Yes, Laos, it wasn’t on my original plan. But, I had to reset my Chinese visa after 30 days, and Laos was the easiest and the best choice from Xishuangbanna, China. We crossed the border by a bus to Luang Namtha and settled in Luang Prabang for 12 days.
People asked me ‘So how do you like Laos?’ ‘Isn’t Luang Prabang amazing? I loved this town!’ But frankly, I couldn’t answer that question. Because I spent most of my time at the balcony of my guesthouse or at a café.
The cliché answer to everything, work.
For 12 days we stayed in Luang Prabang, we worked the most of the time. What work? You might ask and I need some explanation to answer the question.
From some time ago, I felt like I needed a bigger project. See the bigger picture, and have a bigger goal. Although Runaway Juno was a big part of my life ever since I started even when I was working full time, but now it’s my main work and my window to the world. For the last two years, travel and blogging have been a great joy but that’s not it. I’m enjoying this work more than anything I’ve done, but I want more. I want to be success with my work, not surviving.
So, we’ve decided to have intensive work period in Luang Prabang; a laid back town. One afternoon in Luang Prabang, we had an idea meeting, Stephen and I. And it lasted about three hours. We both have been thinking about goals and plans for a long time, and didn’t have a chance to write everything down and actually plan things. So now, everything’s in the notebook and it’s getting longer everyday.
Why stay so long at one place?
Working location independently is good. I’m enjoying it. I travel much slower than I used to. And I like it too. Not that I hopped places after places before, but now I really need to double the time because I need to work in between. But for this term, I decided to stay three weeks in Laos because I wanted to give myself a momentum. First, clear things off from ‘urgent to do list’. Then I’d have a week or two to focus on the things on my ‘big goal to do list’.
So I’ve been working for 12~16 hours a day, 10 days straight. Responding emails, updating, scheduling… and it was successful, I would say.
A big block of a time was good for pushing myself because then I have the ‘routine’. Wake up, have a cup of tea on the balcony, and work in between the meals. Nothing special, and no surprises. I know having the ‘routine’ is one boring thing about living one place for a long time and the least thing I want during my travels, but it’s a good change for a location independent travel writers. For this momentum, I want to start my bigger projects that only have been living in my imagination. Now I want to give them a breath, bring them into a life.
How was Luang Prabang for working?
Frankly, it’s not my favourite place in Laos. But it’s a good place for location independent workers.
Living expenses are cheap: guesthouse, food, beer, fruit… It’s easy to manage your budget under 10US$ a day including accommodation. And I was there in high season. Once you have a routine, it will be much easier.
On the other hand, it doesn’t feel like ‘real Laos’. Of course, it’s really atmospheric town; that’s the biggest attraction. But there’s no easy access to Laos food and culture except the temples. It felt like Luang Prabang is really well managed and preserved tourist town. But that worked well for me – as no distraction.
We had one serious photography day, went to all the temples in town during the sunrise and sunset. Had one chill out day; reading books while having cold drink with a river view.
Travel writer isn’t a glorious job. Well, it is and isn’t at the same time. This ‘what people think I do’ series about travel writer says very well about this occupation. I’ve been thinking about a lot of goals for a long time but I don’t think there’s any proper chance or time to actually start the project. I was working full time, the transition time to become travel blogger was an agony, and now I finally feel like I have some space to think about my bigger goals. Runaway Juno was a big goal but I want to do something beyond that.
I had some progress during the time, but still it’s just a starting stage. Now, I’m proud to say I have a big announcement to make this week – one of my project.
Please tune in for the exciting news!
So if you ask how was Luang Prabang as a traveler, I’m not the best person to answer that. But if you ask me about a life of a location independent travel writer in Luang Prabang? I think I have a pretty good answer.