All Posts by Lara Moses

Falling Back In Love With Cape Town On The CitySightseeing Bus

Falling Back In Love With Cape Town On The CitySightseeing Bus

Coming home is always a really amazing experience. The magic of seeing the mountain, taking a dip in the ocean, and breathing in the fresh air of Cape Town is so refreshing, but as locals, after about two weeks in the city, the excitement and idea of being home, and seeing friends and family wears off. Don’t get me wrong, we love Cape Town, but as long-term travellers, we are always looking for something new and different from what we know.

With a few major events planned for our current trip to Cape Town, we committed to spending six months in the city. And over the last four month, as locals, we’d become almost immune to the city’s beauty and vibe, and started taking for granted what we had access to – world class beaches, amazing hikes, and delicious food. This made me sad, and I knew that I needed to fall back in love with my hometown.

We recently celebrated a few personal milestones, and decided to do something that both of us hadn’t done before in Cape Town – taking a trip on the CitySightseeing Bus. As Capetonians we love being tourists in our own city, and this was the perfect excuse to do so.

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Like every other tourist that visits Cape Town in summer, we got up super early and headed to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens where we boarded the CitySightseeing Bus, and joined their Blue Route tour.

Tip: Coming for the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, we decided to avoid the chaos of the V&A Waterfront and rather board the bus on route. Not only does Kirstenbosch have free, secure parking, but you can purchase your tickets online or directly on the bus.

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Boarding the bus was quick and easy, and we settled on the upper deck which has the better views. As we headed through the suburbs of leafy Constantia and Hout Bay, on a road that is almost carved into the forest, I could slowly feel myself being reintroduced to the magic of Cape Town – it must have been something about the fresh air, and almost being able to touch the treetops.

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As we passed the township of Hout Bay and headed towards the beach, the commentary became more and more interesting and I started to learn new things about my city.

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Heading over towards the Atlantic Seaboard, we were immediately hit by a cool sea breeze. As locals, we found the commentary a little redundant and extremely boring, so we pulled out our headphones and just enjoyed the views. With not a cloud in the sky and surprisingly no wind, The Mother City was making a conscious effort to impress us. How can anyone not fall in love with this city after seeing the mountains tower out of the ocean complemented by the pristine white sandy beaches? I surely felt like I was the luckiest girl in the world to call this city my home.

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We then headed along Beach Road towards the Green Point Lighthouse (sadly no mention of the fog horn which is located close by) and Cape Town Stadium, before heading to the V&A Waterfront. This was our first stop where we decided to hop on the CitySightseeing Harbour Cruise.

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With our two day pass, this cruise was free and an absolute pleasure. Taking us around the small harbour where we continued to learn about Cape Town, the V&A Waterfront and harbour itself. My favourite part was seeing the adorable seals floating on the water’s surface who were warming themselves by holding their flippers in the air.

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After lunch, we decided to take a loop on the Red Route tour which took us through the city, up to the Table Mountain Cableway and back along the Atlantic Seaboard to the V&A Waterfront. The one thing that all Capetonians know and do, is to avoid any and every tourist attraction during peak season in Cape Town. We do this to avoid the traffic and long queues, but being on the bus, I was forced to head up to the cableway. For me, not driving, it was an opportunity to take in the views from Table Mountain of the city below, and absolutely have my mind blown by Cape Town’s beauty.

Tip: If you don’t have a ticket to the Table Mountain Cableway, they are available on this bus. We strongly advise that you pre-purchase your ticket online or on the bus to avoid the crazy queues.

Exhausted and ready to head home, we changed buses again to get back on to the Blue Route, and headed back to Kirstenbosch Gardens.

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Looking back on my day on the CitySightseeing Bus, I fell back in love with my hometown. Having travelled so much over the last two years has made me come home, and not really appreciate what I have, where I’ve grown up, and the people that make this place so special. But being a tourist in my own city, and taking the time to explore made me love my hometown even more.

