FREE Mini Course Giveaway – “6 Months To Sabbatical” Pre-Planning Exercises

Is it time to break free of your corporate job and remember what it’s like to feel alive again?  Is it time for an adventure?  Do you want to see the world instead of the inside of a cubicle every weekday?  Do you want to wake up every day when you decide and have control over what you choose to do every minute?

If you’ve decided it’s time for a sabbatical that let’s you see the world, I’m offering FREE for a limited time, a mini “6 Months to Sabbatical” lesson to take you through an important pre-planning process.  This will help you clarify your sabbatical objectives and desires while you still have the perspective of a beleaguered office lackey.  Before you learn the special tricks on how to stay in beautiful homes for free around the world, how to book the lowest airfares, and how to rent a car for as little as $65 total for 4 weeks in Europe, come the steps I take you through here.  They will give you 2 things to minimize regret later on:

  1. They will help you next decide what activities, living arrangements and countries to visit will make you happiest.
  2. They will remind you later of what you are willing to give up and tolerate when you have a rough day or two during your travelling sabbatical and lose your perspective.

Put what you figure out during this lesson in writing, and remember to take the quiz at the end.  Now, let’s begin to build the framework of your perfect dream sabbatical together!  Register for your FREE mini lesson HERE: http://www.learn.erinmmcdermott.com/product/free-6-months-to-sabbatical-mini-course-begin-to-dream/

Or, if you want to register for the Full Version of the 6 Months to Sabbatical Workshop, before time runs out at the deadline, February 23rd, at midnight Eastern Time, go to: learn.erinmmcdermott.com

 

#1 Question I’m Asked: What Do You Do For Money?

Aside from, “you’re insane”, the next most frequent question I’m asked is, “what do you do for money?!”  Oh wait, “you’re insane” isn’t a question.  In that case, let me answer that #1 burning query.

I quit my professional job 5 months ago, and have been traveling the world since then.  It’s been a fantastical ride and one that showed me life can be bigger and more exciting than I ever imagined!  How do I financially sustain this new lifestyle, though?  Well, here’s a secret fact about yours truly:

I plan the SHIT out of EVERYTHING.

I plan, I scour, I create Excel spreadsheets, I research the webs and interview other people “in the know”.  It doesn’t matter if it’s putting myself through private university on my own as a teenager with no one to help or co-sign loans, or buying a fucking down pillow.  I will research the shit out of it and figure out the best ways and all the secret ins and outs.  I actually kind of enjoy following a rabbit hole of information to find hidden knowledge.  As a result, I spend an inordinate amount of time searching out the all the tricks I need to put together to create the ultimate plan.

My penchant for information digging is aided by a very diverse set of friends.  I have friends of all ages, incomes, stages of life, and stages of craziness.  As I’ve traveled, I’ve picked up an even more diverse set of contacts.  There are a lot more people in my “vagabond traveler” tool kit (tool kit, not toolbox) who have given me priceless gems.  These in-the-know people shared with me more ways to travel on the cheap or even free and rescued my sabbatical plans on more than one occasion!

Ok, but where does the money come from that you’re spending?

Let me ask you a question — what are you hoping I’ll say?  Are you looking for a solution for yourself or an excuse as to why you’re in a different situation and could never do what I’m doing?  Are you hoping I’ll tell you that like the Eat, Pray, Love author, Elizabeth Gilbert, I have a writing gig on the side that sends me a steady flow of Benjamins?  Nope, sorry.  I’ve had not a single paying gig since leaving my engineering job.  Are you hoping I’ll say my parents are loaded and they’re sending me money?  Hahahaha… Nothing could be farther from the truth in that assumption.  Nope, I’m totally on my own in this.

I have some of my own, hard-earned money sitting in the bank.  I withdraw it as slowly as possible.  That’s the short answer.

