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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m too tired and jet lagged to write much but the BOLTs have arrived safely in Ensenada, Baja California Norte, Mexico.
We are reunited with the BOLT dog, Kahlo.
And are back in the cozy Winnie.
The trip was grueling with a 5 hour layover in Bangkok and a 12 hour one in Tokyo. We ventured out from Narita Airport, by bus, into Tokyo. I don’t recommend this. The bus ride is 3 hours round trip and all we saw was the big, bustling, business part of Tokyo. We will definitely visit Japan when we have time to explore and enjoy.
We arrived safely in San Diego after a 10 hour flight. From San Diego we enjoyed the Blue Line Trolley which took us right to the Mexican border.
Crossing the border was easy, the Mexican immigration folks are lovely and friendly.
We took a taxi from the border to Ensenada, less than 2 hours, for $80. There are cheaper ways to go (by bus) but we were very tired. We arrived safely at the Mona Lisa RV park. And are enjoying the Pacific Ocean Views.
I love a good road trip and yesterday was the perfect one! We set out in the morning from Inthakin Green Village in Mae Teang. We headed north, destination Chang Dao, just a few kilometers from the Myanmar border.
Most of the drive was along the Ping River which was lovely in itself. We traveled through small villages and lots of lush greenery.
Our first stop in Chang Dao was the temple /home of a local monk. It was wonderful to see him again, he had given us a special blessing a few months ago. We also got to see our friend, Pi Oi, who lives near the monk.
No road trip is complete without delicious food. The gyoza at this small restaurant is amazing!
After our bellies were full, we headed up to this amazing wat (temple) . Called Wat Tam Mung Na, it’s building it built onto a cave. There’s an easy trip up several levels of ramps to the top where you find the cave and are surrounded by soothing chanting and can join in sitting meditation.
Many people come to spend the night or several days in meditation and chanting. There were tents everywhere.
These are the views from the top of the temple.
The temple grounds were very beautiful with lots of amazing statues.
There’s even a cute little coffee shop, which also offered amazing views.
Kathy and I had a truly fabulous day, made even more special because we spent it with people we love. Thank you Wanvisa, Jen and Ajan Sai for a perfect day!
“Living that Chiang Mai life!” is a favorite expression of our dear friend, Ken. Kathy and I are truly doing that and it’s a great life!
Folks ask us all the time, where do all these Black folks in Chiang Mai come from?
The answer is the answer that is true for Black folks everywhere…from all across the diaspora.
Many of us are from the U.S. as evidenced by this election watch party, but even then there was a Canadian in the bunch.
We are from South Africa as well as other countries in the Motherland. Some of us are from Europe.
No matter where we come from, we find a lot of joy and community in Chiang Mai.
We participate in community theater; we work as teachers, digital nomads or entrepreneurs. We volunteer and we are students.
We are tourists and residents. Some come for medical care or spiritual growth. Like Kathy and I, many are retired. Some of us stay briefly and some are here for life.
I really wish everyone reading this post could come and experience the beauty of living that Chiang Mai life! Kathy and I are happy to help.
Just about an hour outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand there is a place of healing and power. I don’t know (or care) about the scientific explanation of hot springs or mineral water soaks, I only know I feel great after I visit such places. San Kamphaeng Hot Springs is no exception. It is a delightful space, actually a large park with lovely grounds for strolling as well as many options for soaking. Both times I have gone with groups and that really adds to the experience. There is a large room with a communal tub. Enjoying that tub with girlfriends was a great experience. There is a really good restaurant as well as many food stall vendors. One thing everyone remembers about the hot springs is that the water is so hot in spots that you can boil eggs in it! There are baskets of eggs available as long with instructions for how long to cook them. I hope you will enjoy these pictures and if you are in Chiang Mai, please consider a visit to the springs!
It has been a whirlwind month for BOLT. In addition to our wonderful stay at Inthakin Green Village we had a delightful time playing host to our dear friends, Lecia and Sergio.
It was wonderful showing them around, playing tourist and sharing with them the Thailand that we know and love.
Kathy and I are not crazy about Bangkok but it is a must stop for your first visit to Thailand. We were waiting for Sergio and Lecia at the Air BnB we rented and had planned a fun-packed 5 day stay in Bangkok. The first day we spent shopping at the humoungous Platinum Fashion Mall. We had fun, got great bargins and returned home exhausted.
We had a ball the next day, being pure tourists at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. We even got to enjoy a boat ride during a monsoon rain!
Of course, no visit to Bangkok is complete without going to the Grand Palace.
Thanks to Lecial and Sergio we finally got to visit Wat Pho.
In contrast to the sacred beauty of Wat Pho we got to experience another type of beauty…the faboulous queens at the Stranger Bar drag show!
One of the most fun things we did in Bangkok was also the cheapest! We took the local (15 Baht) boat and saw the city from a different view point.
We loved showing Lecia and Sergio around our beloved city of Chiang Mai. They got to meet some of our friends, do more shopping and enjoy the local cuisine. Lecia and Sergio also got to spend some time at an elephant camp.
It was crazy fun seeing my bestie enjoy her first tuk-tuk drive!
We ended our friend’s time in Thailand in the best way possible: a healing stay at Inthakin Green Village.
Saying good-bye was bittersweet but I know we will be seeing our friends again soon. Afterall, who can resist Thailand?
If you are planning a visit to Thailand please let us know. We would be honored to show you around Chiang Mai and the surrounding areas.