Backpacking in Thailand – The Best Gear to Travel With

What is the best gear to travel with if you’re planning to backpack through Thailand (or travel on a budget)? Well, it depends of course on where you’re heading. If you go north, then pack for cool nights and mountain climbing. If you head south, then prepare for magnificent ocean adventures.

Firstly, if your plans include Chiang Mai or north then keep in mind it gets kind of chilly and you’ll need warm gear and the right kit (ie. strong walk boots) for doing some trekking or exploring. However if you’re going to hit the oceans on your Thai journey, then let’s look at what you’ll need.

OK, first up, the ever trusty waterproof ‘sea’ bag. These colorful little creatures will save your bacon in more ways than one, especially if you’re a water baby and you love to be immersed in the sea all day. With your essential belongings safely enclosed in one of these you can explore ANY remote beach and still pull out a camera to capture the fun. An essential piece of ocean travel kit.

Next up is the go-anywhere sea sandals. You know the type – they embrace your feet and let you walk on sharp rocks and swim without worrying about what’s down there. Then wear them down the street to get your Pad Thai. A good quality pair of these will last you forever and are essential for a good and safe Thailand adventure.

You’ll need a quality jacket too, for the odd storm that steals in out of nowhere. Heaps of choices available, so get something that’s lightweight and strong that’ll cope with the wear and tear of being stuffed in your backpack and used frequently. It’s Thailand, so it won’t need to be too warm. In fact, the more breathable, the better.

Well, that’s it in a nutshell. There’s other gear that’ll you want to bring but having those three pieces of kit will keep a smile on your face as you backpack through Thailand and have the adventure of your life!

When I Was a Hippie (Part 1 of 5)

It was 1980. Janet and I were hiding out (from my creditors) at Shasta Abbey, a monastery in northern California, where we had ordained as Zen postulants. Suddenly, out of the blue, I became very ill, and when the illness worsened, I handled it as I had handled everything in the past — I ran!

We bussed down to the Bay area and squeezed into a small apartment in some non-descript building in Lafayette, California. Janet went to work at a stationery store while I tackled a job at Radio Shack, where I knew that I couldn’t stay long before someone tracked me down. We both either walked or bussed to work since driving a car was out of the question, even if we had one. The lingering sensitivity that we developed at the Abbey, which was only exacerbated by my illness, precluded any aggressive activity. And in the Bay Area, driving was an aggressive activity! In order to function in the world again, I had no choice but to desensitize my mind in some fashion, a desensitizing that had the unfortunate results of impeding any further insights from arising for the time being. I needed somewhere to cool out.

The Zen sickness wasn’t improving, and I was getting bone-tired of looking over my shoulder for bill collectors. I knew that I had to change things up, so one afternoon I found myself writing Janet another note and boarding my trusty Greyhound, this time headed to Tennessee. With only a few bucks in my pocket, I only hoped they would take me in at “The Farm,” the famous commune headed up by the original San Francisco hippie-refugee, Stephen Gaskin.

As I boarded the Greyhound, I noticed that the smell hadn’t changed — diesel fuel mixed with . . . humanity?

I finally made it to Tennessee and hitched from the bus station to walking distance of The Farm, and in the midst of a wild anticipation of the great new experiences ahead, the Zen sickness mysteriously disappeared. This was always my reactions when leaving a monastery, I seemed to take all the accumulated introspection and blow it on the world again!

A couple of miles later I was still walking and I wondered if I might have taken the wrong road — again. But then ahead I could see a rundown garage-type building in the middle of nowhere. God! This wasn’t The Farm, was it?

Oh no! A longhaired hippy was guarding it! Yep, it was The Farm all right. I had arrived at the gatehouse.

While mentally kicking myself for not doing my homework before spending my last few dollars on a bus ticket, the skinny gatekeeper invited me in. With strict instructions not to go beyond the gatehouse, I remained there for the better part of a week sleeping in a loft with people from all over the world, and being interviewed by a constant stream of hippies asking unusual questions.

The Farm, I was to discover, was chock full of women and kids, thus, newcomers were screened vigilantly. I must have answered all the questions more or less correctly because one morning I was escorted to the main compound about a half-mile from the gatehouse, and from there on to a small three-bedroom house with an attic loft, located a little further — my new home which I would share with 6 men, 10 women, and 11 kids.

About fifteen hundred folks had settled on the two thousand acres that made up The Farm — thirteen hundred women and children and about two hundred men (who worked their tails off to support the women and kids. Some things never change!) The Farm routinely put out the word to young women all over the country that if you have a kid and no old man, you are welcome on The Farm! I reminded myself again to do my homework before traveling cross-country!

The soy dairy (my first assignment), the bakery, and the kitchen fed the whole community, and were the centers of activity. At the dairy, we would soak hundreds of pounds of soybeans every night in gigantic stainless steel tubs, to process them the next day into tofu, tempeh, miso, soymilk, and soy ice cream that the Farm moms lined up for at the windows with their five-gallon buckets

After a short career at the dairy, I helped the farming crew hand plant fifteen acres of tomato plants, then landed a job on the masonry crew that trucked every day to the Nashville area, sixty miles to the north, to build solar houses.

The Farm was extremely active with cottage industries; home building, tie dyed T-shirts, professional bands that toured the country, nuke busters (small, hand-held devices to detect radiation from clandestine government trucks illegally transporting nuclear materials), and other ingenious entrepreneurial endeavors such as a vegetarian restaurant in Nashville. These all helped support the commune, bringing in about a dollar a day per person which we lived on by eating lots of soybeans, baking our own bread, growing many of our own vegetables, and most of all hoping that some of the folk’s parents would kick in some money — or at least some peanut butter and Hershey bars.

