As the sun set over the Nam Song River in Vang Vieng, a riverside village in northern Laos, I sipped on my ice-cold cocktail and contemplated just how lucky I’ve been. After a morning massage and an afternoon floating down the river, I felt completely relaxed and thankful that I can take a work-free vacation like this any time I wanted.
Since my blog serves as my primary source of income, I’m able to travel wherever and whenever I please…and the earnings from my blog will tick away in the background. While most of the time I put in a little work while I’m traveling—which is usually just an hour of emails each morning—I also take about six vacation weeks per year, when I am able to relax and enjoy a completely work-free vacation.
My most recent non-working vacation was in December, when I spent two weeks in Laos. Before I leave for vacation, I simply pre-schedule a few blog posts and newsletters to be sent in my absence. Of course, in this high-tech day and age, I am always accessible via my cellphone should any questions arise; however, most of my clients are aware of my designated holiday periods and do not bother me during such times.
In Laos, I explored the traditional temples of Vientiane, the turquoise waterfalls in Luang Prabang, and enjoyed a warm summer’s day floating downstream while sipping cocktails in Vang Vieng. I sampled all the local delicacies (and discovered that the Laotian people have a much higher tolerance for spiciness).
Every day of my two-week vacation, I enjoyed a massage, as well as facials, manicures, and pedicures. I ate out for every meal and stayed in a brand new, four-star hotel. Despite these daily pampering treatments and restaurant meals, I never once had to stop and worry about not being able to afford something. A whole cooked fish at the local night market was $2.50, a typical restaurant meal was $5 per person, and a 60-minute massage was about $7.
The best part of my trip was a traditional cooking class, where I learned to make khao pun soup, papaya salad, Laos sausage, chicken larb, and sticky rice. As part of the class, I learned some traditional Laos customs and even learned some Laotian dance moves.
All the while, my mind was at ease knowing that my blog was ticking over in the background and any new clients would wait until my return. And as an added bonus is that, my adventures in Laos also gave me more fodder for my blog when I returned home.
I’m so grateful that I’ve found a way to fund my adventurous lifestyle with a stress-free income—and with something that originally began as a hobby. To date, I have traveled to more than 30 countries—mostly throughout Europe and Asia and my working hours are flexible, meaning there’s plenty of time to see the tourist sights and pick up local customs. I would not give up this relaxed lifestyle for anything.
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