The long answer is I:

  1. Set up a way to save money painlessly many months before I took the leap.
  2. Sold everything I owned that people would buy and have very little to come back to.  (It actually is a very freeing feeling, as other people who did this will tell you.)  I sold much of my stuff for less than it was worth because of the short time frame, but still managed to re-coup around $1,000.  (Thanks again to everyone who bought stuff or shared my sales notices – especially to the newly made snow bunny.)
  3. Researched the best credit cards to apply to right before I made the leap, back when I still had great credit and income.  The credit cards were specifically selected for their no-foreign transaction fee, 0% introductory interest, and foreign car rental insurance coverage perks.
  4. Worked my final few weeks while housesitting and staying with friends, thereby saving $1,450 in rent.  Thanks again, ladies!
  5. Came up with a fun game on the road where my friends gave me ridiculous amounts of money as gifts.  See here.  I kept receiving gifts even after the game ended and in all, received over $1,000 worth of INSANELY generous generosity.  Thank you again, everyone!
  6. Found the best ways to book airfare on the cheap.  The best websites, times of day to book and how to fly all go into finding the cheapest flights possible.  For example, I recently paid $127 less on a flight from NYC to India than an Indian who is an expert in finding cheap fares for this exact route did — for the same time frame.
  7. Found ways to stay all over the world very inexpensively, and often even completely free!  There are surprisingly a TON of ways to do this and I now have a bunch of unusual methods and websites I can go to when forming a plan for the next stage of my journey.

    One Of the Gorgeous, Dream Places I've Stayed For FREE
    The View From One Of the Gorgeous, Dream Places I’ve Stayed For FREE
  8. Go to places where the US dollar is stupid strong.  When I’m not having to pay in British Pounds or Euros, or Singapore Dollars or Japanese Yen, then my housing and dining options are a bit wider.  Right now, for example, I’m in Bali and could be paying $2,000 per night at a fancy tourist resort down the road, but I’m staying in a nice hotel room all to myself with a big bed, A/C and a pool for $13/day.  This is the very high-end of accommodations pricing that I’ve paid in my travels, by the way.  I’m splurging because I needed some quiet, downtime to work on my 6 Months to Sabbatical Workshop.  Same with food.  I can easily get by on $3/day getting stuffed with food here in Indonesia by visiting street vendors instead of restaurants aimed at tourists.  If you go where locals go, you can eat and live like a king for a mind-boggling  small percentage of what your typical tourist pays.
This NOM-ful street snack cost $0.89 in USD.
This NOM-ful street snack cost $0.89 in USD.

… plus even more things I don’t have the time to mention here.

If you’re looking for solutions to escape your professional job and travel the world instead of excuses why you don’t, check out the “6 Months to Sabbatical Workshop” I’m creating, HERE.  I’m building out a complete plan for you, taking advantage of all the hours of research and connections I’ve made with other travel experts out here where the action is.  You can create a practical escape plan from well before you make the leap, and I can work with you to make it happen.  Hurry, the course starts February 25th, 2016, and registration ends February 23rd, 2016 at midnight, Eastern Time.  I don’t know if this course will ever be offered again, so if you’re interested, go to this site for more information on the course and to register:

learn.erinmmcdermott.com

Hope to see you out here soon and hear from you even sooner!

5 Reasons Why Your 30’s Are the Best Time to Travel the World

We’ve all fantasized about jetting to far off places, tasting new foods, seeing new sights, lying on exotic beaches “someday”, but when should “someday” be?

Escape to Paradise: Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
This is a real place.  No, really.  And you can go there! Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

If you aren’t blessed by small children or a significant other who is afraid to fly, your 30’s are the best time in your life to travel.  Here are the top 5 reasons why.

1. Youth – You’re young enough so that your body isn’t falling apart as much as it might in your golden years.  Why wait until you’re dealing with arthritis and high blood pressure before you strap on a backpack and finally attempt hiking the Andes like you always dreamed?  There are so many more things you can easily do when you still have your health!  Why waste your current capacity to survive food poisoning and wild tuk tuk rides?

2. Wisdom – You’re old enough not to do stupid shit.  Your teenage years and 20’s were all about finding out where your limits were – whether it was how long you could go without sleep and not crack, or the types of people you need to avoid at parties to make it home in one piece.  You usually found those limits by going beyond them and destroying yourself.  Now that your 20’s clearly defined how far your mind and body can bend before they break, your 30’s can be the time when you push yourself to just below that fine line.  It’s one more way you’re fully optimized for doing awesome things in your 30’s.  You’re less susceptible to peer pressure, too, at this time… so that’s a thing.  “No, really, I know myself — I’m good with just the 3 shots of tequila off your hard beach body.”

