On Feb 22nd, right after the day I turn 25 (didn’t plan it to happen then, by the way), I’ll be on a plane to Bangkok and will spend the next 5 weeks in Thailand.
And as much as I’ve worked on learning how to go with the flow and do things for no particular reason as these often turn out to be the most enjoyable things in life, almost anything I do (and don’t do) has a purpose.
I’ll now go through the reasons why I’m choosing Thailand and such a longer period to spend in South East Asia, as my first journey of that kind ever.
1. Getting out of my comfort zone, literally.
I haven’t been outside of Europe so far. It’s high time I see what the rest of the world offers, how another culture lives like, and to even put myself in uncomfortable environment in order to grow and build new skills and qualities.
I recently moved to another country and was happy to see that I felt like home from day 1, without feeling nostalgic, not knowing what to do, or letting my social life and good mood suffer because of that. That’s a sign I’m becoming more adaptive, which I consider one of the most important skills to not only survive in today’s world, but to thrive in it.
Comfort zones can be created anywhere, though.
A long time ago Mark Manson wrote an article on the dark side of the digital nomad that went viral.
He talks about the price we pay about this type of freedom and how living the dream can be lonely and boring too at some point.
That’s also the comfort zone conundrum I’ve described here. So be careful not to turn your new destination, or even activity or person in your life, into yet another zone of comfort where you’ll say no to growing and learning.
I’m excited for Thailand and am open to the challenges, the things I won’t enjoy that much but which will make me see and experience new things and thus come back stronger and better prepared for life in general.
If you’ve been thinking of traveling any time soon, I suggest you go as far as possible, at a place completely different from yours.
2. Slow travel is the real deal.
Forget about going on a trip that covers a few countries (and tens of popular cities inside them) over the course of 10 days or 2 weeks. That’s insane. You come back more stressed than ever, haven’t really slept enough, and that means you were in a bad mood during your time off.
Travel is supposed to be one of the best experiences in the world. And mostly, a spiritual adventure. That’s why you should do it slowly, mindfully. It’s important to be aware of anything you see, to appreciate the new places and emotions that arise in you, to observe and learn.
It’s also key to take care of yourself while on the road. Which means enough and solid sleep, eating well, staying active, stretching, drinking plenty of water, and more.
That’s how you’ll feel rejuvenated and come back fresher than ever ready for reality to hit.
I’ve done enough of the fast type of traveling to know that I won’t ever do it anymore, especially now that I’m location independent and can do it anytime and go anywhere.
In the past, I’ve mostly done it because of other factors. Like the fact that almost anyone else in my life has time off from work only 2 or so times a year, or that I wasn’t able to afford a getaway to another continent in the past (didn’t have the confidence to take action upon it, mostly), didn’t have the mindset and productivity habits to know for sure that I’ll earn my minimum monthly revenue, didn’t have enough travelers and open-minded people in my life who were just ready to get on a plane and leave everything behind.
Now I’m more than ready.
I’m going with one friend only, and I consciously decided that to be an old one, whom I’ve spent time with in the past (she’s from another country but lives in Amsterdam now, like me) and who I know is a traveler by heart, responsible enough but light-hearted at the same time, and someone that won’t cause any problems.
I’ll be respectful of the fact that she’s leaving her job here and using her savings for that 5-week journey to Thailand. I, on the other hand, am going more to keep doing my work in the first part of the day but do it near the beach this time, to live cheap but to do all kinds of things that the place offers, to meet people, but stay in shape at the same time, work out and even give new business ideas a try.
Another thing that’s different from a few years ago, is that I now not only know a ton of open-minded people from all over Europe, but I’ve got plenty of them living in Thailand, who have visited it or who’ll be there at the same time. And counting the thousands of Europeans that are in South East Asia at any time of the year, I won’t really experience culture shock, I assume.
But still, I’m there to meet new individuals too.
3. Personal and spiritual growth.
To travel is to get to know yourself better, to see how you react in different conditions and whether there’s something you haven’t realized you should work on.
Traveling will help me become a citizen of the world, and thus be adaptive to anything unexpected life throws at me in the future, and feel comfortable in any new environment.
I’m open to learning things, talking to locals, coping with change (and not whining about it), getting a taste of the Asian culture, and much more.
4. One of the original digital nomad hot spots.
As one of the location independent digital entrepreneurs I’ve been following forever – Dan Andrews from TropicalMBA, says,
‘Thailand has long been the quintessential “lifestyle” destination. Chiang Mai is nestled in the mountainous north of the country. It’s almost tailor made for the digital nomad, with great coffee shops, co-working spaces, and serviced apartments just a walk and a knock away. If I were 18 years old I’d go to Chiang Mai instead of going to college.’
For those being in the online business and lifestyle design scene since the beginning, Thailand as a top destination would be outdated.
It was the hit ever since Tim Ferriss published the 4-hour Workweek, and it was where everyone was heading to chill by the beach and work on building a software product or just freelancing, where events and conferences were (and still are) happening, where the cheap lifestyle made it possible for many to escape the 9 to 5 with some savings, move to a country like Thailand and give their business idea a try.
Together with that, Bali and the Philippines were another top choice.
Now, however, Europe is a preferred destination for digital nomads too, mainly Berlin, Barcelona, Lisbon and other hubs.
The factors, when calling a destination good for location independent business owners, are a few – cheap lifestyle, good weather, safe enough, other digital nomads in the area, good wifi, things to do, no visa problems or any other issues related to documents and access to country.
Anyways, for someone like me, who’s made it possible to make money online doing what I love, afford to move to another country in a more expensive city like Amsterdam, and looking to travel to a place like Asia to experience the ‘work from anywhere’ aspect of lifestyle design, Thailand is the best option.
In fact, here’s an article on Forbes from just a few weeks ago explaining why Thailand is still the best digital nomad destination.
I will be spending the first 2 weeks of my stay in a coworking space, actually. So I’m pretty excited to see how this goes.
And while I’m there to explore nature, get to know the culture, and stay focused on work and being productive, I might meet up with someone who’s in the area doing what I’m doing with my life, or even go to an event on a topic I’m passionate about.
Or, who knows, I might end up handing a single business card while working at a coffice somewhere in Phuket or Krabi, which will turn into a life-changing collaboration.
Whatever happens, it’s much better to put yourself where the opportunities are, instead of waiting for them to come to you 🙂
5. To make a statement.
Last but not least, I’ll use my mini-retirement to Thailand as a way to prove a few things.
Ever since I found my passion, had a purpose, started managing my time more wisely and improving myself, I’ve been trying to know exactly why I do what I do.
It’s kind of a reality check as otherwise we start taking decisions unconsciously and end up living a life we’re not satisfied with.
So, in this case, I’m going to Thailand and would like to show (not directly, but through my actions, posts on social media maybe, and stories after that), that:
- South East Asia is better developed that many European countries;
- traveling doesn’t need to be expensive;
- living the laptop lifestyle and making money from the beach is a result of hard, focused work and staying consistent for years – unfortunately, most people still think this is either luck, or due to other factors;
- that home doesn’t need to be a specific place, and once you get out there, you’re freer than ever.
By the way, I updated my About page this week, and added more than 3000 words to it, finally sharing more about my real life, not just way of thinking. But, most importantly, my philosophy of life – that each word I write represents – and the other statements I’m making with the way I live. So check it out if you’re interested.
What do you think about these 5 reasons why I’m visiting Thailand?
And what about you? Have you been there, or anywhere in Asia? If not, are you planning to? What can you do today to make it happen a year from now, for instance?