Updated: 03/17/20 | March 17th, 2020
Okay, I’m excited a lot, but I haven’t been this excited in a long time.
When I touched down in Bangkok a few days ago, I saw in the airplane window a reflection of a wide-eyed and bushy-tailed guy seeing a place for the first time all over again. That guy was me.
For years, I’ve dreamed of getting back to my roots, slinging my backpack over my shoulder, and traveling without a plan again. However, life always seemed to get in the way and trips got delayed. “Something” always came up.
It was easy to build a routine and enter a comfort zone. Days ticked by and, before I knew it, years have passed and the list of things to see got longer and more daunting.
After months of talking about it, here I am, back in Southeast Asia, actually doing it. It’s finally real!
I am back in Thailand, the country where it all began, to spend extended time traveling around the region. I’ve felt more relaxed and rested in the last couple of days than I have in months.
I’m in the country where, on my first visit, I got ripped off twice in one day (back to back mind you), I ate McDonald’s because street food seemed scary, and my idea of roughing it was a three-star hotel.
And I loved every moment of it! It threw me out of my comfort zone and hooked me on traveling even more.
This is the start of a five-month journey, and I’m going to enjoy every moment and take every opportunity.
I’m starting my new backpacking trip in the city of Chiang Mai, the place where I met the five backpackers who changed my life. The ones who showed me that long-term travel on a budget was possible and made me tell my traveling companion, “Scott, I’m going to go home and quit my job to travel the world.”
I often wonder what happened to them. How long did they travel? Where did they go? What are they doing now?
I doubt they would recognize me today, and if it wasn’t for an old picture I have of us, I wouldn’t either.
They changed my life — and put me on the path that led me to where I am today.
What drew me to travel was the feeling of infinite possibility it brings. You can do anything you want and you never know where the day will truly take you.
As I look out at the next few months, I have that feeling again. While I have a general route in mind, there are so many options, and I could end up anywhere. All I know is that I’ll be in new places, seeing new things, and meeting new people.
I’m lucky enough to have a career that allows me to plop myself down half-way across the world and spend as much time as I want there. But even if you don’t have the same luxury, don’t let your inner naysayer hold your back.
Because even if it’s finally getting motivated to go to the gym, take up dance classes, or learn archery (something I never “had the time” to do), it’s never too late to begin. It’s never too late to say “Honey, let’s finally take the kids to Europe.”
As Dave Matthews said, “the future is no place to place your better days.”
And, right now, I’m having some of the best days I’ve had in a while.
Get the In-Depth Budget Guide to Thailand!
My detailed, 170+ page guidebook is made for budget travelers like you! It cuts out the fluff found in other guidebooks and gets straight to the practical information you need to travel and save money while in Thailand, a country I used to call home (so I know it really well!). You’ll find suggested itineraries, budgets, ways to save money, on and off the beaten path things to see and do, non-touristy restaurants, markets, and bars, and much more!! Click here to learn more and get started.
Book Your Trip to Thailand: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. I use them all the time. My favorite places to stay are:
- Julie Guesthouse – Clean, has comfy beds, and tons of space for hanging out.
- The So Hostel – This place has more of a hotel vibe, so come here for a comfortable and quiet stay.
- Kodchasri B&B – If you want a more luxurious stay, this affordable 4-star hotel has a pool, gym, and free WiFi.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
Looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all the ones I use to save money when I travel – and I think will help you too!
Want More Information on Chiang Mai?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Chiang Mai for even more planning tips!