Chiang Mai, Thailand
Roundups, Thailand

Month in Review: October 2015

Happy Halloween, guys!  Can you be-LIEVE the end of 2015 is only two months away?!  I can’t!  Do I say that every year?  YOU BET!

Is it just me, or does time go faster the older we get?

October has blown the rest of this year out of the water for me.  I had a feeling it was going to be good, I just didn’t know how good.

October gave me knowledge, confidence, and peace of mind.  The knowledge was a given; the confidence and peace of mind were completely unexpected (and pleasant) surprises.  If you hadn’t gleaned my exhilaration from yesterday’s post, I’ll just come right out and say it–I feel GOOD!  Things are GOOD!  I can’t remember the last time I felt so confident in saying those words.

Here’s what went so right this October and the (very few) things that went wrong.

In October of 2015…

I learned. So. Much.

Hallelujah, I’ve FINALLY grasped the importance of investing in myself and my business!  It’s scary as hell to pour not only significant time but now significant money (I need that to eat!) into this little blogging project of mine (although I suppose it’s not so little anymore) but after trusting the process a little bit more this year, I can see that these investments will not only be repaid, they’ll be repaid and then some.

This October, I attended not one but TWO blogging events here in Thailand.  The first, the Travel Bloggers Retreat in Koh Phangan, was not planned.  I only heard about it a month or two before it happened, and only gave it any real thought when a fellow blogger found out I was just one island away and made me realize how stupid it’d be not to take advantage of the opportunity (Thanks Michael, if you’re reading this).  The second, TBEX Asia, was a part of my initial motivation for returning to Thailand in the first place.

Travel Blogger Retreat Koh Phangan

The whole gang at the Travel Blogger Retreat

Both events were worth every last penny.

I’ll admit that the Travel Bloggers Retreat gave me more in terms of pure knowledge and inspiration.  Being in close quarters with an intimately-sized group of people for an entire week created the perfect conditions for collaboration and knowledge exchange.  I couldn’t have been happier with how it went, the amazing bloggers I am now lucky enough to call friends, and the inspiration it gave me to charge ahead at full throttle.

Compared to TBEX Costa Brava, the first Asian edition of the conference fell flat content-wise.  I didn’t get much out of the sessions I attended that I didn’t already know; at times this was my fault for choosing poorly, but overall the selection of talks just wasn’t as stimulating as Spain.  A few of the highlights were getting to hear some inspirational ladies share their knowledge on stage, gaining a better understanding of my own blogging goals, and remembering why I got into this to begin with.  Jodi Ettenberg’s closing keynote on storytelling was my favorite moment of the whole weekend.

TBEX Asia 2015

TBEX Asia

My freelancing career took on a new, exciting form.

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been slowly carving out a space for myself as a true digital nomad for the last year or so by working as a virtual assistant, social media manager, and most recently a Pinterest consultant (bet you didn’t know such a title existed, did you?).  It hasn’t always been what I’d call lucrative, but this month has proven to be a major turning point.  This summer I began taking on more clients and earning decent rates for the work that I’m doing, and finally it seems people are taking notice.  It certainly didn’t hurt mentioning my line of work at TBEX and writing this monster blog post that spread like wildfire among the blogging community.

The result?  I’ve had more inquiries for work this month than literally ever before.

I think much of this success was borne of my newfound confidence.  I’m now able to say “Hell yeah I know what I’m talking about!” without hesitation (and I have results to back it up).  I’m now able to ask for the rates I know I deserve and don’t falter when people try to undercut me.  I never suspected there was this cunning businesswoman inside of me, waiting to be unleashed!  Okay, OKAY so that might be a bit of a hyperbole…but I think you get my point.

This month, I’ve begun offering an array of different services relating to Pinterest, and so far it’s off to a wicked start.  I met with fellow bloggers here in Chiang Mai and led a workshop on the subject and have been getting nothing but positive feedback.  It’s fun and exciting and fulfilling all at once.  I can’t wait to see where it all goes from here!

