Learning the local laws: Gun Safes & Peanuts!?

Arriving in a new destination is always a bit stressful – I would know by now. I’m basically a nomad. I’ve been out of the states for over a year and I have to say, it’s really made me question what is actually correct and what we consider to be correct. Let me explain.

A lot of people know about the US’s loose laws on guns. After all, it’s in the second amendment of the constitution which is frequently stated by those opposing any form of gun control. I grew up in an area which was a bit more conservative in their views about guns. Perhaps this was due to the close proximity of neighboring Canada, or perhaps it was due to the exceptionally low crime rate.

Either way, guns weren’t something I encountered much of. I did see guns, and I knew that they needed to be stored correctly to prevent any possible mishap which is why I was shocked when I suggested to a local friend that they use the best gun safe they could find from the gun safe reviews at bestgunsafeinfo.com. Apparently this isn’t something that locals have come to accept as necessary. So now my complaints about the US don’t seem nearly so bad – but is it bad? Have we been wrong all this time!? The locals here seem to take on a very relaxed view, and guess what… their statistics are BETTER than the US! What the $#*$!

So where do peanuts come in? I threw some at an elephant. He looked hungry, don’t blame me. Anyway I got in a fair bit of trouble from the local authorities. I wasn’t sure if this was against their culture, littering or they just didn’t like peanuts, but I did apologize even though I didn’t see what the big deal was. The elephants were amazing though.

While updating my blog, I’d also like to thank everyone who came and visited me at Bamboo Bar! I hope I wasn’t too nervous. My parents said they could sense my nerves from a mile away. I promise you I sound better in front of my mirror with my hair brush! For those that miss it, keep reading my blog and I’ll update you when my next performance will be.

Wherever you are around the world, take care!

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Meet me for a game!

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not hugely talented when it comes to sports of any kind. I was nervous when my friend showed me the best ping pong table reviews from Game Room Mania and encouraged me to purchase one. Let me put it plainly, I’m not hopeless, I just have no interest.

Now I’m also a reader, so I didn’t just research top ping pong tables before buying one, I read about all the rules of playing ping pong. After about a year with the ping ping table sitting in the same place as when I bought it, I decided to donate it to a local hostel. Well, it turns out that this has been a hit.

I returned there not long ago to find my face in a frame on the wall where I was thanked for improving their business. Well it turns out I do have a knack for playing. They invited me to indulge in a game with some of the others staying in the hostel and I was actually quite a stand out. Who would have known! I guess it just shows that you can’t know if you’re good at something until you try it out.

Now I play every second Thursday, so if you are in Chiang Mai and want to meet me for a game just let me know. I’d be happy to be your personal tour guide too and I think a game of ping pong before we start out will be a great way to break the ice.

If you want to revamp your own skills, there’s a pretty solid video here.

You don’t need to be an expert by any means. We all just have a bit of fun with the game. It’s simply a way for us to get to know each other without any pressure. Some people do get pretty competitive but it’s more funny than anything. So come along!

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Chasing A Dream

I was thinking the other day about my first piece of work titled Chasing A Dream. The reason I was thinking about this was because I’m no longer chasing this dream, I’m actually living it. Let me explain.

If you haven’t read this piece of work, don’t worry. It has been over 7 years since I wrote it and I was not only living a different life than I have today, but I was also a different person.

Although I was living one life, I was dreaming about a different life. One that I never imagined would have been achievable. I had spent the last year reading about people that were making their dream their reality. They were packing up their lives and moving to cheaper but comfortable cities like Chiang Mai, Kathmandu, Penang and more. Travel wasn’t really a passion of mine to be honest, but settling somewhere where I could spend my life doing something I loved was.

My boyfriend and I were tired. We were both working over 70 hours a week, and more was expected. We felt that we could never get ahead. We couldn’t afford the lifestyle we wanted to live and more importantly, we didn’t have the time to live it. It was the cost of living in Thailand that prompted the move.

This is when we decided we had nothing to lose. Within a week, we had packed all our belongings and placed them into storage. We weren’t overly sentimental about anything so it wasn’t too hard to throw a lot of what we owned away. We also found super cheap storage and paid what our monthly rent would be for a year.

If any of you think this is crazy, well yeah. It is. We would have thought we were crazy until we actually did it, but the thing we began to consider is why should we live our entire lives doing something that doesn’t make us happy. That was crazy to use. The even worse side to that would be to never have given it was try.

We ended up settling on Chiang Mai. We were truly Chasing A Dream. A lifestyle where we could survive with me earning money as a freelance writer and my boyfriend earning money as a freelance graphic designer. We found heaps on jobs online and already had a few opportunities from blogger friends we knew in the states. The wonder of working online is that you can do the work whenever, wherever you want, and the other benefit of working for yourself is that you can choose exactly how much work you take on.

We found that we could easily survive in Chiang Mai if each of worked about 30 hours a week. In fact the lifestyle here on this rate was significantly better than it was back home even when we were working 70 hours each. It’s pretty amazing just how expensive the states are.