Ok, so there was that one time I ate Horse Meat. BUT DID I DIE?

3. Money – You’re well along enough in your career that you probably don’t have to save up for as long as when you were a young one before making the leap.  Plus, you can financially rebound easier if you want to rejoin the workforce when you’re done traveling as compared with your more senior years.  Just recently, a lot of great, new companies popped up to help with refinancing things in a way where you don’t get screwed, too.  These options didn’t exist when you were graduating college, and you probably weren’t making enough salary then to qualify.  If you need to refinance your student loans, I can refer you HERE to 2 great companies that saved me $1,000’s in interest.

4. Experience –  You’re a seasoned pro by now in your career with examples of shit you did under your belt.  It’s safer to leave the workforce and come back during your 30’s than it was during your early 20’s.  If you get laid-off in your 20’s (I did, twice), it’s hard as hell with less than 5 years of experience to climb out of that hole!  By your 30’s, you likely have a solid foundation and your degree, and the story about those widgets you expertly 6-sigma’d aren’t going away, either.  Yeah, there may be some companies in the future that frown upon you taking time out for re-energizing, self-improvement, learning, and experimenting… but are those really the companies you want to work for?

5. Potential — Travel can benefit you in your career later if you do it now.  If you do it at the end of your career, you only get jollies out of it.  By taking a sabbatical in your 30’s, you re-energize your mind and motivation with fresh perspectives, rediscovered curiosity and new ideas on commerce and products.  It’s impossible not to come back to your previous duties without seeing them all in a new light!  Interacting with the contrast of other cultures allows you to see and understand your own culture better.  This, in turn, allows for the possibility of expanded creativity. You can study large systems – entire cities or countries – from the outside and draw insights on what makes them work (Singapore) or not work (the Philippines).  You can learn how to haggle in Thailand.  You can better understand how to work with your future employer’s suppliers when you learn firsthand about the cultures in China, in Germany, in Mexico… Simply seeing everyday things from new angles and done in new ways sparks your potential for innovation.  In so many ways, travel can supercharge your career potential.  Why not increase that potential mid-career, when you’re most likely to benefit from it for many years to come?

Here’s how this tricycle negotiation went: Me – “How much?” Him – “250 pesos!” Me: “HAHAHA! I’ll give you 20.” Him: “Get in.”

 

If you agree and now is the time for you to take a break in your career and see the world, I can help.  For a limited time, my 6 Months to Sabbatical Workshop is available for registration where I can work with you to form your escape plan.  I know it can work for you, because it worked for me!  With some meager savings and student loans I still pay every month, I managed to quit my job and embark on the adventure of a lifetime.  I know how to save painlessly before quitting, travel for $1,000’s less than typical vacationers do, and even how to stay for free in beautiful accommodations around the world.  You know what else?  I have never been happier.  CLICK HERE to find out more and register for the workshop!  Hurry, early-bird pricing ends February 17th, 2016 and registration closes for good February 23rd, 2016.

Erin_Filipino_Beach

Come join me out here!

Video: The Philippines with Erin and Where Next!

The video below is taken from my 2 weeks in the Philippines moving around from Manila to Bohol.  Included is footage of pimped-out jeepneys, motorized tricycles, a flirty motorbike driver, Bohol Coco Farm and Alona Beach.

Plus, you can watch to find out where I am now!  Here’s a hint — it took about 1/3,000,000th of the time to process and upload the video here vs. in the Philippines, and I was able to make it HD instead of “worst quality option available”.

Now, it’s back to non-stop work on my course to teach people how to quit their professional jobs for a long-term, travelling sabbatical!

 

 

Japan with Erin, Teaching Asians to Say “Parallelogram” and Where Next!

Hi there from…..?  I’ve moved on from Japan and you can find out where I am now in the video below!  Plus, you can check out a really shitty summary of my 2 awesome weeks in Tokyo and Kyoto.

Unfortunately, I uploaded this from a country whose internet tubes rank among the slowest in Asia, so the quality is horseshit-tastic.  Sorry.