Leading a Pinterest workshop with fellow bloggers at CAMP

Pinterest workshop with fellow bloggers in Chiang Mai. Photo courtesy of Travel Dave

I made my peace with Chiang Mai.

Holy hell, has it been good to be back in Chiang Mai!  Not that I didn’t enjoy my time in other parts of Thailand, but my heart has always been here in the north.  I’ve loved revisiting all my favorite old haunts, discovering new ones, weaving through traffic on my motorbike, actually using my Thai on a daily basis, and yes, even remembering why I left.

The first few days were surreal.  Once that feeling faded, it was simply comfortable.  There aren’t many places in the world where I truly feel at home, but Chiang Mai is definitely one of them.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Yep, this just feels right. Photo by Lightworks360.

Not only that, but there are so many fun people in town (both bloggers and non-bloggers) right now that I didn’t even have to TRY to be social.  The opportunities to hang out with friends sprang up so often I just rolled with the punches, and it was perfect.  Wine nights, breakfast dates, birthdays; barbecues, work parties, brunches.  I couldn’t have asked for anything more from the last two weeks.  They’ve been absolutely divine.

My one regret is missing out on the opportunity to meet up with my former Chiang Mai roommate Allie–you may know her as the girl who sang a baby elephant to sleep.  She’s currently volunteering with a non-profit organization an hour’s drive outside of Chiang Mai and we were in contact from the day I arrived; sadly, work obligations never eased up and thus my plan to visit kept being postponed.  When we met a few years ago, we were both teaching English and still very much unsure of where we were headed in life–I think it’s safe to say we’ve both changed a bit since then.

What went wrong…

I worked a lot and let inconsequential things stress me out.  I didn’t make time to play tourist and wound up with very few photos of this beautiful place.  I spent a few too many nights up late on Skype and felt like a zombie some days.  But really, none of these minor things take anything away from how wonderful this month went overall.

And now, a few fun extras…

My Most Popular Blog Posts

Pinterest for Travel Bloggers: An In-Depth Guide

Lessons from a Lifetime of Transience: A Reader Shares Her Story

My Best Instagrams

Pool views over Bangkok…

A little self-reflection on the island of Koh Phangan.

I may not be in the Thai islands anymore, but this day has indeed been one of great reflection (and I don't just mean my badass lenses). I'm back in Chiang Mai, the city that cranked up my love of travel and living abroad by about 20 notches when I moved here nearly four years ago at the end of 2011. Now it appears Chiang Mai will be one of the last cities I visit before I reconcile with the fact that it's time to slow down. Travel has been SO good to me these few whirlwind years, but now I'm looking for something different. I'm looking for stability. I'm looking for strong connections. I'm looking for a place to put down roots. At the TBEX conference last week in Bangkok, I had a funny thought–I realized that I felt more at home when surrounded by a bunch of other people who also HAVE NO HOMES (my travel blogging community) than I have felt all year. And it was just that, being surrounded by people I love, that made me feel that way–not the city I was in at the time. All this is to say that I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt what I need at this stage in my life, and I'm hell-bent on making it a reality. #Thailand #KohPhangan #amazingthailand

A photo posted by Leah Davis (@leahlamochilera) on

A Few Things I’m Loving…

Adele’s new heart-wrenching single, Hello.  I just wish I hadn’t heard it for the first time while watching the video, which leads you to believe you’re about to witness domestic abuse (spoiler alert, you don’t–but it’s still tragic).

This guy, who pretty much wins Halloween in my book.

That’s all for October!  Onward and upward!


Featured image credit: Lightworks360 Photography.  You’ll be seeing plenty more of their work around here!

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16 Comments

  • Reply Amanda | Lesson Plans and Layovers October 31, 2015 at 8:10 am

    I’m loving Adele’s new song too, her voice is just incredible! Love hearing your feedback on TBEX – I would love to take part in North America’s next one!
    Amanda | Lesson Plans and Layovers recently posted…Patience is a Virtue – My New Job!!My Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis November 5, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      Yeah, I highly recommend TBEX! Both of my experiences have been fantastic.

