When I write about my travels, my intention isn’t to make them sound glamorous. Although I have to admit that I don’t like backpacking, so, with my tight budget, I continually have to work out ways to travel fairly comfortably and creatively.
The two most costly aspects of travelling are, of course, flights and accommodation. The first one I dealt with by finding a good time to fly from Bali to Bangkok with a budget airline.
As for housing, I was more creative.
Have you seen The Holiday with Cameron Diaz, where she swaps houses with Kate Winslet?
I decided to live out my own Asian version of the film. I went on to the community Facebook page for Koh Phangan – a picturesque island on the shores of Thailand, favoured by expats – and I published the following:
Quite a few people responded and we began to swap houses, motorbikes and advice on what to do on each island.
It is much more authentic and exciting than staying at a hotel. Hotel rooms are transient spaces and their interiors, beautiful as they are, often lack heart and soul. Going to someone’s house, however, makes you feel more at home and gives you the feeling of visiting an old friend.
Also, if you are travelling on a budget, house swapping helps you plan your finances. Firstly, you’re not paying any more than your usual rent and, secondly, if you choose somewhere that is economically similar, you won’t be spending any more than by staying at home.
This trip would have been pretty smooth, if I hadn’t messed up my visa. As it happens, I didn’t quite read the requirements before entering the country and so I might have pay for the pleasure of doing a visa run: which means leaving Thailand, getting a visa and then re-entering the country.
But, on the whole, I am exploring the unique sensation of working and travelling at the same time. I am planning to write more about it, so look out for posts on how to stay focused on your work when you travel, how to divide your time between working and exploring a new place and how to remain balanced.