Home » Blog » Just me writing about the past 6 months: From Chiang Mai to Sri Lanka to Bali and back

Just me writing about the past 6 months: From Chiang Mai to Sri Lanka to Bali and back

It’s been a long time since I’ve written something like this. I haven’t sent out a newsletter since December, which is usually my opportunity to write about where I am and what I’m doing chronologically. I think there was this fear that I was just repeating myself and the same lessons I’ve been learning twelve times over. It might be true but what can ya do…

Sri Lanka was a weird time for me

Maybe you got that from my other posts about Sri Lanka…Don’t get me wrong: there were definitely things I liked about it. But overall, it wasn’t my cup of [Ceylon] tea 😉

I think the thing that’s gone unsaid is that my time there was especially shaped by the people I was traveling with. Their constant judgment of the world around them got me down. I felt like they came at everything from a place of moral superiority, deciding who and what was right and wrong in the world.

They made me feel like I wasn’t ambitious enough, I wasn’t fit enough, I didn’t eat healthy or vegan enough, I wasn’t selfless enough, I wasn’t trying hard enough to save the world. I made bad decisions about men, I was too afraid, too weak.

Whatever I was, I felt like it wasn’t the right thing at all. I know I’m not perfect and I genuinely appreciate when people call me out on my shit because I want to learn and be better. But this wasn’t that.

View of hill country in Sri Lanka

I don’t say this to call them out or start beef or something. It just feels disingenuous to talk about Sri Lanka and not mention this bit.


Besides all that, there were definitely moments that stood out for me about Sri Lanka: I loved seeing and learning about the tea plantations and drinking all the tea; some of the beaches we went to were absolutely breathtaking; seeing wild elephants roam around is never not wonderful…

No, I didn’t meet any new people or have any big fun nights out or anything — but I DID read 12 books in two months so. That’s impressive.

Girl in red bikini running on Silent Beach in Sri Lanka
Silent Beach in Sri Lanka – easily top 5 in the world for me

Bali: Everything Instagram promised it would be

It was a massive relief to get to Bali after Sri Lanka. Holy hell I can’t describe the unique joy of eating wholesome, nutritious western food after two months of dry, crumbly rice and cold, mushy dal. I ate the FUCK out of some vegetable soup and crusty, wholegrain bread while in Canggu. Smoothie bowls and poke bowls and Greek food and really good eggs!

Your Instagram feed is not kidding about the food in Bali.

Betelnut Cafe smoothie bowl
Yall know I gotta put a smoothie bowl pic

I holed up in my room and worked for a solid two weeks without meeting or even speaking to anyone else. After being made to feel inadequate in almost every way – especially professionally – while in Sri Lanka, I was grateful to have more work come in that month to feel productive and to earn some much-needed coin.

Sunset over rice paddies in Canggu, Bali
The view from my hermitage wasn’t bad

Bali felt like “coming back to myself” in a way. I had a higher standard of comfort and convenience compared to Sri Lanka, and that allowed me to apply my energies elsewhere (this is a huge theme for me when it comes to the digital nomad lifestyle by the way).

I tried a dancehall class which was a lot of me sweating and merely approximating the choreography… I also tried something called aerial yoga which made me feel like a monkey dangling upside down in the air. It was great fun.

I swam in the most incredible waterfall I’ve ever seen in my life…

Banyumala Twin Waterfall in Bali, Indonesia
Banyumala Twin Waterfalls. How is this place real
Girl in Banyumala Twin Waterfalls in Bali
My happy place

After my two weeks of isolation, I met up with some friends I had made in Thailand – Hannah, Leroy, and then Sarah – and had the best time with them, respectively.

Two girls hanging upside down in aerial yoga class in Canggu, Bali
Aerial yoga with Sarah

Sarah and I went up to Amed and stayed there for a week or so. We met up with some friends from Koh Tao who were in Bali for freediving. I spent time in the sea and Sarah taught me a few freediving basics that immediately and exponentially upped my mermaid game.

Girl freediving in Amed, Bali
Mermaid game upped
View of Mount Agung in Amed, Bali
Volcano views in Amed

And then I came back to Thailand.

The Vogels do Thailand 2.0

I was so excited my parents came to visit! I met them in Thailand and we had one of the best family holidays to date.

