BOLT REVIEWS: Huay Kaew Arboretum

One of the big advantages to living long term in a variety of places is that you get to explore some of the less touristy attractions. The urban forest at Huay Kaew Arboretum was just such a find!

Kathy and I spent a lovely hour walking around the peaceful and shady grounds.

It was kind of a whimsical place too, with lots of apparatus for children to play on.

I especially enjoyed the signs on the many trees, telling us their names, ages and reminding us to not forget their importance.

There were lots of informative signs too.

Arboretum admission is free and very close to an the busy Nimman area. So if you are in Chiang Mai and want a place to get a good walk in, visit the Huay Kaew Arboretum.

BOLT Salutes Girl Trek!

I first heard about Girl Trek back in 2010. These 2 sisters were on the radio talking about how we, Black women, are dying! Dying from hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and stress. They had a simple message: walking can save us.

Girl Trek Founders: Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison

In their own words: “GirlTrek is not a fitnesss organization, this is a campaign for healing. This is not recreation. This is a lifestyle. We walk to heal our bodies, inspire our families, and to reclaim the streets of our neighborhoods. We believe in the discipline and power of walking to transform our lives, enliven our communities, and restore our humanity.”

Inspired, I signed up right after and committed to daily walks. I also formed a Girl Trek team in the Los Angeles area and encouraged other sisters to walk for wellness.

Girl Trek is in fire! The organization has grown in leaps and bounds. They are now the largest public health nonprofit for African-American women and girls in the United States!

There are over 10,000 women walking with Girl Trek. Oprah is a sponsor, they’ve been written up in Essence, Ebony and have been on CNN.

Harriet Tubman is an inspiration for the Girl Trek movement. Their motto is “If Harriet could walk herself to freedom, we can walk ourselves to better health!”

Kathy and I participated in and completed their 100 mile challenge and are in their “Harriet Hall of Fame”. We received beautiful t shirts as gifts from Girl Trek!

I’m currently excited about the Girl Trek 30 Day Challenge: Walks and Acts of Service to Honor Harriet Tubman. I’m doing the challenge with my bestie and it’s great to share daily about how we met the daily challenge goals.

I hope this post will encourage you to check out Girl Trek, join and spread the word. #weareharriet

BOLT Reviews: Thai Plum Village

To honor the 94 Birthday of Thich Nhat Hanh we traveled to the south of Thailand. It was a wonderful and spiritually rewarding experience!

Thích Nhất Hạnh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist, founder of the Plum Village Tradition. He is a leader in the engaged Buddhism movement and a teacher in the practice of mindfulness.

Thay (teacher) as he is affectionately known established many retreat centers the world over. He spent most of his life at Plum Village in France. Sadly, he had a stroke and is no longer able to speak. He has returned to his birthplace in Hue, Vietnam to live out his days.

The retreat center we went to is the Thai Plum Village. For 3 days we enjoyed various types of meditation; remembrances of Thay by the nuns and monks; talks on mindfulness; periods of noble silence and meditation walks.


ur accomodations were in simple and clean dormatory style rooms. We were served three delicious vegan meals a day.

The center is in a lovely part of Thailand, surrounded by national park land. To get there it was an 11 hour bus trip to Bangkok and then a 3 hour ride to the center. We will definitely take a plane from Chiang Mai to Bangkok next time. The long bus ride was less than comfortable.

Despite the difficult trip there, Kathy and I are making plans to visit again soon. We highly recommend Thai Plum Village for those looking for an experience in mindfulness. If you art not in Thailand, remember, there are centers the world over.

Chiang Mai Theatrics’Acting Workshop

As I’ve shared before, acting is a passion I’ve found very late in life…but found it I have! So I was really excited tobe asked to participate in this workshop.

Stephan Turner, founder of the Gate Theater, is leading the workshop. He is an excellent director! I’ve been challenged with learning a monologue and a scene with a partner.

I find that acting is great stimulation for my brain. Its a lot of fun and I get to meet great people too!

Our work will culminate with a performance, this Monday, September 2, 7pm at AUA. If you are in the Chiang Mai area we hope to see you.

Life in Jed Yod

View from our window.

There have been seemingly endless rain, drizzle and hard showers for the last few days in Chiang Mai. Yet I am still incredibly grateful to be here and especially in our new neighborhood of Jed Yod.

Many neighborhoods here are designated by the temple in the area. We are so fortunate to be next door to Wat (Temple) Jed Yod. Right now the temple bells are ringing and soon the monks will be chanting. Its a lovely and peaceful sound.

Our neighborhood has a lively small vendor community. We are able to purchase pretty much everything we need within walking distance.

The entrance to Jed Yod is just opposite our building.

I’m able to just step outside our door and purchase flowers, candle and incense.

There is a wide variety of food, sold in open air stalls and small restaurants. Srifass is my favorite!

We are also walking distance from Maya Mall, one of the nicest in Chiang Mai. Here we can see the latest movies, western style grocery shop as well as eat a wide variety of international cuisine.

So rainy season or not I’m so glad Jed Yod, Chiang Mai is our new home.

National Museum of Chiang Mai Excursion

The National Museum of Chiang Mai is a small space, located on lovely grounds. The majority of the exhibits were of Buddha statues. There were also exhibits on the history of the Lanna Kingdom. My intention is to do once a month excursions to local spots of interest. A small group joined me today and I enjoyed this first excursion greatly!

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.