I also didn’t have video footage of soooo many things I saw and did including dawn at Tsukiji Fish Market,

Tsukiji Fish Market at Dawn, for the Most Devout Sushi Lovers
Tsukiji Fish Market at Dawn, for the Most Devout Sushi Lovers

for breakfast sushi…

Breakfast Sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market
Breakfast Sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market

…beautiful, modern buildings…

TokyoTubeBuilding_FastCar

…the “Tori no Iru” bird cafe in Asakusa…

BirdCafe-ToriNoIru_Asakusa_Japan
Tori no Iru Bird Cafe, Asakusa, Japan

…the Senso-ji Hondo…

Hondo at Sensoji in Asakusa, Japan
Hondo at Sensoji in Asakusa, Japan

…and one of the many, many cheap and delicious pieces of Toro I indulged in while in Japan

Mind-Blowly Melty Toro Sushi in Tokyo
Mind-Blowingly Melty Toro Sushi in Taito, Tokyo

Of course, the most important thing of all was captured and included in the video.  NOT TO WORRY.  Without further ado, I bring you Teaching Asians to Say Parallelogram and other beautiful footage from Japan:

And as mentioned in the video, for referrals to the best companies I’ve tried and tested myself for student loan refinancing, CLICK HERE!

Top 3 Things to Do TODAY to Quit Your Job and Travel the World

5 months ago, I was trapped by a lengthy commute to work, the grey walls of a prison cell, errr, cubicle, and the typical degradations that come with a corporate gig.  My insides would try to claw their way out when I used all my willpower to remain seated in my ergonomic office chair.  On countless random weekdays, I had half a mind to get up from my seat at 3 p.m., pulling an Office Space and just walk the hell out.  I would fly to a tropical beach, order a Mai Tai and work on creative things that inspired me!

A Tropical Beach and a Mai Tai a Lot Like These
A Tropical Beach and a Mai Tai a Lot Like These

But I didn’t.  Why not?  Well, the corporate world is a gnarly beast to free yourself from.  If I just walked out randomly, I’d likely be crawling back begging for a job again very soon because there are chains that come with corporate life.  It requires a hefty financial commitment just to do the work.  You need to commit with a second set of corporate clothes, money for transportation, typically at least 10 hours of your weekdays and an expensive lifestyle that accommodates for your lack of free time.  A corporate job then becomes a self-reinforcing cycle, but there are things you can do today, right now to put you on the path to GTFO.

I’m writing to you today from Japan.  2 weeks ago, I was in Taiwan picking up delicious scallion pancakes for breakfast from a small alley shop.  One month ago, I was spending Christmas on Patong Beach, Thailand having cocktails with a bunch of Swedes.  6 weeks ago, I was crewing a sailboat from Malaysia to Thailand.  2 months ago, I laughed so hard I wet my pants in Ireland listening to stories with new friends over dinner and drinks.  4 months ago, after a bit of preparation, I pulled an Office Space.  That is, I left work after putting in a couple weeks’ notice and long after doing these next steps.  These are things you can do Right Now and they make sense to do even if you don’t eventually knock down your cubicle walls.

Escape to Paradise: Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
Escape to Paradise: Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

1. AUTOMATE YOUR SAVINGS — If you’re not going to have a steady income, you’re obviously going to draw from your savings for a while lounging on that Thai beach.  Time to fatten up your account!

If your employer offers direct deposit to multiple accounts as a payment method, this can be a ridiculously easy step.  As I slowly realized that quitting my job and not having another one to jump to was a definite possibility, I bumped up the amount that went to my savings account.  I think I started with $50 from each paycheck, then $100, then $200.

Automatically allocate as much as you can to a savings account and try not to touch it unless you have an emergency.  By having your savings separated without you thinking about it, it’s easier to forget about.  Consequently, you’ll more easily live within the means of a new budget: your slightly smaller checking account.  Meanwhile, your savings account grows and you barely notice the pinch!  It really works.

Why it’s smart even if you don’t quit your job: in this volatile world, it’s just smart in general to have padded savings.  Do you have enough cash to cover at least 6-months worth of living expenses?  Lay-offs happen.  Illnesses happen.  Shit luck happens.  There are no guarantees other than at one point or another, it’s going to be good to have more in savings than you could foresee needing.  CYA!