9 Reasons Why We Love Living in Chiang Mai

9 Reasons Why We Love Living in Chiang Mai

During our seven month adventure in Southeast Asia, we spent four months living in Chiang Mai – Thailand’s second largest city located in the mountainous north. Lacking the much loved tropical beaches, and famous tourist hot spots that Thailand is known for, we were often asked why we chose to spend so much time in this lesser known city. With plenty of research and discussion behind our decision, here are the nine reasons why we decided to spend four months in Chiang Mai – and why we’ll keep returning.

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1. Safety

Safety is always a huge concern for us while travelling as we’ve both been victims of theft, and travel with our valuable mobile office setup. Even though we take every precaution to make sure that our personal belongings are secure, staying in a safe city really puts our mind at ease. On various occasions we’ve put ourselves in situations where our valuables could have easily been stolen, and were pleasantly surprised when they weren’t.

On one occasion I forgot my iPhone in a restaurant, and had the waitress come running after me to return it before we left on our scooter. On another occasion, Sean forgot his camera in the front compartment of our scooter while we went shopping, and find it exactly where he left it when we returned. It’s having the peace of mind, knowing that the people of the city can be trusted, and the way our valuables are respected that truly made us feel super safe in Chiang Mai.

2. Low Cost of Living

From the accommodation to the food, Chiang Mai is an extremely affordable destination. Our  serviced apartment (one bedroom with kitchen and lounge), including unlimited Internet access, two flat screen TVs, a pool, a gym, weekly cleaning, and a 24-hour reception cost US$830 per month. Our scooter rental cost  US$70 per month, with  a tank of petrol (for the scooter) costing less than US$3! And a delicious vegan meal cost less than US$2. We lived extremely comfortably even enjoyed various private tours, regular visits to the cinema, and countless beers on the rooftop of Maya Lifestyle Centre.

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3. Fast & Reliable Internet

Coming from South Africa, our expectations of fast and affordable Internet compared to the rest of the world is pretty low. Being used to generally slow and expensive Internet connectivity we were impressed by the fast, efficient, and often free Internet access in Chiang Mai. Whether we were working at a co-working space, our apartment, or a cafe, the Internet was always effective enough to do our work productively.

4. Digital Nomad Hub

One of the main  reasons we chose  Chiang Mai to base ourselves was because we had done a lot of research into digital nomad hubs, and Chiang Mai often came out on top of review lists. Regular meet ups and networking events, makes it is easy to meet other online freelancers, entrepreneurs and travellers. With its large expat and digital nomad community, Chiang Mai was a great place for us as first time location independent travellers.

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5. Authentic Thai Culture

Many tourists (unfortunately) only make it as far as Bangkok or Phuket for a short holiday only seeing the tourist attractions and never really venturing out to see the real Thailand. In Chiang Mai locals outnumber tourists, which gave us plenty of opportunities to experience the diverse, more authentic Thai culture. From watching monks collect their donated food as the sun comes up, to heading to restaurants where we were the only Westerners, we truly got an authentic Thai experience, and not the water down version that most tourists get.

6. Scooter Culture

In Thailand scooters rule the roads! Scooters are affordable, convenient and the number one transport choice for most locals. Malls have designated scooter lanes and parking areas, cars on the roads will give scooters right of way, and parking is never a problem. We had a permanent scooter rental while in Chiang Mai, which gave us the freedom to explore to our heart’s content, which included trips to the Chiang Mai Quarry, Samoeng Loop, and Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.

Before renting a scooter, read our post – The Risks of Renting & Riding Scooters in Thailand.

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7. Relaxed & Convenient Environment

As self employed online professionals we prefer to avoid stress whenever possible, and Chiang Mai offers us an amazingly relaxed environment that kept our stress levels low and our productivity levels high. Being less touristy compared to Bangkok, Phuket and Koh Samui, Chiang Mai often felt like a small town with big city conveniences including an international airport, modern malls, co-working spaces, restaurants and great accommodation.