Farang family at Songkran in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Celebrating Songkran, the Thai New Year, with my parents in Chiang Mai

It was different from the first time they came to visit me in Thailand in 2013 because this time they were experienced travelers, and they knew what to expect.

I loved getting to show them my life and my friends here. I loved going down to Koh Tao and experiencing it as someone would when on a real vacation. It’s easier to appreciate Koh Tao’s natural beauty when you don’t live there. Dare I say, I fell in love with the island all over again. (Nooooo not againnnnn!)

Mom and daughter scuba diving underwater in Koh Tao
I got to dive with my mom how cool is that!

I live in Chiang Mai now

With the departure of my parents, it was time to settle into a new life in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai had charmed me and I had been planning to return ever since I left in January.

It’s funny because I’ve literally moved 27 times (to 18 different places – went to some multiple times) in the past 6 months and there have been moments of unfathomable travel fatigue when I’ve wanted nothing more than to bury myself in bed with Netflix and takeout AND NEVER GO ANYWHERE AGAIN.

View from coworking space in Chiang Mai
If this is rainy season in Chiang Mai then damn…

Now that I’m finally stationary (Mishvo NOT in motion if you will), I’m getting that itch to leave, to get away again. I’m not gonna scratch it though. What I’ve realized is moving around all the time has become a bit of a distraction from other things I want to be doing with my energy. It has allowed me to neglect/be lazy about certain things. So I want to sit still now and face myself. I want to create a *cue Little Mermaid singing voice* what’s that word again? Routiiiiiiiiine.

Here’s to that.

{Okay to be clear I do have some travel coming up – I have a visa run next month and 2 week trip to Japan with Christie in October and I have to go to LA to see my grandma at some point. So I’m not, like, not traveling at all. Just less.}


  1. MomVo says:

    Hi Mishvo!
    Now that we know you read 12 books in under what? A month? We need a “Books I Have Read That Have Influenced Or Informed Me” list please. (Also, I’d like to know how you evaluated which e-reader you selected.)

    Enjoyed this post, as always.

    • mishvo says:

      12 books in 2 months I think it was. I have slowed down considerably now that I have more of a life, and unlimited and fast WIFI…I AM keeping a list of the books I’ve read this year and will be writing about them don’t worry!

      lol what do you want to say about the Kindle? It’s excellent. Lifechanging.

  2. Danny says:

    Well, as usual I was basically shouting YES! with every line. (Except for judgy people, but good on you for recognizing your feelings and their origins and moving beyond.) Can’t wait to hear what life brings you next!

  3. Marlene says:

    Very happy to get your update. Your life sounds fascinating. We here could use a bit of that warm weather. New York has been cold and rainy with a few gorgeous but windy days in between. Visited molly in San Diego twice and now she’s coming back to the city to work in the fall. It was an up and down experience. I’m sure she will tell u. Keep writing and photographing. U look spectacular!! Much love… marlene

    • mishvo says:

      Hi Marlene, it’s so good to hear from you! We’re really entering rainy season now so it has cooled down a lot but we have lots of storm clouds brewing overhead constantly :/ Woah she’s moving back to the east coast? I’m so curious, I would love to hear more. Thank you and love you!

  4. Barry says:

    Chiang mai is such a nice homebase, everything works there efficiently and its so affordable, leaves you savings to easily travel to nearby countries and of course Thailands own amazing islands.

    Chiang Mai is a gem, spent long time there would love to see a way forward to keep air cleaner in burning season and cut way back on the ammount of vehicle traffic, could be a really special city with work.

    Bangkok a short flight for when you want some electic big city energy too.
    Sounds like your figuring out more what makes you happy and importantly who you want to be around.
    Some people are drains suck life and energy right out of you.
    Others are fountains with positive energy, enthusiasm and fun to be with, learn from, share things.
    Choose the fountains!
    Be well, regroup and continue forward with your life , your journey.
    I dont waste my precious time around people who drain me.
    Bali looks great! Havent been yet, just returned from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
    Loved the people there so real warm and genuine, the locals im speaking of
    A breath of fresh air from the Canadians here in Vancouver.

    Enjoy your writing and adventures .

    All the best

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