  • Reply Emma Hart | Paper Planes and Caramel Waffles October 31, 2015 at 10:42 am

    It sounds like you’ve had an AWESOME month Leah! Here’s to tons more opportunities and success coming your way 🙂 And oh my goodness, Adele’s new song. I cannot stop listening to it!
    Emma Hart | Paper Planes and Caramel Waffles recently posted…Confessions Of A Travel BloggerMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis November 5, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Thanks so much, Emma! I can’t wait to see where things go from here 🙂

  • Reply Maria October 31, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Hey, Leah! I’m happy for how your October went! You seem like a positive person and you deserve that. One thing I want to ask you, as I am also trying to work online, how did you find that confidence in you in the first place? I’m still stressed out that I don’t know what I’m talking about or that people will judge me and don’t like the way I do things (I’m in content marketing mostly).

    Btw, Jesse and his Aladdin video rocks! I just saw it a few hours ago.

    Have a wonderful November!

    • Reply Leah Davis November 5, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      Hi Maria, thanks so much! I think the confidence just came after enough experience (and I mostly mean with social media and Pinterest–I still don’t consider myself super confident about blogging, because I know I still have a long way to go there). If you’ve seen success in the past, just know that if people are questioning your ability, you have that evidence to back up your words. They might question what you say, but they can’t question results! They speak for themselves 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful November as well!

  • Reply Justine November 1, 2015 at 1:33 am

    Leah, I’m so excited to hear that you’re so happy and that things are going so well for you! It’s been so much fun watching this whole wild and crazy journey of yours unfold. I know that great things are in store for you and I can’t wait to see what comes next 🙂
    Justine recently posted…An Introvert’s Guide to TBEXMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis November 5, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      Thanks so much, Justine! I really appreciate that you’ve been so supportive along the way. It means a lot to me. I’m excited to see where things go for you, too!

  • Reply Caroline November 1, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Your confidence and joy are definitely radiating through your blog and Instagram posts. It’s so exciting when things you’ve worked so hard for start falling into place. Wishing you success and good luck; your blog is definitely one of my favorite travel blogs to read so I’m glad to see things are paying off for you!
    Caroline recently posted…10 Movies That Will Make You Want To TravelMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis November 5, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      What a sweet thing to say, thank you so much, Caroline! It means the world to me knowing I have so many supportive readers backing me up and rooting for me along the way. Cheers, and happy November!

  • Reply Julie November 6, 2015 at 2:49 am

    Just wanted to thank you (!) for that crazy monster Pinterest post. I find Pinterest overwhelming at best, and not my favorite place to spend time. But I get the importance and possibilities it offers…so, enough of all the whining, time to get on Photoshop and crop my horizontal images 🙂 Thanks again!
    Julie recently posted…Culture Fix at the Tate BritainMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis November 6, 2015 at 11:37 am

      You are so welcome, Julie! It does hold SO much potential, I think you’ll find it well worth your time! Cheers! 🙂

  • Reply Sanura November 6, 2015 at 10:45 am

    What an incredible month and congratulations on the continuous growth of your brand and businesses! It’s a great feeling when you can look back on any period of time, taking the good and bad, and feel like you’re in a better position than when you first started. Here’s to more good happenings!
    Sanura recently posted…How I Extended My Stay In South America for FreeMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis November 6, 2015 at 11:38 am

      Thank you so much, Sanura!! It has been really wild to look back on how far I’ve come. That’s one of the reasons I like writing these posts so much, because I can always see the progress and it gives me a renewed sense of hope for the future! Cheers!

  • Reply Edna November 13, 2015 at 7:56 am

    This was the month I started following you on Snapchat and I’ve loved watching your adventures! I’d seen you around on instagram for a while but consider me a blog reader now too 🙂
    Edna recently posted…On ‘Expat’ as IdentityMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis November 14, 2015 at 12:49 pm

      You’re too sweet, Edna! I’ve loved following your adventures too! (And happy to know you are safe in Paris). Off to explore your blog archives… 🙂

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