We based ourselves in an area that was no more than a five minute drive from the Old City, numerous shopping malls, co-working spaces, and restaurants, making our lives easy. With a pharmacy, laundromat, 7 Eleven, scooter repair shop and a fresh produce market within walking distance of our apartment, we never needed to travel too far to get anything we needed. In most bigger cities you’d pay no less than US$1000 for a location surrounded by all these extra conveniences. This convenience at such a reasonable price made it an extremely relaxed environment, and comfortable living situation.

8. Vegetarian Food

As vegetarians we often find it difficult to find food that is meat-free, not carb based (pizza or pasta), and delicious. Unlike most cities, Chiang Mai is a huge advocate for vegetarianism, and we were blown away by the quality, taste and variety of vegetarian food and restaurants. From markets that offer a selection of cheap and tasty veggie options, to restaurants like Anchan, Free Bird Cafe, and Imm Aim, we had plenty to choose from.

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9. Thai Massages

During our monthly long stay on Koh Samui we found that massage therapies were very popular amongst tourist. We enjoyed a few of them on the island, but found the best and most affordable massages in Chiang Mai. There is nothing better than going for regular massages to destress and relax. Lying on a massage table in a air conditioned bamboo shed, listening to traditional Thai music, with the smell of tiger balm in the air as you get the tension massaged out of your limbs is something we miss every single day.

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Let us know if you have any questions about visiting or living in Chiang Mai. We are happy to share more of our experiences and make recommendations.

How Pursuing My Freelance Writing Career Helped Me Discover Happiness

How Pursuing My Freelance Writing Career Helped Me Discover Happiness

After six years of working in various 9-5 jobs, and always having a boss, I decided to take my freelance writing career into my own hands, and became self employed. For me, self employment came with a lot of fear, self doubt, and anxiety – not to mention the family concern of me not being able to support myself. Even though I was unhappy in my 9-5, and spent six months questioning quitting, my crossroads came when the magazine I was working for closed down, and I was offered a position within the bigger company that I didn’t want. It was an abrupt moment of clarity that allowed me to see that the security, stability, and monthly income that I was promised, was not permanent. So for the first time I ignored what society was telling me to do, followed my gut, and did what was best for me.

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But it wasn’t easy, and happiness started to seem impossible. I shed a lot of tears in times of doubt, made excuses when I was afraid to take risks in my business, and was angry at myself for walking away from a ‘stable’ income. But I knew I needed to give it a chance before throwing in the towel. It took almost six months to find my feet, work out my game plan, and really focus on myself before I could truly see results. My attitude changed, life didn’t seem as boring, and I, for the first time, had the freedom to live without restrictions. Discovering my happiness was definitely a process that my freelance writing career aided. It allowed me to be brave, work harder, and listen to my inner voice without doubt. It’s an ongoing process, but here are a few of the things I’ve learnt so far that have made me the happiest I’ve ever been:

Follow Your Gut

I remember my first day at home after quitting, and the fear I had of not being able to succeed as a freelancer. Most people around me kept telling me to find another 9-5, and everything would be okay. Yes, 9-5 would give me a paycheque, but not happiness and fulfillment. I was never happy building someone else’s dream at the expense of not following my own. I didn’t want to be stuck in a system where employment is given to me just as fast as it can be taken away. I needed to stop and listen to my gut before listening to anyone else’s advice. And my gut was screaming at me saying, “If you don’t like doing something, why do you keep on doing it?” So I stopped applying for 9-5 jobs, focused on applying and improving my existing skills, and started offering my services as a freelance writer and editor.

No More Excuses

If you want to quit your job, freelance, start a business, and live your best life, then stop dreaming about it, and start taking action. Yes it does come with risks that you can constantly convert into excuses, but honestly what’s the worst that can happen? For six months before leaving my job, I came up with every excuse in the book – I wanted to save more money, wait till my car had been paid off, and wanted to find freelance clients while working a 9-5 job (which my job did not allow). I made all these excuses because I was scared to step out of my comfort zone, afraid of the unknown, and being a failure. As soon as I stopped making excuses and started doing the things that scared me, my mindset shifted. Instead of being afraid of failure, I started seeing challenges, and opportunities to succeed.

