Serendipitous path to Chiang Mai

Jodi Ettenberg heard about my transpacific “wifi” antics via Waxy (or was it MetaFilter?), and sent me an email last September while we were still en route. Once we’d settled back into full bandwidth life on land, I looked back at her blog, only to discover she’d returned to NYC and had all her computer equipment (and the photos on them) stolen. Ouch.

Skipping ahead to January, I was reading a blog post that included tweet mentions, and lo and behold: there was Jodi. Once again I clicked back to her blog and found out that she had moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand. At the time, Stephanie and I were sketching out our next few months and saw that we might be in northern Thailand sometime in March. So I gave Jodi a heads up.

chiang mai thailand wat chedi luang from na inn
View from our hotel, looking towards Wat Chedi Luang

To make a long story short, we arrived in Chiang Mai, got settled, emailed Jodi, and found ourselves in the middle of cabal of travel bloggers, including Shannon O’Donnell of A Little Adrift, Travis Ball of Flashpacker HQ, Wes Nations of Johnny Vagabond, James Clark of Nomadic Notes, and of course Jodi of Legal Nomads (not to mention a few non-bloggers, Paddy Mangunta and Jeff Boda). It was a veritable meetup!

I have to admit, after 7 months on the road, it was a little surreal to hear people casually tossing around terms like “SEO”, “affiliate marketing”, and “analytics” again. On the other hand, it was super cool to be warmly welcomed into this geeky group, who shared with us their favorite barbecued pork at the Sunday Night Walking Market, invited us out for drinks, and gave us something to look forward to nearly every night of the week.

chiang mai thailand sunday night walking market rudys bar b q sause thai pork
East meets West: Rudy’s Bar-B-Q “Sause” with Thai barbecued pork and coconut water from the Sunday Night Walking Market

Then on Saturday, March 19th, Stephanie flew down to Koh Samui to attend a 10 day yoga retreat on the nearby island of Koh Phangan. It would be the first time we’d spend more than an hour or two apart in all these 7 months. Before starting my own week-long volunteering stint at the Elephant Nature Park, I walked around the moat surrounding the old city and took a few photos to capture a glimpse of Chiang Mai’s gilded spirit.

chiang mai thailand wat kuan kama golden horses on wall
Golden horses guarding Wat Kuan Kama
chiang mai thailand wat kuan kama golden buddha
Wat Kuan Kama’s golden Buddha
chiang mai thailand ratchpakhinai and rachadamnoen street signs
Artful street signs in Thai and English


Great to meet you Justin. It’s a great little community here of online geeks, no wonder I love it so much. Thanks as well for the splash of BBQ sauce :)

My pleasure. And I should mention for everyone else that I don’t normally travel with my own barbecue sauce—the Rudy’s “Sause” came in a care package from home, thanks to my sister.

Yeah, the group in in Chiang Mai is something else! I feel lucky to have met everyone as well. Glad you were able to join the group for a bit along your travels! See you down the road…


I’ve got some Oklahoma friends living in Chang Mai right now. I’ll be sure to tell them about the cooking school.

Kevin, I took two cooking classes in Chiang Mai, and finally just posted about the second one here: Thai cooking, take two. Though your friends will have fun at either, if they are looking for a high quality class, I can only recommend A lot of Thai.

Your Thailand-related posts are proving to have a nice, long tail (or trunk? :) as Molly and I are visiting there very soon. I’m grateful to re-read through the lens of preparation! Hope you’ve been well!

Isn’t that what it’s all about—sharing asynchronously. Glad you found some enjoyment/information in my old posts. I, myself, recently turned back to them to advise a work colleague who’s about to go there for a month. Have a great trip.

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