We were in a frenzy last week as we prepared our online businesses for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Ben has been working so hard on growing our brands through Amazon Prime, and this first year of running the business while travelling full-time has had a lot of challenges. This past week Ben worked until late in the night every day tracking sales, managing our inventory, and adjusting ads. It’s such a blessing to be able to work remotely to support our lifestyle, but it’s not always easy!
Ben’s schedule this week meant that Whit and I spent a lot of extra time together. We spent a few afternoons swimming with some close friends, walking to the neighborhood stores, and goofing off watching movies.
Unfortunately Whit also spent the past week with the sniffles. It seems like winter cold season hits everywhere, even the balmy jungle of Northern Thailand. We have friends in the area who have had terrible coughs, fever, and sneezing, but luckily Whit got away with just a runny nose. Since he never had a fever or other symptoms and we really needed the time to work, we still sent Whit to school each day.
One thing I’ve been really impressed with in Chiang Mai is Whit’s international school. Twice they have shut school down after an “outbreak” of sickness to clean the building, and they check every child’s temperature when dropped off each day. When Whit started wiping his nose on his shirt sleeve he was taken to the nurse for an exam and given a new school t-shirt to wear. Nice, right?
I was not immune to pressure last week.
Ben was buried under work, Whit was feeling sick, and I got a ton of backlash over a freelance article I wrote for a local English magazine in Chiang Mai. I worked really hard to deliver my first investigative piece to this magazine, including interviews and lots of research. I’m proud of the article, but it turned out to be a controversial topic to locals. Lots of bored, spineless men went out of their way to drag the article down. I was shocked. I feel like this city is home to more cynical expats than I’ve ever met while travelling! I can’t figure out why, either, since you’d expect that anyone living in glorious 24/hour weather with access to cheap, delicious food and never more than a stone’s throw away from a massage parlor would be perpetually happy.
That same day a company I’d contracted to promote on a future trip threatened to back out of our agreement if I didn’t provide a great deal of extra work.
I lost it.
There is a perception that travel influencers get paid or free stuff for next to no effort, which couldn’t be farther from the truth (in my case at least.) I work 6-8 hours a day on our travel business, which includes a host of skilled labor. I’m researching, writing, taking courses, editing photos, making videos, connecting with people, pitching brands, reviewing statistics, editing past pieces, etc. It’s hard!
I professionally replied to this company that they had three choices: 1) we move forward with the existing agreement. 2) they pay xxx to cover the additional work. 3) we part ways.
I didn’t hear back.
That did not help my mood or professional confidence.
We took turns boosting each other up last week to try and enjoy our next-to-last week in Thailand. We hung out with friends for dinners, bowling, massages, and more, and went to two different local street markets.
I haven’t always liked being stationed in Chiang Mai, but I’m starting to feel like I’ll actually miss it here. After 6 weeks we’ve developed some great habits and come to enjoy the little things about this area. I recognize the delayed blessing of being happy where I am, but I wish it weren’t coming on the heels of our departure.
Thinking about our future plans to leave Thailand and visit the United States left me really contemplative this past week. To be honest, I expected to be really homesick while travelling. I’ve traveled extensively before, and I seem to have the habit of getting overpowered by homesickness a couple of months in. That hasn’t happened on this trip. I don’t know if it’s because I’m doing more enjoyable traveling, because I’m with my husband and son, because I’m older and wiser, or something else, but I get emotional when I think about how much I love the daily adventures and challenges of this life.
I feel myself getting nervous about going back to the States for the holidays, then remember that it won’t be for good. We’re going home, but we’re not done travelling.