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.

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.