This morning, a Sunday, I woke up in a basic, concrete beach bungalow at a dive shop on the tiny island Koh Lipe in southern Thailand as the friend I’m staying with got up to go take customers out diving. I took my sweet time getting ready then walked a little ways along the beach through the sea at high tide to get to a nearby resort where I ordered coffee, a coconut shake and set up my computer to do a few hours of work outside facing the Andaman Sea.
This is not a normal day for me. Usually I’m not on an island, usually I try to not open my computer on Sundays (though usually unsuccessfully), usually when I work it’s not outside on a beach in that popular “living the life” scene freelancers and digital nomads seem so proud of. There’s sand everywhere, sun glare and, for me, working on the beach doesn’t make the work more enjoyable, it makes me more annoyed that I’m on the beach but have work to do.
That said, versions of today are now much more common than five years ago and in stark contrast of spending a Sunday dreading getting up on Monday morning.
I landed in Chiang Mai on a one-way ticket five years ago. And promptly proceeded to cry and hide in my room.
Now, many years, jobs, and too many plane tickets to count later, I’m finding myself still in Thailand. I thought the hitting the five year mark last week, I’d have a lot to share and say but instead I was too busy thinking about clients, running around Chiang Mai and Phuket with visitors, piecing together 12 flight bookings for the next coming months, and slowly working through what feels like a hundred steps to set up a business in Thailand (more on that soon). I’m not feeling reflective; I’m trying to get onto the next thing on my to-do list or the next flight (and hoping I’m doing and scheduled everything correctly…I’m sure I messed up at least one of the plane tickets).
I am, however, still very aware that the past five years have been pretty great, difficult, surprising, rough, confusing and, above all, much, much more interesting than the few years I previously had and for that I’m grateful.
For some posts that are actually a little more interesting and insightful, try:
Hey! I'm Alana and I've spent nearly the past decade living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, working as a writer and photographer. I started Paper Planes as a place to share local insight, special places, and how to travel well through a range of experiences — from hostels to high-end hotels, street meat to multi-course meals.
New places are always calling my name...
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