Tagged with "slow travel Archives - Dreamline Diary: Your Life. Your Way"
Mar 25, 2013 - Location Independence    2 Comments

Cost of Living in Ao Nang Thailand

The Cost of Living in Ao Nang Thailand. Buying food at the local markets is cheaper than eating out

The Cost of Living in Ao Nang Thailand. Buying food at the local markets is cheaper than eating out

The Cost of Living in Ao Nang Thailand

Now we have settled into our groovy little digs in Ao Nammao Thailand, we are starting to get a bit of an idea about the cost of living in Ao Nang Thailand. Previous trips have seen us go nuts on a 2 week vacation. You know the type. All you can eat buffets, shopping til you drop and drinking cocktails day in day out. Now we are here as digital nomads, things are a little different.

We are paying more for our accommodation than we probably should be (1000 Baht or about $30 per night), but we have gone for easy access to the tourist areas with local transport. The last time we were in Thailand, hubby had a little motorbike accident, and so we aren’t willing to risk hiring one again. After seeing some well bandaged people last time we were in town and meeting a lady yesterday who had a mishap on our local roundabout, we remember why. This made us decide to stay closer to transport options. Others we have met pay around 10,000 Baht per month, so at the moment we are paying about 3 times that. On the plus side, we have a great size room, quiet air conditioning, a pool and excellent wifi.

Because we aren’t hiring a motorbike, we are saving between 150-200 Baht per day on short term transport. We also only head into the main beach area about once a week at a cost of 80 Baht for both of us.

Hubby is in charge of the food budget and is doing a most excellent job I might add. He is really helping us to track the cost of living in Ao Nang Thailand. We are paying for all of food every day as we don’t have any meals included. Breakfast is generally fruit which costs around 40 baht for both of us. We go to the local market twice a week to stock up on fruit. Our current difficultly is that we have mostly restaurants around us and not very many street stalls. There is a stall where we can get a small bag of cooked sweet potato and banana for around 20 baht. It is a down side to being a bit out of the way. We sometimes buy some drinks and/or snacks like nuts etc 40-50 baht per day. Dinner is somewhere between 210-270 baht depending on what we have and how hungry we are. We budget a total of 500 baht per day which at the moment we seem to be getting by on easily. That is for 2 of us and it equates to around $115 per week. When we get a bus into town, we take the 80 baht cost out of our food budget, so really our transport cost is minimal.

After eating out at the local market yesterday, our food cost for the day was only about 300 baht for both of us. Unfortunately the markets are only on twice weekly.

Next month we will be moving into Ao Nang for a few weeks. Our expenses will be about the same, but with far better options. There are a lot more street sellers in the Ao Nang area and each time we have eaten in there, it has cost a decent bit less than it has eating around Ao Nammao.

So at the moment, our cost is around $1500 per month for both of us. We are hoping to reduce that once we get out of this region and into either Bangkok or Chiang Mai. This level of spending is at least $500 more than we would like to be paying to continue our long term adventures. By May it should settle down once we accustom ourselves to Thailand prices, market foods and the best way to go about things. Reducing our costs also reduces the first financial goal in our business ventures.  Hopefully this gives you an idea of cost of living in Ao Nang Thailand for two adults.

Mar 21, 2013 - Location Independence    5 Comments

Location Independent in Thailand

Finally Location Independent in Thailand. The view from our Ao Nammao Home

Finally Location Independent in Thailand.
The view from our Ao Nammao Home
in Krabi Province

Dreamline: to become Location Independent in Thailand.

There is something to be said about taking life by the balls and finally doing something fulfilling. That one thing you have been yearning for. Like a dull ache in the back of your consciousness that often gets pushed away as you go through the motions. For the most part, life is like Groundhog Day. Same shit, different day. It will always be that way, unless you make a choice. Life is full of choices. A latte or a cappuccino. The blue dress or the green one. White wine or red (I prefer white by the way). Get up and go to work or tell the boss where to go. The list is endless. It is all a choice.

It is the point in your life when the dull ache becomes a lions roar that wakes you up in the middle of the night, that you know the decisions you make need to start changing. For years the roar bugged me. I was neither happy nor unhappy, just indifferent. And that is a crappy place to be. Pin pointing where the apathy was coming from was like finding a needle in a haystack. Bloody impossible.

There was a little hint in my life once. Something I didn’t quite catch in its fleeting moment of existence. It was as gentle as a butterfly brushing past my skin. What was it? A massive positive energy exuding from a friend one afternoon. It seems insignificant, but the feeling I felt at the time haunted me for years. We had a visit from international friends. They had just arrived at our apartment and I had parked my car after a punishing day in the high stress job I had at the time. Jasmine bounced over to me like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, massive smile on her face and with a glow that looked like rays of sunshine radiating from her. I was flat, and she was glowing.

I wanted that.