The Zen sickness never returned, at least as long as I was at the Farm. I didn’t know at the time how the spiritual world worked, and that this was only a brief respite from past karma that would eventually have to be faced . . . big time. So I had the privilege of becoming acquainted with many kind folks, each spiritual in their own special way, from my skinny, scarred friend who lost his scalp when he tangled his long hair in a potato-picking machine, to the women friends I had scattered here and there all over the commune.

We had doctors and attorneys, a few dentists — and lots of love. Everybody took a vow of poverty when entering the commune, giving up all of their worldly possessions (easy for me to do), so everybody was in the same boat, and all seemingly in the same house — mine! The married folks and their kids slept in the three bedrooms downstairs while the single people slept in the loft (where one would never know with whom they would end up, and in whose sleeping bag)!

Settled Once and For All: The Internet Marketing Myths That You Must Stop Believing

Oh, would you look at that? We finally got you to sit still long enough to read a few sentences. I can’t say I really blame you for your enthusiasm: the idea of owning your very own internet business is about as exciting as it gets. But while I have you here (sit DOWN), there are some things that you need to be told. They’re uncomfortable truths, and you may not want to believe them, but you need to. I’m going to save you time and money here, so pay attention.

*Sigh*, yes you can sit in the rolling chair to read this. Here are the Internet Marketing myths you need to be on the lookout for:

All You Need is a Computer and Internet Connection: If I had a dollar for every time I saw those nine words in a piece of sales copy, I wouldn’t have to be an internet marketer. I’d be the happily screaming guy standing next to a sports car and supermodel that may or may not be cardboard/rented for the day. If you see someone mention this within their copy, then run from that page. Run like they dumped meat sauce on your head and released a tiger. That product is pretty much guaranteed to be either 1. Rehashed or 2. A complete phony.

Those trying to sell you IM products never mention it; but online business really isn’t anything special. It’s just like a normal business, but on the internet instead of a store. When you realize this, all of the promises of easy riches suddenly become pretty foolish in your mind. Congratulations, you now have the base that will (hopefully) lead to your success. That’s the other thing they never tell you: business is not for everyone. You may very well fail, but the only way to know is to try.

All You Need is a Domain and Hosting: Internet Marketing forums are absolutely flooded with the same scenario over and over again: “I don’t have a budget for my business” or “I have $50, can I get started with that?” First, let’s be honest with ourselves: you can cut out the Papa Johns for a week, or stick with basic cable, or take the bus instead of driving 30 miles to work. The greatest business owners sacrificed to get to where they are. If you aren’t willing to move out of your comfort zone, then you are much happier with your 9-5 than you realize (there’s nothing wrong with this).

For the rest of you, get your money together. This is going to take an investment, and contrary to what “experts” say you will need a lot more than a domain name and hosting. You need a website. You need content on that website. You need an autoresponder service to capture leads, and products to sell those leads. You need traffic (which means SEO, paid traffic, social media, and a plethora of other platforms).

In short, this is going to cost a lot more than $10. Don’t say no one ever told you. Don’t lose heart though, that initial investment is going to turn into a lot more.

You Should Start with Writing: Afraid to jump into the uncertain world that is product marketing? Don’t worry! There is always the trusty backup: writing articles for money. It’s easy, and everyone can do it. Sure, there are more starving writers in the world than anyone would care to admit, and yes you’re probably going to get trapped in the penny per word market that has more sellers than buyers. But darn it, you’ll be able to call yourself a writer on your job application to Chili’s!

Now, this isn’t to say that writing for a living won’t work. It just won’t work for most of you. Remember those high school five paragraph essays you used to have to write once a week on some stupid topic? That is what SEO (penny per word) articles read like. The average surfer isn’t going to read that, and a customer definitely isn’t.

When in Doubt, SEO: As mentioned a few points up, there are a ton of different ways to bring traffic to your site. For reasons known only to Cthulhu (and those selling SEO services) people get stuck on the idea that Google is the one entity they need to really focus on. People through around vague ideas about keywords, global monthly searches, “all traffic goes through Google”, crazy stuff like that. Their answer to every traffic based question or problem is to buy a backlinks package. This. Is. NOT. The. Way. Business. Works.

Different businesses will work with different types of traffic strategies. Some will mix well with multiple methods. There are even a few businesses that are offline only (although few and far between). Never take a one-size-fits-all answer from anyone. Those who spew them out are marketers that you can put on the list of those “not to trust”.

IM/MMO Products are the Way to Go: This is another myth that has gotten way bigger than it needs to be, but this time it is you that is to blame. With the FTC breathing further down the necks of bad marketers every day, they are careful not to make any mention of selling make money products to others to make money online. You newbies though, crafty little buggers that you are, chose to make that mental leap anyways and almost to a man start your first website as “an IM blog to follow along as I learn.”

If you stick with it long enough to even post, you’ll fill your autoresponder with affiliate link-stuffed emails and hope for the best. For those of you that don’t know: this doesn’t end well. Don’t start with a niche that you know nothing about. Pick something that you like, find a way to monetize it (there is always a way) and go from there.

Are You Adequately Depressed Yet? Jeeze, this comes off as a real downer, doesn’t it? You’ve pretty much been told that everything you think as a newbie is wrong, and that you are silly for thinking it. Don’t get too down on yourself though. We all had to go through it. In fact, you’d be surprised if you knew how long I struggled with the above myths myself. That’s why I’ve chosen to give you the kick in the rear end that no one ever gave me. Who knows, it might just set you down the right path if you follow the right people and advice.