2.  GET A FRESH PASSPORT — Getting a passport takes a while, and you’re not going to want to wait around for it when you’re ready to make the leap.  Apply for it today!

https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/apply.html

Even if you have one now, when you travel, you often need your passport to be valid for 6 months from when you arrive in a country, or even several months after you intend to leave.  Luckily, you can renew your passport now, even if it hasn’t expired.  Go to this U.S. Department of State link for more info:   https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/renew.html

Why it’s smart even if you don’t quit your job: you can still be spontaneous even if you work full time!   If you don’t have a passport, though, your spontaneity is drastically limited.  Plus, there are new U.S. rules about ID’s coming out that will make life in general more of a pain if you only have a driver’s license from certain states as ID.  You can see a current list from the Department of Homeland Security about which states’ ID’s are cool with Big Brother here:  http://www.dhs.gov/current-status-states-territories

3.  REDUCE YOUR DEBT — Debt, specifically student loan debt, was the biggest burden holding me back from quitting my job and traveling the world sooner.  There are 2 easy ways you can start hacking away at the binding ties of debt.

For typical credit debt, say a credit card you carry a balance on, it’s best to automate the payments.  It works just like the method for fattening up your savings – you have as big of a chunk as you can manage pulled from your available cash without your involvement.  Then, when you look at how many dollars you have in your checking account, your mind will automatically work within the new budget.  Bump up those payments as much as you can tolerate!  You want to be 100%, completely free of credit card debt if you quit your job.

For student loan debt, there are some fantastic, new refinancing options out there!  If you just want to pay down your debt faster and don’t plan on quitting your job, you may be eligible to dramatically reduce your interest rate.  6 months before I quit my job, I refinanced with the goal of paying off my student loans as soon as possible.  I chose terms that were as fast as I could manage.  That means, I chose terms with the highest monthly payments I could afford.  Typically, the shorter the payback term, e.g., paying back in 5 years versus 15 years, the less you pay per month in interest.

Later, when I realized I would not be jumping to a new,  better-paying job, I went the opposite way with my student loans.  Knowing I would likely not have an income soon, I refinanced with the longest terms possible.  This pushed my final payment way out to 20 years in the future, and raised my interest rate slightly, but I was paying over $200/month less, and that means I could stretch my savings out a whole lot farther.  Plus, I was STILL paying less in interest than if I had stayed with Sallie Mae/Navient.  Refinancing to get away from those companies was a no-brainer.

Check out the rough estimate chart below for examples on what you could save per year.  If you reduce your interest rate by 1%, 1.5%, 2.0%, etc., in the column on the left, you can follow the row over to the right to see about how much you would save per year on a loan of $10,000, $15,000 or $25,000, etc.

Annual Savings Estimate from Student Loan Refinancing

Annual Savings Estimate from Student Loan Refinancing

I’ve tested out 2 companies myself and had great results.  If you use THIS LINK to refinance with SOFI, it counts as a referral from me.  I get a finder’s fee and you get $100!  DRB is another great company where you may be able to get slightly better terms and rates, and you can get referred by me by sending me your info here.

You do need excellent credit to qualify for both of these refinancing options, so do it now, while you still have a job!  Check out both companies and see which gives you the better offer.

Why it’s smart even if you don’t quit your job: paying interest is like flushing your money down the crapper!  Why pay more than you have to?  The faster you pay off your debt, and the lower the interest you are charged, the more cash that stays in your pocket.  That just plain makes sense — no matter what your situation!

It takes a lot of planning to successfully pull off the type of sabbatical many of us dream of, but these 3 things are huge yet simple steps to take to make it possible.  Plus they just make sense in general!  Do them early.  Do them now!

Hi, From Freedom! Come Join Me!
Hi, From Freedom! Come Join Me!

If you have more questions about taking a much-needed sabbatical, money management, or anything else, please let me know in the comments below.

What You Voted For: Phuket, Thailand Hostel Review

What follows is the review, as promised, of the hostel I ended up staying at in Phuket, which won the most votes from YOU BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE.