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See Failure As A Lesson

During the first year of my freelance writing career I saw every client I didn’t get, and every project I lost as a major failure! I felt like all my hard work resulted in nothing, and that society was right by saying I needed to get a 9-5 job. After losing my only client at the time because he found someone cheaper, I realised that it wasn’t personal. The client didn’t let me go because he didn’t approve of my work, but  because of his own budget, and my need for a liveable income. I soon started seeing “failures” as stepping stones, each with their own unique lesson. Lessons are there to be learnt from, and if we only see the failure in everything, we’ll never learn.

Today, two and a half years later, I’ve realised that making the shift from formal employment to freelancing has empowered me, and it has let me take charge of my own life and happiness. It has been a process that has included a lot of realisation, an attitude adjustment, and ongoing work on myself and my business. You only have one life and it’s up to you to make it the best life. If you’re not happy where you are, then move – you are not a tree!

A Year Of Facing My Fears: Quitting My Job, Becoming A Digital Nomad & Scuba Diving

A Year Of Facing My Fears: Quitting My Job, Becoming A Digital Nomad & Scuba Diving

Whether it’s handing in your resignation letter, bungy jumping off Bloukrans Bridge or public speaking, facing your fears can hold you back from some of the most amazing experiences. My dad always tells me to face my fears and do it anyway, and during 2014, I did just that in a very big way.

Quitting My Job

In 2012 I started what I thought was my dream job. After the initial awesomeness of it all faded away, the late nights at the office turned into missed holidays, and even being sick on deadline was not an option. As time went on I became very unhappy in the stressful, unpleasant environment that was my job, and I started thinking about travelling and becoming a digital nomad. But I feared the lack of security that my monthly paycheque and employment benefits provided me with. This fear left me miserable at my desk for another six months.

At the end of 2013 that all changed, and I was forced to look my fear straight in the face when the branch of the company I worked for closed. Even though I had the option of staying with the bigger company, I knew I needed to do the bravest thing I’ve ever done and leave to become my own boss. I was so scared when I walked into the office that day and had to tell everyone my plan. It felt like my entire world was turned upside down, but I was happy, relieved, and saw so much opportunity ahead.

For more on how I successfully made it through this transition, read ‘My 6 Step Game Plan After Quitting My 9 to 5 Job‘.

Becoming A Digital Nomad

After a few months of trying to find my freelancing feet, I knew that what I was doing from home could be done from anywhere in the world. On paper the idea of being a digital nomad seemed amazing, but on the inside I was freaking out. Having spent no more than a month away from home, knowing I often get homesick, and leaving my support system behind was extremely scary. What I was planning  wasn’t a short two week vacation, this was going to be a six month adventure.

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Once I faced the fears that were playing over and over in my mind, I was able to rationalise my plan and move forward. Here are some of my digital nomadic fears and how I overcame them:

  • Loosing clients and running out of money – No matter where I am in the world I always have the risk of loosing clients, and running out of money.
  • Having to rediscover my work comfort zone in new country – As a digital nomad my focus and work comfort zone needs to be flexible. Having never been a digital nomad before, I surprisingly thrived in my new environments.
  • Not being able to speak the native language  – I grew up in South Africa, which has 11 official languages, and when I come across someone that speaks a language that I don’t understand, I always figure it out, so why can’t I do the same abroad.

Even though I got onto that plane with all my fears still weighing me down, I learnt that like leaving my job, I needed to face my fears head on to get what I wanted.

Scuba Diving

Not being the strongest swimmer, having a real fear of everything underwater (especially sharks), and getting panic attacks from seeing deep, open ocean, I surprised myself  while on Koh Samui in Thailand, and ended up facing one of my biggest fears – scuba diving.

I have to admit that the staff at Discovery Dive Centre in Koh Samui acknowledged my fears and put my mind at ease by giving me the option of going into the pool, trying the equipment, and then deciding if I was comfortable enough to carry on and go into the ocean. During the pool training, I really struggled (especially having to take my mask off underwater and sit there for a minute) and just wasn’t getting it which only made me more fearful. Our instructor, Nicola, had so much faith in me and truly pushed me to what she thought I was capable of. Before I knew it, my training was over, and even though I’d downgraded my certification from Open Water to Scuba Diver, I was comfortable enough to head out to sea the next day.

