Dave from England and Erin of Nomad Spirit are from Australia first met while living in Barcelona and have been jumping from country to country ever since. Their blog NomadSpirit.net talks about the life of combining travel with running online businesses. Since the blog started in 2012, they have been on a mission to live in every digital nomad hotspot around the world. Dave & Erin often give out information on each digital nomad location they visit, such as ease of finding a monthly rental, living costs, food and the type of expat lifestyle to expect. Please enjoy this week-in-the-life of Dave and Erin in the digital nomad hotspot of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
See also: Nimman – Chiang Mai’s Unapologetic Bubble
This post was originally published in 2014. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.
Nomad Spirit Day 1: Tuesday
10am – Wake up. The usual routine – Both check emails, read a few new articles and debate where the day will take us over breakfast. Dave is unsure of the name of our new business and walks around restlessly trying to come to a decision.
1pm – Sunshine! We decide we need to be outside – Decisions are easier made outside. We drive to Huay Tung Tao Lake outside of Chiang Mai and spend the afternoon throwing a frisbee to each other and lazing in the sun. Later, we find a comfortable bamboo hut, have a few games of backgammon and watch the darkness grow over the hills.
6.30pm – Erin attends a Thai yoga class (guessing at the instructions which are in Thai, while attempting to copy the other students actions).
7.30pm – Both back in the flat and it feels like a long day. We’re back online checking over things before we head out for dinner. We go to our favourite street stall, large pork soup for 30baht ($1). Erin’s attempt at ordering our food in Thai is greeted by a big smile from the vendor. Did she get it right? We’re unsure. The correct food arrives anyway.
9pm – A friend comes over to the flat to work on some new music with Dave. Erin spends the evening researching some book promotion ideas and reading a book.
Day 2: Wednesday
8am – Erin is up and off to her fitness class. She comes back feeling really energised. A couple of hours are spent on the laptop finishing up her new ebook.
11am – After Erin resists the temptation to be noisy and wake up Dave, he finally emerges close to 11am. Dave finds an old email from a guy who is interested in creating something from our app idea. He sends us a message six lines long. Dave sends one back six pages long. No reply. Perhaps scared him off with too much detail. Time will tell!
2pm – After lunch we bump into friends and decide to spend a relaxing afternoon in Suan Buak Haad Park. Erin takes a nap. In the park there are lots of cool people about, especially the folk who are using a slack-line and juggling. The conversation gravitates around the idea of morality and how we can know for sure if something is good or bad. Travellers are always passing through different countries with different laws and principles all the time and it is hard to know who is right sometimes. We exchange philosophies, have a few games of chess, talk about wanting to learn to juggle after seeing people doing it with ease and then plan our evening – a meal by the Chiang Mai lake.
8pm – We meet at the swimming pool and drive our mopeds up to the Lake. We find a nice spot, but there are lots of noisy karaoke bars across from us, which our small stereo fails to drown out. We have dinner and a few drinks before heading home to bed.
Day 3: Thursday
10am – Both up. We’re happy about that as we have a few things to do. Breakfast, emails, lunch.
1pm – How is it 1pm already? Ok, we both quickly rush to the gym then out for a second lunch.
2:30pm – Back in the flat. Dave heads off to find a nice spot outside to write an important Nomad Spirit post. We decided around a month ago to be 100% open about our new project/business so that anybody interested could see the complete process of starting an online business in the way that we do it. Dave publishes the post and starts to draft out ways in which we can easily and interestingly report to our readers fortnightly.
Meanwhile Erin is in the flat finishing one of her new ebooks. We pass the book to and from each other a few times using editorially (best joint writing software ever, but unfortunately is closing down soon). We’re finally happy with it. Dave starts designing the front cover and we think about pricing.
6pm – Erin is off to yoga, while Dave finishes the book cover.
8pm – On the moped and off to the markets before they close. We visit Tanin market on the north side of the moat just off Chang Puak Road. The vendors recognize us now and it is easily our favourite market in Chiang Mai. We get four delicious dishes take-away for 80baht and 7baht for a decent portion of rice.
Day 4: Friday
8am – Erin wakes up and is off to her fitness class, she comes home to find Dave sleeping and starts the final edits to her book.
10am – Dave wakes up. This time we’re off to the gym early so we have the whole day free. Chinese New Year celebrations are tonight. Haven’t got a plan, but we know something will be happening. Probably a good idea to get some online things done early, so we are free later.
1pm – Lunch – Out for pork and egg on rice – lots of protein. Need good protein after the gym! One of those rules you probably shouldn’t argue with.