Thank you again So Much to everyone who sent me a gift/voted on a place to stay.  I’m am blown away by your generosity every time I think on it!  Just, wow.  Really.  Wow!!

The winner, with 300 Mutherfriggin Votes, ended up being the cheapo-but-relatively-safe-looking hostel choice: iHostel Phuket.  4 USD per night and no mention of blood or prostitutes in the reviews.  Yea!  It’s what I would have chosen had the voting game not taken place.

I wasn’t able to go with that specific hostel in the end, but was able to find a good approximation.  Baan Kamala was a pricey 14 USD/night, but it was walking distance from where the yacht was going to toss me ashore.  If I had taken a taxi from the yacht to the original iHostel Phuket choice, it would have been at least 20 bucks extra anyways.  Plus, I wasn’t feeling so well… more on that later.

The captain of the Candela’s son took me in a dinghy to Kamala Beach and I plodded through the muddy sand with my bags.  I must have looked like the strangest castaway that beach has ever seen.

Actually, I take that back.  The beach was very close to Patong.  That beach has seen shit.

Anyways, it was a bit strange.  I’d been living elbow-to-elbow every second for weeks with people who I’d just met but had become sort of close to… And now, I was all alone.  Yet, I still felt the sway of the sea when standing on solid ground.

Kamala Beach with the Candela Far Out in the Distance
Kamala Beach with the Candela Far Out in the Distance

I pulled out my phone, which thankfully by now, had a Thai SIM card in it, to help me navigate to the hostel. Trudging through the maze of narrow streets packed with shops, I wondered if I’d be able to make it there on my own.  By this time, the afternoon’s papaya salad which I’d eaten on Laem Sim beach, just to the north, was really taking its toll.  I’d had cramps since shortly after eating it, which were getting progressively worse.  As a bonus, my belly which normally looked like that of a pregnant lady 4 months along, was now at least 6 months pregnant with botulism.  …Or with whatever the fuck parasite was breeding a militant colony within me.

I finally made it to my destination, and I would have blown right by it if not for the attendant calling out to me.  He didn’t realize I had a reservation already.  He was just being a Thai salesman, lucky for me.

Approaching Baan Kamala
Approaching Baan Kamala

After checking in and climbing a few flights of stairs, I thanked God for letting me lay the fuck down.  I’d reserved a cheaper option without A/C, yet somehow, it was on at full-blast in the room.  I had only experienced air conditioning when passing through malls in Southeast Asia, so this was a refreshing, welcomed luxury, especially in the state I was in.

I snagged a bottom bunk and threw some of my things into a generously-sized locker, which even came with a lock.  Fancy!

My Dorm-Style Room in Baan Kamala Hostel
My Dorm-Style Room in Baan Kamala Hostel

There were 2 other lovely and interesting travelers already staying there whom I met when I arrived.  I wish I’d had more time to spend with them when I wasn’t feeling so shitty!  We talked about possibly going out for the evening even though I was still debating in my own mind whether that was prudent.  I told myself that I at least needed to take a proper shower, because I promised myself.  That would happen first.

I pulled out all the stops for that shower – soap, scrubby glove, I Even Shaved – like, with giving all the fucks about shaving, not that, “eh good enough, I won’t stab anyone with my knee hair” kind.  There was shampoo — the good stuff I had brought from The West, and even… *gasp* conditioner.  Yeah, I splurged by using conditioner.  It had been difficult to find hair conditioner on the islands, so I had just stopped using any and was saving what I brought with me for a special occasion.  I guess that special occasion was a hot shower.

It was difficult to do all the showery things I wanted to, because washing dishes in sea water for a half-dozen people, along with all the swimming had taken a serious toll on my hands.  My paws were peeling and cracking and became painful after exposing them to water for more than a few minutes.  They are only now — 2 weeks later, starting to get back to normal.

Salty Dishpan Hands
Salty Dishpan Hands – nommm

I scrubbed the shit out of all I could before my palms disintegrated.  I had sores all over everywhere from a mixture of biting flies, mosquitoes, stings from I-Don’t-Even-Knows,  and a retarded amount of ingrown hairs.  I assumed things weren’t healing because I was only washing in microbe-infested sea water and it was hard to do a good job of scrubbing while partially clothed and keeping an eye out for sharks and bastard jellyfish.

