Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Cambodia 1

Cities

Felt sad leaving the rice fields of HangDong. Had an awesome October cycling around the sticks. And not being at work. Caught my first ever Uber to ChiangMai Airport. Spent my final Thai weekend in Krungtep Maha-Nakon (Bangers).

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE)


Image result for schwab stocks sharesI've had a few questions asking how it's possible to retire early having lost $225,000 in 2014 at the age of 40. While that's true, this post examines how I bounced back.

The first thing to note is that I started with nowt. My parents (both passed) were far from affluent. I'm not complaining - I had a great childhood. Just stating a fact. I left school at 16. Joined the Royal Navy. Was trained as an Electronic Engineer and served on HMS Coventry (Balkans conflict 1994) and HMS Victorious (a submarine designed to rain nuclear horror on innocent civilians).

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Why I'm leaving Thailand after a decade

Sat in a $110/month room, gazing out at emerald-green rice paddies bounded by slender palms. A piercingly blue sky with the odd cumulus marking the end of the rainy season. It truly is a glorious afternoon. The fan drones away providing a welcome breeze for my semi-naked torso. Wonderful tropical warmth. In October. Lovely.

Having sold the CBR500 for $3,500 and replaced it with a $50 bicycle I've been living a life-of-leisure since quitting the latest spirit-crushing job. I've decided to forfeit today's 40km cycle in favour of penning my reasons for leaving Thailand after a solid decade in the Kingdom.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Retirement (again)

Arrived in CM feeling upbeat after two years in the South. Glad to be back. Dining with Paddy and his wife (feels odd saying that) was a treat. The Indian was superb but it wiped me out for two days (food poisoning). An ominous sign of things to come?

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Angleterre

Well, what a couple of months. I was hunkering down for a third year in the Hat when an offer came out of the blue. A chance to return North. I swallowed the inevitable pay cut and started making plans.

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Mortal Coil

Family

2008 me Mam passed away aged 57.
2019 me Fatha passed away aged 69.
Gets yi thinking like.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Pattaya

First thing I did in 2019 was fit a new chain. What a difference! Like a new bike.

Performed sea-trials by riding 400km around the south of Thailand.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

A man. A bike. A book. A bird.

Book

Managed to get it published on Amazon in both kindle and paperback formats. While setting up a link (to the right) I noticed the blog has had north of 200,000 visits. After some digging it turns out 15,000 people have read How I lost $250,000 while 12,000 people have researched Chiang Mai Soapies.

Financial loss and shagging ..... who'd ave thunk?

Saturday, 3 November 2018

There is no re-experience.

Bollicks

When I embarked on this adventure 12.5yrs ago everything felt fresh, vibrant and exotic. And it was. For sure. The sights, colours, smells, sounds, languages, cultures, food and women. Everything was electric and it resonated through my soul. All the way from the peaks of Icelandic volcanoes to the rainforests of Borneo. Good times.

Friday, 3 August 2018

The whole of Thailand on a CBR500


< In April 2012 I rode 7,500km around Thailand on a Honda Phantom 200cc.

> In August 2013 I rode 11,000km around Malaysia, Thailand and Laos on a Honda CBR 250cc. As far south as Singapore and as far north as China.

In July 2018, after a 5 year gap, it was time to do it again. This time on a Honda CBR 500cc.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

The south of Thailand

Certain dates stick in your mind. Certain events trigger memories. The World Cup. I remember watching England beat Paraguay 1-0 on Saturday 10th June 2006 in the Black Bull in Morpeth with my brother and his wife-to-be. I can even remember the price (£1.70) and shape of the pint glasses. Two days later I left the UK.

Friday, 18 May 2018

South of Thailand on a CBR500

The danger zone

Betong is the most southern town in Thailand. A twisty 270km south of the Hat. Passed through Yala where I was surprised to have coffee with John Lennon. Imagine. Wasn't expecting this as Yala feels like Islamabad.

Every vehicle in Thailand must display a number plate indicating the province it's registered in. However, Betong is the only district in Thailand to issue its own plates. Locals told me it's because Betong is remote - although I've been to far more remote districts. Umpang in Tak for example.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Buying a CBR500R in Thailand

Found Buddha racked out on Yoh Island one morning. The heat's starting to build in the Hat. Must be getting near Songkran.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Roads less travelled


School pantomine just before Christmas. First time I've ever been a dancing mouse.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Crypto-currencies. Irrational tattoos.

Rain

There's lots of it in Hat Yai in November. Lots. Every time I make a cup of coffee at work I have to walk past this steely gaze. Did I do something to upset her? Normally Buddhist statues are golden and serene, whereas this one is cold and ominous. Are November's grey pregnant skies linked to the darkness she induces in me? Freaky man.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Hat Yai Sabai Sabai

Footbon

I've got more idea about Hat Yai after two months. I'm still in the glorious phase of appreciating my escape from China. I shudder when I think back.

