Our Nomadic Life — 2009 in Review

January 1, 2010 - Filed under General

2009 was an amazing year for us. It was a year full of travel, new experiences, fantastic memories, and thankfully a lot more ups than downs. It was our first full year without a permanent home and our first full year freelancing from the road. We visited 7 countries in 12 months, took 18 flights, and made a million new memories.

Below are just a few of those memories, as we look back and reminisce over an amazing 2009.


We rang in the New Year with some friends at a beach resort in the Philippines. We had some great dives in January, made some new friends, rented a motorbike, and celebrated my 30th birthday. Read More…

Posted by: Kelly

Week 47: Diving Sipadan and Mabul

I’m a spoiled scuba diver. I started diving last October in the Philippines when I realized that my motorcycle habit wasn’t going to be fulfilled and was instantly fascinated with the underwater world. Over the last year, I’ve done around 80+ dives (not too shabby for a recreational diver!). While I’ve enjoyed almost every dive, the first 40 or so tend to be the most memorable since they took place in the Philippines.

The Philippines pretty much had it all as far as I was concerned. Great macro and muck diving in the Dauin area. Fantastic wall dives at Siquijor. Beautiful soft corals and schools of fish at Apo Island. Turtles at Moalboal and sharks at Malapascua. It’s a package that was hard to beat. Traveling through Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia, I never came across a place with the diversity that the Visayas offered. Sure, there were some amazing hi-lights along the way like the whale shark in Thailand and manta rays in Indonesia, but never matching the sheer range of corals, creatures, and dive opportunities. Until Sipadan…

Sipadan, Borneo
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Posted by: Shim

Philippines, Thailand, and Bali travel budgets

July 9, 2009 - Filed under Planning, Travel

Friends and family often tell us they’re jealous of our adventures and how lucky we are to be able to afford our nomadic travel lifestyle. We agree. We’re in a very advantageous position, earning an income working online while we travel. But how much is this costing us exactly, and how does the cost of living abroad compare to what we were paying back home in Vancouver, Canada?

You’ll notice that we spent significantly less in the Philippines on a per month basis than anywhere else. I primarily attribute this to being settled in a beach house with a full kitchen for a 4 month stretch and being fairly remote which limited restaurant expenses to local options. This illustrates my previous post about how to keep costs down by traveling slowly and minimizing food expenses. There’s also no international flight costs included in the Philippines expenses. I’m not sure if something like that should be averaged over the whole trip, or attributed to the arrival country. In which case, Hong Kong cost us $3400. :) Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Week 39: 9 months in Asia and the things we (will) miss.

May 31, 2009 - Filed under Weekly Report

We’ve just crossed the 9 month marker of our 1 year journey. Having been through Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, our time abroad is quickly coming to a close. In a few weeks we’ll be heading back to see more of Malaysia’s north coast around Penang and possibly the Perhentian islands for some diving, then on to Borneo for a few more weeks of diving and motorcycling before flying back to Hong Kong to return home to Canada in August.

South East Asia map of our travels
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Posted by: Shim

Week 36 & 37: The downside of travel

May 17, 2009 - Filed under Weekly Report

For the most part, we’ve avoided talking about the difficulties of long-term travel. There’s sort of an unwritten rule among travelers that you just don’t talk about the bad stuff. Sure, it’s ok to bitch about lost luggage, a missed flight, or being ripped-off by a taxi driver, but no one really wants to hear that traveling can be tedious and stressful. Most people prefer to imagine our lives are nothing but poolside piña coladas, and endless Saturdays. Unfortunately that’s not always the case.

I think for most travelers, there comes a point when the romantic idealism wears off and the reality of long-term travel sets in. For us that point was last week. I can’t really pin it down to a specific moment or event, but rather the culmination of 9 months in Asia. Cultural differences, language barriers, and the challenges of living this type of lifestyle have become more and more apparent, and it’s been a difficult couple of weeks. What’s culturally charming on a two week vacation can become remarkably frustrating after a few months. Read More…

Posted by: Kelly

Foto Friday: Geek Heaven

May 15, 2009 - Filed under Foto Friday

Pantip Plaza Bangkok

Pantip Plaza Bangkok (The IT Mall) – An entire mall for geeks! Computers, cameras, video games, and everything else in between.

Posted by: Kelly

Foto Friday: Guarding Buddha

May 8, 2009 - Filed under Foto Friday

Guarding Buddha

Posted by: Shim

Week 35: Fight Night

May 4, 2009 - Filed under Entertainment, Stuff to do, Weekly Report

Walking the streets of Koh Samui around Chaweng beach can be a little like running the gauntlet. We’ve been bombarded by tailors trying to coax us into their stores for cheap suits, shirts, shoes and the like. Restaurants handing out drink coupons and herding street traffic towards their tables. Street vendors trying to sell us knockoff t-shirts, soap carvings, statues, jewelry, and a ton of other mass produced stuff. Taxi drivers endlessly asking if you want a ride. It can be a bit much, but is a defining part of the Thailand experience.

Muay Thai Guy

Among the cacophony of all this, there are trucks roaming the streets with loud speakers proclaiming the greatness of the evenings scheduled Muay Thai boxing matches. Its always the ‘Fight of the Year’ and every fighter is supposedly a district champion… but 6 years ago I did take in a Muay Thai night and it was a memorable if somewhat shocking experience. Back then, they started with the youngest fighters around 6 years old and progressed to the regional champions who were usually in their mid 20’s. It was strange paying to watch little kids beat each other up, and it did get quite bloody when they got to the later matches. But I’d say it’s a must see if you’re in the neighbourhood since the Thai people are so enthusiastic about the sport and it really is a good time. Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Week 34: Back to Koh Samui

April 28, 2009 - Filed under Weekly Report

One of the harder parts about this crazy lifestyle of ours is that we are constantly picking up and moving somewhere new. We’re not exactly traveling light, which can make planes, buses, ferries, taxis, jeepnies and tuk tuks, a little difficult. And I’m often envious of those people with the tiny little backpacks.

This time before heading back to Koh Samui, we decided to do a bit of downsizing in order to lighten our load. We both got rid of quite a bit of stuff, but unfortunately it didn’t seem to make a dent in our belongings. So far we’ve been pretty good about shopping, and haven’t really purchased any souvenirs, but between the dive gear, camera gear, and computer gear, our bags are definitely heavier than we’d like.

Read More…

Posted by: Kelly

Foto Friday: Mae Haad Beach, Koh Tao, Thailand

April 24, 2009 - Filed under Foto Friday

Koh Tao - Mae Haad Beach

Posted by: Kelly