Here we are. We’ve reached the halfway point of our three months in Thailand. We’ve been busy having fun and have had very little screen time over the past week. We’ll bring you up to date on some of our adventures when we settle in Penang for a week with our friends Gert and Tracey Pedersen from the blog Life Changing Year, but I wanted to take a moment to let you know what I’ve been thinking about when we’ve been out having fun.

Here’s one thing…

I hate when people say things to me like, “Oh, you’re so lucky your work allows you to travel.” They say it like I just happened to fall into this situation, like we are all pre-destined to work in a particular field, like it’s a lot we draw in life. It’s not luck. It’s design. My wife and I figured out what we wanted and we went to work. We’ve made sacrifices and said no to lots of cool experiences and opportunities that didn’t fit what we figured out we really wanted. So yeah, I’m a bit arrogant about this lifestyle we live because I know the cost paid to achieve it. Don’t mistake my arrogance, though, for a lack of gratitude. I’m blessed. Extraordinarily blessed. I know what my wife and I are doing has not been achieved merely by us “pulling up our bootstraps.” My heart overflows with gratitude.

Another thought…

During the month and a half that we’ve been in Thailand, we have slid back and forth from feeling like we were on a vacation to feeling like this was just life as normal, only in a different location. Bangkok felt like a vacation. We were out exploring and doing new things. Our month in Khanom felt remarkably normal. Life in Khanom was a mixture of work and play just like it is when we are home in Lake Tahoe. Over the past week on the islands of Koh Samui and Koh Tao, we have gone into full vacation mode. We have barely opened our computers at all.

After a month in Khanom, I was ready to move again. I was ready to travel and see new things. Some friends have told us that they think they would be worn out after three months of travel, and I think I would be too. Life in Khanom was just life as normal, so when we left, we were starting fresh. By the time we get to Penang and crash with the Pedersen’s, we’ll have been on the go for a little more than a week. We can hang out with them, get caught up on work, re-charge our energy for traveling again, and then set off for our last month of being on the go around Thailand.

Koh Samui vs. Koh Tao…

We have very little structure to our trip. We try not to lock ourselves into anything, so if we like a place we can stay longer and if we are tired of a place we can move on. We did lock ourselves in, though, by booking our train tickets to Penang. And now here we are on Koh Tao, we love it, and we are forced to move on.

But that’s not so bad. And even though I think I would say I like Koh Tao better than Koh Samui, I’m glad that on this trip we had 5 nights in Koh Samui and only 2 in Koh Tao.  If I were to land somewhere for a while I’d prefer a quieter place like Koh Tao as opposed to Koh Samui. But we came out here to the islands from Khanom, which was extremely quiet. After a month in Khanom, we were craving the action of a place like Koh Samui. But for long-term, I’d say that Koh Tao has a lot of the same kind of things that you find on Samui, but it’s less built up and the natural beauty seems more unspoiled. Plus, the snorkeling is great and Jackson is loving all the fish he gets to see. It’s also more expensive, so in terms of our budget on this trip, a shorter trip is good.

And speaking of money…

Halfway through our trip, we are spending more money than we expected. I think that’s in part due to under-estimating how much things would cost and in part due to us. Getting by cheap has not been the ultimate goal. We’re here on the other side of the world and if we need to drop $500 on a totally unique experience we can’t get back home, than so be it. I’ve felt a little carefree about money because we surpassed our savings goal for this trip, I added additional monthly income just before we departed, and I am successfully lining up a lot of consulting work for when we return back to the States. We do need to slow down our spending, but this week of “vacation mode” on the islands has not been the time skimping.

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