We’ve also experienced things here that we never thought we would. We spend so much time in nature. I’ve taken up meditation and yoga, and we both go to the gym daily and get a weekly massage (sometimes even twice weekly). We eat out at least 5 times a week, and the food is not only delicious and healthy, but it is super cheap. We’ve also made some great friends. These are people that share our vision of having a lifestyle that appeals to us and not necessarily the majority of other people. I’ve even played a live gig here.

Of course, it’s not all a dream. There are parts that are very difficult about our lifestyle that we manage. For me, the hardest part about moving to Thailand was leaving my family behind. We lived in the same city for over 25 years, and leaving them to move to Thailand was actually the first time I had left them at all. I’m lucky enough to see them at least once a year. Because we spend limited time together, when I do get to see them we have a really great time. We make the most of every moment together.

The other difficult thing about living in Thailand is the weather. It can get super hot here, and not the type of heat I am used to. The weather can cover you in a blanket of warmth that you can’t escape until you reach a property that has air conditioning. Even a fan is no match for the conditions here – and it’s all the time. To be fair though, Chiang Mai isn’t too bad. I found that it’s much worse down south in Bangkok and Phuket.

The move is truly the best thing we could have done for ourselves. We’ve gained a great deal of independence over our own lives. We have a great apartment and great friends, and we even have a dog. Nothing in life is forever, and I’m not saying that we wont eventually move back to the states, but for now Chiang Mai works fabulously for us.

The amazing thing is that my book Chasing A Dream predicted this. But even more amazing is that we were able to make it happen.

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See me live at Bamboo Bar!

I’ve not only been busy working on my new book. I’m super excited to announce that I’ll be playing my second solo gig at Bamboo Bar in Chiang Mai soon. Well, I say I’m super excited but I’m actually pretty damn nervous. This is only the second time I’ve played a live gig and it will by far be the biggest one so far. I’m been working hard on creating a composition piece to perform and no one, not even my boyfriend, has heard me play it live yet. This gives me a sense of control but it also makes me terribly nervous that something may be wrong with me and that it doesn’t sound as good as I think it does, but really, does it even matter?

I’m happy to say that my family will be there. They’re not flying to Thailand purely for my performance, of course. My parents are on vacation right now taking somewhat of a second honeymoon. They’ve been spending their time in Koh Samui and we’re just lucky enough that dates have coincided. They were always planning to come and see me in Chiang Mai, but the way times have worked out, they’re first be seeing me on the stage. This is going to be awesome.

I often wonder what it must be like as a parent to see your child all grown up. Do they have thoughts back of when I was in a diaper and pacifier? Or is this something you quickly forget? I might have to have a discussion with my Mom about this – and then I’ll write a book about it (or compose a song).

It’s worth mentioning that the venue isn’t what you’d imagine as a traditional establishment for open mic nights. They’re quite different in the way that they have karaoke machines you can use, which are mostly for kids, or you can choose to bring your own equipment. I’m going solo and bringing a guitar and using their microphone.

For anyone else that wants to come along and show their support in Chiang Mai, here’s the details:

Venue: Bamboo Bar
Time: 9:50pm
Dress code: Smart Casual
Entry fee: 50 baht

Wish me luck and hope to see you there.

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My latest work – A Changing Time

I’ve been working tirelessly on my next piece of work since the beginning of this year, and I’m pleased to announce that the time has almost come for it to be released. I always keep up to date with the latest releases on Goodreads but until my books are shared there, this is the place to stay informed.

As usual I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that I have stuck closely with the theme of my previous piece of work that my friends and family will be familiar with. I’m still yet to get anything published and I’m not entirely sure if I will. It seems awfully expensive and I don’t need a vanity sticker telling me my work is good enough.

I believe that my writing is for me and me alone, and it brings me such immense joy to write that any monetary gain is irrelevant. I’ve noted some further details for below for those of you that may be interested.

Title

The title of my newest release is A Changing Time. The title was something that came to me quite easily which rarely happens. Usually I’ll write something first and then threat about the correct title for quite a while until something grabs me, but this time it wasn’t like that.

Why did I choose this title?

The book tells the story of a man that fell asleep in 1967 and awoke in 2017. Like many of you out there I have felt that the advances of this generation have completely overtaken anything we could have possibly imagined. I’ve structured the book so that it makes us question how much things have really changed in such a short period of time, and I was excited to explore that perspective from someone who awakens from a few previous decades.

What is the book about?

As I said the book explores what it would be like to fall asleep a few decades ago and wake up in 2017, but I do have a deeper meaning than this. I wanted to explore how technology has taken over our lives and how we have such a dependence on it now that simply didn’t exist before. I believe we introduced too much, too soon and have lost part of our vulnerability – the thing that makes us human.

When I will release the book

As usual I’ll be sending a copy over to my friends and family to read. If you’re interested in receiving a copy for yourself then contact me and I’ll email it once I’ve completed it. I’m hoping to have the book completed by mid year and welcome any opinions – even ones that contradict my argument.

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