were all the beautiful varieties of trees.

You can stay here permanently if you choose.

But we will be leaving in the morning… heading to Sedona!