Travel and Work don’t mix

Hey everyone! We are in Eastern Thailand, right across the river from Laos. Mrs. RB40’s mom is from this area and we have a lot of catching up to do with her relatives. Mrs. RB40 moved to the U.S. when she was a baby and she can’t speak Thai at all. I speak Thai fluently so I’m her interpreter while we’re here. It’s a bit exhausting, especially since the Isaan dialect is different from Central Thai. Anyway, I’ve been offline for 4 days. Sorry about that. There are just so many things to do with the family. It is also very hot here. The heat and humidity just sap all the strength right out of me. I’m sweating like a river whenever I step out of the air-conditioned hotel.

So this post will be a bit short. We’ve been traveling since the school year finished in June. It has been almost 6 weeks of constant moving around and we are getting worn out. RB40Jr is tired of traveling and is a little homesick. He got bit by a bunch of mosquitos, got a cut on his finger when he was swimming in a lake, and his tablet stopped charging. This trip has been a trial for him. I keep telling him that these issues build character, but he is tired of hearing that too. That’s all right. We’ve got less than 3 weeks left and then we’ll be home. He’ll appreciate Portland a lot more now that he has seen many different parts of Thailand. On this trip, we’ve been to all 4 parts of Thailand – Central, Southern, Northern, and Eastern. They are all quite different.

Travel and work don’t mix well

I’m doing okay, but I’m getting tired out too. Being an interpreter is a lot of work! And I haven’t been able to work on the blog much. My mind just isn’t in the right place to write about personal finance. Even writing about travel has been tough. We are constantly moving around and seeing the sights. I don’t see how anyone can get any work done while they are traveling. It’s just too hard to switch your mindset. Well, maybe it’s too hard for me. I’m getting older and losing my edge. Young people probably can travel and crank out some work at night. But I’m ready to hit the hay by the time we get back to our hotel in the evening. Zzzz….

For me, the only way to get any work done is to have some kind of schedule. When I was in Chiang Mai by myself, I could dedicate a couple of hours per day to blogging. I was able to keep up and publish some posts. This time, it has been difficult to keep going with the blog. I guess it’s good to take a sabbatical from personal finance. I’ve been blogging nonstop for 12 years and maybe this sabbatical will give me some new perspectives.

All right, here are some pictures from That Phanom in Eastern Thailand. It is way off the beaten path for foreigners. We have only seen Thai tourists here so far. That Phanom is an essential Buddhist site in Eastern Thailand. Many people come here to worship and pray.

Wat Phra That Phanom was quite busy over the weekend. It was a Buddhist holiday and the king’s birthday so many people got 4 days off. It was cooler at 8 pm and it was the perfect time to visit.

This was the site where the old stupa collapsed. The community rebuilt the new Phra That Phanom across the street in 1979. The big naga here is quite impressive. Many of the sculptures in Thailand are made from concrete. That’s the most obtainable material to work with.

Here is another naga sculpture about an hour south of That Phanom. Many believers come to pray for lotto winning tickets or to pass a test. The communities near the Kong river believe this is an effective way to get what you wish for. The local tourism is good for the area, IMO.

Suckling pigs, $35-$55 each depending on the size…

Subscribe to my YouTube channel to follow along with our travel. We’ll be in the Maldives next week!

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

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23 thoughts on “Travel and Work don’t mix”

  1. Love hearing about your Thailand adventures. Our son lives near Chiang Rai. One visit to Chiang Saen, near Laos border the locals wanted to take a picture of my fair skin blonde wife. We’ve not been for a visit since late 2019. Hopefully spring of 23 we’ll be able to get there.

  2. As usual, your travels have me envious, Joe! I never took up the chance to visit Thailand back in the 2000’s, with a buddy of mine who hailed from Bangkok.
    He figured I’d love it – all that amazing food and friendly people. I still have my buddy’s old Hitachi rice cooker – decades old and still makes amazing rice.
    Stay cool!

  3. I can relate to his mosquito bites and cuts, I had the same issues when I was last in Thailand! Team Klutz ?

    I think it’s also just incredibly hard to travel with kids, in particular, and work. When it’s just you, only you set and blow the schedule. When you travel with family, there are a ton of additional variables to contend with. When we had both kids on the road this summer, I didn’t have two brain cells to spare for work issues. It was a lot easier when it was one kid, and even easier when it was no kids. I think I’m going to have to rethink my travel approach going forward now because I don’t think it’s going to get much better any time soon. But I am glad that JB mostly enjoys the travel (destinations at least, if not the journey) and the complaining isn’t too bad right now.

    • Mrs. RB40 is the same way. She is a big klutz, but she learned to move slowly and pay attention to her surrounding. RB40Jr needs to do that.
      You’re right about kids. It’s a lot easier now that he’s 11, but still not that easy. 🙂

  4. Hi Joe, thanks a lot for sharing your travel experience. Yeah, every time when I traveled, at the end I couldn’t wait to come back and enjoy the comfort of home again. Travel could be exhausting, especially in the summer. Slow down a bit, and have fun there!

  5. I think its great your son gets to travel abroad. I never had the opportunity when I was a child (not counting brief excursion to Canada).

    • Travel is such a great learning experience. I think everyone should travel a bit while they’re young. They can see how the rest of the world live. Thailand is actually quite nice now. Some parts are much nicer than Portland.

  6. That’s a lot of travel Joe! No wonder you’re tired! After a couple of weeks of travel, I tend to get a little tired and need a day to just recharge myself. You’ve been going at it for a month! I can totally understand the travel fatigue.

    Perhaps slowing things down and trying to do a little less would be a better way to go? Slow travelers often do a day of sight-seeing followed by a rest day or a ‘remote work’ day.

  7. Wow, that’s a lot of travel. I’m trying to prepare for just two weeks of travel and I’m not sure how I’m going to handle it. There’s just so much to do all the time until then. It feels like we’re having a condenced summer, even though that’s not accurate.

    I like how you look at life’s little misfortunes as character-building. Our kids could use some of that.

  8. “It has been almost 6 weeks of constant moving around and we are getting worn out … ”

    I hear you . Traveling is such a hassle and so, so stressful.
    That’s why I prefer staycation at home .
    With the internet these days, there isn’t much of a difference between seeing something virtually and seeing it in-person.


  9. I thought this was particularly funny: “I keep telling him that these issues build character, but he is tired of hearing that too.”

    omg, lol – and in searing heat too. The streets of Thailand must be full of characters.

    • The locals don’t sweat much. They are acclimated to the heat and humidity. It’s just tourists like us that are sweating through our clothes while walking around. Whew! Laundry day tomorrow…

  10. Thank you for taking the time to write. I appreciate how you write about real things and not just highlights. I can picture my children going through what your son is going through while I also do the cheering up. You’re not alone! One day I’d like to be able to do a vacation that lasts longer than 2 weeks… can’t wait to retire early. Hope you acclimate to the weather before your trip ends. Dehydration makes it hard to think clearly. Do you guys drink fruit juice like coconut water or mango shakes to help beat the heat?

    • Thank you for your comment. Our son is very clumsy. He needs to be more careful. I think this is a good experience for him, though. My wife came to Thailand with her mom when she was young and she still remembers it. We drank a lot of Thai ice tea on this trip. 🙂

  11. I’m a big fan of routine, even in early retirement. My routines help me do the stuff I have to do as well the things I want to do. When I travel, I often find my routines fall away and, like you, I find it very difficult to do certain things. Also like you seem to have found, it’s particularly difficult when travelling with family, easier when travelling by yourself. Enjoy the downtime – we’ll still be here when you get back.


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