I can do normal things in Thailand like ride motorbikes, breathe clean air, see nature, find solitude, chat to people with manners, use clean bogs and, crucially, enjoy football. I went to watch Songkla United draw 3-3 with Army United. Same division as Chiang Mai. Same quality too. Fewer fans. I bought a shirt.

My dream is to see a Thai Premier League game one day. I reckon this might be possible in my lifetime unlike NUFC winning a trophy.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Bye bye Xi'an. Hello Hat Yai.

Holiday

I had 4 weeks off and stayed in Xian. Spent the time cycling around the city, writing a novel and having skype interviews.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Xi'an summer


Cycling

80km to the Qingling Mountains south of Xi'an. Doesn't sound much but it's a long old slog on a push bike.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Nothing without consciousness.

Revelation

One night I was listening to a philosopher on youtube. At one he point stated:


You're an aperture for the universe to see itself.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Bikes, Bulbs and Bollicks in Xi'an, China

Difficult
I've probably mentioned that the simplest things in China can be utterly traumatic. Washing clothes, ordering food and paying bills are complicated affairs for the intrepid yet bumbling foreigner. A new activity can be added to the list: changing light bulbs.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Living in Xi'an

Development

I went for a walk and ended up passing this building project near my apartment. Xi'an is developing at a furious pace and this is a common site throughout the city. Incredible to witness.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Xi'an ..... end of the silk road.

Xi'an

When I first entertained the idea of China I was offered positions in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhuo. The usual suspects. None of them appealed. I asked the recruiter if he had anywhere more interesting. He shrugged and suggested Xi'an. Images of terracotta armies, silk road camels, Marco Polo, ancient emperors and adventure instantly sprang to mind. I accepted and his eyes lit up. Xi'an is a hard sell as many foreigners are seduced by the bright lights of China's booming first-tier cities.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Eight years in Thailand

Thailand

It's with mixed emotions that I sit here in Don Muang International Airport in Bangkok with all my worldly belongings.

I first visited Thailand in October 2006. A short flight from Kunming, China. I was 32. Young, dumb and full of cum. Twas my first time south of the Tropic of Cancer. The metallic snow-capped mountains of Yunnan had given way to the luscious jungles of Chiang Mai. Talk about contrast. Exotic palms towered over alien looking banana trees. The stuff of postcards.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

How to get a Chinese Z visa in Thailand

Chinese Z visa
A step by step guide to getting a Chinese Z visa (for teaching) at the Chinese Consulate in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

I did this in early 2017. The whole process took four months but we had a few hiccups which you can avoid if you follow these steps.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Selling a CBR250. Ganja and Snakes.

Selling a CBR250

Things happen for a reason. My last school forcing a shit sandwich down my throat was a clear sign. Time for a change. Compounding that was a 600km MaeHongSong loop that felt like I was just going through the motions. I've ridden to every province in Thailand and it's beginning to feel old. When you get bored of riding here you know it's time to move on.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Ditch Jobs. Acquire Tats.

Old lass

I moved to Chiang Mai exactly three years ago (Oct 2013) and went out with Oil for six months. She recently contacted me to say she'd dropped a sprog so I looked her up. I can't describe the emotions I felt on seeing the new her. Relief is probably the best word. I had no idea she'd balloon into a land whale. She was a hot 24yo when I knew her. Woah.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Raunchy RoiEt. Irresistible Isaan.

Hill Tribe Village

We went to Wan's still electric-free village to celebrate a wedding. Were these kwai an ominous sign? A 16yo lass had married an 18yo lad. When I was 16 I couldn't tell 'me arse from me elbow' and things aren't much better 26 years later. Marriage? F*ck that.

Friday, 10 June 2016

A decade in Asia

10 years
I left England 10 years ago today. A whole decade. The 12th of June 2006 to the 12th of June 2016. My last sight of Blighty were the remote Shetland Isles slipping away on a bleak southern horizon. The ferry was making its way through the icy Atlantic to Torshavn - the capital of the Faroes Islands.

I was 32 back then. 42 now. I didn't intend to stay away this long, it just happened. The last decade has been a roller coaster ride through everything Asian. Let's take a peek through the murky telescope of history.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Upbeat Umphang

Umphang

is Thailand's largest district located in Tak Province. At 4,325km² it's larger than 26 of Thailand's 76 Provinces. It's about the same size as Isaan's Mukdahan Province. It's also the remotest area in Thailand with a population density of only 6 people/km². There's only one road in and out - the 1090 from Mae Sot. It's 164 km of motorbike porn with 1,219 curves through pristine wilderness.

Me and wor lass went there as part of a 4-night 1,400km Songkran loop. Twas mint.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

No Electric - but it cometh.

Chiang Mai

The 21st March 2016 marked 7 full years in Thailand. I remember watching Fulham beat ManUre in a late-night coffee shop in Trang on that day in 2009. Little did I know I'd be destined to stay here in perpetuity. This pie chart shows where I've lived during the last 10 years in Asia. I've been in CM 2.5 years - the longest I've lived anywhere since leaving home at 17!