2pm – Back in the flat and sitting down to get some important things done. Dave spends a few hours working on a design for our new project and writing draft posts. Erin makes sure once more the book is exactly how she wants it and releases it to the world an hour later on Amazon under a pseudonym.
3pm – We’re off to the markets to stock up on fruit and veg for the week. We’ve found the best market for fruit in Chiang Mai at Muang Mai Market northeast of the moat. You rarely see many non-Thai people shopping there. The prices are so cheap you realise those selling $1 soups are actually making quite a profit! We buy as much fruit as we can carry in our moped. After our market shop, Erin treats herself to 120 baht ($4) hour massage, she feels she deserves a bit of pampering after finishing her latest book.
7pm – Emails start coming through. Chinese New Year celebrations are starting and we’re missing it. 8pm we’re out the door!
8:30pm – We meet up with friends in the centre of Chiang Mai. After being herded like cattle through the crowded streets near Warorot Market we decide we have had enough. We head to the river hoping to see some fireworks later on. We find a nice bar, have some drinks and wonder why midnight brings no fireworks… Oh well, still a good night. We call it a day and make plans together for a day trip outside of Chiang Mai for the next day.
Day 5: Saturday
9am – Wake up – early morning for a reason. We’re off to Mae Wang for the day, a national park one hour south of Chiang Mai. Erin has a Skype chat with her family and excitedly tells them the news that a mystery shopping company wants to send her to Australia for some assignments later in the year. We meet friends for an early lunch at a very tasty vegetarian restaurant.
1pm – Our convoy is heading out of town. Arriving at the gates, we meet the park ranger who is the friendliest person we have met in a while. He seems to think Erin can understand Thai and happily chats to her for quite a while before jumping on his moped. He motions for us to follow and ends up showing us a nice bird breeding ground within the park. He claps his hands loudly to excite the birds and we watch as thousands of birds all take flight together. What a nice guy and a beautiful site. We thank him before he speeds off back to his post.
We go off to explore Mae Wang Canyon and search for an elusive waterfall that appears to have dried up.
6pm – We know sunset is coming and we need to find a great spot. We find a big, beautiful lake with a nice view and notice somebody has left an old boat on the shore. Nobody is around and it feels like we are in the middle of nowhere. We climb into the boat one by one and attempt to push it further into the water. 10 minutes later we have succeeded and are now floating into the middle of lake with nothing but a large, heavy piece of bamboo for steering. We start to wonder if we have just stolen somebody’s boat. We come to the more morally acceptable conclusion that of course the six of us have just borrowed somebody’s boat.
The sunset arrives as we sit in the boat in silence watching it over the mountains. The moment ends and we very slowly make our way back to the shore and leave the boat as we left it.
8pm – Back in Chiang Mai and off eating again. Tired, we decide to spend the rest of the night at home and watch a movie.
Day 6: Sunday
8am – Erin is awake, her body clock seems to be getting used to these early mornings now. Dave continues to sleep for a couple more hours.
It’s the beginning of the month so Erin does her check of the Nomad Spirit month’s income and outgoings. Dave prefers not to get involved with figures and maintains his theory that ‘as long as the correct one is bigger than the other one, we’re set’. Dave compiles more content for our new project. Erin is busy submitting her ebook to different websites that will promote it during its free period on Amazon. We spend the majority of the morning inside and online.
2pm – Erin heads out to a free photo walk and exhibition with a friend that we know from Barcelona. The walk takes them through a market while a professional photographer gives out useful tips. Gotta love all the cool stuff happening around Chiang Mai!
10pm – It’s shutdown time – we chill out for the rest of the evening before going to bed.
Day 7: Monday
8am – Erin struggles getting out of bed for her fitness class.
10am – Dave emerges. We have breakfast together before deciding what we want to do with our day. Erin continues with some further book promotion and Dave listens to music while researching places we would like to visit in The Philippines next month.
12pm – We both head to the gym where Erin swims and Dave works out. We meet up later by the pool to play some chess and backgammon before heading off for lunch.
3pm – Back at home and online again, we continue this way for a couple of hours flipping between researching exciting places to visit in the Philippines and looking into possible options of where we can volunteer while we are there.
For the evening, we organise a dinner and movie night with friends.
7.30pm – We head to Tanin markets and get some bargains. Eight curries, rice and some mixed vegetables for 200 baht (just under $7 for all five people). We serve up the food buffet style and spend the evening watching movies together.
Dave and Erin’s next location is The Philippines where they plan on helping out after Typhoon Yolanda. Follow their latest project wphippies.com where they share more of their minimalistic philosophies about online business. Make sure to follow their journey along the way at Nomad Spirit.