Bathroom at Baan Kamala - Hot, Fresh Water? Fuck Yeah
Bathroom at Baan Kamala – Hot, Fresh Water? Fuck Yeah

After cleaning up as much as my palms let me, I went back to my sweetly air conditioned room and tried to remember “how to girl”.  I still debated whether it was a good idea to go out as I put on makeup to Slut Level 6.5 and threw on a civilized skirt and blouse over my bikini.

My awesome new friends – a German of Thai decent taking a gap year, and an Australian PhD student on holiday, were keen on going out.  I resolved to suck it up and go, even if I’d only have a juice.  Solid food was not happening.

We took a lovely walk along the beach dodging kiddos and swinging, flying, glowing LED objects before deciding on a restaurant in the sand.  I had half a pineapple juice, while the other two ate and drank things I wished I could eat and drink.  As time passed, it became more difficult to keep my composure, and at one point, the waves of nausea were more than I could take.  I got up to go to the bathroom, certain the time had come to birth an alien colony of parasites from my mouth.

I was taken by the waiter on a fucking sight-seeing tour to another building to use the bathroom.  It was such a long trek, I almost told him “fuck it, I’ll just puke over the bridge into this river.  Smells like it wouldn’t be the first time that happened.”  My composed side won, however, and I made it to the toilet.

And then nothing.

Oh right, so now you want to keep it together?  NOW?  Damn it, guts.  Damn it.

When I returned, my companions and I jetted back to the hostel, stopping at a 7-Eleven along the way for water and Gatorade, which would be my breakfast and lunch the next day.  I was so thankful they were there to lead the way.

I think I passed out fully-clothed in my bunk bed when we got back.  It’s a bit of a blur and the cramping was to the point where I was beyond composure.  In the middle of the night, I felt, “nope, now is really, really the time,” and shot out of bed for the bathroom.  As I shut the door behind me, I had a decision to make.

“I have food poisoning.  Which end will it come out of?  Which way should I use the toilet?! Oh God, what if it’s both?”

But then I realized a beautiful benefit to bidets and the messy Asian bathroom style of making the entire room the shower floor.  I can do both at the same time!  I’m covered.  I can hose whatever happens down.  A small ray of sunshine in this mess.  Hooray!

In the end, it was just some moaning and explosive vomiting.  I apologize again for the inconvenience to my hostel-mates.  Somehow, even though the bathroom was down the hallway, you can hear everything from where the beds are.  Thanks again for putting up with that shit so kindly.

Somehow I had gotten vomit like, just, all over the toilet  bowl and bits of the seat.  I panicked for a second, not wanting to cause further discomfort to my hostel-mates.  Again, I remembered the bidet hose thing.  I’m saved!  So THAT’S what it’s for.  I was able to hose down the chunks on the toilet with the hose thing and dry it off with toilet paper.  Squeaky clean!  PHEW!

Toilet at Baan Kamala Hostel -- Secret Benefits REVEALED!
Toilet at Baan Kamala Hostel — Secret Benefits REVEALED!

When I returned to the bunk-bed-room I tied a just-in-case bag to the metal railing and was thankful once again for the A/C.  It was like the whole room had turned into the soothing, cold tiles of a North American bathroom floor.

I spent the first half of the next day using the hostel’s fairly decent wifi to create and upload a video and blog post.  It had been a long time since I’d had enough data and speed to do so, so their wifi gets a thumbs up, too, in my book, even if it went out a couple times.

So in all, Baan Kamala Hostel was not the cheapest option, had I stayed somewhere longer than 2 nights, but if you have some raging food poisoning going on, it’s a very pleasant use of your 14 dollars.  Plus, Kamala itself was a cute little town.  Thumbs up.

Thanks again to everyone who played.  I am so grateful to each of you!!

 

Sailing Malaysia and Thailand with Candela Around the World!

Today is my last day in Thailand, and I composed a video of my adventures crewing the Candela, a sailing yacht, instead of hanging out on the beach because I love you.