Heading to the boat the day after training my fears escalated to a point that when Nicola asked how I was feeling, I started crying – full on ugly cry. My fears were becoming all too real, but both Sean and Nicola calmed me down and reassured me that everything was going to be ok. I needed to remind myself that I did the training and I knew what I was doing.

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My moment had arrived. Nicola gave me the thumbs up and I headed from the beach into the ocean – and before I knew it Nicola signalled that we were 12 metres underwater. I was scuba diving by myself, in the open ocean that I feared so much, and was surprisingly calm and at ease. The serenity of being with my thoughts, experiencing a new underwater world, and using my acquired skills gave me so much confidence on my first dive. By the time we surfaced, my adrenaline was pumping and I realised that I had faced my fears – and couldn’t wait for my second dive. I’d gone from crying to confidence in less than a few hours and today, I can’t wait to go diving again.

My mind was blown by the stunning coral and sea life of Koh Tao. To see more of our diving experience watch our video.

In January 2014 my ‘dream job’ ended, and my dream life began. It took me facing my fears to get me where I am today – a self employed, scuba diving digital nomad chasing my own dreams. If these things didn’t  bring out this amount of fear in me, I wouldn’t be as proud of where I am today!

If you found this post interesting, please share it with someone that may need help overcoming their fears.

Rent n Connect: Staying Connected In Turkey

Rent n Connect: Staying Connected In Turkey

As a digital nomad, there’s nothing worse than having to head out to go find fast, reliable Internet after returning from a day of exciting tours. Earlier this year I was faced with exactly this problem while on a two and half week family trip to Turkey. Due to the fact that this was my family’s first international trip, a lot had been planned and I wanted to be part of as much as possible, however I still needed to do some work on days when I was free, and in the evenings. I knew I’d be tired after long days that were jam packed with activities, but my work comes first.

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What Is Reliable Internet?

Even though most hotels promise free WiFi, a lot of the time the free wifi is not fast enough and not reliable. Not only can it be slow, capped, and have additional costs, but it is less reliable without a VPN, making not as safe to do financial transactions. Understandably, free hotel WiFi is often only used by travellers to upload a few images to social media, message family and friends back home, and occasionally check emails. But I was dealing with logging into client accounts, and having to check my online banking to make sure clients have paid me, so reliable Internet was a must.

Finding A Solution

Not knowing how easy or how difficult it is to get a nano SIM card in Turkey, I spent hours trying to inform myself on the best cellular service providers, data packages, and where to buy everything. There were so many mixed reviews that I quickly gave up on getting a nano SIM for my  phone. Feeling awfully deflated and  a bit panicked, I went on to search for mobile data services and found my answer.

Rent n Connect

Started in 2014, this hotspot rental company solved all my problems, had excellent online reviews, and met all my requirements. I quickly ordered two of their devices and headed to Turkey for what became an incredible vacation.

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Devices

Mobile Hotspot – For the entire duration of my trip, Rent n Connect provided me with a mobile hotspot that gave unlimited amount of 3G. It was fast, reliable and efficient. Small enough to fit in my day pack or pocket, I had 3G throughout my trip making working a breeze. Not only could I connect my devices to it, but my family could too which made it so useful when the hotel WiFi was horrible.

Hotspot with Digital Guide – Even though we’d been booked on a 17 day tour, we had a few off days and wanted to explore the 10 cities that we visited. The Hotspot with Digital Guide came in the form of a tablet installed with the guide. We often referred to it when looking for a place to eat, grab a drink, or visit some a tourist attractions. And when I had issues with the Mobile Hotspot the tablet became my backup device.

Why I Loved Using Rent n Connect

Delivery – Conveniently the devices were delivered to my hotel in Istanbul in a neatly packaged box along with charging cables, storage bags, instructions on how to use them, and return packaging.  At the end of my stay in Turkey, I had the option of leaving the devices at the reception of my hotel or dropping it off at a specific location at the airport – I opted for the airport drop off so I could work for a few hours before my flight. The entire system worked seamlessly, and I didn’t once need to go out of my way to drop off or fetch devices.

