The blog is not finished! But after the Theft (yes, capital letters), the want/need to update the blog took second fiddle to dealing with the Theft and just finishing the trip sans computer. Since being home, it's been hard to get that motivation to complete it. But I will. Ever so slowly. Please be patient!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chiang Mai Tweet-Ups

Day 399-403, December 31,2011 – January 4, 2012

At the start of my trip, oh so long ago, Chiang Mai was really just another Thai city on my list of ones I wanted to see. There was no real particular reason behind it, I didn’t know what there was to see or do in the city. That all changed probably around the beginning of October when I learned that Warren and Betsy of Married With Luggage were going to be settling down for a few months in Chiang Mai. Suddenly, I had a major incentive to go to Chiang Mai. A reason 1 year and 3 continents in the making.


As soon as it was clear when I would be in town, it seemed like other travel bloggers seemed to come out of the woodwork. For some reason, Chiang Mai is a major settling-down city for long term travelers needing a break from the traveling. Warren and Betsy were amazing and set up a small tweet-up(a term used for when Twitter users meet up) with Dustin of SkinnyBackpacker and Dani and Jess from Globetrotter Girls on New Years Eve.

It is strange how small yet big the travel blogger community is. Back in August I had met up with Jaime of Breakaway Backpacker in Amsterdam for Pride. In November, I met up with Val in Cambodia. Those two had met and traveled together at La Tomatina in Spain. And finally, Dani and Jess traveled with Jaime when they were in Central America at the same time.

And then there’s Dustin. Probably the weirdest coincidence out there. He’s from my home town of Saskatoon, but I never found his blog on my own. My mom found it for me. She had been in the city doing errands and, although I’m not sure exactly how, she ended up meeting Dustin’s dad. They talked and the subject of me came up. He told her about Dustin and gave her his website to give to me. Doesn’t really help to reject the notion that Saskatoon is a small city and everyone knows everyone(oh, and PS. Office Glen died. You know, the one that played hockey?).

We all met up at a bar called Freedom Bar, which is Reggae bar. Something I didn’t know was just how much Reggae is loved in Thailand, or at least in Chiang Mai. From my hostel to the bar, I passed no less than six other Reggae bars. It’s insane!

Jess and DaniIMG_8593

Dustin and his girlfriendIMG_8595

Meeting all these other travel bloggers was both exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. These were people I’ve been talking with online for over a year. Warren and Betsy and I have been practically chasing each other around the globe since the beginning of our trip(we started around the same time and have been in South America and Europe at the exact same time. Even the same countries at times). It was like having beers with old friends as we’ve all kind of gotten to know each other through our blogs. Though that makes telling some stories sound repetitive(“Oh yeah! I remember you talking about that in that post last month.” “Oh . . . “). But that’s just what makes this community so unique!


New Years Eve celebrations commenced, though the group broke apart for prior commitments. I attempted to find Janine and Lucy at our designated spot but we didn’t anticipate just how many people would also be at that spot and I ended up counting down to the new year alone. Actually, after talking with those two the next day, it turns out we were probably only ten or fifteen feet away from each other. You wouldn’t think it’d be hard for three, short, white people to find each other in a small square in Thailand, but it was!


As for sights, Chiang Mai is chock full of temples. Over 300 temples according to one source I read. After only managing to visit two on my first full day in the city, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that you need months in this city to even hope to see them all. Though I’m not sure I would want to. After only a few days I was already getting a bit temple’d out.

And geocaches. There’s one on this wallIMG_8528





However, that being said, one of the coolest experiences I’ve had happened at one of the temples when a monk came up and started talking to me in near perfect English. We ended up sitting and talking for a good 45 minutes or so about our different cultures and countries. He had joined the monk-hood back when he was 13. He is now 26 and is going for his Master’s in Psychology. That’s the thing that really threw me for a loop in that although they are monks, they are still going to University. It’s quite fascinating.



I met up with the Talbots a couple more times throughout my stay in Chiang Mai. They took me to a couple of their favourite eateries and we hung out over [relatively] cheap bottles of beer. It was so cool to finally meet these two and to find out that they are just as hilarious and fun to hang out with as their blog implies. One night we managed to take a stroll down the Sunday Walking Market, a huge outdoor market which converts the entire length of the centre street in the old town into a mall. This was also my first experience with the strange tradition of having the Thai national anthem pumped through speakers at 6pm and seeing everyone stop and listen.

Once again, as well, the iPod apps Scruff and Grindr helped me meet with some locals. This time, with a bit of encouragement from Warren and Betsy(woof!). I met a guy who had actually gone to university at the University of Lethbridge not to far from Saskatoon. We checked out the local art scene in Chiang Mai and he later took me to the large gay disco(where foreigners pay 200baht to enter). It was an interesting experience to say the least.

The final 2 members of the Mekong Delta tourIMG_8895

When I left Chiang Mai, after saying goodbye to the Talbots, Dustin, and to the last remnants of the Mekong Delta tour(Lucy and I were the final holdouts of the group), I didn’t feel at all ashamed that I didn’t see much of the city. Chiang Mai was, for me, a chance to meet some of the people that I have looked up to for months and years. And I couldn’t ask for more!


  1. Corey, we loved hanging out with you and finally meeting in person. Be on the lookout when we get to Canada, because we're gonna be knocking on your door.


  2. can we organize a tweetup sometime late february? anytime after the 13th..?