Or maybe I got food poisoning yesterday from a 100-Baht papaya salad I ordered on Laem Sing Beach in Thailand and am still recovering in my hostel room after vomiting all night.  Maybe that.

The past 2.5 weeks I spent aboard the Candela, with its interesting, international and talented crew were some of the best times of my life.  Super huge, mega ultra thanks to Hakan Norberg, its cool, laid-back and competent captain for allowing me to join in.  You’re the best!

Candela Around the World is a non-profit organization and you can get in touch here: https://www.facebook.com/Candela-around-the-world-308674772660903/

I snorkeled with tropical fish for the first time, thanks to Suzanne reaching deep down in her over-active soul to find patience when my asthmatic lungs freaked out and didn’t want to.  Check out her hitch-sailing adventures here:  oceanxploration.com

I learned how to cook on a sailboat while it’s heeling in the ocean and all the other multitude of difficulties of cooking at sea.  Felix Menard, Hakan Norberg and I came up with a handy instructional cartoon on this, and I hope to work on the final draft soon.

I saw amazing seascapes, breath-taking moments with sea life doing weird shit, awe-inspiring sunsets night after night, so many new perspectives on humanity, and alcohol sold in buckets.  It was all so much more than I could have dreamed!  In Ireland, I was in a perpetual state of gratitude to God for bringing me out of the desert and into the Promised Land.  Since leaving Ireland, I’ve been in a perpetual state of awe in not just His creations which are completely new to me, but also in the fact that He has so many more happy surprises in store for me.  I am blessed in ways I didn’t know someone could be blessed.

To get a closer look, check out this video made from time aboard the Candela!

And if you want to do something similar but your student loan payments are seriously getting in your way, get referred by me for student loan refinancing here:  erinmmcdermott.com/referral-student-loan-refinancing/

 

 

Votes Are In: My Friends Are Fucking Crazy. Love you!

Last week, I asked you all to vote where I will stay once I land in Phuket, Thailand around Christmas for a day.  I thought it would be a fun little game where I might be able to get enough dollar gifts to at least cover 1 night in a cheapo hostel: $4 US money dollars.

But as of today, the results are in, and it turns out, YOU’RE ALL FUCKING CRAZY!  …in the best way!  Oh My God, you guys!!  I still can’t believe how much you need to be institutionalized.

Jessica and Tabby together voted 60 times for option #2: Ritzy Glitzy 5-star hotel.  Thank you ladies, SO MUCH!  You got me   verklempt.

But alas, Ritzy Glitzy was majorly out-voted.  Various random suggestions were highly popular.  Graham voted 20 times for “Something on or close to the beach with no tv”.  I like this suggestion a lot.  And thank you so much for the early Christmas gift!

Another random write-in came from Dave who told me to go nutz however I want, 200 voting times worth.  WHAT IN THE FUCK, DAVE.  You are a nutter.  Thank you, thank you!  But really, what in the fuck?!

And another write-in ballot from Lane gathered 200 votes for a nice airbnb option of my choosing.  I hadn’t considered it because previously, the airbnbs I found in other places were a lot, lot, helluva lot higher than hostels.  Well spotted!  “This one is only $28 for a rooftop infinity pool with a view https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/6828990?s=V0498wxi”   Also, you are also insane.  200?!  What is with you people?  How do I know such generous people?!

Yet, as crazy as you all are, there is one crazier.  One of my best friends takes the whole fucking crazy cake home with her.  Lane’s fiance contributed 300 votes for me to stay for a month in the cheapo hostel.

CHEAPO HOSTEL WINS!  ALL THE VOTINGS ARE BELONG TO YOU!

The cover photo for this post was taken right now as I’m writing from the Westin Resort & Spa Langkawi’s pool bar in Malaysia… no I didn’t stay here… just using the internets.  Looks like this is the closest I’ll come to ritzy, glitzy accommodations any time soon, and I’m sooooo OKAY with that!

In other news, Lane, your fiance is also insane, FYI.  You will be very happy and compatible together all the years of your lives.  Congratulations!

And thank you again to everyone who “played” the game.  I can’t described how shocked and touched I was to see the e-mails notifying me of your insanity.  I am so thankful in my cockles.  You got me choked up for realz.  I love you, too.