Reliability – Not only was the Internet fast, but it was also secure. I could slip the devices in my daypack, and constantly be connected while on an overnight bus, poolside at the hotel, or just while exploring the city. I was able to do all my work with the peace of mind knowing that I was not sharing a public network.

Customer Support – I unfortunately needed to use Rent n Connect’s customer support once when during the first week of our trip, the Mobile Hotspot refused to charge. I emailed  the company and they replied in less than an hour with step by step instructions on how to fix it, and a promise that if I couldn’t fix the problem that they would replace the device.

My overall experience with Rent n Connect was an effortless one. They catered to all my connectivity needs, and made getting a reliable Internet connection a simple and enjoyable process. I’d definitely use Rent n Connect again when I next visit Turkey.

To  get your mobile hotspot in Turkey, visit the Rent n Connect website.

Temples of Koh Samui

Temples of Koh Samui

More than just beautiful beaches and a romantic vacation destination, the island of Samui has a rich cultural and religious presence. With Buddhism practiced by most Thai people, there are various stunning temples on this island. Often seen as tourist attractions rather than a holy place of worship, these temples are frequented by tour buses and can get a bit crowded, but if you go early enough or on the off season, you can truly see these temples as they are meant to be experienced. During our month long stay on Koh Samui, we got the opportunity to visit various temples and here are a few of our favourites:

Wat Phra Yai (Big Buddha Temple)

Even though this Buddhist temple is on the small island of Phan is just offshore from Koh Samui, it is still accessible by road and is known as one of the most popular temples in the area. With a stairway decorated with mythological serpent leading up to a viewing platform and a 12 metre high golden Buddha statue, from the ground this temple is spectacular. On the viewing platform surrounding the base of the statue are giant bells that visitors can ring for good luck.

We spent all morning at the temple and extended our stay by enjoying a seaside lunch at one of the nearby restaurants. With the airport being so close by,  it is also an awesome place to watch aeroplanes coming in for landing.

Wat Plai Laem

Home to various elaborate statues and temple buildings, Wat Plai Laem is a Buddhist compound on the north coast of Samui. It is the perfect place to get a perspective of Chinese-Thai beliefs and get to view Buddhist art and architecture. Towering over the compound is the 18 armed Guanyin – the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion – with her nine sets of arms each representing a sector of Buddhism. With so much intricate detail, and impressive architecture we spent about three hours exploring this amazing compound and feeding the catfish.

Wat Khunaram (Mummified Monk)

Vietnam has The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Russia has Lenin’s Mausoleum, and Thailand has Wat Khunaram on the island of Samui which is home to the Mummified Monk. Yes, you can view the mummified body of Monk Luong Pordaeng who died in 1973. Seated in a meditative position, his body is on display in a glass case at this temple as per his own wishes and aims to bring awareness to Buddhism. Even though there is very little decay on the monk, today he wears sunglasses to cover his eyes. The temple itself is very simple yet, like all other temples, is beautiful.

Things To Consider

Dress Code

Like most religious places a dress code is enforced. Please dress respectfully when visiting these Buddhist temples by making sure everything between your shoulders and knees are covered. Most temples do offer free sarongs to those who are not appropriately dressed, but it is easier to bring your own cover-up.

In certain areas of temples it is also required that you take your shoes off. We suggest you wear flip flops or shoes that are easy to slip on and off.

Blessings & Donations

Most temples offer blessings that usually consists of a monk sprinkling holy water above your head before asking you where you from and, in our case, if we are in Thailand on our honeymoon. It is a very special moment to experience and an excellent opportunity to interact with monks that can often speak English. In return for a blessing we always gave a small donation to the temple.

If you have any further questions, please submit them to us on Twitter (@FreemadicLife) or on Facebook.

