One night in Chiang Mai

A travel post about agony, surprises and getting started with a temporary vegan hipster matcha latte existence in Thailand.

My current workstation at Yellow Coworking space in Chiang Mai.

I'm exploring nomading in Thailand for a couple of months, hanging out at coworking spaces and trying to live a more mentally and physically healthy life again.

The middle seat

New vibes hit me as soon as I enter the plane from Amsterdam to Chiang Mai.

There may be equally many Asian people as tourists in here. I find it interesting that in Spain-Norway routes, sun-hungry drunken Norwegians with intrusive elbows take up the majority of the seats.

Inside the plane, some rude-looking European person is scheming to get rid of their assigned middle seat. The person camps my reserved seat.

"Isn't this seat 43H?", I ask acting confused, pointing at the seat number on my ticket.

The European person doesn't want to talk to me and just waves at the flight attendant.

The flight attendant asks me if I don't mind taking the middle seat between those two dudes over there instead.

I stare at the seat, holding back tears of bitterness. I felt clever earlier, reserving a corridor seat in advance. I swallow heavily and say "yeah". "It's fine".

The person probably has valid reasons, but the episode gets to my head anyway. Im starting to brew up my voyage annoyance meter.

Left-guy and right-guy

Two Asian dudes sits on each side of my middle seat. I realize after a while they are both Chinese and travelling to Hong Kong.

The left guy is quiet. He doesn't watch any films at all during the whole flight. I'm baffled.

He's probably younger than me, just happily looking at the coarsely texturized 3D globe with a dull airplane icon moving a millimeter now and then. Not even tempted to browse the movie list.

The guy on the right is a more active sitter and movie-watcher.

His favorite position is restlessly twitching his knee against my knee, with the widest man-spread I've ever witnessed.

I try to fight back by sitting more rigidly, defending my borders from elbow and knee invations. None of them care.

Both left- and right-guy seems to very casual about accidentally bumping their shoulders into me a lot.

I find myself reacting quite poorly to it on the inside. It's only been two hours and I'm in a fuming state of mind.

I start to suspect they are simply more relaxed about bumping into each other.

After 5 hours, I get so tense, I eventually lose my ego about it and start to just go with the flow.

I try to use their techniques back on them. I rest my elbow over the right-guy's arm. He couldn't care less. It relieves my tension a bit.

I move my legs to the leg zone of the left-guy, and he has already curled up his knees up to his breast, sleeping happily.

My new attitude to personal space ends up working out for the better.

I might have just become semi-enlightened by not falling victim to my annoyance.

Next, after a sleepless flight, I'm boarding the plane to Chiang Mai where I'm going to live for the next three weeks.

All is new

The guy who runs the hotel in Chiang Mai is an Australian. He shows me the hotel room and says "You can do whatever you want here" before leaving.

What did he just say? Do whatever I want? I have never heard anyone say that ever.

I'm tempted to ask "what do you mean, do whatever I want?", but I decide not to push it. This makes me realize also the expat culture in Chiang Mai is foreign to me.

A dog walks around in the hotel lobby. Seems the people who run the hotel own it. He smells my hand and I try to pet him. Big mistake. He snarls at my petting attempt.

I walk past the dog later in the evening, and he snarls at me again. I hope he will eventually forget the incident as I'm staying here for three weeks.

The few local Thai people I interact with strike me as so relaxed and cool. Small-talk conversation does not feel superficial or forced.

I'm used to feeling like that damn tourist guy who potentially buys stupid shit. I feel more dignity here, and get a bit charmed by the small moments of interactions with nice locals.

I feel my attitude is getting more positive towards other people I walk by as a result of people acting so nice and laid back.

On this short night in Chiang Mai, I get the enthusiasm of a kid exploring a new world. It might not last, but why not enjoy it?

I have heard from youtube videos that Thailand is full of traps and temptations. I can believe that. I already feel the allure of this place.

Going to check out some co-working spaces tomorrow where other builders and nomads hang out.

Breakfast and office space

I wake up late after recovering from a long sleepless night on the plane.

At the entrance of the hotel, the dog that snarled at me yesterday sends me another snarl today. As I approach closer, he seems to be gradually accepting of me.

The hotel staff greets me and asks me if everything is fine. They are very nice, and I find myself being a bit short on conversation as I'm tired and not a great small-talker in general.

I get an amazing breakfast at Free Bird cafe. Coffee, carrot-ginger-lime juice, and chickpea scramble.

Image of breakfast

I love the chill atmosphere that invites people to just hang out, not feeling that you occupy a table for the coming guests like I felt a lot in Spain.

Later, I take a short walk towards the old town and realize that the Nimman area I live in is a special kind of hipster area.

I'm not ashamed to say really I love that hipster vibe, and I turn around to check in at the Yellow Coworking space which is close by the hotel.

Me sitting at yellow coworking space,

Me working at the Yellow coworking space, taking a selfie and realizing I need more sleep and a haircut.

After covid and a year of building, eating shit food and burning myself out in front of the computer, I feel more alive than I have for a long time doing real-life stuff while also working.

Even though I have heard a lot about Thailand and Chiang Mai, everything is surprisingly novel and not how I imagined it based on my youtube- and media-shaped prejudice.