The hint wasn’t enough for me to figure out the full story. It wasn’t until I had read The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss that I knew deep down what I wanted. To live as a location independent in Thailand. To be able to travel and work from anywhere.

To have options.

Options encompasses so much. Freedom of time, the ability to work on projects that are exciting, relief from the monotony of Groundhog Day and to increase energy from loving life rather than having it drained away during endless high stress work days.

Finally achieving the Dreamline of being location independent in Thailand and living in a foreign country feels so damn good. The relocation is only part of the whole of this story though. Meeting like minded professionals that are location independent is another part to this story. Removing the isolation of this move and connecting with people who understand where we are coming from is another part of this puzzle. Through putting it out there, we made the most amazing connections just last night. We met so many people doing what we want to believe was really possible for us. And it is.

18 months has been the time frame from the pipe dream of making this move to actually doing it. We sacrificed a lot in that time. We pulled the financial reins in tighter than most people would be comfortable with. But it feels so exciting to finally be able to say we are Location Independent in Thailand. The next challenge is to make it sustainable by building an online income. Then our options will be bound only by our imagination.

My message to you is to make the choice to create your dream life. Be patient, live with the sacrifices and it will happen.

Feb 18, 2013 - Conscious Spending Plan    2 Comments

Fast and Furious Saving for Long Term Travel and a Strange Question from my Mother

My mother is lovely, she really is, but geez she asks some random questions. It is hardly her fault. She is over 80 after all. And please don’t be rude, I am not THAT bloody old, she just had me ridiculously late. It is challenging having a mother who is older than the grandparents of most people my age. Such is life though.

So I was having a quick conversation with her yesterday as hubby and I are taking her on a road trip later this week. He is bursting with excitement at the idea of 9 hours in the car with his mother in law. However, it is a good chance to catch up with her before we take off on our one way Asian adventure in a few weeks. I gently suggested to her that she might take some travel sickness tablets before we go. Being in the back seat of our V8 as it flies around hairpin bends up a massive mountain and back down again generally isn’t her idea of fun. She seemed to think she would be fine, but I have seen the wicked combination of her and winding mountains. Better to be safe than sorry.

Then the random question comes soaring over the phone line. This is in her words not mine: ‘How can you travel when you haven’t been working properly?’


I couldn’t explain the answer to her, but I will explain it here: I am a tight arse. A woman on a mission.

If you have ever wondered how average, everyday people who speak of long term travel do it, being frugal is almost always the answer. In Ramit Sethi’s words, “You can have anything you want in the world, but you can’t have everything”. What I wanted more than anything in the world was time to spend working on my business whilst travelling with my husband.

In practical terms, this is what has been done to achieve up to 12 months worth of freedom:

  • I changed from part time work to full time temp work at a higher rate of pay
  • Hubby is on a full time wage too
  • No regular dinners out. We have had about three dinners out in six months
  • Takeaway food is off limits. We cook at home every single day. We also eat Paleo which is more expensive, but that is a personal choice and one we have been willing to pay for.
  • Long weekend drives were off the cards. Our only driving is to work and back. That is it. Outside of work, we stay in our small town and purchase what we need here.
  • Our savings plan is on autopilot. I worked out the maximum we can save and we pay that first.
  • If we don’t have the money to buy something, we don’t get it.
  • We consciously work on reducing our bills
  • Our savings level is about 2/3 of our income with 1/3 going to living expenses.
  • Every bit of overtime that has been made available has been taken up. All extra income goes into the travel kitty
  • We have also saved enough to cover our mortgage repayments for the next 6 months plus all expenses to ensure that our belongings are all well insured. Our mortgage is fairly low through years of shaving money off the balance.
  • We sold a heap of useless crap online and with a yard/garage sale.


Six months of saving this hard gives us up to 12 months of living expenses for travel through Asia. Yes we will still be on a budget, but we are able to travel. So the answer to my mother’s question is a little convoluted and perhaps even impossible. Maybe that is why many people believe it cannot be done, and why so few people do it.

Jan 23, 2013 - Location Independence    No Comments

No Travel Planning Required

Thip Boutique Hotel. Pool, gardens, a quiet location, nice balcony and a desk to work at....perfect for business

Pool, gardens, a quiet location, nice balcony and a desk to work at….perfect for business

My longest jaunt overseas was a few years ago now. It was a four month trip. I planned it top to tail including hotels, transfers, a few pre-organized meet ups with friends, as well as a handful of day trips and even a cooking class or three. As many of you may well know, half of the excitement of a vacation is in the planning stages. The time that you have pre-trip to fantasize about everything you will do and see. If you have ever done this, you will know how it happens. Endless hours on the internet finding the perfect hotel and looking for exciting things to do during your holiday. You learn about local customs so you don’t make an idiot of yourself, you get an idea of what is around the area close to your accommodation. You dream of massages and cocktails and delightful dinners in exotic locations.