Ban Sua: Our Apartment On Koh Samui

Ban Sua: Our Apartment On Koh Samui

Finding rental apartments in a vacation destination like Koh Samui can often be difficult, but we luckily stumbled upon a blog post by Freelancers On The Road which described the type of apartment we were looking for. Called Ban Sua Samui, these family-owned apartments seemed like our best bet, and we quickly enquired about availability, and booked our month long stay at what would become one of our favourite apartments to date.

Why We Loved It

Location

Located on the slopes of a jungle covered mountain, in the quiet area of Chaweng noi, Ban Sua overlooks Coral Cove Beach. The location is perfectly placed between the crowds of Chaweng and Lamai with a less than five minute drive to either area.

Internet Connection

With two routers to choose from, the connectivity in our apartment was excellent. During our month long stay we didn’t have a single problem with connectivity and throughly enjoyed working from our apartment.

The Views

There is really no other way to describe the views from Ban Sua than breathtaking. Being halfway up a mountainside, you get a 180 panoramic view of the bay with Chaweng in the distance. During the day we enjoyed watching boats sail by, and by night the entire bay is lit up with green lights from squid fishing boats.

Friendly Owners & Staff

From enquiring about availability and making our booking, to arriving at Ban Sua and throughout our stay, owners Klaus and Dara where so welcoming, and helpful. Whatever we needed they did a great job at assisting us. They provided scooter rentals, laundry services, and great restaurant recommendation. The staff where also professional, friendly and always willing to lend us a helpful hand.

Amazing Pools

Yes, Thailand has amazing beaches, but when it’s 38 degrees with high levels of humidity, it is far more refreshing (and convenient) to take a dip in one of the two infinity pools at Ban Sua than in the 28 degree ocean.

Scooter Rental

Ban Sua conveniently offers scooter rentals to its guests and we had no problems when it came to renting our scooter for a month.

Privacy

Because Ban Sua isn’t a resort or hotel, you can expect a whole lot of privacy. With limited apartments, you’ll avoid the crowded pool, and noisy neighbours.

Daily Cleaning

Most serviced apartments only offer weekly cleaning, but we were spoilt and had the staff come in and clean our apartment daily.

Things To Consider

Due to the apartment being halfway up a mountain on a very narrow, steep road, taxis, songthaews, and even tour company vehicles won’t travel up or down to pick you up or drop you off at Ban Sua. We often had to walk up and down this steep road when going on a tour. However, as mentioned above Ban Sua does offer scooter rentals, and there is plenty of parking for both scooters and cars.

Ask us anything about Koh Samui on Twitter (@FreemadicLife) or on our Facebook Page.

Chalet Robyn’s Nest – A Little Piece of Paradise

Chalet Robyn’s Nest – A Little Piece of Paradise

If you ask a South African where to go stay for a month or so, Botrivier would probably be the last place that they’d think of. This beautiful little town just an hour and a half outside of Cape Town is a place where cows outnumber people, there is one grocery store, and plenty dirt roads. And looking from the outside in, we were pretty sure that technology had forgotten about Botrivier too. So when we were invited to stay at the self-catering Chalet Robyn’s Nest for a week, we were pleasantly surprised to see that it had WiFi – and where there is WiFi we will go!

Greeted by three adorable sausage dogs as we rang the bicycle bell doorbell, the owners, Kike and Johann who live on the property, welcomed us. Located in the middle of Kike’s beautifully flourishing and tranquil garden, Chalet Robyn’s Nest is quaint and rustic, but has all the comforts of home. Designed and built by Johann, the cottage lends itself to lazy days lounging in the garden, catching up on hours of reading, or, for those who live a digital nomadic lifestyle, focusing on work.

Consisting of a kitchen with a microwave, one-plate stove and fridge, a decently sized bedroom with two three-quarter beds, and a beautiful bathroom, the studio style cottage has all the basics we needed during our week long stay. The lush garden is an extension of the cottage where we found and made full use of the BBQ facilities, and outdoor furniture.

