Guest post by Pete Hillman.
Why Chiang Mai?
I have been fortunate enough to travel for over 30 years, more than 20 of them constantly and recently spent over two years resident in Chiang Mai northern Thailand. Here I taught, designed and created many online businesses for entrepreneurs and fellow creatives. I have lived in over 50 countries on my travels but never spent as much time in one place as Chiang Mai. So why is it such a special place?
In my travel experiences I have spent a lot of time in different cities around the world, working and travelling. They all offer something unique but there are few like Chiang Mai.
Three seasons one hot hot, one very wet and one with the most beautiful weather on earth.From Nov to late february the climate is about as perfect as you can imagine. For working out or working in the blue skies and the clean breeze makes it the best place on earth to live. In many ways it reminds me of the endless summers that I used to know as a boy growing up in the north of England. Light is bright and crisp and seems to empower you to do more and experience the unknown each day.
The Thais are unique in that they are one of the peoples that have not been colonised by the europeans. That shows in the way in which they live their lives! With a very low unemployment rate and a very green healthy country the attitude can seem very laize faire at first to the westerner who comes to live or work here. People here let the present be their life and unlike the west living for the now is all that they have ever known. It is easy to get taken by the illusion of development here but the reality is that its a very simple culture with an essentially Asian “rubber time” mentality. i.e. things happen when they happen and our need to impose time can create frustration as our demands are often ignored.It takes time and insight to gain a basic understanding of Thai culture and social nuances. Humility and an open mind are needed to really begin to get involved in such a different system.
Places – things to see and do
Although the amount of temples, waterfalls and caves here is mind boggling it is the culture and street life that fascinates the traveller that is the real draw. With an abundance of quality street food, roadside attractions and small creative start up businesses, the city of Chiang Mai really is a treasure trove of resources and creativity. Sure you wont get the investor angel startup mentality of Germany or the mindset of the pacific west coast startup, but the energy here to make something new is refreshing. There are a lot of copyists here, but a visit to the local coffee shop lets know that there’s also a healthy amount of people creating new online projects and location independent lifestyles. With an abundance of resources online to learn before you visit, the transition here is pretty seamless compared to other countries.
Digital Nomads are flocking here for many reasons but perhaps the most popular is the ease of transition combined with cost. From North America to Europe young entrepreneurs are coming here to work on and quickly iterate their business ideas knowing that they can learn and develop ideas with a much lower burn rate than back home. With a steady dollar, Thailand offers a remarkable standard of living with real freedom to experiment and tune an idea till its ready to launch without the pressure’s of launching a project too early and face the added pressure of quick ROI. With time and the ability to learn here, people can fail less and experiment more without the worry of compromising quality.
There is a growing community of Dn’s here that are working in many varied fields. They are here for many reasons but all of them seem to agree that the experience of learning fast in a wonderful country that offers a very high lifestyle quality can nurture success and foster innovation.
Pete Hillman is the creator of the digital nomad workshop (www.digitalnomadworkshop.com) The five day course teaching how to live location independently, create an online business and travel the globe. Currently recruiting for the fall session to be held in Chiang Mai Thailand October 2015