So when I was chatting to a good friend of mine the other day (Hi Em!), and she asked what I was going to do during my time overseas, my answer was work on my business. I went on to explain to her how strange it was to go away and not actually plan anything. Other than the flight to Thailand, a 36 hour stopover in Singapore and a month of accommodation booked in Krabi, I have no other plans. When I stopped and thought about it, it really hit home that this isn’t a holiday. I am really treating it like a business trip and a semi relocation. I must confess I was a little disappointed that our first month will not be in an apartment as I had hoped, but in a boutique hotel. The upside is that we just out of town, there is a pool and nice gardens, and it is in a small village with few tourists and other distractions. Perfect for getting some work done.

It is kind of cool and weird taking a trip with no travel planning required. It is also a new experience to buy a one way ticket. After reading a lot of travel and location independent business blogs, many others experience a wide range of emotions when they find themselves in this rather fortunate position. It means you can be flexible with your plans and take in as much or little as you want of a new culture. At the end of the day, I could be away for a week or a year – who knows? I have saved enough for 6 months including all home based expenses. But if I start making an income from my business ideas, that could change. Over the weekend I spent some time reading my business journal from late 2011 to early 2012 this was a time when my frustration was at an all time high. This was because I didn’t have a lot of time to dedicate to working on my business. I wanted nothing more than a 2 month shot at designing product and getting my business off the ground. This time coming up is my opportunity to say I gave it a good shot and threw everything I could at it. If I succeed or fail, it doesn’t really matter. Whilst I would prefer to be successful, at least I will never die wondering what if…

Oct 20, 2012 - Cash Flow Generation    4 Comments

Are you having a Breakdown or a Breakthrough?

 Every Problem has a gift for you in its hands - Richard Bach

I was listening to The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss the other day and this quote nearly made me stop dead in my tracks. “Are you having a Breakdown or a Breakthrough? “. You know when you have an understanding that something in your life is super tough. A time when you are struggling to find meaning. A time when people are saying things to you like ‘Everything happens for a reason’ and ‘One door closes and another door opens’ and ‘You will be FINE’ (Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional!). You know that these moments usually lead to something bigger and better, but in the heat of it all, you can really feel like you are in the middle of a big fat breakdown.

By the way, it has been a while since my last post. But frankly, life has been a little crazy lately. Yep, the mother of all months hit me like a ton of bricks. Long story short, on top of hubby’s little surfing accident and subsequent operation, we both lost our jobs in the same week. It is only now, a couple of months later, I am ok with writing about this. So, I was just about to go on a long awaited holiday to Malaysia and Singapore (more on these two in a later post), and BAMMMM my boss dropped me a bombshell – I would have no job to come back to. Whilst I was disappointed after three and a half years with the company, I could deal with it.

That was Monday, on Thursday, hubby’s boss rang (yes rang him) to say “You don’t have a job to come back to”. Nice to hear when you are laid up recovering from an operation. Fair? Not really. The boss didn’t even have the respect to speak to him face to face. Did we both proceed to have a mental breakdown? Pretty much. But deep deep down, we both intrinsically knew that something would change. This was the catalyst of all catalysts for change. I don’t think the Universe (or whoever is in charge) could have made the point any stronger.

Our plan prior to Breakdown has been to save a little to travel (8% of our after tax $$), and pay the mortgage off ASAP by putting every spare cent into it. The ultimate aim at the end of it was to work part time/casually while building businesses to support us down the track, and also to travel for more than 2 weeks at a time and more than once a year.

When we started thinking clearly about our situation, we both realised how trapped we felt in our jobs and by our mortgage. We thought if we put in the time now with our jobs and 110% effort then we would negotiate flexibility with our bosses later on so we could travel more. Well Breakdown has turned that right on its head. No more being controlled by our jobs. We will work on our terms, no one else’s.

So here is the new plan.

Part 1 of The Plan

Part of any income I make will be skimmed away into the travel fund at the rate of a week for week expense to slow travel. So say it costs a couple around $1500 per month to travel slowly, living in apartments rather than holidaying in a resort or staying in a hotel, then I will attempt stash $350 for each week that I work into the travel fund. Effectively this means that for every week we work, we can travel slowly at a later date. It is a big stretch and will depend on many factors, but as I have only been working part time and intend to work full time moving forward, it is a possibility that we can pull it off.

Part 2 of The Plan

Any excess income outside our expenses and travel funds from both combined wages will go to paying off the mortgage. This may mean that we are looking at a payout date a bit further in the future, but we can always decide to pay travel money off the mortgage if we feel no real desire to go somewhere. Any extra income will be as per our previous Conscious Spending Plan and be broken down as such.

The downside of this plan is that we will most likely have to relocate to achieve it due to a lack of work in our area. It is the price we are willing to pay. In the meantime, ironically, I have my job back. Albeit temporarily, but it will hold us over until such time as hubby has made a full recovery. He is getting closer and stronger every day.