Being digital nomads Internet speed and accessibility is always at the top of our list when it comes to looking for the perfect accommodation. When it came to this determining factor Robyn’s Nest didn’t disappoint – considering we were in South Africa, in the middle of nowhere – with speeds up to 2Mbps. For our work requirements this was ideal speed and we were pretty impressed at the reach and accessibility of the WiFi. There was also plenty of space to set up a work station, with the three seater dining table inside quickly being converted to our desk, and the outdoor table and chairs becoming our secondary desk for Skype calls (as it was closer to the router).

When we were not working Kieke encouraged us to make full use of her garden and pick any ripe fruit and vegetables that we could find and use it for meals. We also spent hours playing with the dogs and even got to take them on a walk around the quiet neighbourhood. We had complete privacy throughout our stay and throughly enjoyed being cut off from the big city (even though Hermanus is only 35km away). After our week long stay we found it difficult to leave such a productive place, but knew we would be back in the near future.

Ask us anything about Robyn’s Nest Cottage on Twitter (@FreemadicLife) or on our Facebook Page.

For more information, enquiries or bookings, email Johann and Kike Mendelsöhn at galantskloof@gmail.com

My 6 Step Game Plan After Quitting My 9 to 5 Job

My 6 Step Game Plan After Quitting My 9 to 5 Job

“Choice not chance determines your destiny.” — Aristotle

After leaving the comfort of a monthly paycheque, health insurance and overall perceived security, I found myself at home owning my own time. I had a few business ideas, some cushion cash and no real idea how I was going to make the same amount of money I did working for someone else. To be honest, the first three months of my new digital nomad adventure was a real struggle. Even though it was a refreshing start, I had to find my feet and define my worth as a professional writer and editor. I quickly realised that I needed a game plan. Using the following six step game plan, I stayed focused and kept striving for my ideal income and lifestyle.

1. Don’t Panic

For the first three months after quitting my job I had to constantly remind myself not to panic. The fear of the unknown left me feeling on edge and even, in my doubtful hours, applying for other 9-5 jobs. With a few pep talks from Sean I reminded myself to focus and see this new lifestyle as an opportunity. Rather than falling back into my old ways and letting my panicked state take over, I stayed calm and used that nervous energy to push my own brand harder.

2. Find A Mentor

No matter what you’re doing, I believe that having a mentor is very important. Someone to guide you, help you not make rookie errors and just reinsure you that you are doing the right thing or redirect you when you’re not. For me, that person was Sean. Not only is he my best friend, but he lived in my city, had been living a digital nomad life for eight years and was my biggest supporter. He was just a phone call away, answered all my questions honestly and pushed me to follow my dreams instead of building someone else’s.

3. Aquire The Right Tools

While working my 9 to 5 job I used all the company’s equipment. After leaving I no longer had access to these tools. I had a really old secondhand laptop that did nothing more than slow down my productivity. As soon as I quit, I dug into my cushion cash and got myself the right tools including a new laptop which changed how I worked. Having the reliable tools not only makes it easier to get the task done, but frees up your time and makes working more enjoyable too. Check out our Mobile Office Setup to see what we use to work remotely and efficiently.

4. Freelance

Before I left my office job I knew I was going to freelance to keep myself going. I already had few paying clients and with my 9 to 5 job coming to end I spent about 30 minutes a day just looking for new work and liaising with potential clients. By the time I left my job I was so used to freelancing that the workload was easy to adapt to. The best part about freelancing is that you can start before leaving your 9 to 5 job security, you have the option of working remotely, and can make some money while building your own brand.

5. Schedule Your Life

Make time to keep your clients happy, build your brand and to just relax. I quickly fell into the trap of working on my clients’ projects all the time! I was back in that 9 to 5 situation selling my time for a couple of bucks. A change needed to be made and I needed a schedule. I decided to do my client work on Saturday, Sunday and Monday for three to five hours a day, work on my brand for at least two hours a day  and take some time to hang out with my friends and family.

6. Build Your Brand

I still struggle with dedicating time to growing my own business, instead of spending all my time working on client projects. I constantly need to remind myself that it is important to build my brand and develop my business.

Are you thinking of quitting your 9 to 5 job to pursue a digital nomad lifestyle or have you already left your office job? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter what your strategy has been and what you are struggling with.